It’s time to explore the city and unearth the hidden restaurants that have eluded you all this time…
From a luxurious underground steakhouse to a vegan cafe tucked away in a popular bar, these Leeds eateries are hidden in the most unexpected places. But while they may not be easy to find, you can rest assured that they’re well worth seeking out. So what are you waiting for?
A basement wonderland of street food, that’s what awaits at Assembly Underground. You could very easily walk right past it, but seek out the entrance, tucked away below street level on Great George Street and you’ll be treated to a feast of flavours. There’s burgers and loaded fries from Slap and Pickle, Arabic wraps courtesy of The Falafel Guys, juicy Brazilian BBQ fare from Bread and Butter and Punjabi curries from Jah Jyot. Wash it down with a beer from Vocation Brewery’s in-house bar for the perfect combo.
Assembly Underground, 12 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AL.
You could walk right past Gaucho without even realising it’s there – but this underground restaurant is well worth seeking out. Inside it’s a glam affair, with cowhide furniture and glitzy lighting, but the real appeal of Gaucho is the food. It’s an Argentinian steakhouse and they pride themselves on their knowledge – which is why they’ll bring a meat board to your table and talk you through the different cuts, which include ancho (ribeye), lomo (fillet), cuadril (rump) and chorizo (sirloin). This is steak, with added class.
Gaucho, 21-22 Park Row, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5JF.
Cantina is the city’s first 100% vegan cafe, but it’s tucked away inside another venue, so unless you know it’s there, you’ll never stumble upon it on your own. You’ll find it on the first floor above The Old Red Bus Station – it’s a laid-back eatery with a hefty menu of vegan eats made with ethically-sourced local produce. You can go for one of their burgers like the Seitan Sizzler, a battered seitan patty smothered in habanero dressing and hot sauce. Or why not try something different, like the Mac’s Back, which is a mac ‘n’ cheeze patty with garlic mayo and baecon bits?
Cantina at The Old Red Bus Station, 101 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.
Mans Market is just a doorway in the corner of West Point, but walk down the stairs, past the waving cats, and you’ll soon realise you’ve found something special. It’s a cool, modern restaurant that defies expectations, turning classic Chinese dishes into something new. There’s beef in black bean sauce served in the shell of a pepper or you can try their char siu bao buns, topped with caramelised soy onions.
Mans Market, Unit F, Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4JJ.
Matt Healy x The Foundry
Deep within the twisting, turning labyrinth that is Holbeck Urban Village, you’ll find Matt Healy x The Foundry. The man behind this unique eatery is a former runner-up on MasterChef: The Professionals and his first restaurant focuses on laidback fine dining. This is classic British fare, taken to new heights, so expect dishes like Sous Vide Duck Breast with roasted fennel and baby figs, alongside Salt Aged Beef Fillet with potato fondant, grilled onion and PX sauce.
Matt Healy x The Foundry, 1 Saw Mill Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5WH.
Sous le Nez
Classy French restaurant Sous le Nez may be in the basement of The Quebec Hotel but that hasn’t stopped it becoming a real Leeds favourite for over 25 years. Expect refined French cooking in a traditional setting as you tuck into seared pigeon breasts with fondant potato, roast parsnips, black pudding and rosemary jus or pan-fried lamb’s liver with mini Toulouse sausages, lentil broth and onion puree. Why not pair your meal with something from their impressive wine list?
Sous le Nez, The Basement, Quebec House, 9 Quebec Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2HA.