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Whitby food guide

Whitby food guide

by Isaac Parham 06 October 2015

Flanked by the game-laden North York Moors and the seafood-rich North Sea, Whitby offers culinary treasures at every turn. Read on to discover the best of its food shops, restaurants and cafes – from fish and chips on the pier to a cosy tearoom at the famous abbey.

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Blessed with a stunning clifftop abbey, several sandy beaches and a through-running river, Whitby has to be one of the most picture-perfect seaside towns around. Every year hundreds of thousands of tourists make the jaunt to this charming location on the north east coastline to sample its rich history, scores of higgledy-piggledy boutiques and, increasingly, its excellent food and drink options.

Whitby is still very much an active port and most of its food culture centres upon the fruits of the North Sea, with Whitby crab, lobster, scampi and mussels – vaunted as delicacies around the UK – taking centre stage. Eateries serving fish and chips are equally ubiquitous – and though there are some standout places listed below, the overall standard is high enough to ensure visitors will get a good fix wherever they go.

Elsewhere, the emphasis is on independent cafes and bakeries (chains are largely kept out by a by-law) that revel in Whitby’s gothic literary heritage. Look out for myriad references to Dracula on menus (Bram Stoker wrote the book in Whitby with part of it set in the town). Pubs tend to be of the ‘old school’ variety with some more contemporary wine bars and cocktail spots springing up in recent years.

Casual eats

Java, Flowergate – One of Whitby’s most popular cafes, Java dishes up a superb Full or Half English breakfast along with many other brunchy options. The portions are generous so start a busy day of sightseeing here.

2A Flowergate, Whitby, YO21 3BA. Tel: 01947 821973

Botham’s of Whitby, Skinner Street – The original creators of the Whitby Brack, a tea-infused fruit bread, this famous bakery is still going strong 150 years after opening and makes a cosy spot for afternoon tea.

35/39 Skinner St, Whitby, YO21 3AH. Tel: 01947 602823

Marie Antoinette’s, Church Street – The sister café to Sherlock’s on Baxtergate, Marie Antoinette’s specialises in delicious homemade cakes and shares its coffee supplier – Baytown Coffee – with the Queen, don’t you know.

139 Church St, Whitby, YO22 4DE. Tel: 01947 603399

Humble Pie ‘n’ Mash, Church Street – A pie ‘n’ mash in Yorkshire may feel like heresy but the popularity of this dainty little Church Street outfit knows no bounds.While the 1930s vibes and trinkets bring a retro feel to proceedings, the combination of pie, mash, peas and gravy proves timeless.

163 Church St, Whitby, YO22 4AS. Tel: 01947 606444

Dining destinations

Marine, Marine Parade – Boasting just-off-the-boat seafood, river views and a live pianist, Marine can be classed as one of the best restaurants on the main strip (Pier Road). Rooms are available for those seeking a longer stay at this alluring location.

13 Marine Parade, Whitby, YO21 3PR. Tel: 01947 605022

Ditto, Skinner Street – Set away from the throngs of Pier Road, Ditto combines a relaxed ambience with a menu of refined, seasonal delights. A shame, then, that it is only open from Wednesday to Saturday.

26 Skinner St, Whitby, YO21 3AJ. Tel: 01947 601404

Green’s of Whitby, Bridge Street – Wander over the cute swing bridge and you will find Green’s – already an institution just a few years after opening. Expect daily-changing menus that work wonders with Whitby’s natural larder of ingredients – fish and seafood, game from the Moors etc. – while the Sunday lunches are exquisite.

13 Bridge St, Whitby, YO22 4BG. Tel: 01947 600284

The Magpie, Pier Road – The lengthy queues are testament to the fame of this fish and seafood restaurant, which has been open seventy-odd years and earned favourable reviews from the likes of Jay Rayner.

14 Pier Rd, Whitby, YO21 3PU. Tel: 01947 602058

RomeroJo’s, Golden Lion Bank – One of the UK’s only Costa Rican restaurants – and a fine one at that. Expect barbecued meats, ceviche and cassava washed down with, you guessed it, Costa Rican coffee and rum.

5 Golden Lion Bank, Whitby, YO21 3BS. Tel: 01947 821091

Photograph: Gianna Goulding
Photograph: Gianna Goulding

Watering holes

Moon and Sixpence, Marine Parade – Under the same ownership as Marine (also a good option for a tipple), Moon and Sixpence boasts gorgeous views across the harbour and a bulging drinks menu of cocktails, wines and beer. The atmosphere is suitably jubilant.

16 Marine Parade, Whitby, YO21 3PR. Tel: 01947 604416

Duke of York, Church Street – This olde worlde pub looks out across the River Esk and serves some fine local ales and Dracula-themed tipples.

124 Church St, Whitby, YO22 4DE. Tel: 01947 600324

Beckett’s, Skinner Street – A book store-cum-coffee shop which welcomes dogs, Beckett’s is a curious proposition – but one that works nonetheless. Proper tea and coffee complement a range of dazzling cakes.

9 Skinner St, Whitby, YO21 3AH. Tel: 07766 638352

Rusty Shears, Silver Street – This vintage tearoom is given its edge by a collection of over thirty gins. How very British. Its courtyard garden makes it a lovely spot on a warm afternoon.

3 Silver Street, Whitby, YO21 3BU. Tel: 01947 605383

Abbey Steps Tearoom, Church Street – Before trudging up the 199 steps to the famous Whitby Abbey, you may wish to stop off at this cosy little tearoom, situated right at the bottom of the steps.

117 Church St, Whitby, YO22 4DE. Tel: 07708 023514

Stocking up

Whitby Deli, Flowergate – A recent addition to Whitby’s food scene, Whitby Deli supplies the town’s foodies with local cheeses, homemade chutneys and pickles, plus charcuterie from the continent. It has a nice selection of locally brewed craft beers, too.

22-23 Flowergate, Whitby, YO21 3BA. Tel: 01947 229062

Fortune’s Kippers, Henrietta Street – Established in 1872, this traditional smokehouse is now regarded as an institution and is well worth a visit even if you don’t like smoked fish.

22 Henrietta St, Whitby, YO22 4DW. Tel: 01947 601659

Abbeywharf Market, Church Street – Located in the square just off Church Street, stalls at Abbeywharf Market abound with fresh fruit and vegetables as well as meat from Moors-based farms.

Market Place, Whitby, YO22 4DD

Justin Chocolatier, Church Street – Justin Coope was known as the Willy Wonka of Whitby before he passed away in 2012. Gratefully, his shop and name live on. Expect over a hundred varieties of homemade fudge and chocolate truffles.

129 Church Street, Whitby, YO22 4DE. Tel: 01947 820653

Teare Woods, St Anne's Staith– Homemade ice creams are the draw here, with a wide variety of flavours available by the cone or to take home in tubs. Whitby is blessed with some great ice cream, see also Beacon Farm.

9 St Anne's Staith, Back Lane, Whitby, YO21 3PW. Tel : 07875 378389

Photograph: Gianna Goulding
Photograph: Gianna Goulding

Don't miss . . .

Eating fish and chips on the pier – just watch out for those pesky seagulls!

The Christmas market – where local farmers and fishermen sell their wares.

A trip to nearby Robin Hood's Bay; Whitby in miniature with plenty of eating-out options.

Fishing for crabs on the rocks, the more basic the equipment the better!

The beers of Whitby Brewery – locally-brewed and ingeniously flavoured.

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Whitby food guide


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