Diners in the northwest English city of Lancaster are spoilt for choice, with everything from locally sourced British fare and globally inspired cuisine to choose from. Whether upscale British pub eats or authentic French food whets your appetite, our round up of the historic city’s top local restaurants will feature something to suit.
Just a stone’s throw from Lancaster Castle lies Merchants 1688, an upscale pub and restaurant nestled in a unique location, a 300-year-old former wine merchant’s cellar. Contemporary British cuisine crafted from locally sourced produce is the order of the day with tempting dishes like classic Lancashire hot pot served with red cabbage and rosemary focaccia and locally caught beer-battered cod with hand-cut chips and mushy pies and a popular traditional roast served on Sundays. Fans of craft beer won’t be disappointed either with Merchants 1688’s extensive range of British and global ales which include offerings from locally based Old School Brewery and London’s Partizan Brewing.
Fusion restaurant Red Peppercorn boasts one of the most eclectic menus in town, taking inspiration from the cuisines of Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. Heavily influenced by owner and chef Anita Patel’s love of Indian street food, Red Peppercorn’s frequently changing menu, which is divided into mezze dishes ideal for sharing and larger weekly specials, features dishes like undhiyu (a Gujarati dish of root vegetables slow-cooked with spices) and Portobello mushrooms stuffed with pearl barley, feta and herbs, while dessert takes a decidedly English turn with old-fashioned classics like warm, sticky fig pudding with stem ginger and caramel sauce.
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Indian cuisine with a Kashmiri twist is dished up at Kashish, a restaurant that dubs itself the ‘king of curry’. And that’s not just a lofty claim, it is indeed one of the city’s most popular Indian restaurants. Kashmiri inspired curries like balti and rogan josh are served alongside classic curries like madras, jalfrezi and korma and newly introduced dishes such as Himalayan lentil soup and chicken shashlik kebabs. While the food is the main pull, Kashish’s location is gorgeous too, housed in Lancaster’s Parliament Buildings built in 1870, the restaurant boasts a beautiful, historic façade contrasted with a stylish and wholly modern interior.
Undoubtedly one of Lancaster’s most beautiful dining venues, Greaves Park Bar & Dining is nestled in a Grade II listed building dating back to 1843 and surrounded by scenic parkland. Its menu of classic and contemporary British cuisine is directed by Greaves Park’s ‘field to plate’ ethos and features plenty of local produce, evident in dishes like Lune Valley lamb with minted fine beans and mange tout with a port and cranberry gravy and the locally sourced smokehouse mackerel with new potato salad, English beetroot and cucumber ribbons. Gourmet burgers, steaks and vegetarian options are served too while Greaves Park’s beautiful terrace is perfect for enjoying one of its fine wines or real ales in summertime.
Looks like it's closedHours or services may be impacted due to Covid-19
Quite Simply French’s food | Courtesy Quite Simply French
Located in a beautifully converted 18th–century warehouse on Lancaster’s historic St George’s Quay, Quite Simply French is the place to go for fine, authentic French cuisine. Inspired by local and seasonal produce, the restaurant’s menu invites guests to try classically Gallic starters like frogs’ legs pan sautéed with garlic and herb butter followed by mouth watering mains like pan fried Lancashire fillet of beef with ratatouille and a cracked black pepper and brandy cream sauce, while its love of seafood is clear in dishes like grilled lobster and homemade fish pie. Naturally, a fantastic wine list featuring plenty of French selections complement’s the restaurant’s cuisine while classic desserts include crème brûlée and chocolate fondue.
Opened by chef and owner Leann Smith and her father Eddie in 2012, The Meeting House serves a mix of British and European inspired fare served in a stylish, central location featuring exposed stone walls and beams. Choose from starters like slow roasted pork belly and black pudding with apple puree or chicken liver and sherry pâté with toasted bread and red onion marmalade, followed by mains like braised lamb shank with red wine and mint just and creamy mashed potatoes or pan-fried sea bass with chorizo and basil risotto. With indulgent options like sticky toffee pudding and white chocolate cheesecake diners will want to save room for dessert too.
A modern Thai restaurant offering fine dining at affordable prices, Blue Moon opened its doors in late 2011 and has attracted a steady stream of guests ever since. Familiar fare like pad Thai and spicy green curry features alongside lesser known dishes like ped pad prik (stir-fried duck breast with chilli, onion, red and green pepper, green beans and bamboo shoots) and pla nung see ew (steamed sea bass with ginger, mushrooms, spring onions and soy sauce) and complemented by traditional desserts like gluary buard chee (banana in coconut milk).
Nestled in the heart of the Lune Valley a short drive from Lancaster in the pretty village of Claughton is The Fenwick, a 250 year old country inn serving gastropub fare with a special focus on seafood. Featuring a historic half timbered exterior and a warm, welcoming interior boasting open fires and a chic, modern design, Try dishes like smoked haddock with bubble and squeak, soft poached egg and wholegrain mustard sauce alongside carnivore-friendly options like baby back ribs with corn on the cob, fries and barbecue sauce. Breakfast and lunch are served too, while desserts include steamed syrup sponge pudding with custard and vanilla rice pudding with raspberry jam.
First opened way back in 1979 by Clementine Allen (whose brother Peter Boizot, founded the internationally successful chain Pizza Express) Pizza Margherita boasts over 30 years of serving its delicious pizza and Italian eats. Obviously, pizza is the focus and there are 15 varieties to try, from a classic margherita topped with mozzarella, tomato and oregano to the fancy pagonini topped with prawns, smoked chicken, chorizo, mozzarella, barbeque sauce and paprika. If pizza doesn’t take your fancy, there are plenty of other dishes to choose from including small bites like marinated olives and garlic mushrooms alongside bigger plates like lasagne or spinach and ricotta cannelloni.
The Whale Tail Café eats | Courtesy The Whale Tail Café
The Whale Tail Café first opened over 25 years ago focusing on local, seasonal and organic produce. Open from morning until late afternoon daily, the café’s scrumptious breakfast menu features a vegetarian take on the full English with veggie sausage and organic smoked tofu, while daytime treats include daily specials like watercress, lentil and roast garlic soup or griddled halloumi, yellow pepper and basil quiche. Better yet, there’s a gorgeous patio perfect for al fresco dining when Britain’s inclement weather complies and art fans will enjoy The Whale Tail Café’s frequent art exhibitions from locally based talents.