Thursday, 26 April 2012

Whitby dining

I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food and restaurants and cafes in Whitby.  Every place looked really clean and presentable.  Every place sold fish and chips (with tea and bread & butter).  I can imagine that at weekends and in the season, it's packed out.

Lovely food - lived up to high expectations:

First night, we went to the famous Magpie Cafe.  We walked from the East side to the West side, and looked at all the restarants en route.   There weren't many people about, and the restaurants were mostly empty (it was a Thursday evening).  We got to the Magpie...

(not my photo, I didn't take one, This is from

 ...climbed the steps.. to find that it was heaving inside.  Both floors, chocablock with diners.  Everyone who was out to dinner in Whitby that evening, seemed to be in the Magpie Cafe.

The fish availability changes daily, and is dependant on what has been caught.

We went there again later in the week as well. 

Biggest disappointment:
We had decided to have a proper roast lunch on the Sunday.  Sometimes, roast dinners can be disappointing, so we kept an eye out on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for options.    We decided to go to the White Horse and Griffin, as they were (alledgedly) one of the top 10 restaurants in Whitby and the menu outside promised much for it's (expensive by other restarants in the area)£12.95, including complimentary amuse bouches  and unlimited free coffee.
Sunday arrived, we had a light breakfast, walked it off, did the crossword, and then made our way to the restaurant.   

We were a little put off to walk through the first half of the restaurant which was completely empty.  A warning bell tinkled faintly.

At the back of the restaurant, where the bar was,  there was another couple seated.   They looked quite pleased to not be on their own anymore.

We sat down, and it went downhill from there.  The service was appalling.  Staffed by youngsters who had either had no training, or couldn't be bothered to apply it, the three of them spent msost of the time in a huddle behind the bar having a social.  We had to call them over every time we wanted something - like a wine list.  They didn't give us the correct menus, had no idea what the soup of the day was (and made the tinkle grow louder when one of them asked "is it still leek and potato?").  

The menus inside were different to the menu outside.     There were no amuse bouches.  Not that I particularly wanted them, but they had been promised, and their promise had suggested the restaurant might be worthy of its £12.95 per head for a roast lunch (not including dessert).

We made the mistake of ordering a bottle of wine. It was really rough, probably a £5 or £6 bottle being sold for £27.

We declined the soup. DH doesn't like Leek and Potato, and as I wasn't sure quite how old it was, I didn't fancy it myself.    The main course was reasonable.

We declined dessert.  Complete disinterest from the staff.   I couldn't even be bothered to let them know that their menu outside was misleading.

I know it's difficult to get good staff, but in all the places we ate, this was the only place where the staff were dreadful. I suspect that the restaurant was  trading on it's reputation...but it won't keep it for long at this rate.

Biggest Surprise:
We fancied "fish and chips" one evening, and picked this place...
 ...Mr Chips.  I picked it because it advertised more sustainable fish than just the standard cod, haddock and plaice.    Once inside, it was a bit of a revelation!   The menu was extensive, had really interesting fish dishes, and a lot of meat and vegetarian options too.  

A reasonable choice of wines, and every wine was also available by the glass.

The waitresses were young, but were really sunny, smiley, and chatty.   Food was very good, service was excellent.  

Definitely somewhere I'd visit again!

And Others
I'd also recommend:

The Black Horse - a proper pub with an interesting history, a lovely landlady, and a very cosy feel.
Good selection of beers, ciders and, most importantly for me, soft drinks.  I developed a taste for Fentimans Rose Lemonade here.  Food was tapas type stuff.

Sanders Yard Restaurant
This interesting place had a coffee lounge area, and a tabled restaurant/cafe area.
I had initially tried ot book one of their cottages, but it wasn't available for the dates I had in mind.

We finally got round to visiting their cafe on our last afternoon.  If we'd tried it before, I think we probably would have gone to it several times over our week.  The food was lovely, lots of homemade cakes, and they had some lovely coffees (spiced mocha, which had cinnamon in too, mmmm).

Breakfasts were much of a muchness.  Lots of places, all very presentable, all very edible,  all with cheerful service.

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to add onto your list and recommend the restaurants in Whitby that you can find great handmade, homemade, food. Its amazing.