Harrogate is a fantastic spa town located on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. It is famous for its mineral springs, restored Turkish baths, art deco styled Sun Pavilion in the Valley Gardens and the historic Montpellier Quarter. It is also a busy town for culture, retail and fine dining and has been welcoming tourists for several hundred years. You'll be in luck when it comes to dining too; Harrogate restaurants span a wealth of cuisines and feature the best of the region's fine food provenance.
The town is particularly popular with a slightly older, sophisticated crowd who love the spas, historic buildings and culture on offer. However, there are plenty of dining options to suit youngsters and groups as well. You'll find a mix of big chain names and independent Harrogate restaurants with unique menus, interiors and an excellent service ethos. There are prices to suit all options, from budget cafes through to lavish fine dining Harrogate restaurants with Michelin stars or AA Rosettes.
There is a mix of cafes and Harrogate restaurants that offer excellent coffee, artisan teas and freshly prepared bread, cakes, muffins and baked goods for the morning crowds. You'll notice the inviting aroma of freshly brewing drinks and loaves hot from the oven - both of which are very hard to resist! Look out for special deals at lunchtime, with many restaurants offering excellent deals at great prices. Families often love the authentic Italian pizzerias which create fresh pizza creations in front of your eyes, and couples can often be seen lingering over Spanish tapas with a cheeky afternoon sangria before they visit the spa!
The town has an ever-evolving gastronomic scene and takes its inspiration from around the world, with a dizzying array of international restaurants. There is a huge emphasis on fresh and local food, as is to be expected from a rural area, but the menus you will see span everything from Korean to Scandinavian dishes! Be prepared to hear the story of the fresh ingredients and the 'farm to plate' journey that your meal has taken. Local restaurateurs are truly passionate about providing top quality food and service to their customers and this passion shines through in the way that your food will be prepared, presented and served.
One thing that visitors will notice is that - despite there being over 130 eateries in the area, Harrogate's restaurants are often tucked away. Some of the finest venues are also the smallest, and the Victorian architecture and history of the area mean that old millstone homes and coach houses are often now home to great dining venues. As well as the town centre itself, don't forget to explore Boroughbridge, Masham, Pateley Bridge and Knaresborough for great restaurants beyond Harrogate town, and take a trip to nearby Ripon for further enticing dining experiences.
Some of the best restaurants in Harrogate are actually part of cosy pubs; often in stunning rural locations that sit above beautiful tiny villages. You'll love the views and the hearty meals, which have an emphasis on generous portions! Don't forget to sample some of the local ales from nearby microbreweries, and on a cold day try to get a table in front of one of the many roaring fires. If the pub you choose is a walkers venue, you'll usually find that dogs are also welcome and get their own bowl of water.
You'll find that Harrogate restaurants will often include local Yorkshire speciality foods which are well worth experiencing as part of your gastronomic journey. Look out for Yorkshire pudding, Wensleydale cheese, ginger beer, sweet pikelets and delicious ginger parkin which is often served as an afternoon treat with a good cup of Yorkshire tea! Many of the international Harrogate restaurants also serve authentic and more unusual dishes too. It's always worth speaking to your waiter or the chef to ask about daily specials or to get recommendations for new foods to try. Chefs often love the chance to prepare something that shows off their talents, especially in one of the fine dining restaurants, and you'll have a dining experience to remember if you try something new!
The town can get very busy at summer and during school holidays in particular. Its busy events calendar - including the Spring into Summer arts festival, Open Exhibition art festival, Harrogate Music festival and various cinematic and food festivals - mean that visitor numbers can get very high. Remember to use Quandoo's table booking facility to book the restaurants in Harrogate that you most want to dine at. You can do so 2 hours in advance and save queueing! Just remember to share your experiences afterwards with the dining community!