Leeds-List: The Best & Most Insightful Guide to Leeds

The Top 11 Most Unusual Restaurants in Leeds

· Ali Turner · Food and Drink

You should expect the unexpected at these unusual Leeds restaurants.

Teppanyaki

Looking for a meal to remember in Leeds? You’ve come to the right place.

Whether it’s unusual ingredients, one-of-a-kind character or quirky concoctions that’d make any mad scientist proud, each of these unique restaurants in Leeds boasts something special you simply won’t find anywhere else. Bottomless sushi feasts, takeaway roast dinners, DIY Korean barbecues and Michelin-starred mastery – they may be creative, they may be kooky, but goddamn they’re also downright delicious. Keep ‘em up your sleeve and next time you fancy a dinner with a difference, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

1. The Man Behind The Curtain

Man Behind the Curtain

Credit: Luke Hannaford

Even the name at this award-winning restaurant screams intrigue. Led by celebrated Yorkshire chef, Michael O’Hare, the multi-course tasting menu at The Man Behind The Curtain turns dining into abstract art. Squid ink cod that’s black as night, hand-massaged octopus, veal sweetbreads served in mini burgers, colourful macarons laid out like a children’s board game – the gastronomic wizardry will leave you spellbound.

The exact menu changes week-by-week, but whether you’re swinging by for the six-course lunch or going the whole hog with a 14-course banquet, a meal here always feels like an adventure. This sort of boundary-pushing yumminess comes at a price (hey, it’s Michelin-starred, what do you expect?) but eating out in Leeds doesn’t come much more memorable. It’s fine dining meets theatre and a feast for the eyes as much as the mouth.

The Man Behind the Curtain, 68-78 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7JH.

2. Bulgogi Grill

Bulgogi Grill

© Copyright Leeds-List 2020 by Ali Turner

There’s no finer restaurant in Leeds for those who like to get hands-on with food than Bulgogi Grill. Every table at this Korean BBQ eatery is equipped with its very own sizzling grill plate, meaning you and your pals can squish into one of the comfy booths, stock up on all manner of quality meats, seafoods, veggies and sides, and go to town cooking up a storm right where you sit.

The power really is in your hands, and jeez it tastes good. From tender beef steeped in Bulgogi marinade, chunky prawns slicked with lemon juice and spiced duck ready for crisping, you’ll have an absolute blast barbecuing exactly to your liking. Once your meats are charred to sweet perfection, it’s time to devour them the Korean way. Load everything into a lettuce wrap, slather on your chosen dips and pickles, then navigate it to your gob to sample your handiwork (don’t worry, helpful staff are on hand if you need a little help assembling!).

Bulgogi Grill, The Arena Quarter, 9 Merrion Way, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BT.

3. Tattu

Tattu Chocolate Wontons

Credit: Joe Giacomet

Tattu is jaw-dropping from the moment you step through the front door, with an enormous indoor cherry blossom tree extending its pink branches over the chic interior. It’s an impressive start, but you’ll find the quirkiness continues on a menu stocked with contemporary Chinese delights. You can rely on classics like wicker baskets filled with steaming dumplings and some of the most succulent seared tuna in town, but they’re all served with a twist that’ll keep you coming back time and time again.

Tuck into the likes of wonderfully crispy Peking duck bon bons, spring rolls stuffed with wild mushrooms and truffled sour cream, or decadent beef fillet laced with caramel soy. And for dessert? That dragon egg nest, crammed with mango and pineapple, is a showstopper. Get creative and order a bunch of small plates to share (go for a couple of wildcards, go on, we dare you), sample a high-end cocktail or two, then book in your return trip. You won’t regret it.

Tattu, Minerva House, 29 East Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5PS.

4. Blue Sakura

Blue Sakura

Another blossom tree-filled gem, this Japanese eatery tucked away inside Merrion Centre is picture perfect and utterly scrumptious. But it has a curveball up its sleeve – it’s the only all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant in all of Leeds! That’s right, bottomless sushi, free-flowing katsu curry, endless teriyaki skewers and as many gorgeous gyoza as you can cram in your mouth. Dreams really do come true.

Once your bum hits the seat you have two hours to tuck into whatever tickles your fancy from the mahoosive menu, and the only limit is the depth of your stomach. Heck, you don’t even need to flag down a waiter, because they take your comfort one step further and provide your very own at-table tablet so you can order your next dish with minimal faff. It’s all freshly made, brought straight to you, and enough to make you wonder if it’s acceptable to come here every night of the week.

Blue Sakura, 2-3 Merrion Way, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BT.

5. Man v Roast

Man v Roast

© Copyright Leeds-List 2020 by Joseph Sheerin

Beloved by Brits and traditional as teatime, you may be wondering what’s so unusual about the humble roast dinner? Not much, but for a restaurant in Leeds to specialise in Sunday lunches and nothing else? That’s open six days a week? Where you can eat the roast dinner of your dreams (or take it away!) all for a measly £7? Now that’s a little bit special.

Next time you’ve got a hankering for a slap-up meal piled high with roasted meats, Yorkshire puds, cauli cheese, spuds how you like ‘em, carrots, peas and of course oodles of gravy, Man v Roast is just what you’re looking for. They have no less than six joints to choose from daily, ranging from shoulder of lamb to rotisserie chicken. Plus, by keeping the cafeteria-style restaurant no-frills and the service cheap ’n’ cheerful, it all comes out at a bargain price too. Pass the mustard.

Man v Roast, 144 Cardigan Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1LL.

6. Wapentake

Wapentake Yorkshire Pudding Burger

© Copyright Leeds-List 2019 by Emma Cooke

Eating out in Leeds got reet gradely the moment Wapentake sprung onto the scene. Part cafe, part bar and 100% obsessed with God’s Own Country, this tasty hideout gives you a serious case of the warm and fuzzies by serving up Yorkshire favourites with true Yorkshire hospitality. There’s local beers, local gins and local ingredients too, like meat from Kirkgate Butchers and dairy delights from Whitakers Farmhouse Eggs. But things get really special when you cast an eye over their brunch, lunch and snack menus.

Fish finger sarnies! Yorkies with gravy! Spam butties! Among the more substantial burgers and Full English brekkies are an array of much-loved Yorkshire dishes that will make your soul sing. This isn’t fine dining, but who needs pea shoot foams and crystallised turnips when you have home-cooked, heartfelt food that makes you feel bloomin’ marvellous? Plonk yourself down at a wooden table, sup on a pint of Kirkstall Brewery’s finest and revel in their gung-ho approach to comfort food.

Wapentake, 92 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.

7. Fazenda

Fazenda

© Copyright Leeds-List 2020 by Jess Rowbottom

Embrace a brand new way of stuffing your stomach at Fazenda, the Brazilian restaurant in Leeds where there’s no end to the sizzling skewers of meat. This is an all-you-can-eat Brazilian Rodizio experience, which means servers bring as many mouth-watering grilled meats to your table as you can handle. There’s a whopping 15 to choose from at dinner time, from crowd-pleasing sirloin steak to traditional chicken hearts, spicy chorizo to honey-slathered pork collar – each carved directly onto your plate. You don’t get much fresher than that!

The best bit? You control the meat marathon with a double-sided card on your table. Flip it to green to indicate you’re ready for the gorging to commence, then swap to the red side when the meat sweats well and truly kick in. Had a breather and ready for more? Just switch it back to green. Simple. Plus, the all-you-can-eat concept also applies to a hefty sides bar where you can stock up on a truly impressive selection of fresh vegetables, colourful salads, breads, cheeses and, you guessed it, more meats.

Fazenda, Waterman’s Place, 3 Wharf Approach, Granary Wharf, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4GL.

8. The Swine That Dines

The Swine That Dines

Thoughtful, creative and jam-packed with innovation, the supper club at this relaxed fine dining restaurant is certainly worth pigging out on. It’s an irresistible combination – inventive tasting menus which promise experimentation aplenty, but all served in a homely environment which never places style over substance. Beautifully crafted dishes combine interesting ingredients you don’t often get to try. Rhubarb with tarragon. Cod roe. Alliums. Pig’s head. Sunflower. All beautifully crafted and a delight to devour.

With cooking this wholesome, you can be sure fresh, local ingredients are put front and centre. No surprise, then, that the exact dishes you find before you depend entirely on the season. But run by a husband-and-wife team who love what they do, The Swine That Dines is a fine example of how to combine quirky cooking with a simplicity that makes you feel completely at home. Oh, and it’s bring your own bottle too – cheers!

The Swine That Dines, 58 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.

9. Zaap

Zaap Thai

Step off the streets of Leeds and into a bustling Bangkok street food market where bright and bold Thai dishes are yours for the munching. Zaap is sensory overload, in the best kind of way. There’s the aromas of lemongrass, chilli and coriander wafting from the open kitchen, the buzz of Thai music over the speakers and the glow of neon signs hanging from the ceiling. You may even get to dine in a tuk tuk if you’re lucky! Eating out in Leeds doesn’t get much more colourful than this.

With over 80 dishes on the menu, you can play it safe with a classic massaman curry or zingy tom yum soup, but why not opt for something a little more unusual? The crispy fried mussel pancake is all kinds of golden and gorgeous, while the seafood and rice noodle soup comes in a pretty unforgettable shade of pink. With prices so reasonable, you might choose to splash out on an extra dish or two – we recommend the sticky green pancake filled with homemade custard for dessert.

Zaap, 22 Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.

10. Teppanyaki

If you’re wanting a restaurant in Leeds that offers a serious slice of theatre with your meal, then Teppanyaki will steal the show. These guys whip up traditional Japanese cuisine before your very eyes, because each table comes equipped with its own ‘teppan’ hotplate. Choose from a sumptuous selection of grilled goodies, like sticky duck teriyaki, king prawn and scallops in Tokyo butter, or a scene-stealing fillet steak with lobster tail, then watch your meal be sliced, sizzled and spun straight onto your plate. Talk about a hot date!

It’s quite the adventure, and oh boy, do those chefs know how to play to the crowd. There’s a real skill to Teppanyaki-style cooking and you have a front row seat as each chef chops, juggles and flips ingredients at the speed of light. You may even be asked to lend a helping hand once in a while! And don’t worry sushi-lovers, they’ll also knock up all the nigiri, sashimi and maki rolls you could wish for.

Teppanyaki, Belgrave Hall, Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8DD.

11. Phranakon

Phranakhon

Having titillated tummies over in York, Phranakhon’s unique tapas-style Thai dining finally found its way here and eating out in Leeds is all the better for it. It’s a quirky little restaurant, the decor an unusual mix of lavish living room and rustic garden shed – framed portraits on the walls, books on the mantelpiece and ivy hanging from the ceiling. It may sound odd, but it’s charming, and you always have something interesting to look at while waiting for your plates of pure deliciousness to arrive.

The generous menu is divided into nifty sections, so whether you’re a curry lover, pork addict or street food fan, you can easily zone in on what sets your mouth a-drooling. Pork belly crisped to perfection in a garlic oyster sauce, diced raw salmon with a spicy lime dressing, creamy Panaeng curry chock-full of beef – you’re spoilt for choice. As you’d expect with tapas, dishes are designed to be ordered by the many and shared amongst friends, so go wild. Who knows, you may just find a new favourite?

Phranakhon, 11 York Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2DS.

Cover image credit: Bevan Cockerill

Looking for a meal to remember in Leeds? You’ve come to the right place.

Whether it’s unusual ingredients, one-of-a-kind character or quirky concoctions that’d make any mad scientist proud, each of these unique restaurants in Leeds boasts something special you simply won’t find anywhere else. Bottomless sushi feasts, takeaway roast dinners, DIY Korean barbecues and Michelin-starred mastery – they may be creative, they may be kooky, but goddamn they’re also downright delicious. Keep ‘em up your sleeve and next time you fancy a dinner with a difference, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

1. The Man Behind The Curtain

Man Behind the Curtain

Credit: Luke Hannaford

Even the name at this award-winning restaurant screams intrigue. Led by celebrated Yorkshire chef, Michael O’Hare, the multi-course tasting menu at The Man Behind The Curtain turns dining into abstract art. Squid ink cod that’s black as night, hand-massaged octopus, veal sweetbreads served in mini burgers, colourful macarons laid out like a children’s board game – the gastronomic wizardry will leave you spellbound.

The exact menu changes week-by-week, but whether you’re swinging by for the six-course lunch or going the whole hog with a 14-course banquet, a meal here always feels like an adventure. This sort of boundary-pushing yumminess comes at a price (hey, it’s Michelin-starred, what do you expect?) but eating out in Leeds doesn’t come much more memorable. It’s fine dining meets theatre and a feast for the eyes as much as the mouth.

The Man Behind the Curtain, 68-78 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7JH.

2. Bulgogi Grill

Bulgogi Grill

© Copyright Leeds-List 2020 by Ali Turner

There’s no finer restaurant in Leeds for those who like to get hands-on with food than Bulgogi Grill. Every table at this Korean BBQ eatery is equipped with its very own sizzling grill plate, meaning you and your pals can squish into one of the comfy booths, stock up on all manner of quality meats, seafoods, veggies and sides, and go to town cooking up a storm right where you sit.

The power really is in your hands, and jeez it tastes good. From tender beef steeped in Bulgogi marinade, chunky prawns slicked with lemon juice and spiced duck ready for crisping, you’ll have an absolute blast barbecuing exactly to your liking. Once your meats are charred to sweet perfection, it’s time to devour them the Korean way. Load everything into a lettuce wrap, slather on your chosen dips and pickles, then navigate it to your gob to sample your handiwork (don’t worry, helpful staff are on hand if you need a little help assembling!).

Bulgogi Grill, The Arena Quarter, 9 Merrion Way, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BT.

3. Tattu

Tattu Chocolate Wontons

Credit: Joe Giacomet

Tattu is jaw-dropping from the moment you step through the front door, with an enormous indoor cherry blossom tree extending its pink branches over the chic interior. It’s an impressive start, but you’ll find the quirkiness continues on a menu stocked with contemporary Chinese delights. You can rely on classics like wicker baskets filled with steaming dumplings and some of the most succulent seared tuna in town, but they’re all served with a twist that’ll keep you coming back time and time again.

Tuck into the likes of wonderfully crispy Peking duck bon bons, spring rolls stuffed with wild mushrooms and truffled sour cream, or decadent beef fillet laced with caramel soy. And for dessert? That dragon egg nest, crammed with mango and pineapple, is a showstopper. Get creative and order a bunch of small plates to share (go for a couple of wildcards, go on, we dare you), sample a high-end cocktail or two, then book in your return trip. You won’t regret it.

Tattu, Minerva House, 29 East Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5PS.

4. Blue Sakura

Blue Sakura

Another blossom tree-filled gem, this Japanese eatery tucked away inside Merrion Centre is picture perfect and utterly scrumptious. But it has a curveball up its sleeve – it’s the only all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant in all of Leeds! That’s right, bottomless sushi, free-flowing katsu curry, endless teriyaki skewers and as many gorgeous gyoza as you can cram in your mouth. Dreams really do come true.

Once your bum hits the seat you have two hours to tuck into whatever tickles your fancy from the mahoosive menu, and the only limit is the depth of your stomach. Heck, you don’t even need to flag down a waiter, because they take your comfort one step further and provide your very own at-table tablet so you can order your next dish with minimal faff. It’s all freshly made, brought straight to you, and enough to make you wonder if it’s acceptable to come here every night of the week.

Blue Sakura, 2-3 Merrion Way, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BT.

5. Man v Roast

Man v Roast

© Copyright Leeds-List 2020 by Joseph Sheerin

Beloved by Brits and traditional as teatime, you may be wondering what’s so unusual about the humble roast dinner? Not much, but for a restaurant in Leeds to specialise in Sunday lunches and nothing else? That’s open six days a week? Where you can eat the roast dinner of your dreams (or take it away!) all for a measly £7? Now that’s a little bit special.

Next time you’ve got a hankering for a slap-up meal piled high with roasted meats, Yorkshire puds, cauli cheese, spuds how you like ‘em, carrots, peas and of course oodles of gravy, Man v Roast is just what you’re looking for. They have no less than six joints to choose from daily, ranging from shoulder of lamb to rotisserie chicken. Plus, by keeping the cafeteria-style restaurant no-frills and the service cheap ’n’ cheerful, it all comes out at a bargain price too. Pass the mustard.

Man v Roast, 144 Cardigan Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1LL.

6. Wapentake

Wapentake Yorkshire Pudding Burger

© Copyright Leeds-List 2019 by Emma Cooke

Eating out in Leeds got reet gradely the moment Wapentake sprung onto the scene. Part cafe, part bar and 100% obsessed with God’s Own Country, this tasty hideout gives you a serious case of the warm and fuzzies by serving up Yorkshire favourites with true Yorkshire hospitality. There’s local beers, local gins and local ingredients too, like meat from Kirkgate Butchers and dairy delights from Whitakers Farmhouse Eggs. But things get really special when you cast an eye over their brunch, lunch and snack menus.

Fish finger sarnies! Yorkies with gravy! Spam butties! Among the more substantial burgers and Full English brekkies are an array of much-loved Yorkshire dishes that will make your soul sing. This isn’t fine dining, but who needs pea shoot foams and crystallised turnips when you have home-cooked, heartfelt food that makes you feel bloomin’ marvellous? Plonk yourself down at a wooden table, sup on a pint of Kirkstall Brewery’s finest and revel in their gung-ho approach to comfort food.

Wapentake, 92 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.

7. Fazenda

Fazenda

© Copyright Leeds-List 2020 by Jess Rowbottom

Embrace a brand new way of stuffing your stomach at Fazenda, the Brazilian restaurant in Leeds where there’s no end to the sizzling skewers of meat. This is an all-you-can-eat Brazilian Rodizio experience, which means servers bring as many mouth-watering grilled meats to your table as you can handle. There’s a whopping 15 to choose from at dinner time, from crowd-pleasing sirloin steak to traditional chicken hearts, spicy chorizo to honey-slathered pork collar – each carved directly onto your plate. You don’t get much fresher than that!

The best bit? You control the meat marathon with a double-sided card on your table. Flip it to green to indicate you’re ready for the gorging to commence, then swap to the red side when the meat sweats well and truly kick in. Had a breather and ready for more? Just switch it back to green. Simple. Plus, the all-you-can-eat concept also applies to a hefty sides bar where you can stock up on a truly impressive selection of fresh vegetables, colourful salads, breads, cheeses and, you guessed it, more meats.

Fazenda, Waterman’s Place, 3 Wharf Approach, Granary Wharf, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4GL.

8. The Swine That Dines

The Swine That Dines

Thoughtful, creative and jam-packed with innovation, the supper club at this relaxed fine dining restaurant is certainly worth pigging out on. It’s an irresistible combination – inventive tasting menus which promise experimentation aplenty, but all served in a homely environment which never places style over substance. Beautifully crafted dishes combine interesting ingredients you don’t often get to try. Rhubarb with tarragon. Cod roe. Alliums. Pig’s head. Sunflower. All beautifully crafted and a delight to devour.

With cooking this wholesome, you can be sure fresh, local ingredients are put front and centre. No surprise, then, that the exact dishes you find before you depend entirely on the season. But run by a husband-and-wife team who love what they do, The Swine That Dines is a fine example of how to combine quirky cooking with a simplicity that makes you feel completely at home. Oh, and it’s bring your own bottle too – cheers!

The Swine That Dines, 58 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.

9. Zaap

Zaap Thai

Step off the streets of Leeds and into a bustling Bangkok street food market where bright and bold Thai dishes are yours for the munching. Zaap is sensory overload, in the best kind of way. There’s the aromas of lemongrass, chilli and coriander wafting from the open kitchen, the buzz of Thai music over the speakers and the glow of neon signs hanging from the ceiling. You may even get to dine in a tuk tuk if you’re lucky! Eating out in Leeds doesn’t get much more colourful than this.

With over 80 dishes on the menu, you can play it safe with a classic massaman curry or zingy tom yum soup, but why not opt for something a little more unusual? The crispy fried mussel pancake is all kinds of golden and gorgeous, while the seafood and rice noodle soup comes in a pretty unforgettable shade of pink. With prices so reasonable, you might choose to splash out on an extra dish or two – we recommend the sticky green pancake filled with homemade custard for dessert.

Zaap, 22 Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.

10. Teppanyaki

If you’re wanting a restaurant in Leeds that offers a serious slice of theatre with your meal, then Teppanyaki will steal the show. These guys whip up traditional Japanese cuisine before your very eyes, because each table comes equipped with its own ‘teppan’ hotplate. Choose from a sumptuous selection of grilled goodies, like sticky duck teriyaki, king prawn and scallops in Tokyo butter, or a scene-stealing fillet steak with lobster tail, then watch your meal be sliced, sizzled and spun straight onto your plate. Talk about a hot date!

It’s quite the adventure, and oh boy, do those chefs know how to play to the crowd. There’s a real skill to Teppanyaki-style cooking and you have a front row seat as each chef chops, juggles and flips ingredients at the speed of light. You may even be asked to lend a helping hand once in a while! And don’t worry sushi-lovers, they’ll also knock up all the nigiri, sashimi and maki rolls you could wish for.

Teppanyaki, Belgrave Hall, Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8DD.

11. Phranakon

Phranakhon

Having titillated tummies over in York, Phranakhon’s unique tapas-style Thai dining finally found its way here and eating out in Leeds is all the better for it. It’s a quirky little restaurant, the decor an unusual mix of lavish living room and rustic garden shed – framed portraits on the walls, books on the mantelpiece and ivy hanging from the ceiling. It may sound odd, but it’s charming, and you always have something interesting to look at while waiting for your plates of pure deliciousness to arrive.

The generous menu is divided into nifty sections, so whether you’re a curry lover, pork addict or street food fan, you can easily zone in on what sets your mouth a-drooling. Pork belly crisped to perfection in a garlic oyster sauce, diced raw salmon with a spicy lime dressing, creamy Panaeng curry chock-full of beef – you’re spoilt for choice. As you’d expect with tapas, dishes are designed to be ordered by the many and shared amongst friends, so go wild. Who knows, you may just find a new favourite?

Phranakhon, 11 York Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2DS.

Cover image credit: Bevan Cockerill