If there was ever a restaurant that epitomised casual fine dining, Skosh is it. Often stripped-back interiors can feel bare but Skosh’s simple design with bright colours feels bright, clean, and welcoming. The food is made up of a myriad of small plates which can be served together, or staggered to create traditional dining courses. Each dish has been perfectly thought out, with many filled with Japanese influences (the concept of the small plates served is something the chef discovered in Japan) including a scallop sashimi pizza and cabbage and potato okonomiyaki. Choose to cosy up at one of their lovely window booths and watch the world go by, or sit up at the kitchen counter and see the chefs do their thing.
Now a York staple, Arras actually began its life in Sydney to British owners, Lovaine and Adam. When the couple decided to move back to the UK, Arras came with them. Their menu consists of modern European food with seafood taking up a large portion of the menu. Guests can choose from two, three, or five courses, or push the boat out with the kitchen menu, prepared daily by Adam and the chef team. One of the high points is the cheese trolley, which is made up of British cheeses in their prime, served with a selection of Arras condiments, made in-house.
The Rattle Owl
Although billed as casual dining, we had to include The Rattle Owl in our fine dining in York list, as the food is just too good not to. Championing Yorkshire produce, the 42 seater restaurant is big enough to feel airy, but small enough to feel intimate. Stripped walls and ambient lighting add to the cosy feel, keeping it casual enough to pop in for lunch, yet classy enough to book for date night. The menu itself is pretty small, which means there’s not a huge amount of choice, usually a meat, a fish and a veggie dish (the tomato, basil, and broccoli gnocchi is to die for). However, the food is done to such perfection that whatever you choose, you’re bound to enjoy.
Le Cochon Aveugle
No, we’re not entirely sure how to say it either. However, we do know that once you taste the food, you won’t ever forget Le Cochon Aveugle. We can’t tell you that much about what you’ll eat if you decide to dine here, as it’s a “blind tasting menu.” The chefs choose different dishes each day and prepare the eight-course menu depending on what produce is in season. You can either book a standard table, or get a truly immersive experience by sitting at the kitchen counter, watching the chefs prepare your food before tucking in. If fine dining in York is what you’re looking for, it doesn’t get much finer than this.
Situated in the fancy Grand Hotel and Spa, Hudsons is an obvious choice if you’re looking somewhere upmarket for dinner. Recently awarded 3 AA Rosettes for culinary excellence, the restaurant offers a five or nine-course tasting menu, based around Yorkshire produce. Indulge yourself with smoked cod roe, Jerusalem artichoke, and spring lamb, washed down by their paired wine selection. The hotel itself is reminiscent of an English country house, with the dining room oozing pared back elegance. If you decide to make a night of it, the 5-star rooms are the perfect place to do it. Go on, treat yourself.