Tasting Menus in The North

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor

Nothing says luxury more than a tasting menu. Thankfully, the North has a whole host of options for those with a burning desire for multiple courses of high-end and invariably complex and beautiful dishes. Of course, Manchester has more than its fair share, but Liverpool, Sheffield, and – no surprise – the Lake District have some of the best around.

We’ve spent a gout-inducing few months tracking down the very best, and you can spend your time, and entire bank balance, checking them all out. If you baulk at spending hundreds of pounds on a single meal then look away now. The rest of us, who realise life is made for living, can start to plough through this master list of luxury food destinations in the North.

Our top picks

Northcote

Northcote, Northcote Rd, Langho, Blackburn, BB6 8BE - Visit now

A meal at Northcote isn’t just a great example of fine dining in the North, it’s one of the most impressive sensory experiences in the UK. Everything is designed to induce a sense of awe – the presentation of the food, the perfectly paired wines, the sheer inventiveness of the ideas, and most memorably of all, the way the flavours combine to create something entirely new and original yet also familiar. If you consider yourself a food-lover, or even just a food-liker, you owe it to yourself to visit here at least once.

Moor Hall

Moor Hall, Prescot Rd, Ormskirk, L39 6RT - Visit now

L’Enclume may hold the unofficial title of the North’s finest restaurant at the moment, but not only does Moor Hall more than match up in the food stakes, it also boasts a richer, more fascinating history.

Ian Jones

Forest Side Restaurant

Forest Side Restaurant, Keswick Road, Grasmere, Ambleside, LA22 9RN - Visit now

In just a couple of years, Forest Side has become one of Cumbria’s most outstanding restaurants. Suitably, considering his surname, Kevin Tickle’s tasting menu brims over with sheer fun – full of lively colours and playful imagery that enhance the brilliance of each dish. This is more than matched by the front-of-house, who are some of the most engaging and entertaining waiting staff in the North of England.

Forest Side Restaurant
North Atlantic Cod, Peas, Oyster, Dill

Adam Reid at The French

Adam Reid at The French, The Midland Hotel, Peter Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M20 2DS - Visit now

Is Adam Reid at The French better than his predecessor Simon Rogan at The French? Well, the food is as stunning as ever but the overall experience tips the balance in the new boy’s favour. Adam has a better grasp on what makes Manchester tick, making things less fussy, more relaxed, and, at times, gloriously silly.

The French - One of Manchester's finest restaurants - Creative Tourist
Photos by author

Where The Light Gets In

Where The Light Gets In, 7 Rostron Brow, Stockport, SK1 1JY - Visit now

Everything you heard about Where The Light Gets In is true. It’s a remarkable experience – and indeed ‘experience’ describes it far better than a simple meal. It’s certainly not a standard tasting menu, there’s an Einstein-style level of thought and detail backing up every course. You won’t leave bloated and heavy, but with a mind fizzing with ideas and a curiosity about what, if any, other restaurants can match up.

Ian Jones

The Art School Restaurant

The Art School Restaurant, 1 Sugnall Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L7 7DX - Visit now

The Art School’s tasting menu differs from most, in that rather than a series of tiny plates the dishes are fewer in number but gradually increase in size and intensity, reaching a crescendo with the masterpiece plate of Galloway beef – easily one of the top ten dishes in the North. The experience doesn’t come cheap but event dining of this quality rarely does.

Ian Jones

Arras

Arras, The Old Coach House, Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PW - Visit now

Arras might be named after a French city, but the cooking isn’t especially Gallic. Rather it’s a combination of truly out-there ideas applied to largely-British ingredients, to make something far beyond the average meal out but never to the detriment of flavour. Arras is something very special indeed, and if you want to keep your tastebuds ahead of the curve this is worth a visit – but make it soon before the rest of the North catches on.

Arras
Ian Jones

Wood Manchester

Wood Manchester, Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester, M15 4RA - Visit now

If you like beautifully-presented, but understandable food, this is the place. WOOD never disappoints.

Ian Jones

Rafters

Rafters, 220 Oakbrook Rd, Sheffield, S11 7ED - Visit now

Rafters isn’t the kind of place you stop by for a quick bite to eat. It’s an experience that requires an entire evening, taking in elements of theatre and ideas and cooking techniques up there with Simon Rogan. It’s a credit to Sheffield, and food lovers of the North should make it a priority visit.

Rafters
Ian Jones

L’Enclume

L’Enclume, Cavendish Street, Cartmel, Cumbria, LA11 6PZ - Visit now

The name L’Enclume is a byword for upscale fine dining in the North, and recent years have seen a steady procession of its chefs leaving the nest and launching their own cutting-edge restaurants. The food at all these places is no less than remarkable, and the original still stands tall.

Photos by author

Where to go in Manchester

Manchester
Restaurant
Fenix

Modern Greek Mediterranean cuisine from the team behind Tattu.

Alborz
Levenshulme
Restaurant
Alborz

Much-loved Persian restaurant on Stockport in Levenshulme, reopened after a lengthy lockdown-related hiatus.

Manchester
Restaurant
Jaan

New food concept from the team behind Another Hand, based at Exhibition and serving up exceptional Persian cuisine.

The Rose & Monkey Hotel
Manchester
Restaurant
The Rose & Monkey Hotel

The Rose & Monkey Hotel is one of the Northern Quarter’s best music-led bars, with a truly impressive beer garden. Our new favourite Manchester pub.

Skof by Tom Barnes
Manchester
Restaurant
Skof by Tom Barnes

One of the year’s biggest restaurant launches, Skof comes to Manchester’s Noma district, headed up by star of Simon Rogan’s restaurants, chef Tom Barnes.

Maya
Manchester
Restaurant
MAYA Manchester

MAYA is a stylish new restaurant and bar on the corner of Canal Street and Chorlton in central Manchester.

Manchester
Restaurant
New Wave Ramen

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