Amazing pizza, pasta and everything in between, if you love a good Italian, these Leeds restaurants are sure to float your boat.
More than any other type of cuisine, except perhaps our own, Italian food is universally loved in the UK. From prosciutto pizza to penne arrabbiata, you can’t go far wrong. Which is probably why so many Leeds restaurants hang their hat on authentic Italian fodder – and these are the best of them. The question is, have you tried, or even heard, of them all?
Wood Fire Dine Artisan Pizzeria
Wood Fire Dine is a real find. The former street food truck is now a permanent fixture and it’s full of rustic charm. They source their ingredients from Campania in Italy and locally here in Leeds. The dough is made fresh daily, then baked in the wood fire oven and topped with your choice of goodies. Will you go for a classic like the pepperoni or are you feeling brave enough for the Vesuvio, topped with pepperoni, Yorkshire ham and fiery chillies?
Wood Fire Dine Artisan Pizzeria, 34-36 Commercial Street, Rothwell, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 0AW.
Whether you want Italian goodness for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Livin’Italy has it covered. This sleek little spot on Granary Wharf is a hidden gem that serves up a famous Italo-English breakfast, fresh pizza and classic Italian favourites like Braised Meat Ravioli, Lobster and Prawn Spaghetti and Slow Roasted Belly Pork Porchetta, alongside an envious range of wines – it’s no wonder it’s so popular in Leeds.
Livin’Italy, Granary Wharf, Little Neville Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BR.
Just before you reach Leeds Bridge is Viva, an eatery you’ve probably walked past a million times – but have you ever been inside? They serve up delicious Italian fare in a characterful restaurant, including Spaghetti Carbonara, Caprese Tortellini and Pollo Meraviglia, alongside an array of traditional pizzas – if you’re feeling adventurous, try their tomato-less Salmon Pizza.
Viva, 9-11 Bridge End, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7HG.
Trattoria Il Forno
Trattoria Il Forno is one of the most renowned Italian restaurants in Leeds and that’s largely down to how they cook their famous pizzas. Stone-baked in their traditional oven, they give classic pizzas like Napoli, Pepperoni and Quattro Stagioni a new lease of life, but you can also try a range of original toppings if you want to try something new. And if you don’t feel like pizza, they have a wide selection of pasta dishes, with proper Italian gelato to finish.
Trattoria Il Forno, 85 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 5BP.
Gusto is a staple for fans of Italian food in Leeds, with a city centre restaurant alongside their longstanding Cookridge one. Their sleek, classy restaurants add a dash of style to an already refined menu, expect a slew of tasty pizzas, pastas, risottos and salads. They also offer mains like 28-day aged steak and the Gusto Burger, or you can plump for their tasty deli meat and cheese board, which goes particularly well with their extensive wine list.
Gusto, 10 Greek Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5RU; 151 Otley Old Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 6HN.
Poco is a Sicilian street food joint in Kirkstall with a small bar for eating in and a big focus on taking out. There’s pizza al taglia – thick, square slices of pizza cooked in blue iron trays made in Italy and topped with an ever-changing array of ingredients. Think mushroom, prosciutto, roasted veg and even seafood. They’ve also got arancini balls, sweet or savoury, or you could pick up a whole rotisserie chicken, which is sensational alongside the Italian roast potatoes.
Poco Sicilian Street Food, 360 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2HQ.
San Carlo is definitely one of the most luxurious spots to eat out in Leeds – this huge, classy dining room on South Parade is perfect for special occasions. The menu is as authentic as it gets, with recipes from the man the venue is named after used still, whether it’s Filetto al Pepe Verde, Lobster Risotto or their classic pizzas – whatever you choose, it’d be rude not to couple it with one of their handpicked Italian wines.
San Carlo, 6-7 South Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5QX.
Kasa Rosa has been the go-to Italian (and a bit of Spanish) restaurant in South Leeds for over a decade thanks to the Hickman family. You can see and smell their delicious dishes as soon as you enter thanks to the big open kitchen. Choose from a host of classic pizza and pasta dishes, or go for one of their mains, like the Filetto Augusto, a seared Scottish fillet steak topped with gorgonzola and Serrano ham in a red wine sauce.
Kasa Rosa, Town End, Morley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS27 8AQ.
Salvo’s & Salumeria
Fusing Italy’s strong culinary heritage with new modern touches, Salvo’s has become something of a local favourite. Their pastas and pizzas are the stuff of legends, while the Yorkshire Lamb Rump, Baked Aubergine and Roast Hake offer a delicious alternative. For something a little more intimate, go a couple of doors down to their Salumeria, where they put on special dinner evenings and wine tastings.
Salvo’s, 111-115 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3PX.
If you want your Italian eats to come with a slice of glamour, Bibis Italianissimo is the place to go. This glitzy, 1920s-inspired dining room puts on live entertainment throughout the week – and you can tuck into everything from Lasagne to Linguine alla Carbonara, Pollo alla Parmigiana and Calzone Kiev Pizza. It’s a real throwback, so dress up in your finest and get ready for a night out with a difference.
Bibis Italianissimo, Criterion Place, Sovereign Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4AG.
Hidden away at the edge of Woodhouse Moor, La Besi is a charming, family-run Italian eatery in Leeds, packed full of your favourite traditional dishes. Pizza and pasta is the order of the day, from Cannelloni to the Napoli pizza, but they have a fair selection of secondi piatti too, including Beef Stroganoff, Pollo Picante and Salmone Fillet. It’s unlicensed, so feel free to bring your own bottle of wine for a cheap alternative to the other Italians in the city.
La Besi, 211 Clarendon Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9DT.
In the heart of Meanwood, Culto brings an authentic taste of Italy to Leeds. Want pasta? Tuck into the Spaghetti Pomodoro, Linguine Carbonara or Penne all’Arrabbiatta. Prefer pizza? It’s one of the best in Leeds, whether you go for the Margherita or the Bianca, especially if you add their trademark black Pizza Nero base. They also have a charcoal grill, which they use to serve up a selection of chicken and veal dishes. And as with all good Italian restaurants in Leeds, they have a tempting dessert selection including tiramisu and profiteroles.
Culto, 97 Stainbeck Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 2PR.
Aperitvo makes high-end food in the form of a menu of refined Italian plates that you can enjoy in an informal setting. You can mix and match from a range of dishes like Venison Meatballs, Beef Tartar and Pig’s Head Terrine. Prefer pizza? They take that to the next level too with a choice of 5 bases, including a black charcoal smoked number. Whatever you choose, couple it with one of their hand-picked Italian wines or creative cocktails for the full experience.
Aperitivo, 293 Spen Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5BD.
From the refined decor to the equally well-dressed plates of food, Amici is worth checking out if you love Italian food. Start off with their extensive antipasti menu, before tackling your main. They do all the usual pizza and pasta dishes but don’t miss the secondi plates. You could try the Grilled Chicken Escalope served with a light summer salad and a creamy porcini dip or go for the Pan-fried Swordfish, which comes with a yellow cherry tomato salad and a caper and anchovy sauce.
Amici, 592-596 Harrogate Road, Alwoodley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 8DP.
La Cantina 44
La Cantina 44 is an understated restaurant that brings quality Italian food together with the best of the Mediterranean. Pizza and pasta make up much of the menu, including familiar dishes like Lobster Ravioli, Prosciutto Funghi Pizza and Risotto Pollo Selvatico. But it’s their speciality dishes that will wow you – try the Braised Lamb Shank, it’s served with red wine, amaretto and rosemary jus on a bed of mashed potatoes.
La Cantina 44, 1a Austhorpe Road, Cross Gates, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 8QR.
La Bella Vita
La Bella Vita is a modern Italian restaurant in Garforth that prides itself on using the best locally-sourced ingredients. They get all their meat from local favourite Sykes House Farm and Yorkshire Outdoor, so you know quality is a priority here. The menu offers a mix of traditional and contemporary Italian dishes, like Pizza Chiaramonti and Carre d’Agnello (pan-fried rack of lamb served with fresh mint and red wine sauce).
La Bella Vita, 17 Main Street, Garforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS25 1DY.
The Station House Cafe
Head inside The Station House Cafe to tuck into classic Southern Italian cuisine. This charming old building in Garforth seats just 20 people and the menu focuses on dishes that originate from Puglia, like Baked Cod with baby plum tomatoes, white wine, garlic butter and shallots. They also offer a range of traditional pizza and pasta dishes, not to mention a cracking dessert menu – anyone for Sea Salted Caramel Mousse?
The Station House Cafe, Station Road, Garforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS25 1PY.
Ecco Pizzeria serves up some of the best pizza in Leeds. They cook up authentic Neapolitan discs in their wood-fired oven, using centuries-old techniques passed down through the generations – and you can taste the difference. Try one of their classics, like the Napoli, which comes topped with tomatoes, anchovies, capers and black olives, or go for something surprisingly different – the Kuala Lumpa promises an unusual combination of sweet chilli prawns, pak choi, sweetcorn and spring onions.
Ecco Pizzeria, 93 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3PS.
Pizza Fella has gone from a street food favourite to a must-visit Italian eatery – and aren’t we glad? They do one thing, and they do it incredibly well – Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza. They use Italian Caputo flour and San Marzano tomatoes – choose from nine different flavours, each of which is numbered. We’re rather partial to the fiery Number 8, which brings together tomato, fior di latte, ‘nduja, balsamic onions and fresh chilli, but you might fall in love with something else entirely.
Pizza Fella, 114-116 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.
Salute at The White Swan
You probably wouldn’t expect one of Leeds’ best-regarded Italians to be tucked away in a pub in Rothwell, but that’s exactly where you’ll find Salute at The White Swan. It’s smart dining, with a focus on quality – expect rustic dishes like Pollo Crème, Braised Chianti Beef and Chicken & Chorizo Risotto, alongside the usual pizza and pasta dishes. You can see why folk are willing to travel from all over for a bite to eat here.
Salute at The White Swan, Church Street, Rothwell, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS26 0QL.
Possibly one of the most picturesque restaurants in Leeds, Roundhay eatery Del Verde is a must for Italian aficionados – and not just because of the view across the grounds of the golf course where you’ll find it. This family-run eatery has a small but perfectly formed menu, with a focus on pizza and pasta. Keep it simple with their Chorizo Pizza or go for something a little bit different, like the Duck and Toulouse Sausage Pasta.
Del Verde, Park Lane, Roundhay, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2EJ.
Napoli nel Cuore
Napoli nel Cuore is a real boon for Horsforth – it’s a family-run Italian restaurant that brings a touch of Naples to Leeds and they’ve got one of the biggest pizza menus in the city. You can get all the classics, from the Napoli to the Quattro Stagioni, but they also have a few specials. Try the O’Panuozzo Calzone filled with buffalo mozzarella and cooked ham, or get a surprise with the A’ Sofia Lauren – every corner of this star-shaped pizza comes with a different topping and you won’t know what you’re getting until it’s served.
Napoli nel Cuore, 30 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4RJ.
Don’t be fooled by the name, Sambuca is about genuine Italian food rather than an eye-watering shot. It’s a homely, understated eatery in the centre of Armley. You can choose from a range of pizzas, like their Napoletana which comes topped with mozzarella, tomato, olives, anchovies and capers, or go for a traditional pasta dish, like the Spaghetti alla Carbonara, but it’s the carni dishes that really stand out. Try the sirloin steak with red wine peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic.
Sambuca, 39 Carr Crofts, Armley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 3HB.
If you want to get a feel of Naples here in Leeds, head to Gigi’s. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much, but trust us, it’s one of the best Italian restaurants in Leeds. It’s a small, intimate pizzeria with a rustic decor and a hefty menu. You can go for favourites like the Penne Arrabbiata or the Quattro Formaggi pizza, but take a look at their secondi piatti first – the Gamberoni Provenciale sees king prawns cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with chilli and mushrooms in a white wine sauce.
Gigi’s, 63 Lidget Hill, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, LS28 7LJ.
Ciao Bella is a stylish restaurant. Set in a beautiful old warehouse, it’s all exposed brickwork and original features – which means it’s a lovely place to grab a bite. They offer a menu of traditional Italian eats that will take you from Salami Pizza to Penne Pesto Genovese, Pollo Cacciatora and Homemade Tiramisu. In the summer, sit outside and enjoy the sunshine to give your meal a real holiday feel.
Ciao Bella, 20 Dock Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JF.
Named after the seaside resort, Sorrento brings a little slice of Naples to Leeds. The pizza is definitely worth a go, with interesting options like Feta and Sun-dried Tomato or the meaty Sorrento special, but they also offer pasta, risottos and specials. It’s all served up in a surprisingly modern restaurant decorated with images of far-flung shores.
Sorrento, 19 Kingswear Parade, Cross Gates, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 8LJ.
Via Verde might not look like much from the outside, but don’t let that put you off, because the food makes it worth the trip. They’ve combined quality ingredients and affordable prices, so you can enjoy a hearty Italian feast without breaking the bank. There’s something for everyone here, with pizza and pasta alongside their signature duck, lamb and seafood dishes – and it’s all served up in a cosy, intimate restaurant that feels every bit like the independent it is.
Via Verde, 58 Green Road, Meanwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4JP.
If you’re looking for pizza in Leeds city centre, make a beeline for The Headrow. Da Mario’s is often forgotten, but they serve up authentic Italian pizzas for a tasty price. They’re famous for classics like Funghi, Diavola and Margherita, but they also do inventive options like the Calzone Kiev. Inside, it’s more diner than restaurant, so don’t expect airs and graces, just a good feed.
Da Mario, 105 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5JW.
You can enjoy modern Italian cuisine in a rustic riverside restaurant at Otley’s Buon Apps. Dinner comes with picturesque views across the rolling Yorkshire hills and the extensive menu is full of recipes passed down through the generations to owners Alessandro and Sofia Elena. Tuck into authentic plates of Manzo Stroganoff, Slow-cooked Rolled Pork Belly and Tuscan Fish Strew, alongside traditional pasta and stone-baked pizza.
Buon Apps, Hartley House, 50 Mill Way, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 1FE.
Giorgio’s is a vibrant, family-run Italian restaurant – in fact, it’s so popular that they have two restaurants in Leeds. You can pore over a huge selection of pizzas, with classics like Margherita alongside their own creations – try Da Giorgio’s, it has a little bit of everything. It’s not just pizza though – you can get everything from risotto to gnocchi here.
Giorgio’s, 70-72 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4BA & Oaklands, 55 Rodley Lane, Rodley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS13 1NG.
One of the finest restaurants in Meanwood, Zucco sources seasonal ingredients from local suppliers, which means there’s something new to try every time you visit. What won’t change, however, is the quality of their Italian fare. Their pizzettas (mini flatbread pizzas) are well worth a go, but they also offer the likes of Frito Misto, Venison Stew, Veggie Tagliatelle and a huge dessert menu that you’ll struggle to resist.
Zucco, 603 Meanwood Road, Meanwood Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4AY.
Franco’s at Thorpe Park
You may have tried Franco’s wares before – he’s the chef who opened Roundhay’s Flying Pizza, but now his high end eats are available at Thorpe Park. This quaint, family-run Italian restaurant has an extensive menu, so you can try the Rump Steak in Green Pepper Sauce, Pizza Mare Monti or Ravioli Lobster. Can decide? Try the risotto, it’s their speciality.
Franco’s at Thorpe Park, 4600 Park Approach, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 8GB.