They may not be the most talked about restaurants in the city, but they sure are good…
It’s easy to fall into a rut, visiting your favourite restaurants again and again without ever trying anywhere new, but if you do, you could miss out on a real gem. So next time you’re planning date night or dinner with friends, why not try one of these criminally underrated restaurants? Each one promises a delicious feed in a unique setting, and yet somehow, they still fly under the radar.
A well-kept secret, loved by those who know it, Tavernaki is consistently good. This is traditional Greek food served in a restaurant that’s guaranteed to bring a little sunshine to your day. Stuffed vine leaves, crispy calamari and grilled halloumi all vie for attention on a menu with enough starters to create a sharing feast, but there’s more to come. Hearty portions of moussaka and beef stifado will inevitably tempt you, but it’s their souvlaki skewers that often win out.
Tavernaki, 18 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3DW.
Wen’s is a down-to-earth restaurant with a menu chock-full of authentic Chinese dishes you’ll rarely find on these shores. Have you ever tried cubed tofu doused with fiery chilli oil? Or tucked into crispy pork in homemade sweet and sour sauce? These are the dishes that’ll keep you coming back to this unassuming gem for more. And like any good Beijing-style restaurant, the dumplings are the real score. Handmade with love, they’re stuffed with tasty fillings and come with perfectly crisp bottoms.
Wen’s Restaurant, 72-74 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.
Hidden in the business district, in a basement under an ordinary-looking office building, La Taberna is an undiscovered gem that too few know about. It’s petite, with only a limited number of tables, but if you bag one, you’ll be treated to a procession of classic Spanish tapas. Padrón peppers, aubergine fritters, flat iron steak and garlic prawns make marvellous bedfellows, but come hungry enough and you can add chargrilled lamb cutlets and spicy chorizo into the mix.
La Taberna, Basement, Britannia House, 16 York Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2EU.
At first glance, Noodle House looks like your standard fast food joint, and all credit to them, they’ll get your order out stat, but this is more than just a takeaway. It’s an education in Chinese and Malaysian cooking – steaming bowls of noodle soups come with fish balls, braised beef or plump dumplings, while quarter, half and whole roasted ducks are joined by soy chicken and crispy pork belly. Feeling adventurous? Try pork liver congee or spicy poached fish in red chilli oil.
Noodle House, 20 Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PQ.
Despite being distinctly different to its peers, Phranakhon goes almost unnoticed. They serve their Thai dishes in small plates, inviting you to share with your friends and try a little bit of everything. The menu is vast and all-encompassing. Pad Thai, massaman and tom yam kung all make an appearance, but you can also test your tastebuds against new finds, like pal rad prik (sweet and sour crispy sea bass) or mun tord (battered chips topped with chilli and curry sauce).
Phranakhon, 11 York Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2DS.
It’s a mystery how Teppanyaki can go unnoticed. Tucked away just around the corner from Belgrave Music Hall, it’s a Japanese restaurant with flair. Here, dinner and entertainment go hand-in-hand – round up your mates and gather around to watch your own personal chef whip up a delicious feast. Expect epic fire displays, egg juggling and games aplenty as you’re invited to take on a medley of food-centric challenges that will make for a memorable night out.
Teppanyaki, Belgrave Hall, Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8DD.Cover image credit: Bevan Cockerill.