Chester foodie guide: where locals eat and drink
Check out our favourite restaurants, cafes, bars and foodie spots in Chester
Looking for Chester restaurants? Here are our favourite restaurants in the small city in Cheshire. The best foodie spots include cracking aubergine pizzas at Stile Napoletano, pillowy blueberry pancakes at Flower Cup and freshly made dumplings at Pierogi. Check out our ideas for eating and drinking in Chester, between the city’s Roman walls and medieval alleys…
Best coffee shops and brunch spots in Chester
The Jaunty Goat
Choose between the fruity house blend or guest single-origin brew, a flat white or a V6O pour-over at this coffee shop, which takes its beans seriously. Turn it into brunch with a bowl of gently spiced kedgeree or silken slow-poached eggs on sourdough (discover our guide to baking your own sourdough here).
This plant-garlanded café is hidden away in one of Chester’s famous Rows (covered walkways on top of the street-level shops). You might come for the fiery tofu hash or pillowy blueberry pancakes, but you’ll probably leave with a cactus or funky pot from sister shop, The Violet Palm.
Best restaurants in Chester
The Chef’s Table - for seasonal British dishes
Don’t be fooled by this tiny spot’s simple décor; The Chef’s Table creates elegant dishes from carefully sourced ingredients. The heritage tomato soup is almost too pretty to eat, while honey and lavender peaches are the perfect foil for tender salt-aged duck breast and duck leg faggot.
Pierogi - for Polish food
Within weeks of opening, Chester’s first polish café had established itself as a firm favourite with locals. Pierogi only does two things: hearty soups and a pick ‘n’ mix of plump, freshly made dumplings that often sell out. Save room for dessert – sweet curd cheese and vanilla dumplings.
Porta - for tapas
On Fridays and Saturdays you’ll need to arrive early to bag a spot at Porta, a snug tapas bar tucked beneath the ancient city walls. Order juicy seared pork shoulder with zingy mojo verde and romesco sauce-smothered broccoli, along with a glass of dry, nutty La Gitana Manzanilla sherry.
Best bars in Chester
You won’t find sauvignon blanc on the menu at this wine bar but owner Chris Laidler is only too happy to guide novices through his intriguing array of organic, biodynamic and minimal intervention wines. Pair a crisp pétillant naturel with a plate of creamy Brillat-Savarin brie from Normandy.
An unpretentious pub, this promises 20 taps, 40 gins, a handful of real ciders and its own session brew – the zesty, hoppy Saison du Pint. Craft beer connoisseurs can order thirds and soak it all up with a handmade pork pie and pickles.
Best food shopping in Chester
With a new artisanal bakery, sandwich bar and craft beer shop, Chester Market is rapidly turning into a foodie haven. The biggest queue is for Stile Napoletano, where Giacomo Guido makes what might be the best pizza outside of Naples (check out our guide to Naples here). Order his award-winning Parmigiano with melting aubergine and airy crust.
The Cheese Shop
If you’re in need of a picnic, or a delicious gift, look no further than The Cheese Shop, where farmer’s daughter Carole Faulkner stocks the fruit of 180 small producers. Team Mr Bourne’s 1845 (a punchy, tangy mature Cheshire) with artisan biscuits and Mrs Bridges’ caramelised onion chutney.
Best food tour in Chester
Taste of Chester
Explore the city’s Roman history and flourishing food scene on a new Taste of Chester walking tour. Guide Gareth Boyd’s knowledge is second to none, and there are plenty of opportunities to stock up or refuel; the pitstops include Pierogi, Stile Napoletano and indulgent liqueur pancakes at quirky café Hanky Panky.
Other places to eat in Chester…
1539 Restaurant & Bar
1539 Restaurant & Bar (named after the year racing first began in Chester) provides an unbeatable view of the world’s oldest racecourse. On race days, the glass-fronted restaurant offers a spectacular vantage point of the final furlong.
Although he worked as a chef in London before opening Stile Napoletano in Chester Market in 2018, Giacomo Guido hails from the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples, well known for its sourdough pizzas. Here pizzas include Neapolitan sausage, wild broccoli, mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, fresh chillies and extra-virgin olive oil.
Giacomo says: “I use a blend of flours selected by myself, and my dough rises for 48 hours to offer a light and digestible pizza. I think what makes my pizza special is the authenticity, the passion and the knowledge of what I do.”
Best places to stay in Chester
Hotel Indigo, Chester
This gleaming new 75-bedroom hotel makes a sensible city centre base. Not only are its bedrooms peppered with racecourse memorabilia (Chester’s racecourse is the oldest still in use in England) and kitted out with stylish bathrooms (complete with rainfall showers) but dining is a real draw. With Masterchef winner Simon Wood at the helm of the hotel’s restaurant, WOOD (one of three branches, the original is in Manchester with another, slightly more informal, outpost in Cheltenham), the menu focuses on dishes that celebrate local produce, be that Cheshire short rib with truffle, or lamb with Bosworth Ash goat’s cheese and lavender honey.
If you fancy something more casual there’s also a separate, small plates, lounge menu (yakitori meats with crispy onion, breaded halloumi or falafel with mint yogurt), plus a choice of ‘surprise’ seasonal tasting menus (5, 7 or 10 courses).
Words by Claire Webb, Mark Taylor and Ellie Edwards