York has all the Italian-inspired chain restaurants you get in every town and city centre across the UK. ASK Italian is in the fabulous colonnaded Assembly Rooms, the two Pizza Expresses are great for a deal if you collect Tesco clubcard points and places like Zizzi, Strada (another place good for the occasional deal), Prezzo, Piccolino and the Essex wideboy’s offering – Jamie’s Italian – all serve Mediterranean-style dishes in smart surroundings.
Whilts there’s nothing particularly wrong with these places, in a world of indentikit highstreets we have a preference for the more traditional independent eatery. With this in mind, we’ve written a guide to what we think are some of the best Italian restaurants in York.
First on our list is a place we like so much it made it into out top 10 restaurants in York. Just around the corner from York Station at the top of Micklegate, Delrio’s doesn’t have a street facing shop-front – you have to find your way in to this cellar restaurant through a single doorway. This bustling little eatery has been serving up some quality food for 25 years. Something of a York institution, the menu has all the classic Italian dishes you might expect alongside others inspired by the owner’s Sardinian heritage.
Part delicatessen, part restaurant, part cookery school, Little Italy (pictured at top of page) can be found on Goodramgate just before you reach Monkbar. They have a much smaller menu than most of the other restaurants we’ve recommended, but it’s very much a case of quality over quantity. The owners obviously have a real passion for food and this shines through both in the restaurant and the deli – which is worth a visit in itself. On a Friday, Saturday and Sunday they have a separate lunch (12 to 3pm) and dinner service (5 to 10pm) and shut up the kitchen in between. They are also closed completely on a Wednesday.
Toto’s (above) is a short walk out of the city centre but is directly opposite York Barbican – very handy if you’re here for a concert and want to grab a bite to eat pre or post show. Named after a famous Italian actor and comedian, Toto’s serves a wide range of pizza and pasta dishes all at very reasonable prices. In fact almost all of the main courses are priced at £8.95 – which is often the price of the cheapest dish in you average chain.
There are two Italian restaurants on The Shambles – York’s most iconic street – however, we have a soft spot for L’Antica Locanda. This charming little eatery is perfect for a romantic meal for two – or can accommodate slightly larger groups upstairs. It seems they didn’t have a good start to 2017, after the owner temporarily returned to Italy and left the restaurant in what he thought were capable hands. There are quite a number of poor reviews on Tripadvisor but hopefully they’ve got things back to their previous high standards.
Walmgate is a one of the city’s best streets for food and toward the Fossgate end you’ll find Il Paradiso Del Cibo. Run by another Sardinian, the place has a very personal feel and the owner Paolo seems to know every other person who walks past. Usually the customer always knows best, however the Il Paradiso Del Cibo website warns diners not to be offended if they refuse to serve Parmesan cheese if the dish doesn’t require it! Monday to Friday they have an early bird offer (6 to 7.30pm) where you can get a main course and drink for just £9.25 – beer and wine included. This is partly to get the punters in the door, but partly to encourage the first sitting to start as early as possible.
Another well-established Italian restaurant in York, Mamma Mia has been in business since 1987. Although quite close to the Minster, the restaurant is round on Gillygate – a little out the way for most tourists. Like Toto’s above the pizza and pasta are all very reasonably priced with most under the £9 mark. They also have “Secondi Piatti” – main courses – of Italian-style chicken, beef, fish and pork which are between £12 and £20. The restaurant is actually quite big inside and seats about 70 – although you wouldn’t be able to tell it from the front – making it a handy option if you’re looking for somewhere for a larger group.
Addresses & Contact Info
10-12 Blossom St, York YO24 1AE
Tel: 01904 622695
12 Goodramgate, York YO1 7LQ
Tel: 01904 623539
1 Fawcett St, York YO10 4AH
Tel: 01904 466528
33 Shambles, York YO1 7LX
Tel: 01904 670247
Il Paradiso Del Cibo
40 Walmgate, York YO1 9TJ
20 Gillygate, York YO31 7EQ
Tel: 01904 622020