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Get Your Sweet, Sour and Spice On at the Best Chinese Restaurants in Leeds

· Ruth Hargreaves · Food and Drink

Fancy Chinese tonight? Here’s where to go.

Tattu BBQ Sampler

Whether you’re after a much-loved local or something a little more lavish, these Chinese restaurants are sure to hit the spot.

Leeds is a hotbed for delicious international food, but which Chinese restaurants are the stuff that fortune cookie dreams are made of? Whether you’re bonkers for a buffet, passionate about prawn toast or get hot under the collar for spicy Sichuan, this is the best Chinese food to be found in Leeds.

1. G-Wu

G-Wu Restaurant

This buzzing, Moortown local gets absolutely packed out on the weekend and once you’ve been you’ll understand why. They serve traditional Chinese food, with flair in a rather swish environment.

The 120-cover restaurant upstairs feels modern and churns out such popular favourites like crispy aromatic duck, but they also cater for special occasions with extravagant dishes like braised lobster with ginger, and aubergine stuffed with delicate prawn meat. It’s all fresh and well cooked – bonus points are awarded for their extensive vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menus.

G-Wu, Stainburn Parade, 300 Harrogate Road, Moortown, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 6LY.

2. Crown Chinese

Crown Buffet

Just a few minutes from the city centre lies Crown Chinese – they’re masters of the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. Yet the term buffet is slightly misleading, because they bring everything to your table freshly-cooked. That’s right, upon arrival, you’ll have two hours to order whatever, and however much, you like from the generous menu.

Their kitchen is literally your oyster, but if you can resist the main buffet, the pearl in this oyster is undoubtedly the all-you-can-eat hotpot. A simmering broth packed with flavour arrives with a huge selection of fresh meats, seafood, vegetables and noodles, which you cook yourself at the table. It’s delicious, fun and means you can stuff your face at your own pace – the service can be a little hit and miss during busy times.

Crown Chinese, Academy Building, Gower Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PX.

3. Mans Market

Mans Market

Mans Market is fresh from Hong Kong and promises food-lovers classic Chinese cuisine with a twist. To keep up with the Leeds city slickers, this is a restaurant with wow factor and the combination of neon lighting, wooden pallets and exposed pipework gives it a quirky, industrial vibe. Let’s be honest, it’s ‘hip’, but thankfully it’s not style over substance.

A wide array of dim sum and sharing platters dominate the menu and are high on flavour – the crispy chilli beef is a must. They serve takeaway boxes at lunchtime, Saturdays welcome dim sum brunches (with the bonus of bottomless prosecco) and they do 2-4-1 cocktails on weekday evenings. What’s that you hear? Oh, just the sound of a whole lot of boxes being ticked.

Mans Market, Unit F, West Point, Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4JJ.

4. Maxi’s Restaurant

Maxi's Chinese Restaurant

Specialising in Cantonese and Peking cuisine, Maxi’s is a behemoth on city’s Chinese restaurant scene. It’s a bit of a Leeds institution – the 200-cover dining room is adorned with carved dragons, red tablecloths (it’s lucky, dontcha know?) and ornate tiles as far as the eye can see.

The menu is designed for sharing, so max out on as much dim sum and main dishes as your group can handle, place it all on the rotating podium in the centre of the table and go to town. This is Chinese food down as it should be, and indeed the majority of the clientele here are Chinese. Portions are generous, the value is excellent (especially the lunch menu) and if you’ve never tried a sweet char siu bun, make this the place you do it – they’re to die for.

Maxi’s Restaurant, 6 Bingley Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS3 1LX. Maxi’s also has a rotisserie inside Kirkgate Market that serves roasted meats, cakes and and buns to take away.

5. North Sea

Chinese restuarants in Leedsh

Take a seat at this long-standing, family-run Chinese restaurant in Pudsey and you’ll be dining alongside loyal regulars who’ve been enjoying the home-cooked fare here for over 20 years. Little seems to have changed decor-wise during that time, but the faithful patronage is testament to North Sea’s consistent high-quality.

Fresh ingredients are presented with utmost care from a menu packed with all your favourites. Crunchy beef with chilli, spiced steamed sea bass and succulent roast pork with vermicelli noodles are standouts, while for veggies there’s a welcome choice of tofu-based dishes. Staff know their food like the back of their hand and are excellent at recommending dishes. This is un-fussed cooking at its best, so good you may even decide to do a little victory jig on the adjacent dance floor once your dinner has settled.

North Sea, 40 Town Street, Stanningley, Pudsey, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS28 6EZ.

6. Tattu

Tattu

Credit: Joe Giacomet

If you’re after a luxury experience with exquisitely presented Chinese food and a blow-your-socks off interior, head to Tattu. Located in the heart of Leeds, Tattu’s unassuming exterior gives little hint to the impressive Chinese restaurant that lies within, which includes a giant cherry blossom tree reaching across much of the dining space.

It would be all too easy for the food to fall short of the expectations set by the decor, but it doesn’t. The style continues with a creative menu full of lesser-known treats like wagyu dumpling dim sum, Peking duck buns and chilli-crusted tofu with kohlrabi. The desserts are a masterclass in creative cooking – try the baked lotus flower with lemon meringue, honey and plum. And the huge sharing cocktails make proceedings all the more fun. It’s not everyday dining, this is high-end fare at high-end prices, but it’s worth it.

Tattu, 29 East Parade, Minerva House, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5PS.

7. Zen Rendezvous

Chinese restuarants in Leeds

Another cherished family-run local, Zen Rendezvous in Guiseley put a lot of love into what they do. It’s apparent from the buzzing atmosphere, the well-cooked food and the welcoming staff, many of whom the clientele know by name. There are plenty of smiling faces here, and most of that is down to the tasty Chinese food that’s served mostly Cantonese style. That means oodles of sweet and sour dishes, crispy roasted meats and bucket loads of stir-fried noodles with generous toppings.

The soft shell crab is a triumph of tender meat and subtle seasoning, although the set menus are also delicious and represent superb value for money – the four-course weekday menu is particularly tempting. Stop here for a welcoming Leeds Chinese that knows how to make their customers feel special. Oh, and for the cocktails. Always for the cocktails.

Zen Rendezvous, 10 -12 The Green, Guiseley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS20 9BT.

8. Oriental City

Oriental CIty

Credit: Barnaby Aldrick

Big appetite? Oriental City has been serving traditional Chinese food to hungry Sheepscar patrons for over a decade. The portion sizes are gigantic and the abundance of Asian diners shows they are hitting the authentic nail on the tasty head. There’s a substantial menu loaded with all sorts of dishes, from Cantonese to spicy Sichuan, but it’s the dim sum that reigns supreme here.

Make sure you ask for this menu upon arrival and you’ll soon be faced with the difficult choice of which delicacies to pick. Shrimp dumpling? Pork siu mai? Beef noodle rolls? Remember these are small dishes meant for sharing, so go for whatever takes your fancy and make use of the fact they’re happy to pack up whatever you can’t finish to take home. You’ll be ecstatic to find it in your fridge the next day.

Oriental City, 30-36 Cross Stamford Street, Sheepscar, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 1BA.

9. Home

Home Chinese Restaurant

Want a fuss-free, Chinese hideout close to Leeds city centre? If so, Home is certainly where the heart is, because this tiny one-room restaurant is an unpretentious bolt-hole for anyone after a quick fix of bonafide Chinese food. The regional dishes that fly out of the kitchen at great speed are the real deal and carry a spicy kick that is often absent in the more Westernised fare.

The hot poached pig offal and grilled duck tongues are perfect for the more adventurous, but there are more than enough classics if you want to start off with something a little more familiar. This is not silver service dining and you’ll have to contend with the swathes of Chinese students who flock here for a taste of home, but who needs airs and graces when the food is this good? Simply join the bustle and enjoy.

Home, 7 Back Blenheim Terrace, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9HZ.

10. Sweet Basil Valley

Chinese restuarants in Leeds

Combining Chinese and Thai food, Sweet Basil Valley in Rawdon is an all-rounder on Leeds’ Chinese restaurant scene. The merging of cuisines means diners are spoilt for choice and although it’s difficult to resist a creamy Thai massaman curry, it’s worth it for a taste of their Chinese prawn-stuffed crab claw, Shanghai dumplings and piping-hot chow mein noodles.

The large and airy dining room is simply decorated, but features ornate Chinese screens and raised booths to give diners a sense of privacy. Taking the kids out for a treat? The restaurant is extremely family friendly and it’s not unusual to find it packed with multiple generations on a weekend. Don’t be put off by the lack of a children’s menu – the portions are massive and can easily be shared between family members.

Sweet Basil Valley, Green Lane, Rawdon, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS19 7BY.

11. Red Chilli

Red Chilli

Credit: Sarae Akhamal

Slap bang in Leeds city centre, Red Chilli Chinese restaurant deserves a medal for the sheer variety of dishes available. Seriously, give yourself a good 10 minutes to flick through their ample menu (complete with pictures) which features the best of Beijing and Sichuanese cuisine. On offer are dishes like punchy king prawns with green and red chillies, shredded pork in a red pepper stew and the regional favourite that is spicy mapo tofu with minced beef.

Hot-heads will be well satisfied with the lip-numbing dishes on offer here (make sure you have a napkin handy for brow-mopping) but there are lots of options to entice companions who prefer their dishes a little less fiery – the Peking duck is a fine example. If you’re struggling to choose, go for one of their five set menus instead.

Red Chilli, 6 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3DW.

12. Jade Dragon

Jade Dragon

Credit: Corvin Pamp

Serving up the goods for over two decades, family-run Jade Dragon in Pudsey has managed to master a relaxing atmosphere and classic menu full of mostly Cantonese favourites – there’s plenty of sweet and sour, crispy duck and black bean dishes here. But don’t be lulled into thinking this is fully Westernised fare, as when they say a dish is chilli-heavy, they really mean it.

Gluten-free and vegetarian menus are an added bonus although it’s the Chinese buffet on a Sunday that’s the biggest hit. Their buffet ethos seems to be “small and often”, with modestly-sized platters of Chinese food regularly topped up from the kitchen to ensure optimum freshness at all times.

Jade Dragon, 14-16 Lidget Hill, Pudsey, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS28 7DR.

Cover image copyright Joe Giacomet