Lake District restaurants: Michelin-star chefs to cosy inns
Whether you’re at the Lake District to relax or explore, chances are you’ll want to find a good quality restaurant while you’re there. The good news is that the national park is home to an excellent variety of eateries, from deluxe dining at award-winning restaurants to pretty tea rooms on the lake. To make things easier on your next break, here are some of the most popular restaurants in the area.
Rogan & Company
Best for: Fresh, seasonal British dishes planned by a Michelin-starred chef.
Rogan & Company is the sister restaurant to Michelin-starred Simon Rogan’s nationally acclaimed L’Enclume. Rogan & Company in Cartmel offers a more casual dining experience while retaining the creativity of Simon’s distinctive culinary style, using exceptional Cumbrian, as well as home-grown, ingredients that are harvested from the kitchen’s garden.
Situated in a beautiful old stone building with large windows, beams and fireplaces, the restaurant has a minimal and modern style. The emphasis is on the quality of the food and its innovative flavours.
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Best for: Enjoying local produce and seasonal ingredients.
The octagonal walled garden sits on the same spot as the old Lingholm Kitchen gardens where Beatrix Potter credited as her inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Built-in a Victorian style, the garden is host to a variety of vegetables and herbs, which are then served fresh in the kitchen.
Located in Keswick, Lingholm Kitchen aims to offer the best day time eating experience in the area. Its emphasis on food provenance can be seen on their boards, where they list the farms and suppliers of their local meat and dairy produce. Local and seasonal ingredients are a focus. Pop in for lunch to enjoy a venison burger with sweet potato fries or perhaps the home-baked quiche of the day
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Chesters by the River
Best for: Delicious wood-fired pizzas and flatbreads.
Chesters by the River is located in an enviable position with a deck that overlooks the River Brathay. With a counter brimming with some of the finest looking cakes and brownies, this contemporary restaurant offers rainbow salads, pizzas and flatbreads from its wood-fired oven. While the counter is covered with some quick to order dishes like frittatas and sausage rolls.
The combination of its riverside position and delicious food makes this a popular choice in Ambleside. Sit on the deck to eat and listen to the water cascading past, as the rays of the sun stream through the trees.
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Best for: Refueling after a busy day exploring the lakes.
Fellpack is ‘the unique creation of a group of friends with a thirst for adventure and a love of great food’. Their ethos is to create tasty food from local ingredients that can be enjoyed in the comfort of their restaurant or taken away to enjoy in front of breathtaking views from a fell top or one of the many beautiful lakes.
Fellpack’s menu balances ‘classic flavours with bold innovation.’ Its dishes are generally healthy and creative. The restaurant has a stylish and rustic aesthetic and serves freshly roasted coffee alongside flapjacks and brownies, for those needing some extra hiking fuel.
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Best for: Authentic Spanish dishes and tapas.
Comida Food is a high-quality Spanish tapas restaurant in Kendal, founded by a husband and wife with Valencian heritage. The flavours from this region inspire the menu, alongside classic Spanish dishes, from patatas bravas and paella to Spanish omelette. Craft Spanish beer and wine accompany the affordably priced menu.
The restaurant places an emphasis on casual eating in a relaxed and stylish dining room. The vibrant coloured, Spanish tiled bar exhibits home-baked cakes and pastries, illuminated by the pendant lighting hanging from above.
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The Moon Highgate
Best for: Fine dining in a cosy, comfortable atmosphere.
The Moon Highgate in Kendal is a restaurant offering ‘expertly prepared, high-quality food in a comfortable, relaxed setting’. Head Chef, Leon Whitehead, has created a contemporary British menu that changes with the seasons. Each dish is carefully crafted to make the most of the finest local ingredients.
Having travelled extensively through Africa, Spain and France, Leon has gleaned considerable knowledge and inspiration from restaurants and chefs throughout the world. He brings this expertise and creativity to The Moon Highgate where the food speaks for itself.
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Best for: A good coffee and an indulgent freshly-baked cake.
Copper Pot café is family owned and one of the most popular in Ambleside. The interior showcases beautiful local materials, from slate floors to stone interior walls. With an indulgent array of sumptuous cakes overspilling onto the wooden counter, the quality of food and attention to detail is locally renowned.
The terrace at Coffee Pot is the perfect spot for coffee or al fresco dining. Inside, a cosy fireplace makes for an idyllic place to sit after a walk on colder days. From homemade burgers and ciabattas to salad plates, there’s a good range of choices available.
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Best for: A yummy lunch after a relaxing walk along the lake.
Merienda is an exceptionally stylish and contemporary licensed restaurant and café serving breakfast and brunch through to an eclectic evening menu. With a simple, globally influenced menu, the founders’ aim has been to use wholesome, seasonal ingredients while drawing inspiration from around the world.
Exceptional ingredients are the focus at Merienda and they are serious about their coffee too, serving the delicious Monmouth brand. This is a sleek establishment with sophisticated design, from its light parquet flooring and creative pendant lighting to its artistic installation above the beautifully crafted bar.
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Best for: High-quality dishes made from wild game and foraged ingredients.
Three Hares is a family-run seasonal and locally sourced café, bistro and bakery situated in the book town of Sedbergh at the foot of the Howgills. The cooking style here is influenced by the founder’s heritage of both the wild food of the local area and growing up in Germany with Japanese parents.
Three Hares offers an innovative menu with exceptionally high-quality food. From breakfast and lunch through to dinner, this is a true gem of a restaurant in every respect from the passion of the co-founders and rustic, cosy restaurant ambience.
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Best for: Its huge selection of local meat dishes.
The Pig in Windermere is a contemporary restaurant offering a classic British menu based on fresh local produce. Pork in all its forms is their speciality. From juicy ribs and their popular pig platter to smoked pig and a hog roast, which is cooked daily on the rotisserie. The Pig is a carnivore’s paradise.
To wash down the hog, they stock a vast selection of local ales and wines. The Pig does have vegetarian options on the menu too. The interior of the restaurant is modern and casual with vibrant red walls, high tables, leather bar stools and a wood burner. Pig themed decorations feature strongly here.
The Drunken Duck
Best for: Classic pub dishes.
The Drunken Duck is a traditional inn, offering a wide selection of ales, classic pub meals and a relaxed atmosphere. Popular with both visitors and locals alike, it’s a cosy spot to grab a hearty lunch or supper. Enjoy classic British dishes, including fish and chips, lamb rump, suet pudding and cottage pie.
If you’ve got room left after your main meal, try one of the Lake District’s specialities – sticky toffee pudding. The Drunken Duck serves it up with ice cream and lashings of caramel sauce.
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The Old Stamp House Restaurant
Best for: Fine dining at an award-winning restaurant.
Headed up by talented head chef Ryan Blackburn, The Old Stamp House Restaurant serves up tasty food inspired by Cumbria. While the menu changes with the seasons, you can expect to find dishes featuring Cumbrian produce, such as wild hare, lamb shoulder and roasted scallops served with locally-reared pork. If you’re feeling indulgent, try their tasting menu consisting of seven beautifully-presented plates.
Featured in the Good Food Guide, The Old Stamp House Restaurant offers a fine dining experience, set within a quaint and traditional English house. The unique presentation of each dish is sure to wow you.
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Lake Road Kitchen
Best for: Sustainable dining, with quality meat and fish dishes.
Located in the bustling town of Ambleside, Lake Road Kitchen focuses its menu on quality meat, fish and shellfish. The restaurant prides itself on its sustainability, using only Cumbrian, Northern European and homegrown produce. The owner and head chef, James Cross, has previously worked for some of the world’s most renowned Michelin-starred restaurants, so you’re certainly left in capable hands.
With only nine tables, it’s essential to book in advance. The menu comprises of three tasting experiences, with the choice of 12, eight, and five dishes. Some of its previous dishes have included smoked Norweigan salmon, steamed halibut and smoked beef cheek tacos. Vegetarian and pescatarian menus are also available on request.
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