Independent Food and Drink in Harrogate: #BEF2017


So you’re coming to Harrogate at the end of the week for the Business Excellence Forum #BEF2017.   Welcome to our beautiful town.  I am Paul Rawlinson, owner of Baltzersen’s and Norse, resident of Harrogate and your self-appointed guide of how to find independent food and drink options whilst you are visiting.

I look forward to joining you at the forum, meeting some of you and I’d be delighted to give any further information if you’d like to know more about our fantastic independent hospitality sector.

Swerve the chains and the recent influx of bling they have brought with them.   Please do give some of the smaller and more interesting independent food and drink businesses in our town your custom – they will appreciate it and it benefits our local economy.

Here are some of the places I recommend:

Independent Food and Drink: Coffee Shops and Cafes



Bean and Bud, Commercial St.

Harrogate’s original speciality coffee shop.  Ruth and Hayden brought a new level of knowledge and service to Harrogate when they opened Bean and Bud over 5 years ago and they continue to improve year on year.  If you enjoy the very best coffee from a changing programme of single origin beans from a range of top roasters from across the UK then this is the place to go.  Tea is not forgotten, they also have the best selection and knowledge in town.

Hoxton North, Royal Parade.

Tim and Vic opened Hoxton North 3.5 years ago with the aim of recreating the atmosphere in the coffee shops of Hoxton and East London they had enjoyed whilst working in the big smoke.  They recently moved their operation from their original site to a new space where they now offer food and some beer and wine into the evenings.

Farm Bistro, Oxford St.

Farm Bistro is tucked away above the Yorkshire Farmers butchers shop at the bottom of Oxford Street.   Only open for a year or so they have been getting rave reviews for their food, service and surroundings.  A family run business that uses products from their small holding and owner Vanora also bakes their own sourdough.

Baltzersen’s, Oxford St. (Full disclosure: this is my cafe)

I opened my Scandinavian inspired cafe Baltzersen’s 4.5 years ago.   Baltzersen was my Norwegian Grandma’s maiden name and I grew up with the influence of food and baking from Norway.  We serve a full range of hot drinks as well as scratch baked Scandi pastries, cakes and offer a breakfast and lunch menu.

Independent Food and Drink: Bars and Pubs

Little Ale House, Cheltenham Crescent.

Rich and Danni runs Harrogate’s smallest pub and won the CAMRA Harrogate Pub of the Year award in 2017.  It’s a lovely cosy little place just up the hill from the conference centre with a constantly changing selection of ales in a built in refrigerated cooler design by Rich and one of his joiner mates!

Major Tom’s Social, The Ginnel.

Lee and Toby opened Major Tom’s Social a few years ago and it’s quickly become one of the iconic places to drink in the town.   A super relaxed vibe with a mixture of seating, great stonebaked pizzas and retro tunes.


The Champagne Concept, Oxford St.

The Champagne Concept is a project created by Laurence and Gemma who have a love of the Champagne region from regular trips out to France visiting Gemma’s parents.  They directly import cuvees from smaller growers and have a number of UK exclusive lines.  It’s only when you taste a number of champagnes side by side that you truly understand the range of tastes that this versatile product can offer.  A lovely experience and very reasonable when compared to Grand Cru marques.

Starling Independent Beer and Coffee House, Oxford st.

Simon Midgley has brought this new concept to the Harrogate hospitality scene in the last 2 months.  By day Starling is a coffee bar offering brunch and pizza, by night there is a significant selection of beers, gins and more.  There is plenty of seating, worth a try.


Harrogate Tap, Harrogate Train Station.

The Harrogate Tap is part of the Tapped Brew Co. who have a small chain of pubs in Yorkshire including York and Sheffield train stations.  Arguably the widest range of beer on tap and by the bottle in a nicely restored platform side location.

North Bar, cheltenham parade.

the owners of North Bar, Christian and John, opened the original North Bar in Leeds in the late nineties and are credited with being one of the first craft beer  pubs in the city.  The Harrogate outpost opened in the last couple of years followed by their brewery in Leeds so you can enjoy their own range of brews as well as guest ales from across the world.

Monteys Rock Cafe – The GInnel

The best known location for cocktails in town, if not the most luxurious.  Often have live music and it’s well located amongst other bars and restaurants in the centre of town.

Independent Food and Drink: Restaurants

The Orchid, Swan Road.

Pan-Asian restaurant which is pretty much universally loved for the food, service and value they offer.  Whether it’s a quick lunch just 250m from the front of the conference centre or dinner they deliver virtually every time.  Michelin, Good Food Guide and AA recommended.  Booking is advised.

Stuzzi, KingS Road.

The Stuzzi boys have been in town for a couple of years now and their fame is spreading.  It’s deli sandwiches and specials using produce imported directly from Italy during the day then Italian small plates by night.  A cracking wine list, they mix a mean Negroni or Aperol spritz and it’s located opposite the conference centre.  It’s super busy – book ahead if you fancy visiting.  Michelin and Good Food Guide recommended.


La Feria, Cold Bath Road.

Jez and La Feria used to be in a much smaller location but they switched to their beautiful new venue complete with stunning zinc bar last year, and it’s been a roaring success.  It’s Andalucian tapas with chicken being the main event.

Restaurant 92, Station Parade.

Restaurant 92 has made strides in the 18 months they have been open with a modern british menu put together by Chef Patron Michael Carr. The location is a little further out from the centre but ideal if you’re staying up towards West Park or Tower Street.  There is a wine bar next door for a pre-dinner drink too.

Fisk, Cold Bath Road.

Fisk are still pretty new on the scene but their fish and champagne concept with use of a lot of Asian flavours has proved very popular meaning tables can be hard to come by.


Deano’s Graze and Grill, Oxford Street.

Dean and Sarah Jane run Deano’s which is one of the best loved restaurants in Harrogate offering their version of English tapas alongside a busy grill section.  Another busy one so booking recommended.

William and Victoria, Cold Bath Road.

Will and Vic’s as it’s known to locals is a bona-fide Harrogate institution.  It’s classic bistro food at a competitive price point with a wide ranging wine list and usually packed to the gills for most services.  Booking for this one is absolutely essential and if you are reading on Thursday it’s possibly going to be too late!

Graveleys, CHeltenham Parade.

If it’s something quick and filling you’re after then Graveley’s does the good old fashioned Fish and Chip restaurant thing but also has some more modern options on the menu too.  The quality is great and it’s very popular with locals and visitors alike.

Mykonos and Konak Meze

I haven’t personally visited these restaurants but they are well recommended to me and their position at the top of Tripadvisor shows they are doing a good job, especially Konak Meze which has been established for a couple of years.

Norse  (FULL DISCLOSURE: I am the director of this restaurant)

My restaurant Norse relocated to it’s new home on Swan Road earlier this month where we can now offer our Nordic influenced menu at lunch and dinner.  It’s something a little different to most places and we’d love to show you what we can do.  We are recommended in the Michelin, Good Food and AA Guides and were Runners Up in the Observer Food Monthly Awards for Best Restaurant in 2016.


Further Information:

If you are interested in more information we have written extensively about the Harrogate independent scene in blogs on our cafe website here.  The quickest way to browse them would be to select the ‘Locals’ Guide’ category on the navigation on the right side of the page.


Like most towns we rely heavily on the independent food and drink sector (in addition to retail and the arts) to be one of the things that makes us different from other towns and cities in the area.  There is no doubt that a buoyant food and drink scene can attract visitors and is part of what makes their experience in Harrogate special.

We get a lot of support from locals and we’d love to see more visitors making use of the best and most interesting places that Harrogate has to offer.

I will be at the conference for the duration learning how to make my businesses better, I’m looking forward to hearing the speakers and also meeting my fellow delegates.  Feel free to do drop me a line via email ( if you have any questions or hit me up on Twitter (@TheCafeGuy) – I’d be happy to meet up.

If you visit one of our great indies (and enjoy it!) please do tweet about it and tag me in I’d love to hear what you thought.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *