Pubs & restaurants
You'll be surprised by just how many country pubs you come across on a visit to the North York Moors. And there are some truly excellent village pubs and inns serving up great local produce, from rare breed meats to fresh seafood and game. Some even have their own walled gardens providing a constant supply of salad leaves.
In fact, the food is so good, many should really be labelled restaurants rather than inns, and you definitely need to book these well in advance. That's not to say we don't have some mighty fine pub pubs too, with cosy fires serving up a good pint of real ale, where you'll receive a warm welcome and a great tasting meal.
From Michelin stars and contemporary restaurants in boutique hotels to bistros, country inns, and traditional pubs, you'll find something to suit your taste and budget in this corner of Yorkshire.
For independent reviews of the best places to eat in Yorkshire, Squidbeak's website is well worth a read while GreenTraveller's guide to the North York Moors includes a handpicked selection of restaurants and pubs.
Here's a few award-winning hostelries to get you started.
- The Black Swan at Oldstead (4 AA Rosettes, Good Food Guide and now the proud holder of the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Best Restaurant in the World 2017 Award): pub and restaurant with rooms run by the Banks family who have lived and farmed at Oldstead Grange for generations, and the menu reflects this passion. The emphasis is very much on relaxed dining, there are no airs and graces here. James manages front-of-house while Tommy, his younger brother, is chef. Expect elegant interiors and cosy downstairs bar with that all important log fire, stone flagged floor and Mousey Thompson oak fittings. Renowned for its tasting menu featuring refined classical dishes with innovative twists, there's imaginative vegetarian food too. There's also a burgeoning two-acre kitchen garden, providing vegetables, herbs and fruit for the kitchen.
- The Star Inn, Harome (2 AA Rosettes and Good Food Guide), with Andrew Pern at the helm, this quaint thatched inn just outside Helmsley is recognised for its great food and excellent local sourcing from the moors and the sea.
- Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley (3 AA Rosettes), 15th century coaching inn with hidden walled garden perfect for relaxing over afternoon tea and seasonal restaurant menu.
- Cleveland Tontine (2 AA Rosettes and Good Food Guide), this Grade 1 listed building has undergone a major refurbishment; its bistro-style restaurant offers seasonal, locally sourced food, classic French style with a modern English twist.
- Crathorne Hall Hotel, Yarm (2 AA Rosettes and Good Food Guide), for traditional favourites with a modern twist, think curry foam, beetroot syrup and black pudding puree.
- Estbek House, Sandsend (2 AA Rosettes), for grand sea views, an outside courtyard and menu that reflects the seasons, with plenty of local wild fish and game.
- Feversham Arms, Helmsley (2 AA Rosettes), fine dining and afternoon tea next to the outdoor pool on summer days is hard to beat.
- Fox & Hounds Country Inn, Sinnington (1 AA Rosette), contemporary dining pub, with log burner and emphasis on local suppliers.
- Gisborough Hall (2 AA Rosettes for Chaloner's Restaurant), historic country house with elegant dining room offering fine dining classics plus a spa; gold Green Tourism Business Scheme award-winner.
- Mallyan Spout Hotel, Goathland (1 AA Rosette), named after the 70ft high tumbling waterfall found a short walk behind the hotel, where you'll find a menu bursting with locally sourced produce from Whitby fish to cheese.
- The Cliffemount Hotel, Runswick Bay (2 AA Rosettes), specialising in fresh, locally caught seafood, eaten overlooking that sweeping panorama across the Bay; dogs and muddy boots welcome.
- The Fairfax Arms, Gilling East (1 AA Rosette), a traditional country inn in a picturesque village, with imaginative dishes that use as much local produce as possible.
- The Hare Inn at Scawton (3 AA Rosettes and Good Food Guide), fine dining in 13th Century Inn oozing with character, real fires and the personal touch alongside exceptional food.
- The Inn at Hawnby (1 AA Rosette), perched at the top of Hawnby, this historic Drovers Inn offers stunning views and seasonal locally sourced menus.
- The Pheasant Hotel, Harome (2 AA Rosettes and Good Food Guide), country breaks at their finest, where the rooms and restaurant are set around a pretty courtyard of fruit trees and a menu that makes full use of foraged wild food.
- The Talbot Hotel (2 AA Rosettes), Malton's flagship venue where the menus reflect Yorkshire's great larder to perfection.
- The White Swan Inn, Pickering (2 AA Rosettes and Good Food Guide), roaring log fires, locally sourced rare-breed meat from The Ginger Pig, reared in nearby Levisham and mostly sent down south to their chain of London butchers, luckily for us some of it is served here.
Good Food Guide
- Bridge Cottage Bistro, at the entrance of Mulgrave Woods in pretty Sandsend, the outside eating areas here are a delight, the inside surprisingly contemporary, sensational food too.
- Fox & Hounds Restaurant, Goldsborough, yes this might be well out of the way but it's so worth the trip for modern British food done to perfection. It's tiny too, booking definitely recommended. Call 01947 893372 for reservations.
- Golden Lion, Osmotherley, popular and unpretentious 18th century stone inn with simple yet accomplished food. Dogs welcome at all times.
- Magpie Café has been in the Good Food Guide for 37 years in a row. The menu features up to 15 varieties of fish daily. Eat in for commanding views of the harbour, abbey and St Mary's church or join the legendary take-away queue.
- The Anvil Inn, Sawdon, 250 year old former forge stylishly converted and offering modern European cuisine, made using Yorkshire produce. Booking essential.
Good Pub Guide Fully Inspected
- Birch Hall Inn, Beck Hole, possibly North Yorkshire's smallest and quirkiest pub, with two tiny bars and a traditional sweet shop squeezed in between, real ale, real fires and real welcomes for dogs.
- Carpenters Arms, Felixkirk, nestling beneath the Sutton Bank escarpment is Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub 2013. Part of the award-winning Provenance Inns (Good Pub Guide Pub Group of the Year 2015), a small collection of traditional pubs where local sourcing is at its heart, including a strong emphasis on game, and vegetables straight from the kitchen garden. Dogs allowed in bar.
- Crown & Cushion, Welburn (Provenance Inns), this refurbished 18th C pub, complete with wood burning stove, is already gaining a great reputation for real ale and good food. Dogs allowed in bar.
- Durham Ox, Crayke (Provenance Inns), very popular traditional pub with flag stone floors, exposed beams, oak panelling and roaring log fires in winter. Dogs allowed in bar.
- Fox & Rabbit, Lockton, traditional country pub handy for good food after a day on the mountain bike tracks at Dalby Forest. Sister pub of The Horseshoe Inn. Dogs allowed in bar.
- The Horseshoe Inn, Levisham, sit outside on the village green for a good pub lunch, looking down the stone-built village with the added bonus of hearing the toot of a steam train. Dogs allowed in bar.
- Laurel Inn, Robin Hood's Bay, charming unspoilt pub with beams and real fire, no food, the focus is on good real ales. Dogs welcome.
- The Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge, legendary pub, real fires, beer heaven and large portions of proper pub grub served all day (noon-10pm), with tremendous vistas outside over Rosedale and Farndale. If you want to stay here, it's on Wainwright's Coast to Coast and gets booked up well in advance. Dogs allowed in bar.
Pick up a copy of the full guide to find more than 50 other recommended pubs in the North York Moors area!
Find out more
To really get a feel for all the great pubs, leave the car behind and take to the Esk Valley Railway with a copy of their Rail Ale Trail (pdf), which details 34 pubs all within a whisker of their station platforms between Battersby and Whitby. We just wouldn't suggest doing them all in one go...