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Our favourite Lakeland restaurants

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!

Restaurants in and around Ambleside

zeffirellis-pizzeria

Zeffirelli's Pizzeria and Cinema

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.

  • Compston Road, Ambleside, on left of one-way street coming into town centre from Windermere.
  • Open 7 days a week, 6.30pm to 10pm.
  • Tel: 015394 33845.
  • Web: www.zeffirellis.com

zeffirelis-jazz-bar

Zeffirelli's Jazz Cafe and Bar

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.

  • Opening times generally as Pizzeria, but check the gig link above for special ticketed events.

fellinis

Fellini's 'Vegeterranean' Restaurant and Arthouse Cinema

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.

  • Corner of King Street and Church Street in centre of Ambleside
  • Open every day from 5.30 to 10pm.
  • Tel: 015394 33845
  • Web: www.fellinisambleside.com
  • Click here for a listing of Fellini's terrific programme of ballet, opera, and theatre 'live' cinema events.

drunken-duck

The Drunken Duck Inn Restaurant

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.

  • Barngates, 3 miles from Ambleside, watch for sign off B5286 to Hawkshead.
  • Open 7 days a week, bar lunches served until 3pm, soup and sandwiches until 4pm, dinner times please check when booking.
  • Tel: 015394 36347.
  • Web: www.drunkenduckinn.co.uk
  • Jay Rayner's Observer review says that 'this rambler's pub doesn't put a foot wrong'


Restaurants around Ullswater

sharrow-bay

Sharrow Bay Country House Restaurant

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.

  • 1 1/2 miles from Pooley Bridge on the east side of Ullswater.
  • Lunch from 12 until 2pm, Afternoon tea at 4pm, and Dinner between 7pm and 9pm.
  • Tel: 017684 86301.
  • Web: www.sharrowbay.co.uk


Some other restaurant links and listings…

Pending our getting out a bit more for research, here are a few online reviews of restaurants, both nearby and around the Lakes:

  • The Samling is hidden away, just a few minutes from Fellside Studios, overlooking Lake Windermere. We've only ever lunched there, and we had a great time. Lovely, interesting, fun food, excellent service, and fabulous views. But the Observer's food review didn't like it, so we'll let you decide! 
  • Here is an extensive listing by the Guardian's Tony Naylor of Budget Eats in the Lake District
  • And here are Tony Naylor's 10 Best Budget Restaurants in the Lakes 'where you can eat splendidly for under £10' 
  • We've walked past The Lake Road Kitchen in Ambleside hundreds of times, unaware of its amazing reputation with foodies. Here is a 10/10 Rave Review from the Guardian's Marina O'Loughlin

The Studios are a fantastic idea — we loved the feeling of independence, and the attention to little details made us feel entirely at home.

Ian and Fiona
Guest in August 2011

Image

We're recommended by Sawdays, the Rough Guide, and the Dymond Guide

we're highly recommended

Monica & Brian Liddell
Fellside House, Troutbeck, near Windermere, Cumbria LA23 1NN, England
Tel: 015394 34000
Email: brian[at]fellsidestudios.co.uk

we're highly recommended