The boss of one of York’s top restaurants says it is a "total shock" his venue has scored poorly for food hygiene.

Nola in Lendal was inspected by City of York Council on July 7, receiving a one-star rating, meaning ‘major improvements necessary.’

This contrasts with the five-stars it had been expecting following a pre-inspection.

Diners also rate the venue highly, giving it an average 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor, making it 30th best out of 585 restaurants in York. Some 327 out of 404 reviews rated it excellent, with just six calling it poor or terrible.

Reviewers this week also praised Nola as "fantastic" with "superb food and jazz".


The Food Standards Agency says Nola was good for cleanliness and the condition of the facilities and the building, but improvement was necessary for hygienic food handling. The management of food safety also needs major improvement, it added.

A council report noted defects including a “lack of staff awareness of food safety issues” which suggested “a lack of management controls over food operations".

The report also recalled how kitchen assistants handled mince, giving a potential for cross-contamination. There was no designated area for storing raw meat. There was also “inadequate awareness” of food hygiene amongst staff, it added.

York Press:

Nola’s general manager Aldo Spinello told the Press: “The rating was a total shock to us and much worse than we were expecting. We had a pre inspection from the council and everything was fine. We were expecting five stars.”

Aldo confirmed: “However, on the day of the inspection there was a problem where the raw meat preparation was being done before service, and the cleaning of the area afterwards.

“We have worked closely with the council regarding retraining, and we are expecting a reinspection soon.

“We feel our standards are really high and this was an unfortunate incident that has reflected badly on ourselves.”


Nola opened in July 2021 in the former Rustique offering a taste of French-influenced New Orleans food and live jazz.

Fehim Kaya and Daniel Broom are behind the venture in Lendal, which saw the building completely refurbished, creating 35 jobs. The building is a former congregational chapel and the business partners also own the surviving Rustique in Castlegate.

Aldo says many businesses are closing in York and he believes there is a lack of support from the council.

York Press:

Recently, Lendal was closed to traffic for eight weeks, making the restaurant appear closed, causing people who had booked to ring in and ask why.

“We do lots of walk-ins because of the position of the restaurant,” he said.

Aldo added: “As an independent business we serve fresh food and deliver original experience like the live jazz, 1920's décor and ambiance. We are unique in York. We are proud for what we do. This our daily target - make our guests happy.”