A quirky wine bar, a Greek restaurant that brings the holiday vibes and a Scandinavian cafe you’ll want to come back to…
No matter how long you’ve lived in the city, there are probably still a few places you haven’t tried – but that means you could be missing out on something amazing, so we’ve put together a little list of independent bars, cafes and restaurants that you need to seek out. From loaded plates of meat to hand-picked wines and roast dinners to takeaway, start working your way through the list.
A little gem tucked away in the business district, you could go your whole life without stumbling upon Wino – but what a travesty that would be. It’s an intimate venue with loads of personality – from the hand-painted murals on the wall to the friendly service behind the bar. The wine menu is surprisingly diverse with 31 different labels for you to choose from. Will it be a French Malbec, a New Zealand Sauvignon or an Italian Pinot Grigio? Why not couple your wine with one of their cheese or charcuterie boards?
Wino, 69 St Paul’s Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2TE.
You might remember Caracas Grill from its stint on Duncan Street – it’s no longer there, but it didn’t close, it just moved. You’ll now find it on York Place, where they serve up their own take on Venezuelan BBQ. It’s all about meat here, so prepare to get a hefty dose of protein. You can get a loaded Galipán Pepito, that’s a hefty French baguette filled with barbecued meat to you and me. Or why not skip the bread and get a Parrilla? Couple a big pile of chicken, steak or sausage with your choice of sides.
Caracas Grill, Britannia House, 16 York Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2EU.
A cracking little Greek restaurant hidden in plain sight, Souvlaki is often overlooked, but once you’ve been, you’ll definitely go back. It’s a wonderful summery venue that will evoke memories of your favourite holidays with bright sunny murals and delicious Greek flavours. They’ve got all the classics here, with Keftédes, Beef Stifado and Mousaka, but the real highlight is their Souvlaki skewers. You can choose from chicken, lamb pork or halloumi, each marinated in Greek herbs and olive oil, then served with salad, pitta and spiced chips.
Souvlaki, 18 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3DW.
If Coffee Bar
Call Lane is best known for its evening offering, but if you come during the day, you’re in for a nice surprise, because it’s also home to one of the city’s coolest coffee shops. Spread over two floors, with an indoors-outdoors vibe, it’s the perfect place to while away an hour with quality coffee and tasty eats. Our top tip? Try the pancakes. They come stacked high and topped with bacon, maple syrup and pecans. Want something savoury? You can get everything from breakfast burritos to pulled pork melts.
If Coffee Bar, 43 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BT
Man v Roast
Yes, it’s out in the suburbs, but Man v Roast is worth the extra effort. It’s a different kind of carvery, the kind where quality ingredients meet super-cheap prices. In fact, you can get a proper Sunday dinner for just £4.50, to eat in or even takeaway. You can get two meats with a choice of turkey, beef, gammon, pork, sausage and lamb (the last one is 40p extra) – and you won’t be lacking sides. It’s served up with stuffing, vegetables, mash, roasties and cauliflower cheese, with a Yorkshire pudding and lashings of gravy.
Man v Roast, 144 Cardigan Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1LL.
A little Scandinavian style cafe in Oakwood, it’s easy to find an excuse to visit Stories. Come summer, you can nip by for an indulgent but nutritious breakfast before you head out on a walk around Roundhay Park. Try the banana pancakes with homemade blueberry jam, yoghurt and fresh fruit – or go for one of their gourmet toast options. The chickpea flatbread with Syrian red pepper and walnut spread, whipped feta and dukkah is out of this world. Couple it with one of their expertly made coffees or cold-pressed juices.
Stories, 454 Roundhay Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2HU.
Kirkgate’s latest opening is a hybrid bar-cum-shop. Downstairs, you’ll find a stripped back bar with a welcoming attitude – think exposed brickwork, original plaster and Lego embedded into the very walls. They have a little beer garden out back, extra space upstairs and a totally dog-friendly attitude, which makes us love them all the more. Sup craft beer, real ales, cider and spirits, with a tantalising array of bar snacks (who could resist those pork pies?) then head upstairs to flick through second hand records in Paula’s Record Store on the top floor.
Doghouse Bar and Record Store, 90 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.