There’s been a lot of chat recently about the raft of chains opening in Harrogate, and by chat I mean a bunch of epic ranting and raving about how shit chain restaurants and bars are. Whilst I’m a fan of a number of national eateries, I do agree with all my being that there is nothing better than independent foodie joints and as luck would have it Harrogate loves indie establishments and as fast as chains are popping up indies are hot on their heels
Here are just a few of my favourite Harrogate independents, the start of a series of indies I’ll be sharing the love for here on the blog.
Baltzersens & Norse
I could never tire of this place, the atmosphere, the staff, the well just about everything that Baltzersens is about.
Owner Paul may not have decades of restaurant credentials but what he does have it more heart that most business owners, whilst inspiring those who work for him to strive for better every time.
The menu during the day stays about the same, it features the most intense meatball open sandwich that is the perfect cold blustery day medicine. During the evening Baltzersens morphs into Norse, the most relaxed fine dining experience known to man kind. I was lucky enough to be invited to their opening back in March 2014 and let me tell you things have only got better.
Along side the stunning, ever-changing menu, they also host mind-blowing tasting dinners one of which consisted of 5o courses! Plus as an added bonus they offer discounts if you dine with them during the week!
Bravo Paul, you have a fan for life in me.
I recommend: Flat White, super sized waffle with chocolate sauce – how I started my 30th Birthday, so you know it’s god damn good!
Find me another restaurant who creates personalised menus for your birthday, recreates desserts on what can only be described as a Willy Wonka level of awesome and nails every meal that leaves the kitchen and I will eat my hat.
Deano’s have been consistently awesome since they first opened, taking over the space where many restaurants had come and gone in the blink of an eye. Deano’s though is here to stay. Their tapas style approach to sharing small plates along side great big stacked burgers and steaks cooked perfect every time make it the perfect place for just about every occasion.
Sarah-Jane and Dean head up an award-winning team who make the whole experience that much more enjoyable. I was very proud to make them their first birthday cake back in 2012!
I recommend: Goats Cheese Brulee, Bloody Marys, Harrogate Sticky Toffee Banoffee Pie *disclaimer – you will never want to eat any other pudding every again*
Not sure I’ve ever described a full english as beautiful before, but there aren’t many other words that suitably convey my love for Farm Bistro and their excellent food.
Whether you’re after a healthy breakfast that feels naughty or a long lunch filled with flavour and delight, you need look no further. They have beautiful bread baked on site, cookies that rival the best I’ve ever tried.
Although the restaurant is nestled up a stairway behind a slim door, it is bright and airy, with a quirky yet homely decor and staffed by a team that couldn’t do more for you if they tried.
I recommend: Avocado on toast, massive mug of coffee & the brookies
“Leave the gun, take the cannoli”
Never thought I would get to say famous line outline, but as luck would have it North Bar sell awesome beer and awesome cannolis – two things I did not realise went so delightfully well together.
North Bar started in Leeds and we’re lucky enough to now have our very own in Harrogate.
With a raft of draught and bottled beers on offer, not to mention meat and fish boards and of course cannolis! If you like your ales and like a place that knows their shit, then North Bar is a must visit *rhyming not deliberate, but greatly enjoyed!*
I recommend: Whatever the bar staff recommend to drink and obviously a cannoli or two
Pizza, beer, rum, old school games, chilled atmosphere, repeat as required.
Major Toms was and is a hugely welcome addition to Harrogate, which at one point was known for being a town or sports pubs or swanky wine bars, is now home to awesome joints like this.
The atmosphere is perfect, chilled out, great music and connect four!
They also have awesome quizzes, movie nights, live band and all kinds of other awesomeness
I recommend: Rum & Ginger, a pizza & a board game
The best of London in the heart of Harrogate, pared back decor, eternally excellent coffee, heaps of wonderful things to read and best of all a whole team of people who do nothing but smile!
It’s one of the best places to steal yourself away for a few hours of reading, working or simply people watching.
Coffee comes in all shapes and sizes here, flat whites, lattes, espresso and cold drip. Something for everyone.
Even better news, the Hoxton North team are moving in to a new home, keeping their ace little hideaway on Parmilment Street, new place is down on Regent Parade and you can keep up with their plans over on Instagram, even the Queen has something to say about it…
I recommend: Flat white, all day long!
Fuck me, they we’re the first words out of my mouth when I came up for air after annihilating my first ever Boss Burger and I haven’t looked back since.
Epic burgers, made with local ingredients, tasty sweet potato fries, good veggie options and as an added bonus they have delightfully handsome staff.
They deliver, you can eat in, basically you don’t need an excuse to try this place, just do it, you really won’t be disappointed.
I recommend: Smokeback Mountain & Sweet Potato Fries plus a pot of ice cream!
Plus I have a baseball cap that I won from them, winner in all ways!
There is a very clear reason that this place has a waiting list and rarely a spare seat in the house, it’s simple. They make utterly spectacular food, they are true to their mission which is bringing truly wonderful Italian food to the fine people of Harrogate.
There are no pizzas here, nothing that resembles a high street Italian chain, instead it’s like being in Italy, seriously. Stuzzi is the epitome of all the best aspects of Italy on our door step.
The staff know more about the food, drink and regions they originate from. Plus if you follow them on social you can feel utterly jealous of their travels for inspiration around Italy.
I recommend: basically whatever the staff suggest, however the sharing dessert board is something to behold
Walrus & Carpenter
Where Jakes used to be in town, there’s something new and exciting on its way. You can keep up to date with Walrus & Carpenter over on their Facebook and I’m sure there will be a review on here very soon!
So there you have it, my first installation of indies in Harrogate, next month there will be more! If you have a favourite be sure to let me know in the comments below…