The great border city of Carlisle boasts numerous restaurants, as well as lots of other attractions that make it one of Cumbria's top tourist destinations. Mary Queen of Scots was once held captive in Carlisle’s mighty castle, which dates all the way back to the eleventh century, and there's also an imposing Gothic cathedral notable for the beauty of its stained glass windows. When you’re done sight-sitting within the city limits, work up an appetite with long strolls along Hadrian's Wall and through the stunning Lake District scenery. The town plays host to an annual food fair, and you won't have to look far to find AA Rosette winners and Good Food Guide recommendations among Quandoo's list of Carlisle restaurants.
Whether you like carveries, grills, roast dinners or something more contemporary, Carlisle’s restaurants have them all. Local specials boards are loaded with hearty, nostalgic dishes that will set you up nicely for those long hillside walks and exciting tours of the castle dungeons. Think mains of roast lakeland lamb with fragrant crushed potatoes or Cumbrian beef fillet with fiery peppercorn sauce, and a selection of indulgent tarts, pastries and hot puddings for dessert. Local inns and gastropubs also favour several regional specialities. You can't visit Carlisle without trying a ring of Cumberland sausage, characterised by its chunky texture and peppery aroma. Then there's Cumberland sauce, a piquant red currant jelly that goes well with red meat and game. Finally, most Carlisle restaurants are well-stocked with pots of tangy wholegrain honey mustard – a local delicacy you’ll definitely want to get your taste buds on.
In the centre of Carlisle, you’ll find restaurants with a Mediterranean theme. If you're planning a fun occasion, you might want to head to a relaxed Greek taverna where you can begin the evening with orektika (appetisers) of fried goat's cheese halloumi, baked feta, ham and cheese filo wraps, and other toothsome nibbles. On top of crowd-pleasing moussaka, kebabs and skewers, you can also expect to encounter the likes of beef stifado with rice, grilled swordfish, and whole squid stuffed with cheese. For pudding, you can treat yourself to sticky baklava or revani (semolina sponge steeped in brandy), or refresh your taste buds with homemade yoghurt served with nuts and berries. In addition, there are pizzerias, Italian trattorias, bistros and other restaurants in Carlisle where you can start your mornings with a breakfast of eggs benedict or French toast and blueberries, then return later in the day for tapas and bar snacks.
Given the city's proud historic associations, it's no surprise that the restaurants in Carlisle provide lots of opportunities for fine dining in picturesque settings. From traditional lodges and inns to Victorian townhouses, baronial halls and stately manors, the town and its immediate surroundings are rich in architectural landmarks that also rustle up excellent cuisine. If you love to put on your best evening wear and dine amidst original beams, roaring fireplaces and rich wooden panelling, then you'll be spoilt for choice. It goes without saying that you can count on the food to match the splendour of the ambience, with menus offering artistically plated classic dishes such as venison with juniper berries and grilled breast of guinea fowl with seasonal vegetables. At the end of it all, a palate-cleansing lemon posset or caramel mousse is just the thing to add the finishing touch to a memorable evening. Browse Quandoo to discover Carlisle restaurants housed in exceptional locations and book ahead to snag the best seats.