The Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Leeds

· Andrew Porter-Emery · Eating Out

Foodies rejoice! Get ready for refined dining.

Cora

Luxury, elegance and chefs that know how to wow are the hallmarks of these fine dining restaurants in Leeds.

There’s nothing quite like dining out at a posh restaurant, and Leeds is fabulously full of them. They’re a place to indulge, to celebrate, to mark an occasion or, heck, just to see what that big-name chef can do. Here you’ll find fresh takes on old ingredients, Michelin Star marvels and even humble dishes elevated to genius-like levels. Go on, treat yourself, you deserve it.

Chef Jono at V&V

You can’t just taste the confidence and creativity of chef-patron Jono Hawthorne – you can see it too. This Masterchef: The Professionals finalist knows how to make a plate of food look good. Of course, that would mean nothing if it didn’t also tease and tempt the tastebuds. Happily, dishes like smoked cheese with peas and bacon dashi, or Yorkshire duck with beetroot, hazelnut and chocolate show a playful side that doesn’t neglect flavour. Seabass, cockles and caviar with wild mushrooms and croissant velouté is a fish dinner gone brilliantly berserk.

Chef Jono at V & V, 68 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU. Signature tasting menu served Wednesday to Saturday. Vegan and vegetarian menus available.

HOME

Home Restaurant 2021

HOME continues to go from strength to strength in its new, erm, home. Liz Cottam’s outstanding restaurant has an affinity with the seasons that is reflected in a menu that’s constantly evolving, while even the decor is the result of local collaboration, not just the food. Kick off with the king of amuse bouches – oyster and caviar paired with a glass of fizz – then strap your metaphorical goggles on for culinary chemistry. Perhaps you can try the salted caramel and rum pain perdu dessert, but brace yourselves for a few surprises.

HOME, 3 Brewery Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1NE. 8-course and 10-course tasting menus available.

Tattu

Tattu Winter 2021

With its sleek interior and innovative take on Chinese food, Tattu has become a date night classic. Beyond the cherry blossom trees and lavish interior, this is one of the most fun and accessible fine dining spots in Leeds. It’s flexible too, with a trio of tasting menus that take the stress out of choosing. If you prefer to pursue your own path, choose from modern Asian-fusion treasures such as Japanese blakc wagyu, Shanghai black cod and a special side of duck egg and Chinese sausage fried rice. Desserts and cocktails are spectacular crowd-pleasers.

Tattu, 29 East Parade, Minerva House, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5PS. Tasting menu and a la carte available.

The Box Tree

The Box Tree

Tucked away inside a gorgeous 18th-century building, The Box Tree has been delighting diners for generations. Executive Chef Simon Gueller has modernised the decor and menu over the last 15 plus years, but the food remains the star attraction. You can judge many a restaurant on the quality of their bread, and the sourdough that sets your meal off here is perfection itself. After that you’ll be treated to curry spiced monkfish, then Yorkshire duck breast with confit duck and yukon gold tartlet. Push the boat out with accompanying wine flights.

The Box Tree, 35-37 Church Street, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 9DR. Lunch and tasting menus available.

Issho

Issho

Issho has taken Japanese food in Leeds to another level – in more ways than one. Head upstairs in Victoria Gate and you’ll enter a dining room where the oriental influence is present but also muted, the space opened up for fabulous views of the city. The food keeps pace, with wrigglingly-fresh platters of sushi and sashimi one way to go. Alternatively, their hot dishes are real talking points, especially the squid karaage with black ink and garlic aioli, crispy soft shell crab with courgette and miso black cod.

Issho, Victoria Gate, George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7AU. Set menu and a la carte available.

The Man Behind the Curtain

The Man Behind the Curtain

Credit: Allen Markey

Perhaps the king of fine dining restaurants in Leeds, The Man Behind the Curtain still boasts the only Michelin star in Leeds, and that’s because the menu tastes so much better than it reads. ‘Emancipation’ doesn’t tell you much, but this spectacular dish-cum-piece of art is a masterpiece of cured cod, dash, vinegar and charred gem lettuce that wowed the judges on Great British Menu. Book in for the evening set dinner and you’ll lose count of the courses, caught up in a whirl of incredible flavours and eccentric presentation.

The Man Behind The Curtain, 68-78 Vicar Lane, Lower Ground Floor, Flannels, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7JH. Set lunch and dinner available.

Crafthouse

Crafthouse Tasting Menu

Credit: Will Stanley

With a serene setting both indoors and out, Crafthouse is a wonderful place to celebrate a birthday, entertain a client or just eat like there’s no tomorrow. The seven-course tasting menu is the main event, taking you from seared scallops with whipped cod roe to a Valrhona chocolate and raspberry pave by way of Gressingham duck breast and more besides. Go a la carte for Josper-grilled grass-fed steaks or a very luxe lobster and chips. At lunch, the two or three-course set menu is a cheap-as-chips option that still delivers fine dining flair.

Crafthouse, Level 5, Trinity, 70 Boar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HW. A la carte, seven-course tasting and set menu available.

Shears Yard

Shears Yard

Credit: Will Stanley

Shears Yard is a veteran at this fine dining lark, with a pedigree in Leeds city centre that goes back decades. Their tasting menu will put you through seven courses, with an optional course of fresh oyster with yuzu kosho and sesame furikake. Homemade bread and butter will trigger your appetite before the white onion and pale ale velouté with parmesan and truffle puff pastry. Then it’s stone bass fillet with squash masala, followed by a sirloin cannon, braised beef and truffle orzo. Dessert comes two ways with a cheese course afterwards.

Shears Yard, 11-15 Wharf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EH. A la carte available. Vegan and gluten-free menus also available.

The Swine That Dines

The Swine That Dines

The brainchild of Jo and Stu Myers, The Swine That Dines is a true original. They’re masters at taking whatever is in season and fashioning a fresh menu from what’s available. It’s only open for lunch and dinner from Thursday to Saturday, which allows them the time to innovate and work kitchen alchemy on their ingredients. Dishes like cured duck liver with cornbread and pickle shiitake shine wile coley with summer beans and smoked oyster aioli will convert many a fish-dodger. Pair with wines from Leeds’ own Latitude.

The Swine That Dines, 58 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN. A la carte only.

Kendells Bistro

Kendells Bistro

© Copyright Leeds-List 2022 by Aimee Stevens

With its vintage posters, candles and hints of art deco, Kendells couldn’t be more French if it rode up to you on a bicycle, wearing a Breton shirt with a chain of garlic around its neck. This is the place to go for Gallic grub that feels thoroughly authentic. Take a tour de France around the classics – escargots with garlic butter, a mighty French onion soup with Gruyère. Steaks are perfect, while Confit de Canard (slow-cooked duck leg with roasted potatoes) is one of several winter warming winners. Leave room for the exemplary tarte Tatin or creme brûlée.

Kendells Bistro, 3 St Peter’s Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS9 8AH. A la carte only.

FINT

Fettle Pork Benedict

The kitchen at FINT is so good that even their brunch seems like one of the best fine dining affairs in Leeds. The tarragon velouté, vegan chorizo, roasted squash and pumpkin seeds gnocchi give you more than a hint of what’s to come in the evening. Available from 4.30pm from Wednesday to Saturday only, it’s a pared-down but punchy two or three-course menu. Mackerel smorrebrod is the pick of the starters, bay-roasted pork belly and mushroom linguine so good you’ll want to lick the plate clean. There are gluten-free and vegan options all the way too.

FINT, 73 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BR. Brunch/lunch and dinner a la carte available.

Ox Club

Ox Club

Credit: Reece Leung

Ox Club has risen like a phoenix from the flames – a solid-fuel grill restaurant that is better than ever. Don’t tell yourself ‘I won’t fill up on the bread’ – the chicken schmaltz served with the grilled sourdough is so delectable you could bathe in it. The menu dances through chalk stream trout with leek chowder, ox cheek with a bone marrow mash and stunning steaks. If you’re in the mood for sharing, the rib of beef or kilo of cote du boeuf are big, bold and beautiful. Even the sides are special – hallelujah for parsnips tossed in a Jameson’s whiskey butter.

Ox Club, 19a The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 6PU. A la carte only.

Hern

Hern, Chapel Allerton

Proof that small really is beautiful comes in the form of Chapel Allerton’s Hern. This compact restaurant puts the onus on what’s in season when menu planning, leading to dishes that make their ingredients sing. Chef Rab Adams is unfussy but highly skilled, putting real heart into winners such as smoked eel with vegetable broth and stewed kale, or a hearty roast venison haunch with celeriac and pickled quince. There’s no pretension here – this is a neighbourhood restaurant with an excellent, innovative chef at the helm.

Hern, 5 Stainbeck Corner, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 3PG. Dinner is 4 courses.

Gaucho

Gaucho

Steak, glorious steak. At Gaucho, it’s all about the deep flavour of Argentinian beef, served in plush surroundings that feel like a treat. It’s a place to get dressed up, but with the food still front and centre. You can dive straight into the cow with a beef tartare starter, but there are also refreshing and delicate shrimp ceviche and oozing burrata. Steaks come in eight different cuts – nine if you count the Chateaubriand – ready to be dressed with rich sauces and tempting toppings such as chorizo butter or bone marrow.

Gaucho, 21-22 Park Row, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5JF. Set menus and a la carte available.

Ibérica

Iberica, tapas

Fine dining restaurants in Leeds aren’t all about tasting menus and a sense of the spectacular. In fact, some of the best food in the city can be found in small plate spots such as Iberica. The glorious room helps, a former auction house turned into a temple of spectacular Spanish tapas. Warm up with some jamón Ibérico and cured cheese before the mouthwatering main event. Tortilla is served quivering like it should be, the twice-cooked lamb lifted with red peppers and marinated cherry tomatoes. Dessert? Churros with chocolate, ta.

Ibérica, Hepper House, 17a East Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2BH. A a carte only.

Heaney & Mill

Heaney & Mill

© Copyright Leeds-List 2022 by Oliver Dixon Photography

A family-run gem, Heaney & Mill punches well above its weight, serving refined food at a keen price. International influences are woven into the menu, such as in a starter of seared tuna carpaccio with homemade king prawn toast and Asian slaw. The same is true of a black truffle risotto, but the kitchen also does modern British brilliantly. Don’t miss the treacle-glazed pork cheeks with Welsh rarebit mash and Worcestershire cream sauce. The dessert menu offers banoffee cheesecake and an apple & blackcurrant crumble pie to be treasured.

Heaney & Mill, 48 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2AL. A la carte only.

CORA

Cora Restaurant

Another venture from the tireless Elizabeth Cottam, CORA brings the same attention to detail and culinary chops of HOME to Boston Spa. It’s a brill bakehouse, which does a mighty fine breakfast and afternoon tea, but the lunch menu is a real find too. Roast poussin with cheddar stuffing and Madeira sauce manages the tough act of being hearty and delicate, while the torched mackerel is surrounded by tzatsiki and caviar for a lighter lunch. Desserts are spectacular too, the blackberry fool with salted hazelnut gelato the pudding of dreams.

CORA, 162 High Street, Boston Spa, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS23 6BW. A la carte and tasting menu available.

Sous Le Nez

Sous Le Nez

Sous Le Nez is very much the godfather of fine dining restaurants in Leeds. It has quietly occupied the same basement spot for what feels like centuries without ever letting standards slip. There’s real French flair in dishes like a timeless Bourguignon made with Yorkshire game and served with buttered spring onion mashed potato. The meat cooking is exemplary, whether it’s the belly pork, chicken supreme, coley fillet or well-aged steaks. The white chocolate mousse takes your tongue on a trip down the Seine for the perfect end to a perfect meal.

Sous Le Nez, The Basement, Quebec House, 9 Quebec Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2HA. A la carte and set menus available.

Owl

The Owl Restaurant

From the same stable as HOME and CORA, Owl sits on Lockside, boasting scenic views over the river. Mark Owens is the man in the kitchen, conjuring up dishes with a game and fish angle. Where else can you delight in North Yorkshire mallard with fennel, rose and Jerusalem artichoke? Glazed rare breed pork surrenders to your fork, paired with scallop and squash, while a plum and milk bread pudding with almond custard and plum soup redefines comfort food. Finish with petit fours and a warm glow of satisfaction.

The Owl, Lockside, Mustard Wharf, Mustard Approach, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4EY. Chef’s table and a la carte available.