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Gastro Pubs in Yorkshire - my personal top ten


Well here is is folks, the list of my favourite Gastro Pubs in Yorkshire - or maybe that's gastropubs, I'm not really sure which is correct. If you've read the rest of the site you may know that I much prefer honest plain cooked pub food, but once in a while you have to push the boat out, so here's my gastropub list. Some are well known, some are virtually unknown, but all have pleased me immensely. I'm conscious that there's very few in South Yorkshire, so if anyone knows of any good ones, let me know and I'll check them out. Likewise, if you have any comments, just fill in the comments form at the bottom of the page.

Nag's Head at Pickhill

1. The Nags Head at Pickhill

This is a real gem, hidden away at Pickhill near Thirsk, it serves amazing pub food, beautifully kept beer and has good accommodation. Ring or checkout the website for details of special offers, bargain breaks and the like. The food is not cheap, but it's exquisite. The dining room is rustic and charming, or you can eat in either bar if you prefer. On a weekend, booking is essential. This place was responsible for the finest meal I have eaten this millennium and at the moment is comfortably top of my list.

Byland Abbey Inn

2. The Abbey Inn (Byland)

Located opposite Byland Abbey near Ampleforth. This gastropub is unique in being the only inn owned by English Heritage. Serves quite traditional food done in the Gastro Pub style - local fresh ingredients plainly cooked. The food is fairly priced, while the accommodation is both stunning and stunningly expensive to boot.

I haven't been since it was taken over, so it's here on its historic reputation alone.

The Angel at Hetton

3. The Angel, Hetton

Often quoted as Yorkshire's best gastro pub, it's certainly well up there. Located halfway between Skipton and Grassington it's a bit tucked away but well worth seeking out. I like the way they seem to care about the vegetarian dishes which so many places don't. If you aren't after a formal meal the brasserie has an extensive top-notch menu and is very reasonably priced.

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4. The Star at Harome

In 2006 it won Egon Ronay Gastropub of the year, a michelin star, Northern Chef of the Year and a "Taste of Yorkshire" award. Who could want for more. As the awards suggest it's excellent, not cheap, and I thought just a little too formal for a gastropub. Rather limited vegetarian choice as well. Follows the usual formula of top quality local ingredients cooked to perfection.  Located near Helmsley which is a great place to spend a weekend.

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5. The White Swan at Aberford

An old coaching inn near the A1 between Leeds and York. Not exactly a gastropub and Egon Ronay would probably have a heart attack at the mere thought of it. This place is famed for the huge menu and the massive portions. The menu covers just about every national cuisine you can imagine, so how the kitchen staff cope is a mystery to me. As I said, the portions are obscenely large; if you order a curry it'll probably come with rice and chips and poppadoms. There's no booking and the place is big, but even so it gets very full very quickly. Prices are cheap and the veg is always uninspiring

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6. The West Riding, Dewsbury

There had to be something good about Dewsbury, and here it is. The West Riding is unique. It's a converted waiting room on Platform 2 of the railway station and they serve what they want when they want. Food is available Monday to Friday lunchtime 12 to 3, and it's rustic and delicious. On an evening there might be nothing or it might be a pie night or a curry night. Cheap as chips and the beer is superb. And best of all, there's no excuse not to drive.

The General tarleton

7. The General Tarleton at Ferrensby

Top of the range gastropub near Knaresborough. The chef was for many years at the Angel at Hetton and is supremely talented. Have to say I found the place overformal and vegetarian choice was very limited. They're good, they know it and have the attitude and the prices to go with it. Some folk like that, I didn't. Uniquely you can book online. I do like to see a nice use of technology, so when are we going to see the first chefcam! But then, if they were being watched how would chefs' test if the oil in the deep fat fryer was hot enough? If you really want to know a trade secret - the answer is "spit in it".

Yorke Arms at Ramsgill

8. The Yorke Arms, Ramsgill

Tucked away in Nidderdale, the Yorke Arms is in the most stunningly beautiful location in the little village of Ramsgill. It's absolutely top-notch dining, and while it's not really a gastropub at all, it's included here because it looks like one and it has a pub name. Confusing or what. It has a michelin star and the food is exactly what you'd expect; refined, innovative and priced to match. A classy joint as evidenced by the Jags, Mercs and chelsea tractors that are normally parked outside.

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9. The Rose & Crown, Sutton-on-the-Forest

Located a few miles North of York on the B1363, this gastropub has had a great reputation for many years. It's not aiming for the very top end of the market, so prices are reasonable for really good food. In good weather there's a really nice garden to sit out in. Ideal for a family meal.

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10. The Blue Lion at East Witton

Located in the heart of Wensleydale near Castle Bolton and Middleham, this is just totally atmospheric, and for a romantic meal takes quite some beating. The food is refined without being pretentious and matches the atmosphere beautifully. I'd combine it with a stay in Middleham in a room overlooking the square where you're woken by the clatter of hooves on cobbles as strings of racehorses are taken up to the gallops on the moors.

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Comments (31)
I had a fantastic meal at the Nags Head and can't recommend it highly enough.
posted by Jamie 01/05/2008 13:00:21
The Angel at Hetton is far superior, I would personally vote it at number one
posted by A. Williams, Bingley 23/06/2008 13:04:25
Great top 10 selection. A good bench mark from my experience of at least 2 thirds on the list..detailed comments another day. Shall certainly check out the Nags ASAP.

posted by Ted | Harrogate 08/10/2008 01:14:34
Had a wonderful meal but the landlord was overbearing and we were asked 4 times if we'd finished. In the end we made a swift exit because we didn't feel welcome. What a shame.
posted by Disappointed 23/04/2009 14:53:53
Sorry meant to say at the Nags Head!
posted by Disappointed 23/04/2009 14:54:37
Hmm Nags Head. We went off the back of this page. We went mid-week and while and the quality of food was good I was disappointed with the staff/service. I ordered a meal from the blackboard while we were sat in the back bar. When we came to pay the bill I noticed my meal was more expensive (by a couple of pounds) to the advertised price on the Blackboards we had been shown on arrival. When I pointed this out at bill paying time I was given short shrift and told it was an error but was still asked to pay the extra money which I did but left no tip as a result.

Good pub grub on the whole and maybe we just caught staff on an off day but even so! The price you see (especially on the daily specials blackboard) should be the price you pay in my book.
posted by Ed - Harrogate 17/07/2009 10:36:30
Have to agree with that sentiment! The price displayed should be the price you pay. Full Stop.
posted by Mick 17/07/2009 18:37:36
The Star at Harome is legendary and deservedly so but what about the White Swan at Ampleforth and the Durham Ox in Crayke....up there with the greats! Never disappointed
posted by Gilly - North Yorkshire 20/07/2009 22:56:22
found a gem of a gastro pub with rooms in West Yorkshire,The Woodman Inn at Thunderbridge,kirkburton, huddersfield.Thought the trip from West Midlands worthwhile when we tried the food.
posted by claire 17/08/2009 23:18:23
thank you Claire, thank you Gilly.

I haven't tried any of the three places you mention, but I've linked to them so anyone who's so inclined can check them out

posted by Mick 17/08/2009 23:28:45
Try The Cadeby Inn, Main Street, Cadeby, Doncaster DN5 7SW. www.cadebyinn.co.uk
posted by Glinys Braithwaite 09/11/2009 20:17:57
Wouldn't bother with the Cadeby Inn, very average food, very, very poor service... The Star Inn at Harome is fantastic...I love it there... An amazing (tucked away) Gastro pub is the Pipe and Glass Inn, located in a very small village near to Beverley Hull: http://www.pipeandglass.co.uk/
posted by John 20/11/2009 21:44:02
Some great places on the list have eaten at many of them. What about Ye Old Sun Inn, at Colton. They have just been named Yorkshire pub of the year, from the White Rose awards. Never been disappointed there and really fab food and service.
posted by Charlie 26/11/2009 16:27:49
Have you tried 'The Chequers' at Ledsham? Very good food,bar meals and restaurant, excellent service and superbb beer. On the down side:Restaurant menu a tad on the pricey side and it's not open on Sundays.
posted by Lisa C 07/01/2010 15:54:46
You must try the Hare and Hounds in Burton Leonard - You are always guaranteed a friendly welcome, smashing atmosphere and fantastic food at a very reasonable price!
posted by Annabelle- Harrogate 12/08/2010 22:35:46
Useful site but a couple of changes needed: Byland Abbey is shut at the moment and the Star has lost its star!
posted by Bob - Kirkbymoorside 12/03/2011 09:50:46
A great list but I personally wouldn't count many of these as gastropubs, more like restuarants. Many of the above places won't allow you just in for a drink, take the General Tarleton for example. Seems like a necessary requirement to me. Has anyone tried the Tiger Inn at Coneythorpe. Great spot. A proper Yorkshire village pub which also does amazing food at reasonable prices. Well recommend a visit.
posted by Peter Hardisty 10/05/2011 11:18:36
Please check out the Town Hall Tavern gastropub in Leeds soon, had a look at their Facebook photos, its just had a full refurb in May 2011 :)
posted by James fawcett 24/05/2011 11:38:14
Town Hall Tavern? saw that in the paper the other day, isnt that the Taylors pub that took on the chef from the General Tarelton?
posted by Drew 24/05/2011 13:23:33
I think the difference between a restaurant and a Gastro pub is that the bar should still be the centrepiece of the place - if it is not then it is a restaurant. On that note Royal Oak in Ripon is an up and coming place which came as a suprise - has a rosette to its name but the bar definately still is the central focus -
posted by MR C 20/06/2011 17:17:42
What about the still undiscovered Grassington house hotel near skipton Honest good food relaxed environment with there own rare breed pork on the menu a must Try some were different at this little upperwharfedale eatery
posted by John 15/08/2011 18:14:20
Yes, Grassington House is definitely on a par with many of the aforementioned - got a good rating in the Good Food Guide recently too.
posted by Jane 16/08/2011 14:32:59
I have eaten at The Crown Inn at Great Ouseburn. This is a nice little place tucked away in the countryside...as most of them are. from the comments...I would suggest it is a gastro pub. The bar in definately the centre of it all. Great beer, TT landlord, Black Sheep Best and thier own Crown Blonde. The food is fab, decent portions (Which is a must for me!) but tasty and really well presented. I understand they have been nominated for several awards too. really friendly relaxed but efficient service.
posted by Peter 26/08/2011 14:32:11
The Bull at bropughton nr Skipton on the A59 is very good but even better is the Tempest, a couple of miles further on taking the A56. Won so many awards, fantastic food and great real ale. You need to book for the restaurant but the bar area is just turn up. Biggest menu I have ever seen, large portions and top quality local produce. I vote the Angel at Hetton as best on this list.
posted by Paul & Jo 01/09/2011 11:55:47
just been to Grasington house for lunch this is seriously good food & relaxed service not to serious, had the pleasure of a master class as a present this is a magical experience great tips informative and 3 course lunch for omly £29.95 worth twice that yu must go
posted by paul spencer 05/09/2011 14:55:28
Grassington House stayed on the weekend on the 2-4-1 dinner gourmet fantastic value quality a great place with friendly staff, wine inexpensive, reasonable list with a few special ones. 5 course gourmet £39.50 for 2 amazing i will be back with friends & stay in one of those great rooms that the young lady kindly showed us round, well grassington house some competition for the usual destination gastro pub in the dales.
posted by daniel radcliffe 05/09/2011 21:39:23
After visiting how stean gorge we stopped at a pub called the sportsman...one word...AMAZING!!!! We couldnt belive our luck! Dont be deceived by the prices, it is quite expensive but well worth the money!
posted by the wanderers 21/09/2011 22:36:09
Best by far tempest at elsack, fab food extensive menu. Always consistent , never had a bad meal ever. Do need to book especially weekend. You will never be dissapointed.
posted by Jan settle 08/10/2011 20:23:48
Carol & I bought the Rose & Crown (rated at 9th on this great website) in September & have significantly improved it since then with great new menus offering the full range of food from sensible cost fixed price menus to stunning A La Carte options. We've listened to customers' opinions & have increased the fish menu as well as improving the quality of the meat sourcing it from the best suppliers in our area. Our Sunday lunch (served between 12 & 6.00) is now hugely popular. As one reviewer said: "Stunning food in a stunning setting". Let's see if we can get to number one in Yorkshire!
posted by Bruce Simpson 01/01/2012 20:31:03
Grassington house bar terrace menu is great informal dining with a fantastic tasting slate which is great to share. Sat on the terrace on a sunny or as we did sit in the beautiful bar in front of the log wood burner a must Deffernatly will be back a regular haunt now as it seems to be for some famous characters of film and tv mr Radcliffe more recently on my last visit and the goodies the time before.
posted by Simon turner 04/02/2012 11:04:24
Grassington house bar terrace menu is great informal dining with a fantastic tasting slate which is great to share. Sat on the terrace on a sunny or as we did sit in the beautiful bar in front of the log wood burner a must Deffernatly will be back a regular haunt now as it seems to be for some famous characters of film and tv mr Radcliffe more recently on my last visit and the goodies the time before.
posted by Simon turner 04/02/2012 11:05:38
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