A rare purveyor of relaxed good vibes and seriously on-point cooking, chef Neil Bentinck has created a buzzy restaurant that’s unusually broad in its appeal. Food nerds can sit at the open-kitchen counter to get close to the action; elsewhere, guests will find themselves charmed by Skosh’s friendly staff and disarmed by a small and sharing plates menu which, in its fusion of global influences, is playful and arrestingly tasty. House classics include buttermilk fried chicken with a yuzu and brown butter hollandaise and the “hen’s egg” (a savoury trifle that hinges on an outrageous cheese velouté). Elsewhere, dishes such as barbecued pork shoulder with nahm jim sauce or Japanese-style venison tataki take British ingredients on a successful world tour.
Dishes £4-£17; open Wed-Sat noon-2pm, 5.30pm-10pm; 98 Micklegate; skoshyork.co.uk
Yuzu @ Brew York
Brew York’s mammoth split-level brewery-tap – complete with two outdoor spaces, a sun-trap yard and a smaller terrace overlooking the River Foss – is naturally popular with craft beer fans (note: card payments only). But the east Asian street food from resident kitchen crew Yuzu is notable in its own right. Yuzu’s silky gyoza dumplings, fluffy bao buns (try the shredded bulgogi beef or miso aubergine), katsu curries and Korean chicken wings are full of zingy flavours. If you’re planning an extensive sampling of Brew York’s output, the loaded fries will line your stomach in style.
Dishes £6-£11; outdoor seating available; Tue-Sun noon-9pm; Brew York, Walmgate; yuzustreetfood.com
A mere five-minute walk from York Minster, but beyond the city walls and the crowds, you will find this dairy-obsessed delicatessen. In its hidden garden and back-room cafe, AKA the Speakcheesey (!), you can linger over high-grade platters of British and European cheese and charcuterie. At weekends, visitors can enjoy pizzas featuring combinations such as green peppers, red onion, Scottish venison salami and Doddington Dairy cheese. Love Cheese’s toasties, made using bread from Haxby, a local star bakery, and cultured raw milk Bungay butter, are seriously good – particularly the triple cheese.
Meals £6.50-£11; outdoor seating available; Speakcheesey open Tue-Thu 10am-5pm, Fri-Sat 10am-8pm; 16 Gillygate; lovecheese.co.uk
The Pig & Pastry
Now in its 13th year, this legendary brunch/lunch spot on Bishopthorpe Road – a strip of indie businesses just outside the city walls – just gets better and better. The attention to detail in the Pig’s cooking is exacting, as is its sourcing (Haxby breads, Brindisa chorizo, Dama’s ace Yorkshire take on halloumi). Even after all these years, you can still expect to queue at peak times for eggs benedict or a Reuben sandwich. It is worth it. In particular, the breakfast bap of bacon, avocado, fried egg, cheddar, rocket, smoky mayo and tomato relish is an exhilarating start to any day. If you are spending a few hours in Rowntree Park or staying close to Bishy Road, Stanley & Ramona is also highly recommended for coffee and cake.
Dishes £3.75-£7.50; outdoor seating available; no bookings, Mon-Sat 8.30am-3pm; thepigandpastry.com
Shambles Kitchen & Smokehouse Burritos
Shambles Kitchen and its burrito spin-off on neighbouring Shambles Market pivot around the same methods: hours and hours of slow’n’low cooking of local meats and the fastidious prep of its own marinades, pickles and sauces. That patience and effort result in exciting flavours all round. The Smokehouse beef brisket burrito, smoked for six hours then braised in a homemade, Mexican-style dried chilli adobo broth, is fantastic. Meanwhile, the Kitchen majors on elaborate, stacked sandwiches of pastrami, pulled pork and smoked gammon, as well as chicken thigh shawarma wraps. From Thai to Indian, Shambles Market hosts a variety of food outlets as well as excellent coffee at Dark Horse.
Meals £4.50-£9; Sun-Fri 11am-3.30pm, Sat 11am-4.30pm; takeaway only; 28 The Shambles; shambleskitchen.co.uk
Originally conceived as a laid-back offshoot from the acclaimed Black Swan in Oldstead (it shares staff and creative ideas with the rural mothership and produce from chef-owner Tommy Banks’s family farm), Roots has morphed into a standalone attraction. It now serves a tasting menu only and this year was awarded a Michelin star. The kitchen’s approach is broadly two-pronged: showcasing heritage and foraged British ingredients at their absolute seasonal peak or manipulating them (fermenting, preserving and using unexpected cooking techniques) until they throb with often surprising flavours. Expect dishes of “trout, carrot, hay” or “raw beef, horseradish, charcoal” to reveal all manner of wizardry. Despite that intensity on the plate, the well-drilled service is easygoing, and the light-filled dining room is a convivial space.
Tasting menu from £95; no walk-ins, bookings only; Thu-Sun 12.30pm-2pm, 6pm-7.30pm (5pm-7.30pm Sat-Sun); 68 Marygate; rootsyork.com
Generally, in York, the further away from the tourist attractions you get the better the food is. Sightseers are notable by their absence on Clarence Street, where this superlative south Indian restaurant delivers sensitively spiced food with a rare depth of flavour. The masala dosa and the varutharacha curries with roasted coconut are essential. Its dal tadka is a balm for the soul. Elsewhere, the menu ranges from the ultimate beer food, spicy nuggets of dry-fried beef, to elegant, coconut milk-enriched Keralan fish curries.
Mains from £8; Tue-Sun 5pm-10pm; 56 Clarence Street; coconutlagoon.co.uk
A unique mix of takeaway bakery and cake shop, vintage interiors store, art gallery and daytime cafe, Partisan may have the feel of an antique dealer’s showroom but, rest assured, its food is hip to contemporary mores. Owner Florencia Clifford is hot on using local produce from smaller, quality producers and the menu changes regularly to reflect the seasons. Dishes such as a generously garlanded french toast stand out as does the Persian spiced eggs with spinach, sweet caramelised onions, dates, yoghurt and dukkah. A vegan breakfast skillet of scrambled rose harissa tofu and tempeh with mushrooms, roast tomatoes, homemade baked beans, avocado and chimichurri is indicative of Partisan’s commitment to serving engaging meat-free options.
Meals £5-£13; outdoor seating available; every day 9am-3pm; takeaway available; 112 Micklegate; partisanuk.com
At Los Moros’ Shambles Market kiosk and its Grape Lane restaurant, Tarik Abdeladim uses Yorkshire produce and north African flavours to create vivid dishes. Naturally, the market kiosk focuses on takeaway street food, its menu occasionally diverting into the Middle East with sabich or Persian chicken wraps (dishes £6-£8). At the restaurant, you will want to go hard on the ace dips and breads (Moroccan aubergine zaalouk, whipped feta with urfa chilli paste), but save space for the small plates of homemade merguez sausages or sardines with chermoula and larger portions of tagine, shakshuka or Abdeladim’s Algerian cassoulet.
Mains from £12; outdoor seating available; Mon-Thu noon-2pm, 6pm-9pm, Fri noon-2pm, 6pm-10pm, Sat noon-10pm; street food stall 11.30am-5pm Wed-Sun, losmorosyork.co.uk
Cave du Cochon
Victoria and Josh Overington made their name at Le Cochon Aveugle, a restaurant where, in one sitting, just 14 guests are served a blind tasting menu. The food, as you would expect for £95 a head, is complex and delicious. But you can get a flavour of Le Cochon’s modern take on traditional French cooking a few doors down at its sister wine bar, Cave du Cochon (check out its boudin noir macarons or the pigs’ head terrine). A more freewheeling affair, Cave serves interesting wines alongside British cheeses, charcuterie and terrific, creatively dressed flatbreads and pizzas. Among the toppings, you might find lamb belly alongside creme fraiche, black pepper, mint and pecorino, or smoked burrata cheese paired with marinated mushrooms, pistachio pesto and preserved lemon.
Charcuterie plate £21, flatbreads from £7; Wed-Thurs 5pm-11pm, Fri-Sat noon-11pm; takeaway available; 19 Walmgate; caveducochon.uk
The York food and drink festival runs from 17-26 September