9 places to eat out in Chester this summer
- Credit: Nick Smith Photography
Chester's food scene is flourishing and its the Michelin-accredited stars and delicious independents that are serving up success.
Chester city has quietly evolved and grown into one of the hottest foodie destinations in 2021. Despite the pandemic, more hospitality businesses opened than closed in 2020 – with almost 80 per cent of them independent. And the approval has also come in from the official gong of all things fine dining – the Michelin Guide.
Eight of the city’s restaurants enjoyed a mention, with a Michelin Star, a Green Star and a Bib Gourmand among them – the combination making Chester the most highly decorated city in the North West.
Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor was awarded a Michelin Star in 1990 and has proudly held on to it ever since, giving him a seat at the table with only five other UK restaurants to achieve such longevity.
This year, new kid to the block, sustainable restaurant Hypha has been awarded a Green Star, of which there was only 23 awarded in the UK. Hypha now sits in esteemed company of achieving high levels of gastronomy and sustainability alongside the likes of Sat Bains, L’Enclume, River Cottage and Le Manoir.
Casual dining has seen an explosion too. Owner-operated cafés and restaurants are enjoying a rise in popularity, which will only be set to continue as the dramatic new city centre market hall takes shape.
Northgate Street became an informal outdoor foodie market during lockdown as city businesses set up barbecues and street stalls on a weekend.
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As the city bursts back into life, look at some of Chester’s most exciting established and new restaurants...
1. Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor
The grande dame of the city, inside the institution that is The Chester Grosvenor hotel. Expect luxurious surroundings and amazing food. Simon has held on to his Michelin Star for so long because his consistency is renowned, from service standards to the food itself. You have not really celebrated in style if you haven’t celebrated with his eight-course tasting menu with a complementary wine flight.
2. Da Noi, Bridge Street
Run by husband-and-wife team, Valentina Aviotti and Fabrizio Gobbato, who originate from Turin, Da Noi specialises in seasonal Italian food, sourcing all the best ingredients from their beloved Italy. Chef Valentina cooks everything from scratch, offering a journey through Italy’s diverse and rich food history. Fabrizio welcomes you into the relaxed intimate restaurant and specialises in pairing Italian wines to the dishes.
A sustainable restaurant that sits nestled above the city walls at Northgate Street, Hypha offers an experimental dining experience with the aim of creating a zero-waste kitchen. They feature their own fermentation lab and operate a ‘micro seasonal’ menu where dishes can change on a day-to-day basis according to their growers and foragers. Every hero ingredient is sourced from Chester or the surrounding area making Hypha a true home-grown Cheshire success story in every sense.
4. Joseph Benjamin
An institution in the city. This neighbourhood-style bistro on Northgate, run by brothers Joseph and Benjamin Wright, is a well-established favourite with Cestrians. Intimate and warm – with tasty well-judged flavours on classic dishes. They design their menu on ‘meals that excite – be that haute cuisine or humble home cooking’. Next door, they own the very well-loved Porta, a cosy tapas bar, with a lively atmosphere.
5. Stile Napoletano
Irrefutably one of the best pizzerias outside of Italy, Giacomo Guido, owner and chef left his home on the island of Ischia near Naples and, via London where he won many awards for his pizzas including winning the London Pizza festival in 2017, finally settled in Chester. He serves authentic, light Neapolitan pizzas using pure, organic Italian produce alongside quality local ingredients.
With high-level seating, Covino on Northgate Street looks like a wine bar from first sight and indeed its wines are sensational, with a good selection of organic and low-intervention tipples among its 130 different labels from around the world. Charcuterie, small plates, and more substantial dishes, that are guided by season and ingredient, are the perfect accompaniment for a lively evening out with friends.
Shrub opened through the pandemic in 2020, a plant-based restaurant with bags of style and ‘no-preach’, situated on the Rows above Eastgate, with a covered terrace. Expect modern café culture, with great coffee, cocktails, the most amazing vegan doughnuts, nibbles, and an eclectic mix of mains.
8. The Green House
A relative newcomer to the city’s dining scene, The Green House sits on the most romantic street in the city – Godstall Lane – opposite the renowned Duttons café. Flowery and fresh, as the name suggests, this is a cosy, intimate European tapas and cocktail bar – with a unique take on traditional tapas.
9. Death By Tacos
Death By Tacos, in the market hall at Chester, offers the ultimate in Mexican street food. Tortillas are handmade from corn masa and served in a portion of three with house salsa on the side. Choose from pork pibil, chicken chipotle, mixed bean and more, with daily specials. While you’re there, it would only seem right to order one of their classic margaritas or tequila Palomas to accompany.