A short list of our personal favourites
Supported by the UK’s biggest all-year-round tourist industry, and a discerning local population, the Lake District boasts a great number of high quality restaurants.
With so many to choose from, we’ve restricted ourselves to just a handful of our favourites, each one selected for its great food, specially good service, or real individuality.
New owners and other changes have caused us to shorten this page quite a bit since we first compiled it – we obviously need to get out more for research!
An Ambleside landmark, much beloved by many families, including ours. Always busy, with a happy mix of young and old, couples, and extended family groups. Menu almost unchanged for over 30 years: excellent pizzas, pastas, soups, salads, and frozen yogurt desserts – you'd hardly notice it's all veggie! Tables can be booked along with a reserved seat in one of Zefferelli's five cinemas.
Upstairs from Zeff's Pizzeria is another of Derek Hook's visionary projects, now firmly established as one of the UK's premier jazz venues. An atmospheric place to drink, eat and chill, with a shortened version of the downstairs pizza and pasta menu. The live jazz on Fridays and Saturdays is often free — click here for forthcoming gigs.
There's no stopping Derek Hook. Just when we thought four cinema screens in Ambleside was enough, he opened the brilliant Fellini's, offering 'vegetarian fine dining with a Mediterranean twist', and a luxurious cinema upstairs. Monica adores Fellini's — starched tablecloths, excellent service, lovely cuisine — but Brian sometimes wishes they'd do a fillet steak.
Regularly featured in guides and Sunday magazines, 'the Duck' is the definitive upmarket country pub (with upmarket prices to match!). A tiny original tap-room and two small homely dining rooms serve carefully prepared Cumbrian / Mediterranean main courses and especially good sweets, not forgetting draft 'Cracker' ale from the Duck's own micro-brewery. Friendly staff take time to chat to guests.
Sharrow Bay was founded by Brian Sack and Francis Coulson in 1948, creating a new style of exceptional quality but unpretentious country-house hospitality and cuisine. Sticky-toffee pudding was invented here! Awkward to get to (and expensive to stay at) we've only ever lunched there. But what a lunch! Sat in our own small bay window, watching the winter sun go down over Ullswater, enjoying perfect food, served impeccably.
Pending our getting out a bit more for research, here are a few online reviews of restaurants, both nearby and around the Lakes:
Monica & Brian Liddell
Fellside House, Troutbeck, near Windermere, Cumbria LA23 1NN, England
Tel: 015394 34000