These amazing eateries are proving that Leeds is a foodie haven – but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
Leeds’ independent scene is buzzing right now – it feels like there’s a new bar, restaurant, cafe or shop opening every week. And as you’ll soon see from this abundant list of amazing eateries, they’re a pretty talented bunch. So whether you fancy a spot of afternoon tea, want to go exotic with Thai food or splash out with a unique fine dining experience, these Leeds indies are the way to go.
Home is the brainchild of Elizabeth Cottam and Mark Owen. One’s a MasterChef semi-finalist, the other’s the ex-Head Chef of two Michelin-starred restaurants, so there’s plenty of pedigree to this eatery. At Home, you can enjoy a monthly rotation of five or ten-course tasting menus that bring out the very best of British cuisine. With seasonal dishes like roasted turbot with chervil root or leek millefeuille with Dale End cheddar and English mustard, there’s no end to the edible surprises.
Home, 16/17 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6BY.
The Swine That Dines
There’s no doubt in our minds that this is one of the best independent restaurants in Leeds. The Swine That Dines offers a combination of social dining and delicate favours. You can share small lunch plates or try out Pie Sundays, but they’re best known for their supper club every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The menu alternates between nose to tail and roots to shoots dining, using either every part of the animal or plant, with creative dishes like duck with red cabbage and green peppercorn.
The Swine That Dines, 58 North Street, Leeds West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.
You’ll have to get out of the city centre to try this Mexican indie, but it’s well worth the trip. Tucked away in Burley, Lupe’s Cantina specialises in Central American-style tapas, so instead of jamón and patatas bravas, you can tuck into Sopes Rancheros (shredded beef in crispy corn boats) and Queso Fundido (melted three-way cheese and chorizo served with tortillas for dipping). And to wash it down? Their cool and crisp Ocho Reales lagers – this is the only place to find them in Leeds.
Lupe’s Cantina, 204 Cardigan Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1LF.
Blurring the line between bar and restaurant, The Reliance gives you the best of both worlds in a down-to-earth setting. In the kitchen, you’ll find British food cooked and prepared to perfection, from Erdinger battered fish and chips to hanger steak with polenta and Yorkshire blue cheese. Meanwhile, behind the bar, they have craft beer, quality wine and a slew of spirits. What more could you want?
The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.
If it’s fine dining you’re after, check out one of Leeds’ most well-respected independent Indian restaurants, Tharavadu. Holding a prestigious Michelin recommendation, this Mill Hill staple dishes up traditional cuisine from across the Kerala region. To get a real flavour of the place, wrap your chops around the Kerala kozhi curry (chicken, roasted coconut and kerala spices) or kizhangu cheera curry (spinach, potato, garlic, onion and all manner of spices).
Tharavadu, 7-8, Mill Hill Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DQ.
Matt Healy X The Foundry
As a runner-up on MasterChef: The Professionals in 2016, Matt Healy’s credentials are impeccable, and he’s putting his skills to the test with a menu of ‘unconventionally British’ food at his new restaurant. Matt Healy x The Foundry promises classic dishes with a modern twist. Think baby chicken kievs with wild garlic and duck fat potatoes or Yorkshire venison with braised shoulder pie, fillet, malted cauliflower, pine nuts and raisins. Delicious.
Matt Healy x The Foundry, 1 Saw Mill Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5WH.
Hepworth’s Deli takes the phrase ‘something for everyone’ to new heights, as it’s filled to the rafters with a variety of delicious eats. Popping by for breakfast? Try the Full English or buttermilk pancakes. Lunch? Their smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich is a must. The food’s all freshly prepared and locally sourced, from Sykes House Farm in Wetherby to Inshore Fisheries in Redcar. Plus, if you can’t decide, there’s a cracking mezze platter to tuck into.
Hepworth’s Deli, 21 Thornton’s Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LQ.
Olive & Rye
Sister act to Hepworth’s Deli, you’ll spot Olive & Rye from a distance thanks to their heaving outdoor area in Queen’s Arcade. And once you’ve tried their continental meat and cheese boards, homemade cake and fresh coffee, you’ll see why. If you find something you like, you can get it to go from the deli counter inside or treat yourself to one of their build-your-own hampers.
Olive & Rye, 18-20 Queens Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LF.
Greek grub doesn’t get much better than at Souvlaki. A hotbed of Mediterranean cooking, you’ll be welcomed into this stripped back taverna with a smile, before enjoying the best meat skewers this side of the Parthenon. Marinated in lemon and oil, then cooked over the grill, they’re served with spiced chips, salad, and pitta for a mouthwatering feast. Of course, if you’d prefer, there’s stifado, brizoles and mousaka too.
Souvlaki, 18 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3DW.
Want to experience Vietnam without setting foot outside Leeds? Let the vivid flavours and traditional wall decorations at independent Leeds cafe Nom transport you there. If it’s just a quick bite you’re after, their heavenly Cuón summer rolls pack a punch without feeling heavy, with a delicate mixture of rice paper, prawns, rice noodles and lettuce. For a proper lunch dish, get stuck into the classic bánh mì, filled to bursting with fresh veg and your choice of filling, including BBQ pork, chicken and duck.
Nom, 77A Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BR.
At My Thai, you’ll feel like you’re tucking into fresh street food in the middle of Bankok. There are two locations to choose from, both of which serve up Thai fast food at lightning speed. The menu contains all the delicious classics you’d expect, from stir-fries to noodles and curries, alongside flavourful treats like Tom Yum Soup or their signature Nuer Yang, which piles veggies and jaew sauce onto a sirloin steak.
My Thai, 43 Wade Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8NJ & 26 York Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2EY.
The Oxford Place
If you’re looking for independent gluten-free grub, look no further than The Oxford Place. It’s the holy grail for coeliacs in Leeds, with a slew of dishes designed for vegans, vegetarians and dairy-sensitive eaters. We’re talking hot and flakey Chicken and Leek pie, hearty portions of creamy Spaghetti Carbonara and even Fish and Chips, all served in their classy, bistro-style restaurant.
The Oxford Place, Oxford Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AX.
Walking past Fettle, you might be fooled into thinking it’s just a quaint little cafe, with coffee and granola in the morning, and soup or noodle salads at lunchtime. But this Leeds independent eatery is hiding a secret alter ego, Fine at Fettle, their gourmet supper club. If you’re after fine dining, you can tuck into maple-roasted chorizo, sea bass with vanilla-coriander sauce and even guinea fowl with forest mushrooms. It takes over every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
Fettle, 73 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BR.
Sous Le Nez
Sous Le Nez is a tour de force of Leeds’ independent restaurant scene. They’ve been serving refined French cuisine to the great and good for nearly 25 years. Hidden away under Quebecs Hotel, you can start with a tipple from their 40-page wine list, before heading into the cavernous dining room for a series of traditional French dishes. From fish soup to a gateau of fillet steak stuffed with shallots, mushrooms, garlic and peppercorn sauce, you’re in for a real treat.
Sous le Nez, The Basement, Quebec House, 9 Quebec Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2HA.
Heaney & Mill
Refined grub in a laid-back setting all day long – there’s a reason why Heaney & Mill is a suburban sensation. Breakfast brings pancakes, bagels and luxury porridge to the table, while lunch offers a parade of salads, sandwiches, and even salt-aged beef fillet steaks. But the real star of the show is their evening menu, which allows you to dine on delicious plates like pan-seared king scallops with Serrano ham, cauliflower veloute, truffle and balsamic dressing or venison with blackberries, bacon, Jerusalem artichokes, pecan and maple syrup.
Heaney & Mill, 48 Otley Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2AL.
Jenny’s Jerk Chicken
When it comes to indies in Leeds, cheap can certainly be cheerful, so head to Jenny’s Jerk Chicken for an almighty feed. Let your nose lead you to Kirkgate Market, where their skilful blend of spice, barbecue and chicken creates Caribbean street food you can’t resist. Pile their jerk chicken, saltfish or veggie bean cakes onto a bed of salad, or go traditional with their curried goat, served with rice & peas or coconut rice – your call.
Jenny’s Jerk Chicken, Leeds Kirkgate Market, 28-34 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.
An institution among independent restaurants in Leeds, Hansa’s has been earning plaudits as one of the nation’s finest Gujarati vegetarian restaurants for more than 30 years. The secret to their success? The keen eye of chef and founder Hansa Dabhi – and freshly prepared food to die for. The menu takes elements from right across the West Indian coast, so why not try a little bit of everything with the Special Thali? You’ll get two curries with pilau or plain rice, a bowl of farsan, rotli or puri bread and even a creamy glass of lassi to top it all off.
Hansa’s, 72-74 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN
North Star Coffee
If you’re looking for a belting cup of joe, look no further. North Star Coffee was the city’s first micro-roasters, and you can sample their wares at their own coffee shop on Leeds Dock. There are two seasonal espressos and freshly brewed filter coffee on offer, but they put just as much work into their tea, with a special tap that dispenses three different temperatures of water to suit different leaves. It’s a whole lot of effort for a brew, but one sip and you’ll agree – it’s all worth it. But that’s not the only reason to go. The food is provided by Leeds legends, and fellow indies, Noisette Bakery, so you can tuck into everything from seasonal ricotta toast to house baked beans.
The North Star Coffee Shop & General Store, The Boulevard, Leeds Dock, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1PZ.
Twinkling filament lights, exposed brickwork and a stunningly smooth poured concrete floor. When it comes to stripped-back fine dining, Shears Yard has it nailed – but their food is equally good. They stick to what’s in season and what’s local. That means you can try a different dish from visit to visit, tucking into everything from pressed pork belly with homemade black pudding and a smoked bacon suet roll, to courgette, mint & goats cheese arancini.
Shears Yard, 11-15 Wharf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EH.
Got a hankering for Mediterranean cuisine? Head out of Leeds and into the suburbs to visit The Agora, a family-run independent restaurant that serves the best of Greek and Turkish cuisine, all under one roof. There are fresh dolmades and tzatziki to start, followed by moussaka, mixed souvlaki or lamb kleftiko, before you finish with a sugary hit of homemade baklava. Close your eyes and you can almost picture the Greek islands.
The Agora, 207-209 New Road Side, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4DR.
There’s only one thing better than Korean barbecue fresh off the grill, and that’s cooking it yourself. Welcome to Bulgogi Grill, where every table has a hot plate built right into it. You can sizzle up a storm with a medley of marinated meat and seafood, from duck and beef to prawn and squid, all wrapped up in a lettuce leaf. Top with your choice of rice, pickles, vegetables and sauces and chow down for a meal to remember.
Bulgogi Grill, The Arena Quarter, 9 Merrion Way, Merrion Centre, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BT.
For quality Jewish food just like bubbie used to make, take a trip to Roundhay, where Ira B’s serve all the classics. Their chicken schnitzel is succulent as anything, but the real star of the show is their big-as-your-head Grobber. This enormous sandwich is made with 10-day pickled brisket, layered between thick hunks of rye bread, pickles and lashings of mustard. There’s potato salad, mixed leaves and coleslaw on the side too, if you can manage it. Want to make your own at home? They’ve got a fully fledged deli on site too.
Ira B’s, 27 Chelwood Drive, Roundhay, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2AT.
Thai a Roy Dee
When it comes to cheap and cheerful food, Thai Aroy Dee is right up there with the best of them. This laid-back Leeds indie is the perfect spot to enjoy quality Siamese food in a chilled out, no-frills environment. The menu is loaded with dishes you’ll know and love, like Jungle Curry, Pad Khing and the Weeping Tiger sirloin steak, as well as a few curveballs like the Goong Chae Nam Pla, which combines king prawns, garlic, chillies, fish sauce and lime juice. It’s also BYOB, so you can save on the booze by bringing your own.
Thai Aroy Dee, 120-122 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.
Want to mix it up? Classic Indian dishes take on a whole new identity as small street food plates at Cat’s Pyjamas. Decked out in a modern, industrial style, this trendy eatery puts a new spin on all your favourites, from the Tandoori Mixed Grill to Kolkata Chaat or Goan Chicken Cafreal, they’re all bite-sized slices of heaven. Don’t fancy sharing? Pick out a full-sized dish like Railway Potato Curry or Pepper Chicken.
Cat’s Pyjamas, 9 Eastgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7LY & 53 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AB.
For fresh fish and seafood, look past the karaoke next door and make a beeline for SushiWaka, one of New Briggate’s hidden gems. This underrated eatery offers an array of choices, from the usual salmon, prawn and tuna, to the lesser-found clams, octopus and oysters – it’s up to you whether it comes as sashimi, maki or nigiri. If you’re looking for a warming feed, they do curries, teriyaki beef and rice bowls too.
SushiWaka, 28 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
Once a street food vendor, Pizza Fella is now one of the best independent restaurants in Leeds. The decor isn’t fancy, with simple knocked-together tables and cork-board walls, and the food speaks for itself. The focus is on the mouthwatering Neopolitan pizza. You can pick from nine numbered options, all starting with Italian Caputo flour and San Marzano tomatoes, before adding a raft of toppings. A local favourite is the number eight, which comes loaded with ‘nduja, balsamic onions, caciocavallo cheese and fresh chilli.
Pizza Fella, 114-116 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.
The Yorkshire Wrap Co
Yorkshire puddings are not just for Sunday roasts anymore. The Yorkshire Wrap Company is shaking up the game at their stand in Kirkgate Market by transforming the humble Yorkshire into a wrap. It’s cooked, flattened and wrapped around a hearty portion of slow-roasted beef or pork, along with roasted vegetables, stuffing and hot homemade gravy. Forget the soup on a cold day, this will leave you with a warm belly and smile on your face.
The Yorkshire Wrap Company, Market Food Court, Kirkgate, 7HY, Kirkgate, Leeds LS2 7HY.
Italian cooking, reinvented. That’s the idea behind Aperitivo, a creative Leeds indie that cooks up a storm. The first Mediterranean dish you’ll think of is pizza, which they’ve pushed to the extreme with six different bases to choose from, like smoked charcoal, chilli and even sourdough. If you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll be spoilt for choice – try their pigs head terrine with mustard and pickles, or the squid ink tagliatelle with beetroot béchamel and clams. It’s a delicious, wild ride.
Aperitivo, 293 Spen Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5BD.
Another of Kirkgate Market’s must-try’s’, Manjit’s Kitchen is a Leeds institution. Let yourself be drawn in by the scent of their traditional vegetarian Punjabi curries, which change on a daily basis. It could be potato and spinach, it could be the chana masala, but whatever it is, it’s always delicious. This is best sampled with their Thali, a mixed platter with two curries, salad, cumin rice, pickles and a rotifer all on the same tray. Heavenly.
Manjit’s Kitchen, Leeds Kirkgate Market, 28-34 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.
The Old Red Bus Station is an independent art gallery, gig venue and club all in one, but it’s also home to one of Leeds’ best vegan restaurant, Cantina. They serve a mixture of main meals, like their black-bean, seitan and beetroot burger, and tapas-style small plates like the popcorn tofu, chorizo albondigas and quinoa falafel bites. But their real showstopper is the fauxfish butty, a fried parcel of seaweed-soaked banana blossom layered into a soft bun. One bite and you’ll be back for more.
Cantina at The Old Red Bus Station, 101 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.
The Arch Cafe
Fancy a side of feel good with your slice of cake? Grade II-listed independent The Arch Cafe is run by Age UK Leeds – a charity that helps support the older residents of our community. Whether you pop in for a cuppa and a slice of Victoria sponge, or settle down for a full feed like a salmon pasta bake, avocado on toast or a Yorkshire ham sarnie, you’ll know every penny is going to a good cause.
The Arch Café, Bradbury Building, Mark Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JA.
Perched just a stone’s throw from the station, Laynes is famous for its coffee, made with quality beans from Square Mile, Has Bean, Origin and Grumpy Mule, but that’s not the only reason to go. You can fill your belly with delicious eats from their menu of homemade delights. Start the day with sweet buckwheat pancakes, shakshuka or Yorkshire rarebit, with a wonderful array of carnivorous, veggie and vegan eats on offer.
Laynes Espresso, 16 New Station Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DL.
Sheaf Street Cafeteria
From the dream team behind The Grub and Grog Shop comes Sheaf Street Cafeteria, a stripped back cafe filled with exposed brick walls and gleaming industrial light fittings. It’s a chilled out space to enjoy a North Star coffee and their mixed grain porridge in the morning, or you can stop by for fresh, locally-sourced salads and sandwiches throughout the day. But once the sun goes down, the cafeteria transforms into a bar to host a range of local events, from stand up comedy to club nights.
Sheaf Street Cafeteria, 3 Sheaf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1HD.
Just off Briggate, you’ll find one of the city’s hidden gems, Mrs Athas. This cosy cafe has an eclectic but loveable personality, with vintage tea cups, exposed brickwork, and one of the best breakfast menus around. Keep things healthy with their avocado on toast, or push the boat out with American-style pancakes or one of their legendary sausage sandwiches. Washed down with a steaming hot cup of Maude Coffee, there are few better ways to start the day.
Mrs Atha’s, Central Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DE.
Hayley and Clifford
Hayley and Clifford might be better known as a deli, but this popular Leeds independent also houses an intimate cafe area. You can tuck into something from their packed counter of scrummy local produce. Their divine light bites range from Yorkshire pork pies to homemade leek and potato soup, all ready to be paired with a fresh North Star coffee.
Haley & Clifford, 43 Street Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 1AP.
Roots & Fruits
A Leeds institution for more than 25 years, Roots & Fruits serves up the best vegetarian food around. They put a veggie spin on classic dishes, like Welsh rarebit, lasagne and even egg-less egg mayo sandwiches. But their secret weapon is the jerk jackfruit, mixing pulled plantains with coconut sour cream, tortillas and mango salsa for a flavour-packed treat.
Roots and Fruits, 10-11 Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
Transport yourself to a faraway land at Oranaise Cafe, where they blend the flavours of North Africa, Morocco, Marrakech and even Andalucia into a single menu. There are no airs and graces here, just good food in an eye-catching eatery. From their North African Sausage Kebab to the belly-busting Chicken Shawarma Mezze Platter, if you’re after a delicious feed on a budget, look no further.
Oranaise, 1 The Crescent, Hyde Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2NW.
Need a hearty meal? Caracas Grill won’t let you down. Meat, meat and more meat is the order of the day here, so if your belly’s rumbling, dive into their Venezuelan BBQ. You can get Galipan Pepito, sizzling slices of chicken and pork sausage layered into a fresh white baguette with tomato, mixed leaves and caramelised onions. Or why not sack off the bread and get the Parilla, which couples chicken, steak or sausage with any side you like.
Caracas Grill, Britannia House, 16 York Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2EU.
Opposite has two cafes in Leeds, but whichever you choose, you can get a freshly brewed fair-trade caffeine hit, as well as a scrummy baked treat. Their coffee bean menu changes daily, so you’ll get the chance to try North Star, Grumpy Mule or even Square Mile coffee if you pop in regularly. Paired with a gooey caramel shortbread or a slice of coffee and walnut cake, it’s the perfect way to start the day.
Opposite Cafe, 26 Back Blenheim Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9HD. Cup and Saucer by Opposite, 4 Steinbeck Lane, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 3QY.
New York-inspired basement cafe Tribeca is one of best-kept secrets in Leeds, but this independent is well worth seeking out. They’ll whip you up breakfast or lunch throughout the week from fresh, local produce. We’re talking scrambled eggs and avocado smash on sourdough bread in the morning, with Sykes House Farm rare roast beef and horseradish cream in a fresh roll at midday. Need a brew with it? Their Seasons For coffee really hits the spot.
Tribeca, 2 Park Square East, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2NE.
Fancy a healthy feed that’s full of flavour? Then Humpit is just what the doctor ordered. They serve hummus and falafel, made from scratch each day – you can get it stuffed inside a white or wholemeal pitta stuffed with salad, pickles and sauce. Or, if you prefer, try their bowls of fresh salad leaves piled with falafel, hummus, beans, tomatoes and spices.
Humpit, Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BR.
Pinche Pinche serve some of the best Mexican tapas in Leeds. Found in the heart of Chapel Allerton, this independent restaurant has an upbeat atmosphere, with brightly decorated walls and traditional artwork wherever you look. But what about the food? Their menu covers all the classic, tacos, nachos, burritos, quesadillas – it’s all here and all delicious. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s even surf and turf, Mexican-style.
Pinche Pinche, 116 Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 4NY.
If you’re after bold Southeast Asian flavours in a cheap and cheerful setting, check out Thai Sabai, a relaxed cafe-cum-eatery. It’s a cosy, down-to-earth joint, but it’s worth squeezing in to try their Weeping Tiger steak, which will leave your tastebuds leaping for joy. Plus, they’ve got a stellar vegetarian menu too, with the likes of oyster and mushroom panang hed or tofu pad pak to chow down on.
Thai Sabai, 2 The Parade, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HP.
Get your fill of delicious tapas at El Bareto, a family-owned Spanish restaurant that uses recipes passed down through the generations. They don’t do tiddly portions here, just a hearty helping of traditional food to share, from aoili patatas bravas to oven-baked Spanish black pudding and smokey padron peppers. Visit on a weekend for live music too.
El Bareto, 120 Gledhow Valley Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 6LX.
Pizza lovers of Leeds, Culto is your dream restaurant. This independent gem has a truly rustic feel, with a roaring oven that serves up stone-baked pizzas like quattro stagioni, diavola, capricciosa and carmelo. Carne more your style? Their charcoal grill is perfect for chicken and veal, all rounded off with traditional desserts, including profiteroles, cannelloni, and, of course, tiramasu.
Culto, 97 Stainbeck Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 2PR.
If mouthwatering tapas in down-to-earth surroundings sounds right up your alley, make a beeline for Viva Cuba. This cracking restaurant is housed in an old Yorkshire Bank building, and brings together a menu of small plates that spans Spanish, South American and, as you’d expect, Cuban cooking. To try the best of everything, ask for the Tapas Banquet – from Albondigas Cubanas to Sweet and Spicy Lamb Stew, you won’t be disappointed.
Viva Cuba, 342 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2DS.
Whether you’re after a pre-theatre feed or just a delicious bite to eat, Casa Colombiana’s traditional South American cuisine is sure to hit the spot. From classic chilli con carne to chicken skewers with rice or cheesy potato cakes with fresh salad, you won’t be disappointed. If you need a post-shopping pick-me-up, their authentic Colombian coffee is a must.
Casa Colombiana, Grand Arcade, 6 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
Of all the independent cafes in Leeds, Mill Kitchen goes the extra mile to celebrate Yorkshire. Not only do they use a ton of local produce in their kitchen, and stock plenty in their deli counter, but it’s also housed in a historic converted textile mill too. As for the food, it’s top notch. Pop in for coconut French Toast at breakfast, or sandwiches, soups and savoury bakes at lunchtime, all washed down with North Star coffee or Birdhouse loose leaf tea.
Mill Kitchen, Sunnybank Mills, 83-85 Town Street, Farsley, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, LS28 5UJ.
Think hot dogs are reserved for BBQs and football matches? Think again, as Primo’s has taken the humble sausage in a bun to new heights. Choose between the original beef frank, pork bockwurst, pork & beef or veggie tofu, then top it with just about anything. The Classic Dog is an unbeatable mix of onions or sauerkraut, ketchup and mustard combo, or you can get adventurous with the Spanish Harlem, a large beef dog, loaded with chorizo, chilli, pico salsa, Monterey Jack and sour cream.
Primo’s Gourmet Hot Dogs, Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BR.
Crust and Crumb
Homemade is the name of the game at Crust and Crumb, a renowned bakery-cum-cafe in Chapel Allerton. From the cheesecake to the Cornish pasty, almost everything you can eat in-house was made right here, using fresh, local ingredients. And if you want something hearty to take away, pick up one of their doorstep sandwiches, made with soft Bondgate Bakery bread.
Crust & Crumb, 110b Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 4NY.
The clue’s in the name, right? This relaxed city centre cafe earned its name because of their ever-changing displays of local artists’ work on the walls inside. But it’s not just about oils and watercolours here, the menu is packed with delicious eats too. We’re talking beef brisket bourguignon with herb mash and miso-charred aubergine with tahini mayonnaise, pickled kohlrabi and dukkah among the highlights.
Art’s Cafe, 42 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DT.
An underground Chinese restaurant, you say? There’s plenty to love about ultra-modern independent Mans Market, from its quirky entrance of waving cats to the exposed pipework, neon lighting and wooden palettes. But it’s the creative food that really steals the show – this is traditional Chinese food with a twist. Try their hanging skewer of sweet and sour chicken or the beef with black bean, served in the shell of a pepper.
Mans Market, Unit F, West Point, Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4JJ.
An institution among Trinity Kitchen’s eateries, Rola Wala serves up twisted Indian street food, lightning quick. Choose between a rolled naan, a rice bowl or a cauliflower bowl. From there, you can top it with meaty treats like Goan Pulled Pork and Bengali Spiced Beef, or veggie-friendly favourites like Red Channa Daal and Keralan Cauliflower. All told, there’s at least 47 flavourful ingredients in every dish. Finish it off with pickles, coriander or coleslaw, and dig in.
Rola Wala, Trinity Kitchen, Trinity Leeds, Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5AY.
French cuisine is alive and well in Leeds at Kendells Bistro, one of the city’s finest independent restaurants. It’s an intimate, romantic affair, with candlelight, quirky decorations and an ever-changing menu on a nearby blackboard, which you can see through the binoculars on your table. As for the food, it’s as traditional as you’d expect, with French classics like salmon en croute, confit de canard and even a crisp créme brûlée.
Kendells Bistro, 3 St Peter’s Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS9 8AH.
Cheap, cheerful and delicious. That’s what you can expect from Japanese cafe Senbon Sakura. You’ll find all your favourite dishes here, from stuffed bento boxes to sushi rolls and katsu curry. But the star of the show has to be their noodle soup. With four types of broth, three types of noodles and a heap of meat, seafood and veg to go on top, you can mix and match your way to the perfect combination.
Senbon Sakura, 71 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BR.
An independent Vietnamese restaurant, Viet Guy has long been a popular eatery among Leeds locals thanks to its stellar versions of classic dishes, like stir-fried noodles and phở. If you fancy getting adventurous, there’s plenty of choice, like their special noodles, a mix of chicken, pork, beef or duck along with rice noodles, onion, beansprouts and egg. Want to settle in for the long haul? A Vietnamese coffee or beer is the perfect ending to the meal.
Viet Guy, 159 Lower Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LY.
Vice & Virtue
Not only is Vice & Virtue one of the city’s most creative cocktail bars, but they also bring an inventive side to their food in the second floor fine dining room. Renowned chef Luke Downing whips up a dizzying display of imaginative dishes, from wood pigeon with black pudding, raspberry balsamic, charred scallion, giralle and onion rings to pig jowls with XO sauce, dried scallops and shiitake mushrooms. Pop along for a rollercoaster ride of flavour.
Vice & Virtue, 68 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
Pride and Produce
More than just a delightfully clever name, local cafe Pride and Produce is a real Garforth gem that serves up homemade grub from morning to afternoon. You can pop in early and pair their flurry buttermilk pancakes with fruit compote and natural yogurt, or stick around for lunch and tuck into sausages from Firth’s of Garforth with mounds of mash and onion gravy. In a rush? You can get everything to go too.
Pride and Produce, 33a Main Street, Garforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS25 1DS.
LS6 has been serving up stellar food for over 19 years, making it one of Leeds’ longest-serving indies. There’s a real focus on ethical and environmental living here, meaning the food and coffee are locally sourced, the bar is made from reclaimed material, and they even host a Sunday film night that shows social cinema. You can support the environment, while wolfing down a mouthwatering Caesar salad, pork belly burrito or vegan coconut and chocolate torte.
LS6 Cafe, 16 Headingley Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2AS.
From the minds behind Belgrave Music Hall, Ox Club was inspired by the beast of a Grillworks grill that takes pride of place in the kitchen. Imported specially from the USA, you can enjoy small plates of locally sourced meat, fish and veg, all cooked on their flaming centrepiece. Whether it’s Yorkshire steak, razor clams with chorizo, lemon and caperberries, or even beetroot slow roasted in the fire’s coals, it’s never short of delicious.
Ox Club, Headrow House, Bramleys Yard, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PU.
House of Koko
House of Koko is a stylish, family-run cafe. Caffeine fans can sup a cup of North Star coffee or try out one of their many flavours of loose-leaf, before diving head-first into one of their creative dishes. We’re talking rhubarb compote & crème fraîche pancakes, a crisp smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese, red onion and capers, or a fresh sourdough toastie, filled with chicken, avocado, homemade green pesto & chilli jam.
House of Koko, 62 Harrogate Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 4LA.
Well known among Leeds locals, Salvo’s pairs quality Italian cooking with fresh Yorkshire produce to give you the best of both worlds. Keep things classic with their Francescana pizza (Yorkshire ham and mushrooms), or get adventurous with dishes like Angelo (Yorkshire lamb rump, fondant potato and charred courgette) or the Nasello (roast hake with dauphine potatoes, spinach and red pepper butter). Add in their big wine list and it’s a recipe for a great night out.
Salvo’s, 111-115 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3PX.
For over 30 years, Pasta Romagna has been dishing out incredible Italian food to the great and good of Leeds. And although iconic owner Gilda Porcelli has taken a step back in recent years, the eatery shows no signs of slowing down. From fresh ragu arancini to homemade ravioli and crisp calamari, there’s no end to the Sicilian treats on offer, and you can even take a few home with you too.
Pasta Romagna, 26 Albion Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6JS.
Poco is Leeds’ first Sicilian street food cafe, which means you can find stylish Mediterranean twists on your favourite Italian food. There are big, bold flavours to be had here, from the lemon marinated roast chicken and giant pizza slices, to herb and oil-drenched potato rustiche and giant arancini balls filled with veg or meat. For those with a sweet tooth, they even do them piped full of gooey Nutella. It’s real eat-with-your-hands food, so grab plenty of napkins.
Poco, 360 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2HQ.
Eat Your Greens
The Grub & Grog Shop and Outlaws Yacht Club have teamed up to create Eat Your Greens, an independent paradise for vegetarian and vegan food in Leeds. The cafe describes itself as ‘vegetable-forward’, which means there’s an abundance of vegan and veggie eats on the menu, alongside carefully curated meat dishes. For a warming treat, try their homemade leek and silken oat tofu in fermented lava bean soup, or just pop along for a nice craft ale, the choice is yours.
Eat Your Greens, 42 New York Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DY.
Tucked away in the heart of Headingley, Piattini is an independent, family-run restaurant that specialises in bringing the Mediterranean to Leeds. The leafy plants, intimate metal tables and industrial decor are sure to catch your eye, but the real magic happens in the kitchen, as they cook up traditional dishes like oxtail rage arancini, roasted baby aubergine or scallop risotto. Enjoyed alongside one of their signature cocktails, close your eyes and you can almost hear the sea…
Piattini, 6 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2AA.
Rooming with Venezuelan BBQ merchants Caracas Grill, La Taberna is an evening tapas restaurant that serves up small plates with big flavours all night long. The menu is only 16 items long, but it’s packed with classics you’ll know and love, like patatas bravas, chorizo al vino, calamares fritos and patron peppers.
La Taberna, Britannia House, 16 York Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2EU.
Kakes and Bakes
Those with a sweet tooth are sure to find a tasty treat at Kakes and Bakes, a tiny little bakery hidden away in Kirkgate Market. Everything is freshly baked daily, from gateaus to cookies, scones and cakes. They cater for vegans and folk with gluten allergies too, and if you’re looking for a pressie, their handmade chocolates are sure to hit the spot.
Kakes and Bakes, Kirkgate Market, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.
Discover the joys of Roman-style pizza at Leeds indie Simpatico. Their slices are cooked ‘al taglio’, which means they’re crisp on the bottom, but light and fluffy on top, with an array of toppings that rotate on a daily basis. You’ll find everything from classic margarita to spicy meatball, ricotta and parmesan, or even the fiery ‘nduja among their regular offerings, as well as fresh cannelloni and arancini balls.
Simpatico, 16 Queens Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LF.
The Maven Restaurant
Not just a secret cocktail bar, The Maven has now added a restaurant into the mix. They’ve kept the Prohibition-era style decor, so settle in for an evening of Mediterranean inspired small plates, like marinated kale with whipped white truffle beans and roast duck breast in Madeira sauce. There’s a whole new drinks menu to explore upstairs too, with cocktails like The Zombie King, a Walking Dead-inspired rum cocktail served in a skull glass.
The Maven Restaurant, 1 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7DH.
Knave’s Kitchen serves down and dirty vegan food from within Oporto. The menu is filled to the brim with comfort food and guilty pleasures. Their secret ingredient? Seitan, the vegan plant-based wonder-protein. It’s versatile too, they grill it to create an amazing vegan kebab, with hummus, pickles and chilli sauce, or load it onto doorstep bread with iceberg lettuce and home-made tartar sauce for a mean faux fish-finger butty.
Knave’s Kitchen, 33 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BT.
For a true taste of Poland, make a beeline for Smak! The ever-popular Leeds street food vendor now has its own independent restaurant, where you can sample traditional kiełbasa, pierogi and żureks, made to family recipes handed down through the generations. We’re talking ground pork, spiced beef, country cheese and even bigos, a hearty hunters stew. So pull up a chair, admire the rustic decor and dig in.
Smak! The Polish Kitchen, 372 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2HQ.
Fans of traditional Italian eats should head for rustic Leeds indie Massimo Deli & Pizzeria, where you can enjoy handmade wood-fired pizzas topped with quirky toppings like figs, feta and prosciutto. But it’s not just pizza – they also rustle up frittatas, grilled halloumi and falafel wraps – or you can have a decadent slice of carrot cake. Wash it down with a cup of Rounton’s coffee from Northallerton and you’re away.
Massimo Deli & Pizzeria, 66a New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
Feed is part of the Vice & Virtue family, but here they’ve taken on renowned chef Jonathan Hawthorne, the man behind the XO Supper Club, to man the kitchen. It brings the spirit of fine dining to everyday dishes. So if you pop by for lunch, you can enjoy fried chicken with hollandaise, pickles and Sriracha sauce, or crab tartine with bisque butter and soft herb salad. It’s down-to-earth decadence, and it’s delicious.
Feed, 163 Richardshaw Lane, Pudsey, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS28 6AA.
This is tapas, but not as you know it. Move over Spain, Italy is taking over the small plates game, and you can try some of the finest examples in the city at Zucco. Tuck into bite-sized portions of braised beef pappardelle and salt cod ravioli, or snack on the pizzettes, miniature pieces of bread loaded with meat and cheese. Room for dessert? Treat yourself to a slice of their achingly-good almond polenta cake.
Zucco, 603 Meanwood Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4AY.
Salami & Co
Not only do Salami & Co. offer a delicious brunch menu all day, but they have a dedicated menu for your pooch too. So if you bring your four-legged friend to this beloved Leeds independent cafe, you can tuck into massive grilled cheese toasties and peach melba waffles, while they can devour doughnuts, venison sausages and even puppicinos beside you. And yes, it’s just as adorable as it sounds.
Salami and Co, 10 Market Place, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AQ.
Man v Roast
There are few things in life better than a roast dinner with all the trimmings, so why limit the joy to Sundays alone? No-nonsense carvery Man v Roast has broken the shackles to serve up piles of turkey, gammon, sausage, beef, pork and lamb every day of the week. All the meat is sourced from Sykes House Farm, so it’s top quality, and when added to the stuffing, mash, peas, carrots and cauliflower cheese, it’s to die for. Don’t forget the all-important Yorkshire pudding and lashings of gravy too.
Man v Roast, 144 Cardigan Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1LL.
Like to see your dinner being prepared up close? You’re in for a treat at Hana Matsuri, an intimate indie restaurant that specialises in spectacular sushi. It’s a tight fit, only eight lucky people can dine here at any one time, but it’s worth the effort, as their talented chefs will prepare everything from tuna sashimi to salmon nigiri and even rainbow rolls right in front of you. Dinner and a show? Don’t mind if we do…
Hana Matsuri, 580 Meanwood Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4AZ.
This cosy little cafe is one of Leeds’ most beloved independents, and no wonder when they serve such delicious Thai eats. From your first step in the door, you’ll be transported to Thailand, with hanging lights, wooden tables and unusual movie posters on the walls. Once you’re done admiring the decor, tuck into their tangy Pad Thai, or other classics like Pad See Ew, a mixture of rice noodles, spring cabbage and soy sauce. Feeling adventurous? Try the Doo Dee Tom Yum, an aromatic skinny rice noodle and lemongrass broth.
Mommy Thai, 7 Duncan Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DQ.
Hidden away in the maze of Holbeck Urban Village is a real foodie treat. Taste is an unassuming little cafe that does a mean line in soups, sandwiches and salads. All their food is made with ingredients from nearby Swillington Organic Farm, like the Italian sandwich, a gooey mix of mozzarella, salami, peppers and pesto served in a toasted sarnie. It doesn’t half go well with a cup of Maude Coffee.
Taste, 3 Saw Mill Yard, Holbeck, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5WH.
Treat yourself to a slice of heaven at Grumpy’s, one of Leeds’ finest pizza joints. It’s a family-run restaurant, with hand-thrown dough and fresh ingredients, all cooked to perfection in their wood-burning oven. They all come in a 10-inch size, and are named after people. So you can try the Hunter, a moreish mixture of spinach, eggs and chillis, or the Sally, which comes topped with chilli peppers, spianata salami and a sticky honey dressing. If you work up a thirst, grab a fresh craft beer on the side.
Grumpy’s, 2 Old Combing, Sunnybank Mills, Farsley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS28 5UJ.
Flavour is king at Safran. They rustle up a medley of delectable Persian dishes at their family-run eatery. You can find classic offerings like joojeh kebab (marinated chicken breast with saffron rice) and bamiyeh (a lamb and okra stew), alongside lamb shanks, falafel and freshly baked Persian bread. The best part? It’s BYOB, so you can pair it with your favourite vino.
Safran, 81 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.
When to comes to putting a modern spin on traditional Indian dishes, nowhere does it quite like Deeva. This stripped-back Leeds indie has been turning heads for ages, thanks to its stellar flavour combinations. From lamb handi, which pairs classic pot (handi) cooking with a modern marsala sauce to tandoori cod, it’s a real treat for the senses – especially as it’s set in a historic church-turned-restaurant.
Deeva, 58 Town Street, Farsley, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, LS28 5LD.