Wakefield is a small city in West Yorkshire set on the River Calder. Visit for the culture—the National Coal Mining Museum, the Sculpture Park, and Sandal Castle are great places to start—but stay for the food. We’ve rounded up the top 10 restaurants in the city, representing a diverse range of styles and cuisines.
Delphi Café and Restaurant
Delphi Café and Restaurant, as the name suggests, serves excellent Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. Go for the flat-rate three-course meal, with delicious selections like fresh Greek salad or keftedes (meat balls), followed by entrees like moussaka or pork souvlaki, and finish with a sweet slice of baklava. Owners Julie and Alexios and their staff make customers feel welcome and relaxed in the small, family-run establishment. Every dish is carefully prepared with fresh ingredients for the traditional Greek recipes. The menu also features non-Greek options.
The small chain Wetherby Whaler started up in Tadcaster in 1969, and since then it has expanded to several locations around the country. The Wakefield location opened in 2001, selling classic fish and chips in a convenient location just off the M1. The signature Whaler recipe consists of quality haddock in crispy batter served with freshly cut Maris Piper potatoes. Although famed for their fish and chips, the menu at Wetherby Whaler has many fish, veggie, and meat options.
If this tagline doesn’t scare you off – ‘Exceeding waistlines and expectations since April 2013,’ head to Smokehousefor an American-style meal. Smokehouse serves authentic barbecue, huge handmade burgers, and sizzling hot wings. Try the Full House burger, a behemoth of meat with flame-grilled double cheese topped with slow-cooked beef brisket, home-cooked pulled pork, and bacon. Other fun burger creations include a nacho burger and a pizza burger. Some of the burgers are pricey, but they come with an incredible amount of meat, so if you’re looking for quality and quantity you won’t be disappointed. The menu is carnivore-oriented, but vegetarians have a few options to choose from.
Based in central Wakefield, Rustico Italian Restaurant serves authentic, rustic Italian dishes in a comfortable, bright atmosphere. The family-run restaurant’s traditional menu includes options beyond the typical pizza and pasta, like fresh fish, seafood, and steaks all served at reasonable prices. If anything, there are so many options on the menu it will be difficult to choose just one. Rustico is a relatively new restaurant, but it is quickly making waves in the Wakefield dining scene. The small restaurant fills up fast, so reservations are recommended.
The Cow Shed, opened in 2003, serves a traditional English menu with a modern twist. The dimly lit dining room is a cozy setting for a rainy day, and the exposed stone walls and wood-beam ceiling give the restaurant a rustic feel. The team aims to show off what Yorkshire has to offer—preparing every meal with as much local, seasonal produce as possible. The restaurant is set in a Grade 2 listed building, in which Joanne Harris wrote the book Chocolat. The Cow Shed is best known, as its name suggests, for excellent steaks, but the menu has a few fish and veggie options, like the baked salmon wrapped in Parma ham or the Porcini mushroom and spinach risotto.
The Kaye Arms is a short drive from the center of Wakefield, set in the rural countryside in the hills of West Yorkshire. For more than 40 years the restaurant has been serving fresh-cooked food, Cask Marque Yorkshire ales, and award-winning wines. Recently the restaurant was fully refurbished to give it a more modern appearance. The menu has traditional dishes like beer-battered fish and chips served with pea puree and hand-cut chips or more adventurous options like the Teriyaki beef stir-fry made with pak choi, egg noodles, and vegetables. Come in on Sundays for a full roast.
Qubana is a restaurant that provides a cross between ‘the Latin flair of Cuba’ and ‘honest flavors of Spain’ to create unforgettable dishes. The menu has a South American and European tapas section as well as full meals, ranging from vegetable enchiladas to Cuban-style pork to spicy jambalaya. The chefs use local ingredients to make their high-quality but affordable food. Based in the city center, the restaurant has a rustic feel and ambient dinnertime lighting to create an intimate experience.
Hokkaidoprovides fine fresh-made Japanese cuisine, including sushi and teppanyaki dining, a style of Japanese cooking that literally translates to ‘steel plate,’ in which chefs cook in front of a horseshoe-shaped table of diners. Dining in teppanyaki-style establishments is a treat for the diners, who are able to watch their meal made in front of their eyes. Hokkaido’s chef has worked in Japanese restaurants for more than 20 years. Try the sirloin steak wraps with garlic and spring onion or the lamb rack in teriyaki, served with teppanyaki egg fried rice and mixed vegetables.
Marmalade on the Square is a homey cafe where diners are invited to enjoy a warm cup of tea with a homemade pastry or grab lunch before checking out the attached gift shop that sells locally made products. The cafe has a quirky, vintage feel with mismatched cups and plates and antique furniture. The whimsical haunt sells homemade scones, cakes, soups, and sandwiches along with a full afternoon tea. In the future, the cafe owners hope to run arts and crafts workshops inside.
Find traditional Indian cuisine at The Spiced Mango. With seating for up to 80 people, this spacious restaurant is a fantastic place to enjoy a fresh-cooked spicy meal. Try one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, like the spiced mango special monkfish, made with cooked chunks of onions and peppers, green chilies and mango sauce, or the sabzi naaga lamb, a spicy dish of succulent lamb marinated in crushed garlic sauce and sautéed with garlic-infused oil and pickled green chilies. According to the chefs, naaga adds a distinctive taste from the heart of Bangladesh.