Where should you go when you’re ravenous, but it’s too hot to go inside?
When the sun finally comes out, we don’t want to go inside. So as well as the city’s fabulous beer gardens, we’ve rounded up some of the best places in the city centre for alfresco dining. Whether you’re after loaded burgers in a private beer garden, Neapolitan-style pizzas by the water or creative dishes served with views of the city, you’ve come to the right place.
The Parkside Tavern
With not one, not two, but three outdoor spaces, The Parkside Tavern is a no brainer when it comes to summer sun, but what you might not know is that they cook up a tempting menu of delicious flatbread pizzas. It’s their take on classic combinations and you might find it difficult to choose – will you go for the Yorkshire ham with mushrooms? Or what about a veggie option, with olives, mushrooms and roast peppers?
The Parkside Tavern, St Johns House, Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JE.
A Nation of Shopkeepers
Nation have got one of the best outdoor areas for alfresco dining in Leeds. They’ve got an uncovered beer garden, which means you can eat out in the sunshine – or if you’d prefer, you can take one of the booths that line the courtyard, which come complete with heat-lamps, in case the summer sun is winding down for the day. The menu is pretty simple – they do burgers well, fried chicken better and triple cooked chips you won’t want to share. Enjoy it all with a beer and get your night off to a great start.
A Nation of Shopkeepers, 29 Cookridge Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 3AG.
Since opening on City Square, Banyan has become one of the go-to bars for sun-seekers. Their outdoor space is ideal for drinks, but it’s also a great shout if you want a bite to eat, and their tasty menu means there’s a little something for everyone. Tuck into anything from superfood salads and small plates to steaks, gourmet sandwiches and burgers – hell, you can even come by earlier in the day for an indulgent brunch out in the morning sun. American pancakes anyone?
Banyan, 2, The Old Post Office, City Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2ES.
Crafthouse is probably the best alfresco dining destination in the city, and no, they’re not paying us to say that. It comes down to three things – the location, the service and the menu. The first is exceptional, at the pinnacle of Trinity Leeds, it promises sunshine galore and views over Boar Lane. The second is just as important – you don’t want to feel forgotten just because you’re sat outside. And finally, the third means you can choose from a selection of uniquely assembled dishes, designed to give you a true culinary experience. Try the likes of the Tournedos Rossini, beef fillet, duck liver, boulangere potato, truffle and Madeira sauce.
Crafthouse, Level 5 Trinity Leeds, 70 Boar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HW.
Issho gives you the chance to dine outside on their incredible south-facing rooftop terrace. You can look out across the city as you work your way through their creative take on Japanese cooking. The a la carte menu is designed for sharing, so get ready to try a bit of everything – kick things off with a spicy pork bao bun, followed by tuna yellowfin nigiri, yakitori and crispy soft shell crab with wasabi mayo. Or you can enjoy the Kori Bar set lunch menu out on the balcony which will get you 3 dishes for £15.
Issho, Victoria Gate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7AU.
How about grabbing a bite at a fancy French restaurant? Brasserie Blanc is the place to go. Their outside terrace is nestled on the riverfront – it feels like it’s a million miles from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, so where better to grab a bite? They serve their full menu out in the sunshine, which means you can indulge in duck leg confit with a citrus sauce, Malabar fish curry with toasted coconut and slow-cooked pork belly with pink champagne rhubarb, all washed down with one of their fine wines.
Brasserie Blanc, Victoria Mill, Sovereign Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BJ.
The Tetley has oodles of outdoor space, with their lovely little patio area alongside a big green field bedecked in picnic tables – which means you won’t have any trouble finding a spot to enjoy a bite to eat. The menu is extensive, with everything from creative wraps to burgers, sarnies and pies – the kids have a menu all of their own, so bring the whole family. And if you’re planning a big shindig, they do an outdoor BBQ for groups of 50 or more.
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JQ.
At first glance, you’d never think that Ciao Bella did alfresco dining. But step inside the Dock Street restaurant and you’ll soon realise that they have a secret weapon outside – a peaceful outdoor space that gets the afternoon sun. Make the most of their menu of Italian eats, with classics like penne arrabiata and quattro formaggi pizza, alongside rare finds like stincotto d’agnello (lamb shank with mashed potato, roast garlic and savoury cabbage in a red wine reduction).
Ciao Bella, 20 Dock Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JF.
The Cross Keys
It may be a pub, but The Cross Keys is as good at food as it is at beer, and with one of the best beer gardens in town, it’s a great shout when it comes to eating out in the sunshine. Now, if you ask us, Sunday is the day to go – it’s never too hot for a proper Sunday roast – but head down any other day and you’ll be treated to an equally tasty selection, from the Cross Keys burger to the crispy belly pork. You can also find creative options for veggies, like their beetroot gnocchi and keep an eye out for their kitchen takeovers too.
The Cross Keys, 107 Water Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5WD.
If it’s burgers you’re after, get yourself down to Byron, because they’ve got their own little slice of outdoor space for you to enjoy. This is the ultimate people watching destination, as the hoards of shoppers pass by mere metres from where you sit. While you watch, tuck into one of their 6oz pink-in-the-middle burgers, like the Big Smoke which comes loaded with mature cheddar, pulled BBQ beef brisket, streaky bacon, crispy onions, shredded iceberg, pickles and chilli BBQ sauce.
Byron, 9a Lands Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6AW.
Water Lane Boathouse
Water Lane Boathouse has got an incredible outdoor dining area, right on the side of the River Aire overlooking Granary Wharf. It’s from the folk behind Belgrave and Headrow House, so expect an exceptional selection of craft beer, as well as an enviable range of gin. When it comes to eating, they have a secret weapon of sorts, a hand-crafted pizza oven by Stefano Ferrara in Napoli and it’s run by Small Victories. Delve into a menu of Neapolitan-style pizza, made on dough proved for 24 hours, as well as creative salads, sarnies and burgers, all while enjoying their huge canal-side plot.
Water Lane Boathouse, Canal Wharf, Water Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5PS.
Perhaps you know it best as a bar, but Angelica also serves up a menu of delicious morsels. You can indulge in one of their meaty sharing boards or a tempting array of seafood dishes like oysters, lobster and garlic roast prawns. They have a slew of classics for you to choose from too – think pork belly, flat iron steak and fish and chips. It can all be enjoyed out on their terrace, where you’ll get uninterrupted access to the sun, along with skyline views.
Angelica, Level 6 Trinity Leeds, 70 Boar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HW.
The Midnight Bell
A popular choice when the sun shines, The Midnight Bell has a cracking beer garden out back, perfect for getting the afternoon rays – but it’s not just good for drinking. They have a menu of old classics that are perfectly suited to alfresco dining. You can look forward to a sirloin steak sandwich or classic caesar salad during the day, or if you’re going out for tea, try the likes of roasted vegetable penne with sun blushed tomatoes or steak and red wine pie on a bed of mash and gravy. Top it off with a pint of Leeds Pale.
The Midnight Bell, 101 Water Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5QN.
Famed for its cocktails, The Alchemist has an ace up its sleeve, because their food is just as good. From breakfast, which will see you tucking into steak and eggs or coconut yogurt with granola, to dinner, which promises gourmet sandwiches, wraps, salads and burgers. They also do a tantalising selection of small plates perfect for sharing and you can enjoy it all out on their south-facing terrace at Trinity Leeds or in their out front seating area on Greek Street.
The Alchemist, Trinity Leeds, Boar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HW & Yorkshire House, Greek Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5SH.
Blackhouse is brilliant for alfresco dining. It’s got a raised terrace at the front of the restaurant, which captures the sun in the afternoon with heat-lamps for when the temperature drops, and they spread out onto the courtyard when it’s sunny to create even more seating. The menu is an enticing one full of meaty goodness. They’re renowned for their steaks, with everything from Himalayan rock salt dry aged beef to Australian chateaubriand, but they also serve British specialties like fish and chips. Whatever you go for, you’ll have the perfect outdoor spot to enjoy it in.
Blackhouse, 31-33 East Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5PS.
This has to be one of the coolest alfresco dining destinations in Leeds. Ambiente sits right on the edge of the River Aire, with lovely waterfront views and a good dollop of evening sun. They don’t take reservations for their outside area, places are allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, but get there early and you can enjoy a menu of Mediterranean delights in the sunshine. Tuck into loaded plates of charcuterie meats, as well as tapas dishes like calamares, albóndigas and patatas bravas. They also have a Josper grill in their kitchen, which makes things even more interesting – try the bistec de arrachera (dry rubbed skirt of beef served with BBQ roasted onions and chimichurri).
Ambiente, 36-38 The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EW.