A happy night at Happy Valley York

On a rather wet Monday evening recently I headed out to meet a close friend for the evening. After a couple of drinks and a good catch up we decided we had got rather peckish so wondered out in search of food. As it was raining we didn’t fancy venturing far so decided we would dive into a place we’d walked past for years and never tried – Happy Valley.

For those of you who don’t know, Happy Valley is on Goodramgate in a small, 700 year old building. It doesn’t look much from the outside, steamed up windows through which you can just make out pictures of the menu stuck to the glass. Yet as you go through the door you are hit by an amazing range of smells, and friendly staff who direct you upstairs to the restaurant.

Once upstairs we were seated at a lovely table by the window and ordered wine, admittedly the choice is pretty easy as there is only the option of red, white or rose by the glass however it was perfectly pleasant. The food menu on the other hand is extensive. Pages of classic Chinese options such as sweet and sour, black bean dishes and stir fries. The choice was large, but helpfully for me they had separate pages for the vegetarian options. We were also served a big colander (yes you read that right) of prawn crackers which certainly kept my friend happy whilst we trawled the menu.

Choices finally made we both plumped for spring rolls to start. They came swiftly and were crispy flaky pastry tubes filled with soft slightly spicy filling. The dipping sauce they came with was lovely and sweet although could have done with a bit more chilli for my liking.


For main I went for the intriguingly titled vegetarian mapu tofu, the meat eater of us plumped for chicken satay. We couldn’t decide between noodles and rice so decided as we were rather hungry we’d try both and had fried rice and vegetable chow mein, finishing off with a plate of seaweed that we are both rather addicted to.

The food arrived pretty quickly, and it was certainly not disappointing. The vegetarian mapu tofu was basically tofu in a spicy tomato sauce. I had been warned that it was rather hot when I ordered it which it was but not overly so, it was absolutely delicious and the perfect amount of spice for me. The chicken satay was declared to be gorgeous. The vegetable chow mein was a large dish full of Chinese leaf and super soft noodles with a salty tang of soy sauce. The rice was perfectly cooked and great to use to soak up the spicy tomato sauce.


The whole table of tasty dishes was complemented perfectly by the crispy salty seaweed which was just moorish. Unfortunately as is often the case our eyes were bigger than our tummy’s and no matter how tasty we couldn’t fit it in. Yet that is no problem as they were more than happy to package up the leftovers for my friend to take home.


Happy Valley might not be the most salubrious looking place but it is most definitely worth a visit. The food was tasty, the staff were great all of them were helpful, knowledgeable and friendly, and it is excellent value for money. I would highly recommend a visit.

🍛 Meal for 2 with a drink each: £39.20

🎉 My Highlight: The Vegetarian Mapu Tofu – definitely one to try if you like a bit of spice.

🍴 If we could change one thing…
Maybe make the dipping sauce with the spring rolls a little spicier but that’s all!

Overall ratings:

Cand ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️

Restaurant details: Happy Valley



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