Eating out doesn’t have to cost a fortune – Leeds is bursting with brilliant bargain restaurants and cafes.
Sometimes, you need a quick, satisfying and delicious meal that doesn’t make your contactless card groan in pain. Leeds is full of places that deliver exactly that – food that can still tantalise your tastebuds when you need something cheap and easy to eat. If you’re breaking bread on a budget, waiting for payday or standing by for your student loan, this is where you can nab some nosh.
Reliably excellent, Bundobust combines Indian street food and a wonderful range of craft beer to stellar effect. What’s more, it’s all either vegan or vegetarian and it won’t break the bank. The focus is on small plates, with the likes of Smacked Khakri starting at £2.75 and the menu topping out at £7.25 for the paneer kadai or £7 for the pav bhaji. Drop in between 12 noon and 4pm from Monday to Friday to make the most of their 2 dishes for £8.50 deal. Take a pew on refectory-style seating or head to the courtyard for a cheap al fresco feed.
Bundobust, 6 Mill Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DQ.
The wonderful Manjit’s Kitchen has graduated from food truck to market stall to its permanent home on Kirkstall Road, but the menu of failsafe Punjabi classics is still the one many people have fallen in love with, albeit with some new gems. If there’s one dish you must try, it’s the chilli paneer wrap – a concoction of perfectly spiced goodness that’s a steal at £7.50. The £9.50 two-curry thali is a meal for one with cumin rice, squash kofta, dhal, slaw, roti and chutney, while the menu is stuffed with items delivering big flavour for small change.
Manjit’s Kitchen, 333 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2HD and Leeds Kirkgate Market, 34 George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.
Jenny’s Jerk Chicken
Serving up sensationally spiced food from their spot at Kirkgate Market, Jenny’s Jerk Chicken is a Caribbean cracker that’s distinctly wallet-friendly. Dig into authentic mains such as curry goat and brown beef stew for £8, with a variety of burgers at the same price – they come with your choice of coleslaw or plantain and sweet potato chips. The jerk BBQ chicken salad is a healthy but zingy option for £5, while a trio of meals accompanied by rice and peas or coconut rice and salad make sure you don’t leave hungry.
Jenny’s Jerk Chicken, Leeds Kirkgate Market, 34 George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.
With a reputation for dishing up some of the best cheap eats in Leeds, Mr Mackerel has been reeling in customers for years. It’s not just about the fish sandwiches here, though at £4 each they make for a filling meal on-the-go – add chips and a soft drink for just an extra quid. No, the menu also does brilliant lamb kofta wraps, chicken shish and burgers, with meat fresh off the grill. There’s a wide range of meal deals available too, such as six chicken wings with salad, rice or chips and a small soup for a paltry £6.
Mr Mackerel, Leeds Kirkgate Market, 34 George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.
It’s the wonderful array of food in the window that really lures you through the door at Poco in Burley and Headingley. Inside, it delivers on the promise, with freshly-made Sicilian street food at a more-than-fair price. The go-to is the pizza al taglio, square pizza pies cut up and served hot – the classic Margherita is always there for £3, along with a roster of specials at £3.50. But that’s not all, as there’s also generous pasta, arancini, both sweet and savoury, and glistening rotisserie chicken, with half a chuck yours for just £6, a quarter for £3.50.
Poco, 360 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2HQ & 24 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2AD.
One of a brace of places to feed your face in Belgrave Music Hall, Dough Boys dishes up some of the finest cheap food in Leeds. There’s an array of hand-stretched pizza for you to choose from, with something for vegetarians, vegans and carnivores. Queen Brie is a wondrous mix of red grapes and French brie, while Salami of Darkness mixes salami Napoli with spicy sausage and chillies. Slices range from £3.40 up, but the ‘half price slice’ offer that runs until 5pm on Friday and Saturday, 7pm from Sunday to Thursday is one of the best bargains in the city.
Dough Boys, Belgrave Music Hall, 1-1A Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JP.
The Falafel Guys
It doesn’t matter if you descend into Assembly Underground, visit their SALT hideout or stroll to their truck on Briggate, The Falafel Guys will send you packing with a bellyful of cheap deliciousness. The must-try staples here include the falafel balls in either a salad bowl or wrap from £6. This isn’t your drier-than-dust falafel, but a sphere of Middle Eastern flavour laden with garlic mayo, homemade beetroot hummus, fresh salad, chilli sauce and more. Add grilled halloumi for an extra pound, or go for aromatic chicken shawarma at £6.50.
The Falafel Guys, outside Marks and Spencer, 47 Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HF, SALT, Candle House, Granary Wharf, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4GJ & Assembly Underground, 12 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AL.
You might not immediately think of Japanese when looking for the best cheap restaurants in Leeds, but Senbon Sakura manages to do fabulous, authentic cuisine at a keen price. For £12 you can get a bento box set meal that has your choice of meat, seafood or veggie dish accompanied by gyoza, spice, marinated egg and mixed salad. For less than a tenner you can get a hearty bowl of king prawn wok noodles while an exemplary chicken katsu curry is just £8.60. In the mood for a sushi smorgasbord? The Sumo Set delivers 20 pieces for £11.
Senbon Sakura, 71 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BR.
Little Bao Boy at North Brewing Co. Tap Room
Fancy some cheap eats with the bao factor? Head to North Brewing Co’s Springwell HQ or city centre Tap Room for one of the best things you can eat with a beer in Leeds. Two bao buns are just £8.50, a double dose of soft goodness with a truly tempting range of flavours. Do you go for the vegan oyster mushroom, five-spice pulled pork or the one that’s bursting with cauliflower doused in a panko gochujang batter? The beef brisket bao is heady with the scent of star anise and cinnamon, topped with sweet chilli sauce. Do one, do two, do them all!
Little Bao Boy, North Brewing Co. Tap Room, 3 Sovereign Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BA & Springwell, Buslingthorpe Lane, Meanwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 2DF.
Thai Aroy Dee
Low cost doesn’t mean low quality, and Thai Aroy Dee manage the tricky balancing act of keeping their prices down and the quality high. Expect a big menu of fragrant Thai classics, with veggie jungle, red and green curries starting at £6.50, meat versions at £6.95. The classic pad thai – noodles, meat, eggs, peanuts, bean sprouts and tamarind sauce – is just £6.95 too. Still hungry? Come any day between midday and 5pm and you can get two courses for £7.95, letting you add the likes of chicken satay and spring rolls. Bargainalicious.
Thai Aroy Dee, 120-122 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.
Patty’s has been serving up bounteous burgers at a fair price in Belgrave for years. The Dirty Burger does what it says on the tin – a Yorkshire steak patty in a taste tango with chipotle mayo, American cheese, mustard, pickles and salad. It’s a chin-dripping beaut, as is their spicy fried chicken burger. There are two vegan burger options and the justly famous platter of Session Fries. The burgers run from £5.75 through to £7.95, but they become one of the best cheap eats in Leeds on Sundays – buy one, get a second for £1.
Patty’s, Belgrave Music Hall, 1-1A Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JP.
A 12-inch wrap for less than a fiver? This is one of the best bargains in Leeds, courtesy of Oranaise Cafe. This North African eatery packs a whole lot of flavour into each and every one, whether you’re going for falafel with spicy sauce, chicken shawarma or the marvellous merguez lamb sausage. There are also light bites aplenty with a Mediterranean tapas menu starting at £3.95 – think stuffed vine leaves, tzatziki and grilled aubergine. If you can stretch to a tenner, the falafel mezze is a perfect intro to the menu’s classics.
Oranaise Cafe, 1 The Crescent, Woodhouse, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2NW.
Outlaws Yacht Club
The vibe at Outlaws Yacht Club is so laidback it’s practically horizontal. The perfect hangout, it combines a cafe, bar, hair salon, record shop and exhibition space with great value food. Bar snacks include a perfectly prepped pork pie (£2.75), or you can bolster your beer with a side of local sourdough. Opt for oil and balsamic on it for £2.75, £3.75 for hummus, lemon and sumac spices. But the main event is The Outlaws Grilled Cheese – brie, Emmental and cheddar are sandwiched in sourdough and melted to perfection for just £5.45.
Outlaws Yacht Club, 38 New York Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DY.
Banh & Mee
There’s a vibrancy about the Vietnamese food at Banh & Mee that will set you up for the rest of the day. Whether you’re after a bowl of pho, some slurpable noodles or the zingy delights of a bánh mì sandwich, they never disappoint – it’s a bargain to boot. Their Saigon noodles with chicken, pork or tofu are just £5.50, while you can get two bao buns for £6. The bánh mì is a crusty baguette spread with pâté and stuffed with marinated meat and salad, while the pho comes with a broth that has flavour so deep Tom Daley could dive into it.
Banh & Mee, Street Food Kitchen, Leeds Kirkgate Market, 34 George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.
Jino’s Thai Cafe
This proudly independent Thai spot sends you home with a full stomach and an almost-full wallet too. It helps that it’s BYO when it comes to booze – and they don’t charge corkage either. As well as the Thai classics you know and love, Jino’s also specialises in street food and small plates – dive into five gyoza for £6.45 or a yellow curry for a tenner. The offers are great value too – from 12pm to 3.45pm, every Tuesday to Sunday, you can dine out on an appetiser, main course and drink for just £11.95.
Jino’s Thai Cafe, 38 North Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HU.
I am Doner
The affordable kebabs at I am Doner come with a side order of clean conscience. Unusual for a takeaway, they dish up lunch in 100% plastic-free packaging – they don’t even stock drinks in plastic bottles. Berlin doners are the house speciality, and you can carry one away from as little as £6.45. There are loads of options around spice levels and what salad you want wrapped with your choice of falafel, chicken, doner, seitan or halloumi. The salad boxes are a great way to get all the taste with fewer carbs.
I am Doner, 23 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AA.
House of Fu
House of Fu has been packing them in ever since it opened on The Headrow. Their secret? The ramen and rice bowls are big on taste, the gyoza yielding to reveal their delicious insides, the ice cream sandwiches a fab way to end any meal. Or maybe it’s the bargain set lunch which makes it one of the best cheap restaurants in Leeds? Dine from 11.30am to 2.45pm, Monday to Wednesday, and you can enjoy one of their speciality sandos, plus a drink, for only £9.50. Time it right and you can roll into their 4pm happy hour, where cocktails are 2 for £12.
House of Fu, 15-19 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PU.
Freshly-made sourdough pizza for way less than £10? It’s a no-brainer. Franco Manco’s Pizza No. 1 is an oven-baked circle of vegetarian goodness – organic tomato, basil, garlic and oregano – and it’s just £6.45. Expect perfectly-risen bases with that telltale sourdough chew. Elsewhere on the menu you’ve got toppings that range from smoked salami to Ibérico chorizo, ragu to Stilton. Students can make the most of the Unidays deal from Sunday to Thursday, with a takeaway pizza and drink for £9.95.
Franco Manca, 1 Trinity Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6AP.
Kuala Lumpur Cafe
The first 100% Malaysian restaurant in Leeds, Kuala Lumpur Cafe specialises in its national dish – nasi lemak. This addictive and aromatic mixture of coconut rice, peanuts, anchovies, boiled egg, cucumber and chilli sauce is served with pretty much everything you can order here. There isn’t much north of £10 on the menu, meaning you can explore the rich taste of Malay food in dishes like masak kicap – a dark soy curry – and rich nyonya lime curries at a keen price. There’s choice galore in terms of protein – duck, beef, chicken and vegan options.
Kuala Lumpur Cafe, 2-4 Bennett Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HN & 8-10 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4RJ.
If you head to Horsforth, chances are you won’t miss the vividly painted building housing Scoffs. It’s a family affair, owned and run by a vegan mum and her daughter with a passion for plant-based food. The breakfast menu is served all day, with porridge for £1.95, sandwiches from £2.50 and the mighty ‘Scoffalot’ brekkie which will fill you up for £7.95. At lunch, a pie or pasty and peas is just £4 and wraps run from £3.50 up to a vegan prawn mayo at £5.95. It’s not just cheap – there are no animal derivatives used, and there’s a gluten-free menu too.
Scoffs Feel Good Food, 86 New Road Side, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4LZ.
Fat Annie’s is another place in Leeds Kirkgate Market to make a pilgrimage to in search of quality cheap eats the next time you need a bargain feed. They take their inspiration from New York’s street food scene but with an inventive meat-free twist. They serve up fabulous vegan dogs from £4.25, burgers from £6.90 and a whole array of sparkling sides. They offer student and NHS meal deals too – you’ll get free fries or a drink with a hot dog or burger, while everyone can ‘make a meal of it’ for an extra £3 to keep you going until tea.
Fat Annie’s, Street Food Kitchen, Leeds Kirkgate Market, 34 George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.