There’s a reason why Italian food is so popular. The country’s national cuisine revolves around cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients and time-honed techniques, so where better to enjoy it than at an independent restaurant? Whether you’re looking for pizza and pasta, homemade gelato or Sicillian-style street food, you’ll find a great selection of authentic Italian eateries to try in York. Many even offer food to take away so you can bring the taste of Italy home with you.
Voted by their local community as the best Neapolitan pizzeria in York, Cresci was founded in 2020 by friends Armando Imparato and Berardo Caggiano. The pair met while working in the city in 2005 and finally realised their dream of opening their own Southern Italian-style pizza restaurant fifteen years later. Cresci offers food to eat in or take away and you’ll find plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on their menu. Starters include ‘Frittatina di Bucatini Napoletana Classica’ – battered and deep fried pasta with béchamel sauce, ham, peas and black pepper – while for mains you can choose from seasonal specials like the ‘Porcini and Roasties’ pizza, topped with provola, roasted potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, basil, pecorino cheese and EVO oil. Armando and Berardo use traditional Neapolitan methods to make, stretch and bake their dough, so their pizzas taste just like those you would find in Naples itself.
Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 4pm-10pm / Saturday & Sunday: 12pm-10pm
Dough Eyed Pizza, Jubbergate
Located on York’s Jubbergate, Dough Eyed pride themselves on offering simple, no nonsense pizza served alongside a wide range of alcoholic drinks and cocktails. You’ll find a fantastic selection of beers here, many of which are imported from Italy. Pizzas include the tantalising ‘Amalfi’, topped with with Pecorino, colatura di alici, yellow tomatoes and fresh basil, or the ‘Fennel Sausage and Mushroom’ with sautéed mushrooms and fior di latte mozzarella. Many of Dough Eyed’s pizzas can be made vegetarian, vegan or dairy free, and food can be ordered online to collect. One reviewer on Tripadvisor writes: ‘I’ve eaten a lot of pizza and travelled through Italy, but this place is on another level. My husband had their special: pesto, mortadella and burrata and it was a religious experience. Their dough is so soft and cloud-like I wanted to cry.’
Opening times: Monday & Tuesday: closed / Wednesday-Sunday 12pm-11pm
Rad Pizza Shop, SPARK
From their restaurant in SPARK, sourdough specialists Rad serve mouthwatering wood-fired pizzas topped with seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients. One of their current specials is garlicky delight ‘The Wild Gus,’ featuring lashings of mozzarella, wild garlic butter, lemon roast asparagus, shaved parmesan, lemon zest and wild garlic oil. You can choose to consume Rad’s food in the lively environment of the outdoor community space, or order it on Deliveroo to enjoy at home. A reviewer on Facebook says: ‘I’ve tried a few places that do thin and soft sourdough-like bases but they just don’t compare to Rad’s. Absolutely delicious!’
Opening times: Monday: closed / Tuesday-Sunday: 12pm-9pm
Pizzoli, Shambles Market
The Pizzoli street food stand in York’s Shambles Market sells Sicilian-style snacks to take away. You can try regional specialities here, like Sicilian pasties or ‘Scacciata Siciliana Broccoli e Salsiccia’ – stuffed bread with broccoli and Italian sausage. When it comes to sweet treats, the team here aren’t afraid to experiment – they’ve even created a Nutella arancino. A review on Tripadvisor says: ‘What a surprise to find a tiny Italian restaurant in the Shambles Market, and even more surprising to find arancini on the menu! Never have I had such a good arancino in my entire life! I have found a new venue to absolutely include in my tour next time I visit this beautiful town.’
Opening times: Monday-Thursday 11:30am-3:30pm / Friday & Sunday: 11:30am-4pm / Saturday: 11:30am-5pm
La Vecchia Scuola, Low Petergate
Housed in a beautiful 300 year old building that was once York College for Girls, La Vecchia Scuola serves exquisite Italian food in a peaceful setting in the heart of York. The restaurant offers a la carte dining or a set lunch or evening menu and you can choose to eat in the conservatory, overlooking the lush gardens. To start your meal, you can sample such delights as ‘Maiale Smaltato’ – crispy pork belly glazed in a honey apple cider sauce and accompanied by parsnip crisps. Among the mains, you’ll find chargrilled meat dishes, pasta and risotto, pizza and salads, with smaller portions of any dish available for younger diners. A reviewer on Tripadvisor writes: ‘The staff are very attentive [and] the food was exquisite and plentiful with a very varied Italian menu. The evening was made extra special by the pianist who walked around the tables asking for requests.’
Opening times: Monday-Friday: 12pm-10pm / Saturday & Sunday: 11am-10pm
If you’re looking for a classic Italian kitchen with a vibrant atmosphere, Sapori is the place to head. Located off the Shambles, this small restaurant comes alive every evening as it fills with a crowd of enthusiastic diners. You can indulge in a spot of brunch here in the form of stuffed focaccia filled with tomato and basil or parma ham, rocket and blue cheese. For lunch, try the ‘Risotto Shark,’ with mixed seafood, prawns and mussels, or ‘So Ciccioneddos’ – traditional Sardinian small pasta served with fresh tomato sauce, sausage and mushrooms. Sapori also sells a variety of wonderful desserts, including a trio of three cannolis filled with lemon, chocolate and pistachio. One Tripadvisor reviewer describes the restaurant as a ‘hidden jewel in the Shambles,’ saying: ‘The décor transported us to the Island of Sardinia with its images of wooden carvings of the island, wine bottles placed around the room and soft Italian background music playing.’
Opening times: Monday: closed / Tuesday-Sunday: 10am-10pm
Trinacria, Bishopsthorpe Road
Opened by Beppe Lombardo and Phoebe Morgan in 2012, Trinacria on Bishy Road specialises in authentic arancini and homemade ice cream. The restaurant boasts a well-stocked bar where you can enjoy wines, beers, gins and cocktails, or even an ‘Affogato al Caffè’ (coffee with ice cream). Trinacria’s scrumptious arancini come with all manner of fillings, including aubergine, garlic mushrooms, spinach or ham. A brunch menu is served here on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and there are some unusual options to try, from butter bean pate with slow roasted cherry tomatoes and pistachio nibs to ‘Uova al Tegamino’ – eggs poached in tomato sauce and served with fried onion, toast and a choice of sides. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love Trinacria’s unique range of ice cream flavours – try the pink grapefruit sorbet or amaretto and orange ice cream.
Opening times: Monday & Tuesday: closed / Wednesday & Thursday: 12pm-9pm / Friday & Saturday: 10am-9pm / Sunday: 10am-5pm
Enoteca by L’uva, Bridge Street
Enoteca on Bridge Street is a restaurant that celebrates the very best Italian food and drinks. The menu here is small but perfectly formed with plenty of meat and seafood dishes. Choose spaghetti with mussels, prawns and calamari to start, followed by a salt-aged sirloin steak or crispy pork belly with pickled fennel and prosecco jus. The drinks list features a great selection of Italian wines, chosen and imported by their sister company L’UVA. You can even enjoy a tasting session. A review on Tripadvisor says: ‘The food was absolutely delicious – we loved the ability to try lots of different small plates. There was a great buzz in the restaurant with every table taken – the staff [were] very attentive and service was great.’
Opening times: Sunday-Tuesday: closed / Wednesday-Friday: 5:30-10pm / Saturday: 12-2pm and 5:30-10pm
Il Paradiso Del Cibo, Walmgate
Specialising in seafood, Il Paradiso Del Cibo is a characterful Italian restaurant that’s only a ten minute walk away from two of York’s most popular tourist attractions – JORVIK and the York Castle Museum. You can start your meal here with ‘Cozze e Vongole,’ consisting of fresh mussels and clams, with tomatoes, garlic, chilli and basil, before moving on to ‘Fioridi Mare Al Gamberi,’ a delicious handmade ravioli, served with cream, saffron sauce and king prawns. Alternatively, you could splash out and treat yourself to half a lobster, covered in a rich bisque sauce and accompanied by pasta. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of seafood. There are plenty of fish-free dishes on Il Paradiso’s menu, like ‘Manzetta Alla Sarda’ – a 31 day dry aged beef fillet, served with wild spinach, gorgonzola, sourdough and rosemary roasted potatoes. If you’re struggling to decide what to try, or have special dietary requirements, chef Paolo Silesu is always happy to explain and recommend dishes with the help of the restaurant’s other friendly staff.
Open every day from 12pm-10pm
Little Italy, Goodramgate
Situated close to York’s city walls, Little Italy is a family-run restaurant with a deli where you can purchase a variety of Italian delicacies and store cupboard essentials. You’ll find sweet favourites like amaretti and panettone here, as well as dried pasta, savoury nibbles and even fresh fruit and vegetables to buy and take away. In the upstairs restaurant, you can sit down and savour dishes from a fantastic three course set menu. Choose from starters including an antipasti platter, Caprese salad or sauteed mushrooms. The mains include dishes such as ‘Gnocchetti Alla Toscana’ – homemade gnocchetti pasta in a rich sauce with filet steak, pancetta, sun dried tomatoes, aubergine and garlic. A reviewer on Tripadvisor writes: ‘We absolutely love this restaurant. Delightful staff and a great atmosphere [with] freshly made pasta and a whole variety of excellent dishes. It has a fantastic deli so you can stock up with all the tasty morsels you ate in the restaurant!’
Opening times: Tuesday: closed / Monday & Wednesday-Friday: 12pm-10pm / Saturday: 12pm-10:30pm / Sunday: 12pm-9pm
Photos: Rad Pizza Shop, Little Italy, Dough Eyed