Home Food & Drink Top 5 Best Independent Cafes and Coffee Shops in York

Top 5 Best Independent Cafes and Coffee Shops in York

by Helen
Croissant and a glasses of orange juice and water on a distressed white table at Bottega Cafe, York

I’ve put together a short guide to my top 5 independent cafes in York. We visited some of these more than once during our short stay in this stunning city because they were just so good!

Does anyone else plan their trips around when and where they want to eat? I know I certainly do! The more coffee shops I can visit and local food and drink I can pack away, the better the trip!  

We knew when we booked our hotel in York that there were no facilities within the hotel for breakfast (we stayed at The Judges Court – you can read my review here). At first, this was a bit of a disappointment (I love a hotel breakfast!) but we soon started to see the positives. Rather than sit in the same hotel restaurant every day and choose from the same menu, this gave us the opportunity to venture out into York every morning and try somewhere new.

Now, this does require a bit more planning than a hotel breakfast would (you can’t just roll out of bed and down to the restaurant for example) but with York being such a compact city, we found we were never walking far from the hotel to hunt down our morning coffee. Not only that, we found we were usually out and about a whole lot earlier than we would have been had we stayed in the hotel for breakfast, meaning more of the day was spent exploring the historic streets of York! Winning.

Brew & Brownie

outside the Brew and Brownie Cafe, York
Brew & Brownie, York

This place definitely takes my number one spot.

As the name suggest, Brew & Brownie make an abundance of different flavoured brownies. I must have sampled about 4 of them during my time in York, and even stopped by before I caught the train home so that I could enjoy a little treat on the journey! And if you’re not a brownie lover, never fear! There’s a huge selection of other freshly baked cakes on offer too which all looked equally as delicious.

Inside Brew & Brownie, York. A photo of the counter displaying all the delicious cakes
Inside the Brew & Brownie. Just look at all those cakes!

But it’s not just the sweet stuff that they do so well. Breakfast is served between 9am – 11:30am and includes favourites such as freshly baked pastries, smashed avocado on toasted sourdough (my mouth is watering just remembering this!), breakfast sandwiches and simple but delicious toast and jam.

chocolate brownie, glass of water and a tea infuser on a table at the Brew and Brownie cafe, York
The most delicious brownies I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve tasted a lot!)

Brew & Brownie pride themselves on sourcing Yorkshire’s best produce – and it shows; this place is seriously good. It’s worth noting that during peak periods (breakfast and lunchtime) it can get very busy, with queues stretching out the door. It’s worth the wait (and takeaways are available which means you’ll likely get served a bit quicker) but just bear this is mind and don’t turn up when your stomach is already grumbling!

Website: Brew & Brownie
Address: 5 Museum St, York YO1 7DT

Mannion & Co

We ended up here after our original breakfast choice for the day appeared to have closed down – and I’m so glad we did!

The shop front of Mannion & Co, York
Mannion & Co

After walking the streets of York with no food or coffee inside us, it’s fair to say we were pretty famished by the time we arrived. Thankfully, the food here is just mouth-wateringly divine and it wasn’t long before our feelings of hanger wore off and we were back to our usual selves!

Open throughout the day between 9am – 5pm, Mannion & Co serve a range of freshly prepared food and drinks. Famous for its homemade sausage rolls (you HAVE to try one!), I devoured a super cheesy Yorkshire Rarebit made with freshly baked bread and served with rich homemade tomato salsa and salad. It definitely hit the spot!

Very cheesy Welsh Rarebit with side salad and chutney
Welsh Rarebit – super cheesy and so delicious!

Like Brew & Brownie, this place gets very busy at peak times and they don’t take table reservations. Considering how hungry we were when we turned up, we were lucky to get a table almost immediately (the breakfast gods were kind to us that day!) but it’s worth bearing this in mind. Again, takeaways are available and you’re likely to get served a little faster this way.

Website: Mannion & Co
Address: 1 Blake St, York YO1 8QJ

The Perky Peacock

at the bottom of the steps leading up to The Perky Peacock Cafe, York
The steps leading up to The Perky Peacock Cafe, York

The Perky Peacock was the first place we went for breakfast in York. It’s a tiny, quirky little place up in a medieval tower house on the city walls. Being so compact (there’s only around 5 tables!), it’s likely you will have to wait for a seat, although turnover was pretty quick when we were there.

Inside the Perky Peacock cafe, York.
Inside the Perky Peacock. It really is a tiny space!

The breakfast menu isn’t huge but it’s all homemade and what they do, they do well. Lots of people seem to stop by for a takeaway coffee and it’s easy to see why: it’s rich, strong and full of flavour.

We both went for crispy sourdough toast topped with smashed avocado and bacon and we shared a toasted bagel with lashing of butter (must have been having a hungry day!). The cakes lined up on the counter looked delicious although we didn’t try any on this occasion.

Flat lay photo of smashed avocado on toast with bacon, black coffee and orange juice
Breakfast at The Perky Peacock, York – smashed avocado on toast with bacon

It’s not every day you’ll find yourself eating breakfast next to a river in a medieval tower house…and definitely not one that feels so homely either! You should make time to stop by here – even if it’s just to have a nose around and grab a takeaway coffee.

Website: The Perky Peacock Facebook Page
Address: North Street Postern Tower, York YO1 7DJ

La Bottega

Outside Bottega cafe, York
Outside Bottega

I really liked this place as it seemed to have a real local feel about it. The staff and owners had a good rapport with lots of the locals who came in for takeaway coffees and pastries and there was a welcoming, happy, laid back atmosphere.

Italian inspired (some of the staff are Italian and it almost seemed to be a meeting point for York’s Italian community!) this little gem of a place is open from breakfast until evening and serves simple, tasty, food. The pastries and coffee are dreamy and the service is so friendly you can’t help but want to come back for more! There didn’t seem to be a queue for tables either, which is a bonus when you’re hungry and/or in a bit of a rush as we were (we had the free walking tour to get to!).

Eggs Benedict on a distressed white table at Bogetta Cafe, York
Eggs Benedict at Bottega Cafe

Website: La Bottega Facebook Page
Address: 23 Goodramgate, York YO1 7LW

Gatehouse Coffee

Another quirky little café set up in an old Gatehouse atop the city walls. It’s fairly small, but there’s lots of areas to choose to sit, including up a narrow stairwell or on the rooftop terrace to enjoy the views.

Staff are really friendly and it’s a great place to start the day – nice and relaxed with seriously yummy coffee. Although the menu isn’t huge, it’s all good quality and very tasty. I’d definitely go back sometime and try one of the cakes as they looked amazing!

Again, it’s the atmosphere and history of the place that swung it for me. Outside of York, I just can’t imagine there’s many places in the world where you can eat breakfast or stop for a coffee in such an unspoilt, well preserved medieval setting! And for that reason alone, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Website: Gatehouse Coffee Facebook Page
Address: Walmgate Bar, Walmgate, York YO10 2UB

Where is your favourite place to go for breakfast in York? Have you been to any of the cafes or coffee shops mentioned here? Leave a comment below – I’d love to know!

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