Bored of the same old lunch? Mix up your midday meal with these out of the ordinary eats.
Lunch never has to be dull thanks to these 15 Leeds restaurants. From Korean BBQ to Turkish street food, Yorkshire pudding wraps and huge bowls of hummus, there’s loads of interesting bites for you to snaffle across the city. They’re all quick, easy and deliciously different, with plenty of healthy options too, so what are you waiting for? Ditch that sarnie and inject some flavour into your lunchtime.
Fast, fresh and loaded with vibrant Indian flavours, if you’re looking for a downright delicious lunch in Leeds, make a beeline for Rola Wala in Trinity Kitchen. They put an epic twist on Indian street food and their naan rolls are a must-try. You can get yours loaded with everything from chicken tikka to Keralan chickpea, Bengali spiced beef and vegan red dal. Add your choice of fresh veggies and salsa before it’s all wrapped up. For a guilt-free lunchtime treat, you can even swap the naan with a low-carb cauliflower rice bowl.
Rola Wala, Trinity Kitchen, 27 Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5AT.
You can tuck into a wide array of plant-based dishes at Cantina, the city’s first all-vegan eatery. Order a couple of their bar snacks for a quick and easy lunchtime bite like BBQ jackfruit wings and mac ’n’ cheeze. Or go all out with one of their burgers. The BBQ blue is a battered seitan patty smothered in BBQ sauce and loaded with tofu baecon and blue cheeze. Served with seasoned fries, it makes for a hearty feed that’ll fuel you through the rest of your day.
Cantina, The Old Red Bus Station, 104 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.
Simpatico specialises in proper Roman-style pizzas that have perfectly crisp crusts and fluffy tops, so if you’re craving a slice this is where to go for lunch in Leeds. Alongside classics like margherita and pepperoni, you’ll find a slew of experimental creations. Think hummus bases, Yorkshire pudding pizzas and a full English on a ready-to-eat slice. They’re constantly changing their menu with new and inventive treats for you to try each time you visit.
Simpatico, 16 Queens Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LF.
You can switch up your usual lunchtime fare with traditional Vietnamese cuisine from Bun Mese. They have an extensive menu of South East Asian specialities, like deliciously healthy rice paper rolls, piping hot noodle broths and authentic sticky rice made from a top-secret recipe. Fancy a sandwich? Tuck into their bánh mì, Vietnamese baguettes filled with pork pate, pickled carrot, fresh salad and your choice of crackling pork, grilled chicken, steak or tofu – it certainly beats your regular sarnie.
Bun Mese, 77A Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BR.
Step into Zaap Thai’s colourful restaurant and you’ll be transported to the streets of Bangkok, with neon shop signs on the walls, tuk tuks you can eat in and loads of authentic Thai street food. In fact, there are over 80 dishes for you to try. Why not go for the pad kee mao? It brings together rice noodles, fresh veg, Thai spices and your choice of meat in one fiery bowl. If you’re not feeling the heat, try the gang kiew wan tofu, a creamy green Thai curry packed with chunks of tofu.
Zaap Thai, 22 Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
Humpit are hummus experts and they serve up their delicious homemade recipe by the bowlful at the Corn Exchange. Have it the traditional way with whole chickpeas and warm pitta to dip in or load your bowl with a variety of toppings – there’s falafel, salsa, pickles, fresh salad leaves and spiced mushrooms, to name just a few. If you don’t have time to sit and dip, you can get the same tasty ingredients packed into a pitta that’s easy to eat on the go.
Humpit, Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BR.
If you’re looking for a more exotic lunch in Leeds, head to Kada’s. It’s a Mediterraean and Middle Eastern eatery where you can tuck into heaving mezze platters and feast on Persian kufta flatbreads. But it’s their tapas selection that’s the real star of the show. You can mix-and-match small plates like spicy sausage, homemade falafel and dolmeh. Served with toasted bread, tzatziki, hummus, olives and spicy Moroccan sauce, it makes for a flavour-packed feed.
Kada’s, 5 Crown Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DA.
Bulgogi Grill is a Korean BBQ restaurant, so get your tongs at the ready because you’ll be cooking your own lunch. Take your pick of their specially marinaded pork, beef, duck or seafood and then cook it to your own taste on the grill that’s built into every table. Each dish comes with lettuce leaves to wrap it up in with rice and Korean sauces. It’s an entertaining way to have lunch and you’ll get to chow down on some delicious grub too – what’s not to love?
Bulgogi Grill, The Arena Quarter, 9 Merrion Way, Merrion Centre, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BT.
Yorkshire Wrap Co
You can gorge on the ultimate Yorkshire pudding at the Yorkshire Wrap Co. They’ve transformed the humble pud into a deliciously filling roast dinner wrap. Load yours with slow cooked beef, red cabbage and horseradish or roast pork, stuffing and apple sauce, before it’s finished with lashings of gravy and wrapped up in a freshly made Yorkshire. If you’re after something even more unusual, they also do an all-day breakfast version that’s filled with bacon, sausage, egg and tomato – don’t knock it ‘til you try it.
Yorkshire Wrap Co, Kirkgate Market, 28-34 George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.
Fettle offers an array of tasty clean eats, inspired by cuisines from across the world. You can try the shakshuka, a hearty vegetable stew, brimming with North African spices. Or if you’re feeling particularly hungry, go for their vegan-friendly gnocchi. You’ll get a warming bowl of freshly made pasta, smothered in cashew cream with edamame and spinach pesto. Leave room for a dessert though, because the chocolate delice is a naughty but oh-so-nice lunchtime treat.
Fettle, 73 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BR.
Little Bao Boy
Little Bao Boy specialises in serving up soft and fluffy bao buns stuffed to bursting with Asian-fusion fillings. The KFB brings together homemade fried chicken and sriracha mayo or you can go for the Beef Brisket – it comes with slow-cooked meat marinated in a sweet chilli, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and five-spice blend. No meat? No problem – the salt and pepper tofu bao is particularly delicious. Whatever you choose, you can enjoy two buns for £7 between 11am and 2pm every day, so it makes for a cheap lunch out in Leeds.
Little Bao Boy, North Brewing Co. Tap Room, 3 Sovereign Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BA.
Why not enjoy a taste of Istanbul on your next lunch break? Mr Mackerel serve up a host of delectable Turkish street food dishes from their stall in Kirkgate Market. You can get grilled mackerel sandwiches and skewers, but don’t let the name fool you – it’s not just about the fish here. In fact, it’s their sizzling chicken shish kebabs that are a must-try. Marinated in a top-secret blend of spices and served with flatbread, salad and your choice of rice or chips, it’s a delicious feast that’ll only set you back a fiver.
Mr Mackerel, Leeds Kirkgate Market, 28-34 George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.
Inject a taste of Colombia into your lunchtime at Kanassa. It’s a 100% veggie food stall in Kirkgate Market that serves up delectable South American eats. You can tuck into spiced aubergine empanadas, an aromatic plantain curry and authentic manchego-filled arepas. Feeling extra hungry? Go for their Bandeja Paisa that brings together heaps of sticky fried plantain, pineapple slaw, black beans, arepas, guac and a fried egg in one mighty meal.
Kanassa, Leeds Kirkgate Market, 34 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.
Senbon Sakura is a fantastic Japanese restaurant that just might’ve flown under your radar. Decked out with colourful murals and cherry blossom garlands, it’s full of character and their food is deliciously authentic. Their menu has everything from from katsu curry to prawn tempura, miso soup to chilli chicken ramen. Sushi lovers won’t be disappointed either as they have a huge range of freshly prepared rolls to snack on.
Senbon Sakura, 71 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BR.
If you haven’t tried one of Falafel Guys’ legendary wraps yet, you need to snaffle one ASAP. Head to their food truck on Briggate or to their stall in Assembly Underground and you’ll be treated to a flatbread loaded with falafel, halloumi, chicken shawarma or any combination of the three. Smothered with traditional Arabic hummus, tahini, fresh salad, lashings of sauce and a pickled chilli, it’s a real treat for the tastebuds. On a health kick? You can get all the same deliciousness in a salad box.
Falafel Guys, outside Marks and Spencer, 47 Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HF and Assembly Underground, 12 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AL.Cover image credit: Chapter 81