With 2017 marking the fourth year since we discovered Whitby Goth Weekend – and the delights of Whitby itself – Cat on the Wall and its team of experts now feel confident in giving tips for visitors to the seaside town.
Whitby has many local delicacies – seafood (particularly served with chips) is of course a highlight, but many fine culinary spots have taken root in the town’s relatively small span and we’d like to lay out some of our top picks. Without further ado, in no particular order, here are our favourite regular haunts!
Humble Pie ‘n’ Mash
No.163, Church Street, Whitby
Type: Hearty British Meal
This is one of our main stops in Whitby. Healthy portions of homely, well filled pies with thick gravy and mashed potatoes in a home themed to wartime – and sitting in a medieval, timber framed building.
The menu has plenty of pie varieties, the approach is wonderfully casual (‘Get a pint from across the road if you like!‘) and it’s very obviously popular. Everything here is locally sourced, the pies are freshly baked and through these firm standards, the shop has become a well-known jewel in the town’s crown.
The location here is just as much a treat as the delicious food; you can’t beat a coal fire. If it’s raining, and they have room, the tiny knooks and crannies of Humble Pie ‘n’ Mash are a perfect refuge. It’s dog friendly (provided they have space) and everybody is effectively welcome.
We Recommend: The Sausage and Black Pudding pie. We’re even quoted for it in the menu… (yes, really!)
No.66, Church Street, Whitby
Type: Beer and Light Bites
One of the friendliest pubs in town, the Endeavour is not only beautiful but oozes a warm, friendly atmosphere with great drinks. This is a real community pub – it’s a timeless, wonderful little spot that you can waste hours in, if you’re not careful.
The pub welcomes sandy boots, paws, families and outside-bought fish and chips. The staff are always fantastic, the fire seems permanently lit and there’s seafood tapas. What more could you possibly need than a bit of crab or crayfish when in a Whitby pub?
If any pub comes close to perfection, we honestly feel it’s this one.
We Recommend: Any one of the local ales, and some of the oak smoked salmon.
No.2, Grape Lane, Whitby
Type: Hefty Burgers and American Cuisine
Although burgers by the sea may not seem like a standard option, Burgsy’s food is sure to warm you to the idea. Excellent portions, friendly staff and a warm interior form a really, really pleasant restaurant experience. It’s a case of quality here. It’s simply unbridled for American cuisine in the town, although that may partially be due to its own niche.
The burgers are an excellent size and come in a variety of toppings and flavours – to make it all that little bit sweeter, the restaurant makes the same standard of only accepting local produce – the sauces are even of their own making.
It’s a small, family run effort, welcoming, delicious – and in Whitby, a quirky little curio in a town that doesn’t even have a McDonalds!
We Recommend: Hard to choose! The Blue Jack is your author’s favourite, though the other members of our group have their own go-to options.
Type: Scones and Light Bites
The finest little coffee shop in Whitby – cold bites, warm cakes, hot coffee and Sherlock Holmes. Again, here, the environment really makes it – the shop is a wonderful little replica of 221B Baker Street, complete with period wallpaper, violins, hats, chemistry sets and boots surrounding the tables and chairs. The staff here deserve knighthoods during Whitby Goth Weekend; it’s at these two times of year that the shop gets ridiculously full and has to send people away, so if you can get there before the Friday or Saturday you really will want to!
The scones are enormous, served with little pots of jam and cream, and are simply the best we’ve ever had. Everything here is evidenced by just how popular the shop really is with locals and tourists alike.
Even better, there’s three floors – all of which are particularly distinct from one another.
We Recommend: Scones! No contest. Particularly good with a tea or (in my case) a double expresso…
No.11 Bridge Street, Whitby
Type: Fish and Chips
Fish and chips is a treat ten times better when you can step out and see the wild blue yonder from which it came (and if you’re early enough, see the boxes arriving on a doorstep!) Hadley’s has been trading since 1937, and still uses the ‘proper’ methods of frying in beef dripping rather than hundreds of gallons of vegetable oil. The result is a very distinctive but wholly preferable flavour. There’s fierce competition in Whitby for the best fish and chips, but we feel Hadley’s checks the box for us with ease.
(Although they took black pudding balls off of the menu and nearly lost our adoration) Hadley’s is simply our favourite fish and chip restaurant in town, with friendly service, fine surroundings, a surprisingly vast drinks menu and a simply unparalleled example of the nation’s favourite dinner.
Everybody has their own favourite – but for a sit down restaurant, Bridge Street’s finest is matchless.
We Recommend: Cod and chips, with plentiful levels of ketchup. And a beer…
No.129, Church Street, Whitby
Type: Chocolate, Fudge and Toffee to go
I write this article in a bit of an Easter Egg stupor, so may not talk with great enthusiasm about chocolate for the next week or so. However, Justin’s provides a true luxury in confectionery. Their fudge, chocolate, toffee and truffles are all very well acclaimed, and have engrained themselves into many of Whitby’s local traditions – Dracula’s Dream fudge and the Chocolate Coffins carry a heavy appeal for Goths, Cpt. Cook’s cannonballs sit alongside kippers as a local delicacy, and the chocolate sandcastles are every bit as adorable as they are irresistible.
The shop is extremely pokey, and can build heavy queues, so always be prepared to ‘come back later’. The fudge is served straight from its trays in massive, heavy slabs, and will be cut or broken for you on the counter. This isn’t your factory produced hard stuff; it’s soft, smooth and with a texture all of its own. It’s worth noting the prices are fairly steep to a newcomer – and friends and family who say they don’t want anything will change their minds at first sight – so be prepared to spend a lot of money on the sweet stuff.
You can normally spot Justin’s not using signs, but the numerous people pressing their faces against the window…
We Recommend: The dark violet chocolate and Dracula’s Dream fudge.
The Duke of York
No.124, Church Street, Whitby
Type: Beer and Pub Meals
Nestled at the foot of the 199 steps, and just across from the Whitby Jet museum, The Duke of York is a quaint little place that gets ridiculously busy. It’s a real push, picking pubs, as Whitby has so many lovely spots available for a visit – but the Duke of York is mentioned here not for its beer, but for the baked crab.
We’re big lovers of seafood at Cat on the Wall (aren’t all felines?) and the baked crab here is simply gorgeous. Sweet, rich crab meat, served in the shell with goat’s cheese. It is absolutely delicious. You can’t miss out on this if you’re a lover of the ocean – there’s nowhere that does this stuff in such a fantastic measure.
Couple this up with being a pub full of often unusual but very friendly people, a great view of the water and friendly service, and this place is a great stop if you’re on a day trip and fancy something a little bit special without having to dress up.
We Recommend: Baked crab, a pint of pale ale and a chatter.
Monks Haven Cafe
Market Square, Whitby
Type: Hot Meals
Originally a pub, Monk’s Haven Cafe may look like a standard little place for OAPs to the unassuming. It doesn’t have the glamour of Sherlock’s or quaint surroundings of Pie and Mash, but this is one of the absolute pick of the litter.
Serving – again, all locally sourced – a great array of British cuisine, the cafe has an ace up its sleeve with Radford’s famous steak pie and Fortune’s famous kippers, and, to our knowledge, is the best place to get either.
Fortune’s kippers are legendary for a reason, and the cafe here is all too happy to serve them as a deli platter or two fillets with toast. The Smokehouse platter is our usual pick – as it also includes jam for them. Jam and Kippers seem all but forgotten elsewhere!
Very filling, very courteous service, but very busy and cramped. If you want it on a quiet day, you’d best camp out in the morning…
We Recommend: The Smokehouse Platter – without a doubt!
Whitby Train Station, Whitby
Type: Traditional British Cafe
We’ve often heard this cafe dubbed a Greasy Spoon; and frankly, if it is, we’re perfectly fine with it. After a night at the spa, you can’t beat a hearty Full English Breakfast or a bacon sandwich, and the Whistlestop provides it all, and more, at the most reasonable prices in town.
It’s certainly not glamorous, but it’s very well loved by practically everybody we speak to. You won’t find anything gourmet lined up in the Whistlestop’s menu, but you’ll find something that will set you up for the rest of the day without the slightest quibble.
Situated in a great place for a ‘last breakfast’ before you hop onto your bus and train, the Whistlestop is a great reminder that sometimes, you just can’t beat something simple. Get a nice, cold, can of coke, line up the sausages and bacon and chill out as you wash up the hangover…
We Recommend: The Full English with either a strong coffee or sugary drink!
The Fish Box
No.3, Langborne Road, Whitby
Type: Fish and Chips
If you want a quick bite of Fish and Chips, The Fish Box is effectively Whitby’s express option. Bright, and a little bit more modern than a lot of Whitby’s older local fisheries, it’s one of those places you might not consider for some of the best in town- but it is. The food is fantastic, piping hot, and the restaurant is the same price whether you choose to sit inside or out.
It’s difficult to think of much to talk about with what is effectively just a modernised local chippy, but it works fabulously for the place and makes for a surprising top notch on the walker’s guide to the Jurassic Coast.
To make it that little bit sweeter still, the prices are a touch cheaper than most. What more do you really need? Oh, and, before you ask – yes, it is served in a box.
You’ll find another location in Robin Hood’s Bay, too!
We Recommend: Use your imagination…