This is a sponsored post by Bookatable by Michelin, however all opinions and restaurant recommendations are my own.
Like many others, food is a driving factor in my desire to travel and I want to eat it all! This means that I read a lot of ‘how to eat like a local in…’ and ‘most authentic restaurants in…’ articles ahead of my trips abroad. I love how easy it is in many parts of the world to eat a diet of traditional food from the country that you’re visiting: from pierogi in Poland to pasta in Italy to dim sum in Hong Kong, you don’t have to try very hard to seek out the local cuisine.
Leeds, and the UK in general, doesn’t work in quite the same way. Of course there are plenty of ‘authentic’ British restaurants – we all love a Sunday roast or a steak and ale pie in a cosy pub – but eating like a local in Leeds usually means eating food inspired by cultures from all over the world. You’ll likely find us in a good British pub on a Sunday for our roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, but during the rest of week we’ll be eating Italian, French, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian, Argentinian… this list goes on.
Eating like a local therefore is less about eating traditional British/Yorkshire food and more about enjoying local, independent restaurants irrespective of the type of cuisine they serve. One of my favourite things about Leeds City Centre is the vast array of these restaurants, giving locals and visitors alike a huge choice of places to dine whilst supporting independent businesses and the local economy. Whether you’re looking for street food, high end tasting menus or everything in between, here are my top picks of places to eat in Leeds to help you dine like a local.
Eat Street Food Like a Local
Leeds city centre has an incredible street food scene and, luckily, it’s easy to find thanks to a few street food ‘hubs’. Whether you fancy noodles, bao buns, burgers, falafel, Yorkshire pudding wraps, loaded fries, jerk chicken or vegan junk food, Leeds always delivers. For informal dining with choices to overwhelm even the most confident of decision makers, here’s are some places to eat in Leeds if you want to eat street food like a local.
A relatively new addition to Leeds’ street food scene, Assembly Underground brings together craft beer and independent street food in a basement setting. Enjoy a dosa from Jah Joyt, eat the best falafel in town at Falafel Guy or fill up on burgers and loaded fries from Slap & Pickle.
Trinity kitchen combines permanent eateries such as Chicago Rib Shack, Rola Wola (a personal favourite) and Pho with six rotating vendors which change every eight weeks to create a whirlwind of choice for everyone. It’s the perfect setting to gather a group of friends and enjoy a bit of what you fancy after a shopping trip or perhaps to line your stomach before hitting the town.
Leeds Kirkgate Market
It’s no secret that Kirkgate Market is my go-to for fresh produce and friendly butchers, but following a refurb in 2016 they now have an event space and food hall full of amazing street food. The Yorkshire Wrap Co. offers the ultimate in comfort food, whilst Jenny’s Jerk Chicken and Manjit’s Kitchen offer some lunchtime spice.
Eat Quality Produce Like a Local
Have a drink on Headrow House’s huge roof terrace before heading back downstairs for some stunning Yorkshire produce at Ox Club, cooked on their solid-fuel grill. The menu changes daily dependent on the available seasonal produce, but it’s always simple yet perfectly curated and one of my favourite places to eat in Leeds.
I’ve already written about Arts Cafe in my ‘Best Restaurants in Leeds‘ blog post as a great lunchtime choice, but it needs mention again especially as they now have a new menu. Like Ox Club, Arts cafe works closely with local producers to create simple dishes full of flavour.
The place to go for steak with a city centre view! Again the menu here changes regularly in line with seasonal produce, and whilst the ingredients aren’t necessarily from Yorkshire, Crafthouse work hard to use the best British suppliers.
Eat Food Inspired by The World Like a Local
As I’ve mentioned, eating like a local in Leeds City Centre means eating food from all over the world. Here are just some my favourites:
There is loads of choice for Thai food in Leeds, but Sukothai is a solid choice that never disappoints. With over 200 dishes on the menu all of the best quality and four restaurants to choose from, the locals love this place! Make sure you book in advance though, which you can do on Bookatable here.
Another Thai restaurant, but this one is a little different with a Thai tapas menu and a bottomless brunch option at weekends! The food is always light and fresh-tasting, and they do cooking lessons too so that you can recreate it at home if you so desire. Again it’s one you’ll want to book.
This award-winning and Michelin recommended South Indian restaurant has got to be the best curry in Leeds! Here you’ll find traditional Keralan cooking, plenty of fresh fish dishes and serious quality.
If you’re looking for even more inspiration to help you eat like a local, visit the Leeds area of Bookatable here where you can also view restaurant offers and book tables. They also have a ‘restaurants near me’ page which is mega useful when you’re out and about.
I’ve also got another post on the best restaurants in Leeds by cuisine, which you can read here.
As always I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to eat like a local in Leeds and your favourite restaurants so do leave me a comment below, and feel free to share on social media and Pinterest using the buttons below!