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.
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. So sit back and enjoy the ride, it’s going to be tasty.
Tharavadu, 7-8 Mill Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DQ.
This British restaurant, sitting pretty on the Trinity Leeds rooftop 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 before you do, to the stunning dishes that have you jumping to take a picture before you dig in. Sure it’s posh, but that’s not all.
The menus are crafted with the seasons in mind and celebrate quality local produce. You can enjoy an a la carte feast with dishes like Gressingham duck breast alongside pickled red cabbage puree, confit leg pastilla and duck fat rosti, or take it one step further with a seven-course tasting menu. The views from up there are pretty glorious too. For those special occasions or a bit of pampering time, it’s undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Leeds.
Crafthouse, 5th Floor Trinity Leeds, 70 Boar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HW.
Flickering candles. Chalkboard menus. A delectable menu crammed with French classics. Yep, Kendells Bistro is about to take your date nights to the next level. Quite frankly, this little restaurant is cosy as heck and one of the best restaurants in Leeds when you fancy a little intimacy alongside your salmon en croute.
The low lighting and sophisticated service lends itself to special, romantic occasions. As does the well and truly finessed food menu, which ranges from fresh vegetable tarts and classic steaks done to your liking, all the way to a mouthwatering venison loin crowned by an ox cheek croquette. They’ve even fused French fare with a beloved British tradition – the Sunday lunch. Because who doesn’t want to round off their roast dinner with an oh-so-creamy crème brûlée?
Kendells Bistro, 3 St Peters Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS9 8AH.
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 amazing value for money – the supersized stuffed arancini balls are around £3 a pop. The pay-off is the seating, as there are only a few stools and outdoor tables for when the weather is fair, but even wild horses couldn’t stop the queues of hungry patrons that continue to flock here come mealtime. Yep, it’s that good. Make sure you join them next time the pizza cravings hit.
Poco, 360 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2HQ.
Swoon-worthy Japanese fare at 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 saucy meat, and enough sushi rolls to fill up an entire page on the menu.
Honest, homemade and fresh, it’s a far cry from the stale sushi boxes stacked up on supermarket fridge shelves. The dining room is decked out with colourful Japanese murals and cherry blossoms, 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 monster portions and undeniably reasonable prices, it’s as close as you’ll get to guilt-free eating out in Leeds. They get 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.
Heaney & Mill
Another suburban sensation is the delectable Heaney & Mill. They serve an ever-changing menu of fine-dining treats to the Headingley masses. Every element of each dish has been carefully thought out, and although the exquisite presentation screams high-class, the pricing is surprisingly wallet-friendly.
Scrumptious small plates like salt and pepper squid or seared tuna carpaccio pave the way to main dishes that range from black truffle risotto to slow roast spatchcock poussin. The rosemary butter lamb rump may do some damage, but you can’t put a price on those buttery dauphinoise potatoes. Get all your friends together for a long overdue brunch date and get stuck into the likes of bacon and blueberry buttermilk pancakes, the halloumi and hash brown sandwich or perfectly poached eggs Benedict over a toasted English muffin.
Heaney & Mill, 48 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2AL.
Elizabeth Cottam is the chef at the helm at Home, and she comes with serious foodie credentials – a fact that is evident when you browse their British-inspired menus and see the pretty plates of food flying out of the kitchen.
The restaurant was borne out of a love for fine dining and local produce, but rather than exclusive, they want visitors here to feel ‘at home’ – and it works. The staff are extremely friendly and take the time to explain each of the dishes that arrive as part of the 8, 10 or 12-course tasting menus – you’ll jump from rabbit dumplings with roasted garlic, to halibut with horseradish and Jerusalem artichokes 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, 3 Brewery Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1NE.
De Baga is a true neighbourhood treasure, delighting the folks of Headingley and Chapel Allerton with chilli-giddy meals inspired by the Goan shores. Certain ingredients crop up over and over – coconut, rice, tropical fruits and a veritable smorgasbord of seafood.
Transport yourself to the Arabian Sea with fiery balchão king prawns, delicately-spiced soft shell crab and classic Konkani fish curry, sweet with coconut and fierce with Sichuan pepper. If fish doesn’t float your boat, no biggie. There’s buttery-smooth dal bukhara, punchy meat curries and sizzling tandoori platters as big as your head. For pud? Sugariffic Indian desserts that’ll make your sweet tooth sing. Throw in top notch cocktails and unfailingly friendly service, and you’ll be Go-an back in no time (sorry!).
De Baga, 9 Otley Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AA & 8b Stainbeck Lane, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 3QY.
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 that sits pretty in the kitchen.
Flavour combinations are exciting and bold, think char sui belly pork with kimchi and apple and sake sauce, a rack of cull yow with confit shoulder, and aged bone-in sirloin with bone marrow peppercorn sauce – all executed to smoky perfection. The Scandi-cool dining room is equally accomplished and the impressive view over the open kitchen lets you see that wood-fired grill in action – and the smoky smells are sure to get your tummy rumbling. End the week with their Sunday lunch menu for classic combinations with added Ox Club flair.
Ox Club, 19a The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PU.
If deciding where to eat in Leeds is synonymous with finding somewhere you can gorge unashamedly on as much 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.
This is no one-meat pony of an evening. They have no less than six cuts of steaks doing the rounds, including ribeye, sirloin and garlic-infused rump, but they also do other meats like mint-marinated lamb leg and traditional Brazilian chicken hearts. Don’t worry, there’s a salad bar for when the meat sweats kick in, and did we mention the sides are unlimited? Don’t miss out on the truffle and parmesan fries. The 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.
The Man Behind the Curtain
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 9 or 14-course tasting menu or ‘progression of snacks’ taken in the bar with cocktails. Whichever you choose, you’ll likely find some pretty exciting combinations on your plate. How does wasabi, wagyu fat and toast gravy sound? You pay for the privilege, but dining here is an experience you’ll no doubt remember for quite some time. The Emancipation is certainly eye-opening.
The Man Behind the Curtain, 68-78 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7JH.
Yes, it’s modern, but Shears Yard’s impressive style encompasses far more than its sky-high ceilings and exposed brick walls. Ever-changing menus carry just the same wow factor, with local produce taking centre stage on dishes like pork fillet and crispy belly with celeriac satay and pan roast sea trout coated in gribiche sauce.
It’s not easy to fuse innovative food combinations with a carefree vibe, but Shears Yard does it without breaking a sweat. Ambitious, elevated, never snobbish – their chefs are guided by flavour and rich in skill. If it inspires them, it goes on the menu, so it’s constantly evolving. Bottomless brunch, Sunday lunch and a la carte offerings run alongside the seasonal main menu, so you can treat yourself to some seriously delicious new surprises every time you dine.
Shears Yard, 11-15 Wharf Street, The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EH.
Kick-ass tapas is waiting just around the corner in Chapel Allerton. Family-owned and pleasantly rustic, El Bareto ticks all the boxes when it comes to finding a great place to eat out in Leeds. Spanish flavours are whipped up using abuela’s tried and trusted family recipes.
Try the likes of smokey padron peppers (a Galician speciality), oven-baked Spanish black pudding and enough aioli-covered patatas bravas to leave a smile on your face for days. Portions are more than generous, making the prices incredibly reasonable for proper authentic tapas. The cosy downstairs dining room gets packed 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.
Once a street food venture 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 stands 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 fresh right in front of you within minutes. It’s the perfect carrier for toppings like the classic margherita (Pizza Fella’s own personal favourite), diavola with ‘nduja or Napoli salami with portobello mushrooms. 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.
Chef Jono at V&V
Jono Hawthorne is one of the most prestigious chefs in the city. His reputation precedes him and the city centre restaurant, V&V, is where you’ll find him. 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. Expect a chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ as each plate is brought to the table, whether it’s savoury porridge with aged parmesan, truffle and coffee, or the raw beef with oyster custard and Yorkshire parkin. 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 they pair wines and creative cocktails with each course.
Chef Jono at V&V, 68 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
The Oxford Place
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 slow cooked pork belly are superbly cooked and served with panache – the edible flowers are a surprising touch. 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.
Sous Le Nez
Did somebody say a 40-page wine list?! If you love to drink while you dine, slurp while you scoff, neck while you nibble, Sous Le Nez is the best restaurant in Leeds for you. This basement beauty goes big on old-school indulgence, serving up generously sized French dishes where flavour reigns supreme. Factor in the epic choice of vino and you’ve got something pretty special.
Treats like deep-fried brie, mushroom-stuffed fillet steak and roasted black pudding with onion tatin are gorge-worthingly good. The surrounds are simple, plus with early bird and fixed price menus available, you’ll find that French feasting can be surprisingly good value. And if you’re not sure which wine pairs best with your chosen dish, chat to the staff. They’re total experts and are happy to make recommendations for that perfect sip.
Sous Le Nez, The Basement, Quebec House, Quebec Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2HA.
Got a hankering for home-cooked Italian nosh just like nonna makes it? Laden with old soul charm and a lick of modern pizzazz, Zucco’s menu is pure yumminess. Small sharing plates invite you on a culinary journey with your pals, where you can munch your way through loaded mini pizzette, indulgent seafood platters and all manner of pasta and salad.
Highlights include balsamic-slicked roast duck leg, creamy cod ravioli and a melt-in-the middle arancini that’ll keep you drooling long past the meal. With oodles to choose from, Zucco hits the nail on the head for even the pickiest of eaters. Plus, with the warmth of a family bistro and a tempting selection of Italian cocktails to hand, the atmosphere is spot on.
Zucco, 603 Meanwood Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4AY.
For Korean food-lovers, the DIY feasting on offer at Bulgogi Grill promises bucket loads of fun. At this Korean BBQ restaurant, you sit back as sweetly-marinaded cuts of beef, pork, duck, prawn and squid arrive – all uncooked – for you to hand-grill yourself on the built-in grill.
And that’s not all – sticky rice, crisp lettuce, banchan galore and an endless supply of samjang are also on hand, so you can package your meat up in a lettuce parcel with all the toppings you want. The staff are helpful but don’t hover, 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 among the best experience-led restaurants in Leeds, and your once-rumbling tummy will thank you for quite some time.
Bulgogi Grill, The Arena Quarter, 9 Merrion Way, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BT.
It always seems to fly under the radar, but Tavernaki 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 (at least while you’re here).
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.
Tavernaki Bistro, 18 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3DW.
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 bar-style resto that keeps things simple. Plonk yourself down on one of their wooden benches, take your pick of their 20 or so small plates, then head up to the counter to order (and pick up a nifty pint of their own brewery’s beer 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 £8.50 – and slowly work your way through it all.
Bundobust, 6 Mill Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DQ.
Leeds’ Italian offering is extensive to say the least, but family-run restaurant Salvo’s is certainly up there with the best. Dazzling Headingley diners for decades (since 1976 to be exact), they’re always on top of their game – they have separate menus for vegans and gluten-free folk. While the decor is stylish and modern, it’s all about true-to-tradition, home-style Italian food here.
There’s something to satisfy the tastebuds of even the fussiest of eaters. You’ll find an array of familiar dishes like ravioli, risotto and lasagne on the plentiful menu. In the mood for pizza? From Margherita to the Internazionale – a Yorkshire ham, seafood and pepperoni combo – their Neapolitan creations are in a league of their own. And you can’t go wrong with the tiramisu for afters.
Salvo’s, 115 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3PX.
The unfussy cafe-cum-restaurant is a Leeds landmark where owt goes. OWT brings a modern attitude to food, celebrating seasonal produce and making the most of quality ingredients. It’s walk-in only at lunchtime or you can book in for dinner on Thursdays. The menu is ever-changing and full of character, taking inspiration from across the culinary landscape.
Think effortlessly balanced, nutritious dishes packed full of flavour, with warming soups in the colder months and the occasional fried chicken a la OWT. The classic green salad is a seemingly permanent fixture that’s good with, well, owt. You can fill your second belly with irresistibly chocolatey and fruity homemade desserts to round off the meal.
OWT, Unit C12A&B Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BR.
A hidden gem on York Place, Da Vito is one of Leeds city centre’s favourite Italian restaurants. Frying, boiling and chopping the freshest of ingredients, they whip up all the well-known classics, as well as some more unexpected plates.
Make your way through all the courses, from focaccia primavera or crostini, to deep-fried brie or asparagus alla Fiorentina, buffala Caprese or bruschetta Napoletana. And that’s before you even cut into your main. You could find yourself tucking into a simple but 100% delicious spaghetti alla carbonara – made properly with pancetta and a silky parmesan sauce. The pasta, pizza, meat and fish choices are endless and the gelato is frankly unmissable.
Da Vito, 3 York Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2DR.
Looking for Thai food in Leeds? Sukhothai is one of the best. Their restaurants are decorated with extravagant Thai statues and trinkets that bring a certain opulence to Thai dining. But it’s not all looks, the food is pretty unforgettable too. They don’t just do the classics, they do them right, but there’s plenty of opportunities to expand your palate.
Every dish is tantalising, whether it’s the reliable gang massaman, the sizzling Weeping Tiger – an 8oz sirloin steak, marinated in oyster sauce – or the gai tod prik gang – deep fried chicken breast, doused in a spicy, creamy red curry sauce. But before all that, you can get your fill of grilled chicken satay and home-style spring rolls to get the ball rolling.
Sukhothai, 15 South Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5QS, St Anne’s Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3NX and 8 Regent Street, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 4PE.
A cosy, relaxed feel and modern British food is what’s on offer at Owl. And it’s quite the luxe affair, with a five-course menu for lunch and dinner, this is an adult-only restaurant overlooking the canal with heaps of flair. Dive into the bread bowl before sticking your fork into lamb with roasted garlic, salsify with white chocolate, or kedgeree with smoked haddock and brown shrimp.
Will it be the hand-dived scallops with chicken or the aged cheddar risotto that takes your fancy next? Then, things get meaty with your choice of the beef and oyster, the catch of the day, red partridge, or bread wellington with lovage and dumpling. That’s before the imaginative desserts and cheeseboard, so save room.
Owl, Lockside, Mustard Wharf, Mustard Approach, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4EY.
Ever wondered what Chinese people eat at home? Now’s your chance to find out. Wen’s Restaurant brings authentic dishes from the middle state to Leeds, and once you try them for yourself, there’s no going back to sweet and sour. Basic ingredients are given the Chef Wen treatment, from juicy chicken thigh drenched with their secret homemade chilli oil to their handmade flat Beijing-style noodles in an umami-filled soup.
Yet the star of the show might just be Wen’s dumplings, made by Mrs Wen herself with addictive fillings, served with a salty, vinegary dipping sauce. Sure, you could play it safe with familiar Anglo-Cantonese options, but then you’d be missing out on the rarities that make Wen’s so special.
Wen’s Restaurant, 72-74 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.
The Swine That Dines
Among the more unusual restaurants that top the ranks, The Swine That Dines brings the stuff of food fantasies to your dinner plate. It’s set in a rather unassuming, homespun dining room with shelves lined with cookbooks. When it comes to food, it’s straightforward yet innovative and polished – not what you’d expect from such a laidback venue.
They change their menu often, following the seasons, so you could be tucking into light but vibrant dishes in the summer, then comforting and rich meals in the winter. One thing’s certain year round – the produce is fresh and the cooking is done proper. Stop by on a Sunday for their famous Swine Sundays, for a refreshing take on the traditional roast lunch.
The Swine That Dines, 58 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.