Every now and then there is nothing better than getting out with family and friends for a good meal. I am of the mindset that if you work hard then you should treat yourself to some downtime, and my favourite way to do that is to explore the local cuisine of my hometown of Wakefield.
From unique coffee shops to some of the most varied independent eateries, Wakefield has some great options locally when wanting to eat out. Luckily for me, some of the best places are just a stones throw away from home, but I have been fortunate to venture further afield and sample many of Wakefield’s finest independent menus.
I have managed to put together a list of my top 10 independent restaurants in Wakefield that I wouldn’t hesitate to return to, and recommend to anyone visiting the area!
#1 Lakeside Café
Now, this isn’t the first time I have talked about this place, regardless of the fact that it is within walking distance from my front door, it also happens to be one of the most stunning restaurants in Wakefield. From the inside out, the Lakeside café has a wonderful rustic vibe that matches the setting perfectly.
If the idea of eating locally sourced and professionally cooked food amongst nature appeals to you, then Lakeside café is definitely a must try! With indoor and outdoor eating facilities, there really is no finer place to dine.
I personally love a good steak, but there is literally something on the menu here to suit everyone, with options for both meat eaters and herbivores and an excellent range of options for the little ones. The food is freshly prepared, locally sourced, organic and delicious – what more could you want?
Rinaldis has been going for a long time but had seen better days as it was left to grow dated over the years. In February 2010 it was taken over by a regular customer, Glyn, who vowed to restore the restaurant to its former glory and this has been achieved ten-fold! From appearance, staff and food the changes have led to it now being one of the most vibrant eateries in Wakefield.
The passion behind a quality service is obvious from the moment you enter Rinaldis, and the atmosphere is incredible. The team, both new and old has made Rinaldis one of the liveliest and most friendly places I have eaten at. I have always been a big fan of Italian cuisine, and Rinaldis serves one of the best freshly made lasagne I have ever tasted – trust me you need to try it!
With a great selection of dishes, as well as a regularly updated specials board, you will be hard-pressed to come away disappointed. Glyn and the team have done an incredible job at modernising this place into a hub of delicious food and drink that will not disappoint.
#3 The Pledwick Well Inn
Sometimes you can’t beat a decent Gastro Pub, and The Pledwick Well Inn is one of my favourites! The menu boasts some classing comfort food dishes as well as some seasonal offerings for the more adventurous diner, and overall the whole experience goes above and beyond your average pub grub!
The dishes are said to be influenced from all around the world, and this comes across in their menu choices, with a variety of options from fresh fish to steak, vegetarian options and seafood! There is even a ‘healthy living’ lunch menu for those who are watching their diet but still want to experience eating out with friends.
Perhaps my favourite thing about The Pledwick is their vast selection of craft beers! They offer a fantastic range so that there is something there for everyone to enjoy, along with loads of wines, gins and ciders.
The interior of The Pledwick is super slick and modern without ruining that traditional cosy pub feeling we all know and love. This is definitely my go-to for ‘pub grub’!
Cosy and intimate, this is a perfect date spot if you are looking for somewhere new to try! Whether you are going with your significant other or the family, The Cowshed offers a relaxed atmosphere with local, great tasting food!
The Cowshed offers some great traditional English dishes cooked with a modern twist to bring something a little different to the table. Not only is the food great, but they do a couple of awesome deals such as the set lunch menu and early bird menu which both offer two courses for £15.95 or three for £18.95!
I love coming here for the value but also the chilled out atmosphere and friendly staff! They also supply a great selection of wine that compliments their menu perfectly!
#5 La Fortezza
Situated at the entrance of the Newmillerdam Country Park, La Fortezza is in a great location; particularly for those warm days in the summer (3 a year?)! Whether you choose to dine al-fresco, or inside, the rustic Italian feel of this place is incredible!
Authentic Italian cuisine served by a team of highly qualified staff, the head chef has even worked under a classically trained French chef, and the food here is exquisite! Even during those colder months, eating indoors here will leave you feeling at home immediately, the cosy atmosphere is so relaxing and intimate, and the whole vibe is just great.
If you love a rustic Italian dish then La Fortezza is the one for you, perhaps one of my favourite Italians in Wakefield, their pizzas are to die for, and they have a fantastic selection of wines!
Run by couple Liam and Laura, Iris a great restaurant for those who love to sample the local Yorkshire cuisine! Liam happens to be the head chef as well as the owner, and over the past 5 years together with his partner, they have managed to create a family-friendly restaurant that serves all the best homemade foods, straight from their hometown!
Along with their work alongside some of the best regional suppliers, Iris is also great value for money considering how fresh and delicious their food is! Whilst they prefer to keep in line with what is current, their menu changes regularly in keeping with the seasonal foods, which means you can never get bored coming here!
I love the whole ethos behind Iris, and if the food alone wasn’t enough to draw you in, they also host regular monthly events, usually a delicious looking taster session!
#7 Amaia Restaurant
There is nothing better than a freshly made Indian meal, and Amaia offers a homemade, traditional menu that is second to none. The cutting-edge Indian food style and methodology is so unique and the dishes are just delicious, if you are a curry lover like me then you will love it here!
The award-winning chefs go above and beyond to deliver interesting flavours that are fresh and above all else, absolutely incredible! Considering Amaia only opened in 2015, they have come a long way in such a short time frame, there is no other Indian quite like it in Wakefield.
The fresh and vibrant interior of Amaia is inviting and airy, it really is the perfect place to sit down to a meal with friends. If all this wasn’t enough, they also offer a variety of promotional deals and you can even order to take away!
#8 Jose’s Tapas Restaurant
If you are looking for something a little different Jose’s family run tapas is a must-try! This is without a doubt the most friendly and welcoming family I have met, the personal touches that are put into the dining experience here really make it stand out from the crowd!
Situated in the heart of Wakefield, Jose and his wife Sofia have created a Spanish hub of great food and drink, that will certainly have you coming back again! From authentic tapas and paella alongside other Spanish dishes, the food here is lovingly cooked and it really shows!
The food aside, the service here is one of the best I have received, every member of staff are so helpful and really go out of their way to be informative and make your experience a great one – Once you leave Jose’s you will feel like part of the family!
Yes, another Italian restaurant has made the list – as I said, I am really lucky to be situated amongst so many independent restaurants, so many of which happen to be incredible Italians! Sloanes is a fine dining experience that delivers amazing fresh and high-quality ingredients that are all locally sourced!
The expert chefs here really know their way around Italian cuisine, from the homemade pasta to the Fillet steak – everything is insanely delicious! With many of the specialist ingredients coming directly from Italy, there is real authenticity behind the meals here, which comes across!
Situated alongside the lovely York House Hotel, every day is a different deal at Sloanes, making it excellent value for money! So, whether it’s 3 for £10 cocktails you are after or a cheaper lunch, Sloanes has you covered!
#10 Moccha Pizzeria
Last but by no means least is the hidden gem that is Moccha, nestled in the centre of Wakefield since 2010, offering delicious homemade pizza in a family-friendly establishment!
You only have to have a look online to see the glowing reviews for Moccha, their authentic pizza and pasta dishes have sent their reputation skyrocketing, making them now one of the most popular eateries in the centre of Wakefield!
The team here are extremely accommodating and friendly, which is of course exactly what you want when dining out, and the interior is well lit for a relaxed atmosphere. The smell of stone baked pizza hits you when you step through the door and from there on in the whole experience are an Italian delight from start to finish!