Leeds-List - Leeds' ultimate magazine and guide

The Best Restaurants in Leeds

· Ruth Hargreaves · Food and Drink

Bibs at the ready, things are about to get seriously tasty.

Vice & Virtue

The definitive list is here, let the guzzling commence.

Let’s cut to the chase, you’re after the best restaurants in Leeds, right? Those places to eat that are the absolute bee’s knees, packed with drool-worthy dishes and food so good it’ll leave you gagging for more. Well Leeds is full of ‘em, and believe it or not, some of the greatest gorging in the city won’t cost you an arm and a leg either. From fine dining to deliciously downmarket, these are the best restaurants in Leeds.

Souvlaki

Souvlaki Meat Board

© Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Daria Wszolek

It always seems to fly under the radar, but Souvlaki is the stuff that Greek dreams are made of. Small, cosy and welcoming, it’s like stepping inside a little island bistro, where the stresses and strains of everyday life just disappear.

The food is reliably top notch and their authentic cheese, meat and fish platters are a marvellous way to enjoy a taste of nearly everything (trust us, you’ll want to). If sharing’s not your bag, opt for one of the individual main courses like the titular souvlaki, grilled skewers laden with succulent meats and charred halloumi, or the creamy aubergine moussaka. Lovely staff and reasonable prices make it a no-brainer next time you’re eating out in Leeds.

Souvlaki, 18 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3DW. Main courses range from £12.95 to £22.95.

Ox Club

Guinea Fowl at Ox Club

Credit: Nick Porter

Tucked away inside Headrow House, Ox Club arrived in Leeds back in 2015 and has been turning heads as one of the best restaurants in the city ever since. What these guys don’t know about grilling ain’t worth knowing and their ever-changing menu centres around the prime Grillworks grill sitting pretty in the kitchen.

Flavour combinations are exciting and bold, think wood pigeon and lime, aubergine and cardamom, lamb and ricotta, all executed to smokey perfection. The Scandi-cool dining room is similarly accomplished and the impressive view over the open kitchen lets you see that wood-fired grill in action. Bargain hunters will be pleased by the Prix Fixe menu where three courses and a side come in at less than £20.

Ox Club, 19a The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PU. Main courses range from £18 to £24, small plates range from £7 to £8.

The Swine That Dines

The Swine That Dines

Once a greasy spoon, now a fine dining destination, The Swine That Dines was the realisation of a dream for owners Jo and Stu – but we’re the ones that really benefit. They have a knack for making creative, punchy and waste-free food that uses every part of the animal and the plant.

They’re open during the day for laid-back dining, then every Thursday, Friday and Saturday they host their own supper club. The menu changes monthly but high-quality cuts of meat, innovative cooking techniques and plates-to-share are a constant. Completely vegetarian menus arrive the first weekend of every month and a bring-your-own approach to booze helps keeps those precious pennies in your pocket.

The Swine That Dines, 58 North Street, Leeds, Yorkshire, LS2 7PN. Lunchtime small plates range from £3.50 to £5, evening menu is £49.50 for two to share.

Matt Healy x The Foundry

Matt Healy x The Foundry

You know a good time’s a-coming when the chef at the helm of your chosen restaurant was a MasterChef: The Professionals runner-up. Matt Healy has returned home and opened his first restaurant in the maze of Holbeck Urban Village. It’s ‘unconventionally British’, so expect familiar dishes to be taken to new heights.

For a menu boasting such dishes as beef tartare, fresh oysters and Yorkshire venison, the vibe is surprisingly informal. You’ll find all the heartiness of meat-and-two-veg but accompanied by the finesse of a chef at the top of his game. It’s quality stuff but non-exclusive, more hip than high-end, and undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Leeds.

Matt Healy x The Foundry, 1 Saw Mill St, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5WH. Small plates range from £7 to £18, main courses range from £15.50 to £25.

Fazenda

Fazenda Leeds

© Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Jess Rowbottom

If deciding where to eat in Leeds is synonymous with finding somewhere you can gorge unashamedly on as many quality meat, sides and salads as you can stomach, Fazenda will be right up your street. It’s long been a favourite in Leeds and rightly so, as it promises unlimited Brazilian barbecued meats carved straight onto your plate, still sizzling from the spit.

And this is no one-meat pony – of an evening, they have no less than six cuts of steaks doing the rounds, including filet mignon, sirloin and rump, but they also do other meats like honeyed pork belly and traditional Brazilian chicken hearts. Don’t worry, there’s a salad bar for when the meat sweats kick in. Upmarket all-you-can-eats don’t come around all too often and Fazenda absolutely nails it.

Fazenda, Waterman’s Place, 3 Wharf Approach, Granary Wharf, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4GL. Lunchtimes range from £19.50 during the week to £21.50 on weekends, evenings cost £32.50.

Sukhothai

Sukhothai

© Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Suzy Rodden

Just a few minutes’ walk from Leeds railway station, Sukhothai has all the trappings of a classy, city centre restaurant but with none of the pretentiousness. This combination of lavish Thai-style decor, beautifully presented food and excellent value (most main courses come in at under £15) makes it one of the best restaurants to be found in Leeds.

There are a whopping 200 dishes on offer here, so you can steadily work your way through favourites like traditional green curry or sweet’n’sour tom yum soup. Or why not opt for a curveball with a lesser-known delicacy? You’re spoilt for choice, but the longer you linger over the menu the more time you’ll have to admire the impressive interior. This is one to take your time over.

Sukhothai, 15 South Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5QS. Further venues in Chapel Allerton and Headingley. Main courses range from £7.50 to £22.95.

Tharavadu

Tharavadu

Boasting its own Michelin recommendation (it’s not quite a Michelin star, but give them time), a visit to Tharavadu is always an absolute pleasure. The home of south Indian Keralan cuisine in Leeds, this restaurant sets expectations high, but continues to meet those high standards every single time.

There are no bland kormas or butter chickens here. Instead you’ll find generously-portioned, authentic cooking inspired by the Kerala coastline and thrumming with rich spices. Unless you’re familiar with the cuisine, you’ll be heading into unchartered territory, but really, with food this good, it’s all part of the fun. Sit back and enjoy the ride, it’s going to be tasty.

Tharavadu, 7-8 Mill Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DQ. Main courses range from £5.29 to £17.49.

The Reliance

The Reliance

© Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Aimee Stevens

On first glance, The Reliance looks like nothing more than a vintage chic bar, but this dine-in pub has no trouble nabbing the title of ‘best restaurant in Leeds’. The decor is comfortable, but minimalist. The service is warm, not ostentatious. And all the attention goes on their seasonal food offering, which is whipped up in the pub’s open plan kitchen (there’s even a smoking room for their home-smoked charcuterie meats). They are surprisingly creative here, with dishes like baked queen scallops with a garlic, hazelnut and parsley crumb.

Try them out at lunch, dinner or for a mighty fine Sunday roast – the latter is the stuff of legends. Tender rare breed beef, roast pork with crackling-crunch and their famous nut roast too – all served up with roasties, vegetables and the obligatory Yorkshire pudding. It’s one of the only times you can book too. At other times, you can just rock up and enjoy a local ale while you wait for a table.

The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN. Main courses range from £11.95 to £15.50.

Crafthouse

Crafthouse Tasting Menu

© Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Elouisa Georgiou

This British restaurant, sitting pretty atop Trinity Leeds and accessed via its very own lift, is one slick Rick. Everything about it is suave, from the attentive wait staff who seem to notice you need a drink top-up even before you do, to the stunning dishes that have you jumping to take a picture before you dig in. Sure it’s posh, but it’s not only posh.

Executive Chef Lee Murdoch crafts his menus with the seasons and celebrates quality local produce. You can enjoy an a la carte feast with dishes like grouse with crispy leg, seared goose liver, black pudding rosti and roast beets, but why not go one step further with a seven-course tasting menu? The views from up there are pretty glorious too. For special occasions or a bit of pampering, it’s undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Leeds.

Crafthouse, 5th Floor Trinity Leeds, 70 Boar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HW. Main courses range from £14 to £24.

Poco

Poco Leeds

© Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Ali Turner

Small in name but certainly not in nature, Poco is Leeds’ first Sicilian street food joint and it comes with attitude. Big, unapologetic flavours are served in the form of pizzas, arancini, rotisserie chicken, cannoli and traditional Italian sides. That’s your lot, but that’s all you need because the myriad toppings, fillings and daily specials mean you actually end up with a decent amount of choice.

Authenticity is key at Poco. Everything on offer is utterly delicious and very good value – the supersized stuffed arancini balls are around £3 a pop. The pay-off is the seating as there are only a few stools and outside tables for when the weather is fair, but wild horses couldn’t stop the queues of hungry patrons that continue to flock here of a mealtime. It’s that good. Make sure you join them next time.

Poco, 360 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2HQ. Pizza starts from £2.50, pasta starts from £5 and chicken starts from £3.50 if you’re eating in.

Senbon Sakura

Senbon Noodle Soup

© Copyright Leeds-List 2017 by Ali Turner

Swoon-worthy Japanese fare for surprisingly affordable prices – that’s what you can expect from Senbon Sakura. This is good old cheap and cheerful dining. All your favourites are here, including traditional ramen with three different bases (the pork bone broth is slow cooked for no less than 18 hours), bento boxes packed with steamed rice and meats, and enough sushi rolls to fill up an entire page on the menu (it’s simpler at lunchtime and becomes more adventurous of an evening).

Honest, home-made and fresh, it’s a far cry from the stale sushi boxes stacked up on supermarket shelves. The simple dining room is verging on sparse, but let’s face it, all your attention is going to be on that steaming bowl of deliciousness right in front of you. And with great portions and very reasonable prices, it’s as close as you’ll get to guilt-free eating out in Leeds. Big bonus points for having the lesser-spotted tofu katsu curry on the menu too.

Senbon Sakura, 71 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BR. Sushi starts from £2.80 and main courses range from £4.30 to £12.

Hana Matsuri

Sushi, Japanese food

A trip to Meanwood is in order if you want to treat yourself to a meal at one of the best restaurants in Leeds. Trust us, you won’t mind the journey. They only serve around eight people per night from within the extremely cosy dining room, but the sushi at Hana Matsuri is exemplary and the overall experience is one to remember.

Once you’ve managed to get a seat, you’ll be treated to a view of their masterful chefs preparing the hand-crafted rolls right in front of you. Everything is beautifully made and presented, from classics like salmon nigiri and tuna sashimi to lesser-known treats like the Rainbow Roll, which combines seven different types of seafood. It’s a surprising find in a Leeds suburb, but one which completely transforms eating out in the area. Lucky Meanwood.

Hana Matsuri, 580 Meanwood Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4AZ. Prices range from £2.20 to £12.90.

Heaney & Mill

Heaney and Mill

Another suburban sensation is the delectable Heaney & Mill. They serve an ever-changing menu of fine-dining treats to the Headingley masses. Scrumptious small plates like seared scallops with black pudding or sesame-crusted tuna pave the way to main dishes that range from squid coconut masala to wild mushroom gnocchi.

Every element of the dishes has been carefully thought out and although the exquisite presentation screams high-class, the pricing is surprisingly reasonable. Bring your friends and make tidy work of the deli platters, which carry a different theme, from the spicy Hells Garden to the Spanish-inspired Road Trip. Or swing by before 7pm and devour the three-course set menu for just £19.95 – it’s an absolute steal.

Heaney & Mill, 48 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2AL. Main courses range from £13 to £26.

Home

Home Leeds

It was one of the most hotly anticipated openings of 2017, but does Home live up to the hype? In short, absolutely. Elizabeth Cottam and Mark Owens are the chefs at the helm, and they both come with serious foodie credentials – a fact that is evident when you browse their British-inspired menus and see the pretty plates of food flying past your table.

The restaurant was borne out of their love for fine dining and local produce, but rather than exclusive, they want visitors here to feel ‘at home’. It works. The staff are extremely friendly and take the time to explain each of the dishes that arrive as part of the five or ten-course tasting menus – you’ll jump from ale-braised short rib with black garlic and wild mushroom to poached apple with white tea, caramel and hazelnut in the blink of an eye. It may be a little pricier than your own home, but there’s no doubt it’s a darn sight tastier.

Home, 16-17 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6BY. The condensed menu costs £55 during the week and the full menu costs £75.

The Man Behind the Curtain

Man Behind the Curtain

Credit: Luke Hannaford

Certainly winning the award for the most intriguing name in Leeds, Michelin-starred The Man Behind the Curtain is also a contender for the best restaurant. The actual man behind the curtain is Michael O’Hare, a celebrated chef who draws parallels with the gastronomic wizard himself, Heston Blumenthal.

Expect a hearty dose of theatricality with your meal, which comes in the form of a 10 to 14 course tasting menu or ‘progression of snacks’ taken in the bar with cocktails. Whichever you choose, you’re likely to find some pretty exciting combination on your plate – how does Korean oyster soup, char sui octopus and pigeon with rhubarb sound? You pay for the privilege, but dining here is an experience you’re likely to remember for quite some time.

The Man Behind the Curtain, 68-78 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7JH. Menus range from £65 to £240 per person.

El Bareto

El Bareto

© Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Ali Turner

Kick-ass tapas is waiting just around the corner in Chapel Allerton. Family-owned and pleasantly rustic, El Bareto ticks all sorts of boxes when it comes to finding a great place to eat out in Leeds. Spanish flavours are whipped us using good ol’ abuela’s recipes.

Try the likes of smokey padron peppers (a Galician speciality), oven-baked Spanish black pudding and enough aioli bravas to leave a smile on your face for days. Portions are more than generous, making the prices incredibly reasonable. The cosy downstairs dining room gets packed to bursting on weekends, so make sure to book, and try to visit on a live music night when the fiesta gets well and truly started.

El Bareto, 120 Gledhow Valley Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 6LX. Tapas plates range from £3.50 to £12.90.

Pizza Fella

Pizza Fella

Once a street food outfit serving fresh-as-you-like Neapolitan pizzas out of the back of a converted Citroen H van, Pizza Fella upgraded to a simple pizzeria on Vicar Lane in 2016 and now stand proud as one of the best restaurants in Leeds.

The vibe is industrial-cool and the welcome is warm, but the dough is really where it’s at. Made on-site using just four ingredients – caputo flour, salt, yeast and water – the dough is proved, hand-stretched and cooked freshly right in front of you within minutes. It’s the perfect carrier for toppings like classic margherita (Pizza Fella’s own personal favourite), nduja with balsamic onions or chargrilled fennel with walnuts and basil. Traditionally Italian, it’s a must for authentic eating out in Leeds – and it won’t break the bank either.

Pizza Fella, 114-116 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL. Prices range from £6 to £14.60.

Vice and Virtue

Vice & Virtue

Luke Downing is one of the most prestigious chef’s in the city, his reputation precedes him and his city centre restaurant, Vice & Virtue, is where you’ll find him (although he owns four utterly different restaurants across the city). Don’t expect to walk in without a reservation, this is one of the best restaurants in Leeds, after all. Report to the bar and they’ll take you up to the art deco dining room, where the food is nothing short of exquisite.

Multi-course tasting menus pack in locally-sourced ingredients cooked and presented to perfection. Downing has been known to spend the morning foraging, just so he can serve dishes like Whitby scallop with strawberry, celery and wild Yorkshire rhubarb. Expect a chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as each plate is brought to the table. It’s a fine dining feast with a price tag to match, but for a truly unrestrained celebration you can splurge on one of the complementary drinks packages, as their knowledgeable team pair wines and creative cocktails with your courses.

Vice and Virtue, 68 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU. Menus range from £30 to £190 per person.

Man v Roast

Man v Roast

© Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Joseph Sheerin

You probably didn’t expect to find a carvery on a list of the best restaurants in Leeds, did you? Well suspend your disbelief, for anyone who’s already paid a visit to Man v Roast knows it well deserves its place. For a first-rate roast with all the trimmings, this Hyde Park restaurant delivers every time – and it won’t break the bank either. Sure, it’s unconventional, but who says the best has to be the most expensive?

You don’t come for the venue, which is small and half-filled by the giant carvery counter, instead swing by for the six joints of sizzling meat and sides, from perfectly-crisped roasties to rich cauliflower cheese. Food is served in takeout boxes which helps keep the cost down – it’s just £7.50 for a full blown carvery box. Portions are generous, prices are low and quality is high. Curveball – they’re open on Sundays, but it’s the only day they don’t deliver.

Man v Roast, 144 Cardigan Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1LL. Sandwiches start at £4.50 and carvery boxes start at £7.

The Oxford Place

Oxford Place

© Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Aimee Stevens

The only 100% gluten-free restaurant in Yorkshire, The Oxford Place calls Leeds home and answers the ‘where to eat?’ quandary facing coeliacs across the city. But it’s not just the free-from ethos that makes The Oxford Place such an excellent place to eat in Leeds. It’s a beautiful little restaurant, tucked away and easily-missed on Oxford Place, with a classy bistro feel you’d never guess at from the outside.

The gluten-free promise doesn’t mean there’s any compromise on taste. Rather, gastropub favourites like gourmet beef burger, battered haddock with chips and roasted Yorkshire lamb rump are superbly cooked and served with panache – the edible flowers are a surprising delight. Prices are fair, not cheap, but once you’ve found this hidden gem you’re likely to be back, coeliac or not.

The Oxford Place, 2 Oxford Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AX. Main courses range from £13.95 to £25.95.

Salami & Co

If you’re looking for a great place to eat out with your precious pooch, Salami & Co in Otley will certainly set tails wagging. It’s billed as a coffee house, but this cafe has far more on offer than just hot drinks. There’s a downright delicious brunch menu served all day, proffering such treats as blackberry smoked salmon and a stonker of a grilled cheese sandwich that’s topped with béchamel sauce, red pepper puree and bonus chorizo or olives.

Humans will be delighted with the high-quality fare, but Fido hasn’t been forgotten. Dogs get a comfy mat to sit on, a fresh water supply, towels to dry muddy paws on and their very own Hound Menu. Where better to down a Puppuccino or snack on a Pupcake? Salami & Co is different, it’s unconventional cool, but we love it as much as all the others – and so do their punters.

Salami & Co, 10 Market Place, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AQ. Brunch menu ranges from £2 to £7.50.

Bulgogi Grill

Bulgogi BBQ Review

© Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Ali Turner

For the adventurous among you, the DIY feasting on offer at Bulgogi Grill promises an absolute bucket-load of fun. At this Korean barbecue restaurant, you sit back as sweetly-marinaded cuts of beef, pork, duck, prawn and squid arrive, uncooked, for you to hand-grill on the table’s very own barbecue.

And that’s not all – rice, lettuce, tempura veggies, sauces and dips are also on hand, so you can package your barbecued meats up in a lettuce wrap with all the toppings you want. The staff are helpful but never hovering, so you have free reign to grill and devour to your heart’s content. At £27.95 per person it’s not cheap, but it’s definitely the best experience-led restaurant in Leeds and your once-rumbling tummy will be thanking you for quite some time.

Bulgogi Grill, The Arena Quarter, 9 Merrion Way, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BT. The Bulgogi set menu costs £27.50 per person.

Art’s Cafe

Art's Cafe

Eating out at Art’s is a little like eating at the smallest gastropub you’ve ever seen. The rustic charm and dark wood panelled bar are the first thing to hit you upon entry, but take a seat and you’ll soon be charmed by the intimate space and international menu. It makes for an exciting browse, with everything from salt-baked kohlrabi with miso cream to aubergine katsu curry on a menu that changes every month.

There’s plenty on offer for vegetarians and the combination of small and large plates invites a mix ’n’ match approach that’s ideal for tasting as much of the menu as possible. It’s a relaxed joint, no raised pinkies required here, and the three-course early bird menu for £20 makes it a bit of a bargain too.

Art’s Cafe, 42 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DT. Main courses range from £11.95 to £19.95.

Red’s True Barbecue

Red's True BBQ

It’s easy to be lured into Red’s right off the street – the tempting waft of sizzling meats can prove just too much to resist. The saloon-style decor is bang on the money and well suited to a menu crammed full of all sorts of authentic, Deep South meaty marvels.

It’s undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Leeds for carnivores. Stock up on wings, ribs, burgers, brisket, steaks and even entire platters dedicated to your meat of choice – all freshly smoked and slathered in tangy sauce. It’s all kinds of sloppy, juicy fun, so leave your best shirt at home and prepare to dive into those massive portions. Eating out in Leeds just got messy.

Red’s True Barbecue, 1 Cloth Hall Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2HD. Main courses range from £8.95 to £18.95.

Bundobust

Bundobust

Credit: Ben Bentley

Washing down delicious Indian street food with a craft beer is a mighty fine thing and precisely what’s on the cards at Bundobust. No bookings, no white tablecloths, Bundobust is a restaurant that keeps things simple. Plonk yourself down at one of their wooden benches or tables, choose from around a dozen small plates inspired by the streets of Gujarat, then head up to the counter to order (and pick up a nifty pint while you’re there).

It’s one of the more low-key places to eat in Leeds but the food is outstanding – crispy okra fries, delicately-spiced paneer curry and the ever-popular tarka dhal lentil curry are favourites – but the beauty of Bundobust is in the flexibility. It’s all fast, fresh and flavourful to the max. Pop by with friends for a taste of everything on the menu (it’ll likely cost less than you think), or make the most of the express lunch offer – two dishes for £7 – and slowly work your way through it all.

Bundobust, 6 Mill Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DQ. Small plates range from £3.75 to £6.50.

As always, if you think we missed somewhere, tell us in the comments…