Dining out is one of life’s little luxuries. Whether you prefer a fine establishment dining experience or love exploring the local food market on a weekend morning, there is nothing quite like enjoying great food.
The North of England is often overshadowed when it comes to what the UK food scene has to offer. With the bright lights of London boasting an impressive 71 Michelin-starred restaurants and the independent eateries of Camden, to the coastlines of Cornwall offering some of the best seafood restaurants in the world, the South certainly isn’t short of superb restaurants.
However, the North is growing substantially in terms of the dining establishments it has to offer. From the rolling moors of the Yorkshire Dales to the rugged terrain of the Lake District, the North is now home to some of the best restaurants in the UK. If you are a true foodie fanatic or simply enjoy good food and company, then be sure to add these restaurants to your list.
Northcote Hotel, Blackburn
Set in a beautiful stretch of countryside running across the edge of the Ribble Valley, Northcote may seem like a rural retreat at first glance, but the Michelin-starred food has put the restaurant on the map.
Built within a 19th-century manor, the house now boasts an impressive 26 rooms for guests to truly enjoy the surroundings and offerings of the Northcote. But, regardless of the attraction of the room, Northcote is famous for one thing: the food. The hotel has managed to keep hold of its Michelin star for more than 20 years and is one of only two Michelin-starred restaurants in Lancashire.
Almost all of the ingredients are locally sourced, with many even coming from the hotel’s own gardens. Whether you prefer to sample the 6-course tasting menu or want to enjoy the freshly-baked scones and delicate sandwiches that make up the popular Afternoon Tea menu, there is something for everyone’s tastes and budget.
20 Stories, Manchester
Towering above the bustling city of Manchester, 20 Stories is one of the city’s newest restaurants. With a fine dining menu consisting of heritage beef, cod cheek and a pumpkin, truffle and goat’s cheese flan, there is plenty of seasonal dishes to choose from. If the fine dining experience isn’t for you, you can also enjoy the selection of bar snacks on the outside terrace.
Acclaimed chef Aiden Byrne, who previously helped Manchester House achieve other dizzying levels of success, has taken on the D&D restaurant and aims to use local produce in all of the dishes featured on the menu, with the majority being sourced within 50 miles of the city. 20 Stories is one of the best places to eat in Manchester, thanks to the 360-degree views across the city, glamorous interiors and signature cocktail and wine menus.
L’Enclume, The Lake District
One of the Lake District’s, and perhaps the UK’s, most iconic restaurants, L’Enclume is a restaurant where passion and creativity come together to showcase some of the finest ingredients on offer. Opened in 2002, the Michelin-starred restaurant favours seasonal, stripped-back dining and one of their specialities comes in the form of foraging and growing their own produce and ingredients.
You don’t get to find out the menu here until you are ready to order, due to the exceptionally fresh nature of the ingredients. Placing your order is a hugely sensory experience thanks to the server’s delivery who entices you to listen and learn about what is on offer. Once your order is taken, a wax stamp sealed grey envelope is left in the centre of the table. Inside is the full menu of what you will be enjoying and it is left up to you to decide whether you open it or not.
Not only do you get to enjoy fresh, seasonal dining at L’Enclume, but the beautiful surroundings, perfectly paired wines and exceptional waiting staff all make it clear as to why L’Enclume is quickly becoming the destination of choice for diners.
Cavendish St, Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands LA11 6QA
WreckFish first became known when they successfully managed to crowdfund a record-breaking £200,000 for the restaurant. Since then, the restaurant, which calls Slater Street in Liverpool home, has become extremely popular in the Northern city thanks to a vastly inclusive menu that is perfect for all. Last year, it won 19th place in The Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards out of the top 100 restaurants in the UK.
If you’re looking for a dining destination to enjoy a laid-back brunch with friends, or want to plan a family meal, there is sure to be a menu to suit your needs. As well as individual tables, a communal table runs through the middle of the restaurant to encourage lone-diners to sit and chat with one another or you can hire the private dining room for free for larger gatherings.
Where The Light Gets In, Stockport
Perhaps one of the most intimate dining experiences across the North, Where The Light Gets In is the perfect dining set-up if you are looking for something that is impressive, yet completely unusual.
Stockport is just 20 minutes away from the centre of Manchester and, the Marketplace in particular, has recently undergone a huge transformation which features quirky bars, independent eateries and a regular food and craft market. When it comes to fine dining, Stockport hasn’t, historically, be known as a place to go. Yet, Where The Light Gets In has shown such an increase in its growth that other restaurants are following suit.
Close to the historic market hall, the restaurant is accessible via an inconspicuous staircase and doorway which leads straight into an airy and light loft space, where you will spend the next few hours completely engrossed in the menu and dining experience.
With just 6 wooden tables, which seat 2 each, there is usually a waiting list spanning months in advance. The chefs and kitchen are permanently in full view for diners to see, which has led to the restaurant being known as having “the most open kitchen in Europe”. The menu features locally grown and foraged ingredients, with some dishes including mushrooms gathered the same day from Delamere Forest, which is just a stone’s throw away.
Much like other locally sourced restaurants, Where The Light Gets In doesn’t have a menu, either for wine or food. You are served what is fresh and produced on the night, whether that’s ox heart or month-aged sirloin steak. The restaurant controversially doesn’t cater for vegetarians or vegans, but will stretch to a pescatarian menu when notified in advance.