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Pubs & restaurants

Tommy Banks and the team at The Black Swan at OldsteadTommy Banks and the team at The Black Swan at Oldstead

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.

Here's a few award-winning hostelries to get you started.

Michelin Stars

  • The Black Swan at Oldstead (4 AA Rosettes, Good Food Guide and TripAdvisor's 2020 Travellers' Choice Best Fine-Dining Restaurant in the UK and 4th best in the World): 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. 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 and one of the reasons why they were first to be awarded the new Michelin green stars in 2021, which celebrates restaurants committed to sustainability.
  • 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.
Michelin Plates 2022

Judged by the same five criteria used for starred restaurants and recognised for serving very good food:

AA Rosettes

  • Brockley Hall Hotel, Saltburn by the Sea (2 AA Rosettes), think fine dining but in a quirky setting with Moulin Rouge, Raffles and Orient Express influences.
  • Carpenters Arms, Felixkirk (1 AA Rosette and Good Pub Guide recommended), nestling beneath the Sutton Bank escarpment and part of the award-winning Provenance Inns, 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.
  • 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 (1 AA Rosette 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.
  • Gisborough Hall (1 AA Rosette 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 Fairfax Arms, Gilling East (2 AA Rosette), a traditional country inn in a picturesque village, with imaginative dishes that use as much local produce as possible.
  • The Pheasant Hotel, Harome (3 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 Star Inn the Harbour, Whitby (1 AA Rosette), sister restaurant to Andrew Pern's Harome inn
  • The Worsley Arms Hotel, Hovingham (2 AA Rosettes), nestled in the adjoining Howardian Hills AONB, the menus reflect Yorkshire's great larder to perfection, all with a contemporary twist.

Good Food Guide

  • Golden Lion, Osmotherley, popular and unpretentious 18th century stone inn with simple yet accomplished food. Dogs welcome at all times.
  • Mademoiselles, Whitby, French bistro complete with gin room and secret courtyard.
  • Magpie Café, Whitby, consistently features in the Good Food Guide. 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.
  • Restaurant Number 20, Port Mulgrave sees Jason and Sue back where they belong running a relaxed fine dining restaurant (after 12 years running the much-admired Fox and Hounds at Goldsborough), with the same fabulous menu, focusing on fish and shellfish.
  • The Hare Inn at Scawton (Good Food Guide), fine dining in 13th Century Inn oozing with character, real fires and the personal touch alongside exceptional food.
  • The Plough Inn at Scalby, a pub right on the edge of the National Park firmly with a varied menu making great use of local produce.
  • The White Swan Inn, Pickering, roaring log fires, locally sourced meat from Glaves butchers, a renowned  and award winning, local family run butchers.

Good Pub Guide Recommended

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 pubs worth a visit in the North York Moors area!

Taste of the North York Moors

Discover the Taste of the North York Moors, telling the stories behind our finest chefs and food producers.

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...