If you’re searching for the perfect date night destination, you’ll be spoilt for choice in York. Whether you hope to inspire romance with dinner in a candlelit courtyard, or want to try a unique ‘rodizio’ dining experience, here are some of the best places to eat in the city centre.


Located on Fossgate, this modern Indian restaurant specialises in cuisine from the southern state of Kerala, known as ‘the land of the coconut’. Dishes made in this beautiful part of the world are full of exotic spices and fresh flavours, with vegetarian, fish and meat options that nourish the body and soul alike. You can begin a meal here with tempting snacks such as murukku – savoury crunchy sticks made from roasted rice flour with black sesame and cumin seeds. Kalpakavadi’s menu also features starters like lemon garlic scallops or dosa, a delicious filled pancake. When it comes to mains, you can choose from traditional curries like mild cheera paneer or tharavu mappas, a duck curry that’s served on special occasions in Kerala. These can be eaten with freshly baked bread from the restaurant’s own clay oven. Kalpakavadi even offers delivery, so you and your date can treat yourselves to an extra special evening at home.

Blue Barbakan

If you’re looking for a venue with an inviting, intimate atmosphere, Blue Barbakan might be just the spot for your next date. This characterful restaurant on Fossgate serves authentic Polish food with a multi-European twist. Each dish is presented on pretty indigo-patterned crockery and the hearty portion sizes are sure to leave you feeling satisfied. In the evening here, you can tuck into starters like a vegan borscht or pierogi – pan fried filled dumplings topped with crispy bacon and sour cream. These can be followed by mains such as bigos – a hunter’s stew made with cabbage and cuts of beef, pork and sausages – or turkey schnitzel in hazelnut bread crumbs.

Casa Brazilian

A date at York’s first Brazilian steakhouse promises to be a night to remember. Situated on Micklegate, Casa offers the unique style of dining known as ‘rodizio’. As you eat, different meats are continually brought to your table and carved before your eyes with flair. These include tender cuts of prime beef such as sirloin and filet mignon, which can be accompanied by your choice of sides from the salad bar and hot food buffet. There’s plenty here for pescatarians and vegetarians, too, with options like aubergine milanese or seasonal seafood that are both cooked to order. To drink, you can enjoy wine, beer, cider or cocktails including caipirinhas. Casa recreates the magic of a night in Rio de Janeiro with Brazilian-inspired decor, a convivial atmosphere and samba music serenading you as you eat.


If you’re meeting for the first time or are still getting to know one another’s taste in food, SPARK* might be the place to go. This creative community space has something to please everyone with independent start-ups selling street food from all around the globe. You may even discover your new favourite restaurant here. Among the current stalls at SPARK* are Rad Pizza, Baby Boy’s Burgers and Herbivorous, which serves modern vegan comfort food. You can also try Pan-Asian dishes from Knori, Greek food from Sasa, traditional Brazilian cuisine from Vovo Cantina and much, much more. SPARK* offers open air dining throughout the summer and always has a lively buzz. If you’re just going out for drinks, you can visit The Outpost for beers from Turning Point or sip handcrafted cocktails at York’s smallest bar, Boho.

Yemen Heaven

Offering tasty Yemeni and Middle Eastern cuisine to eat in romantic surroundings, Yemen Heaven’s menu is filled with dishes made using recipes that have been passed down through the generations. To start, you’ll find a selection of cold mezze and homemade soups, while for a main you can sample flavour-packed tagines or man’ousha, a Middle Eastern alternative to pizza. If you have any room left afterwards, you can choose from traditional desserts like kunafah – a syrupy Levantine dessert with shredded filo and soft melted cream cheese. Yemen Heaven’s leafy courtyard garden provides a calming oasis where you can dine al fresco or share a shisha. You can even hear live music here from time to time.


For those who’d like a relaxed yet indulgent date, this award-winning bar on Castlegate aims to create the perfect pairing between great wines and all manner of tasty accompaniments. In Parings’ summery interior, you can sample wines from all around the world, including sparkling, orange and dessert varieties. These can be enjoyed as part of a ‘flight’ with carefully-curated meats and cheeses or a vegan alternative. You can also take your pick from a range of small plates that are ideal for grazing and sharing. Many of these are made with locally-sourced ingredients, such as Haxby Bakehouse bread, Voakes pork pies and homemade smoked mackerel pate. If you don’t like wine, never fear. This stylish bar also serves cocktails, beer and gin.

Images- @sparkyork, @yemen_heaven, @pairingswinebar