The Best Restaurants in Leeds City Centre

The Best Restaurants in Leeds City Centre

We are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to the best restaurants in Leeds. Whichever cuisine you fancy and whatever your budget, the issue is never finding a suitable place to dine but rather deciding between the endless options. On top of that, there seems to be somewhere new opening every week, so even when you think you’ve tried it all you’re suddenly no longer an expert. To help with matters, I’ve come up with a list of my favourite Leeds restaurants. If you’re visiting for the weekend or you’re hungry and can’t decide where to eat, read on for the best restaurants in Leeds.

Best Restaurants in Leeds for Breakfast

Let’s start with the most important meal of the day! There are so many different types of breakfast: from greasy fry ups to smashed avocado on toast. But if you’re looking for a classic breakfast with locally sourced ingredients and generous portions of all the components you would expect from a full English, served up in a skillet… it has to be Koibito. Owned by My Thai and situated just opposite Malmaison on Swinegate, Koibito serves English breakfast in the morning and Thai food from lunchtime onwards. It might sound odd, but their breakfast is to die for!

Close up of Eggs benedict, with the poached egg freshly burst and bright orange yolk spilling out

Other great places for breakfast in Leeds are Laynes, Riveresque (a proper greasy fry up!), Wapentake, San Coco and Le Chalet amongst many others!

Best Restaurants in Leeds for Brunch

There are dozens of places in Leeds offering bottomless brunch, but if you’re looking to indulge, none compare to Gaucho’s Electro Brunch. I don’t usually eat at chain restaurants (or write about them) as support independent businesses is important to me, but this is an exception. For £45 or £55 depending on which drinks package you choose, not only will you get 2 hours of unlimited Bloody Marys, Aperol Spritz’s, Pornstar Martinis, Espresso Martinis and Sparkling Argentinian wine (delicious may I add), you can also eat to your heart’s content with unlimited food!

With dishes such as Steak & Eggs, Baked Proveleta and Eggs Royale that you can order as many times as you want, there’s no stopping you! The food is genuinely incredible and the fantastic service means that you’ll be pretty giggly by the time you leave.

Other great places in Leeds for brunch include Shear’s Yard, IF Coffee Bar and Malmaison (another chain, sorry!).

Best Restaurants in Leeds for Lunch

The winner of this category is one of my favourite Leeds restaurants in general, serving amazing seasonal dishes in a laid back environment. Their lunch menu in particular makes Arts Café the perfect place to meet friends for a cheeky midday glass of wine and some delicious food. As well as proper door stop sandwiches, they offer lunch plates which are served with granary bread, horseradish coleslaw and dressed leaves. You can choose from the Fish Plate, the Antipasti Plate or the Mediterranean Plate and they’re all kind of like a posh (and really REALLY good) Ploughmans.

Some more of the best restaurants in Leeds for lunch include Eat Your Greens for gluten free and vegan options (they have organic meat too!), Headrow House for cheap but great quality steak boxes and Owt for freshly cooked food and a weekly-changing menu using ingredients from the market.

A plate of Katsu chicken on pearly barley from Owt, one of the best restaurants in Leeds

Best Restaurants in Leeds for a Tasting Menu

The Man Behind the Curtain is the obvious answer to this question, and earlier this year I was lucky enough to get a table. It absolutely doesn’t disappoint, with exquisite dishes, a buzzing atmosphere and futuristic toilets. However, it comes with a hefty price tag so should be reserved for VERY special occasions. If you’d like to read more,  I’ve written a blog post about my experience which you can find here.

Man behind the curtain restuarant in Leeds, a cod and squid ink dish in black and white

Vice and Virtue is slightly less expensive but a still fantastic Leeds restaurant. I’ve not had their evening tasting meal (although I’m desperate too!) but I have had a five course brunch there and loved every course, including the perfectly paired cocktails. I believe they’ve recently launched an A la Carte menu as well if you don’t want to commit to a full tasting menu.

Best Restaurants in Leeds for a Sunday Roast

My favourite thing about Yorkshire is the food, specifically how great the Sunday roast is up here. We are blessed in Leeds by some fantastic pubs cooking up the most comforting roast dinners, including the likes of The Reliance, The Brunswick, The Midnight Bell (or any of the Leeds Brewery pubs for that matter). Until recently, there was one clear winner and that’s Whitelocks. Not only is the food utterly mouthwatering, but you can enjoy it in one of Leeds’ oldest pub in front of a roaring fire, a copper bar and a great selection of hand pulled ales.

Whilst Whitelocks will always be my go to for a Sunday roast in Leeds, I recently ate at Matt Healy X The Foundry on a Sunday and oh my goodness! Rather than having to decide which kind of meat you want, you get both 12 hour roasted sirloin AND roast chicken – both cooked to utter perfection. It comes with all the sides you’d expect including the fluffiest, crispiest potatoes and cauliflower cheese, which isn’t served as standard at a lot of places! The gravy was rich and flavoursome and the whole thing was just luxurious.

Sirloin of beef, roast chicken and Yorkshire puddings stacked up on a sharing platter at the Foundry, one of the best restaurants in Leeds

Best Restaurants in Leeds for Meat Lovers

If you love meat, head to Fazenda. It’s a Brazilian meat heaven where you are seated with a red/green card to signal to the waiter ‘bring me the meat’ or ‘please let me breathe’. As well a tender, succulent cuts of meat, there is a fantastic salad bar with so much delicious salad that I’d even take a vegetarian to this meat restaurant. In fact, I’m getting a little emotional thinking about how good the salad bar is!

There are a couple of other Brazilian grill restaurants in Leeds, but this is the only one worth bothering with. If you love meat but don’t want to go bottomless, Ox Club and Blackhouse are both great shouts.

Best Restaurants in Leeds for Tapas

La Casita is my favourite restaurant in Leeds for tapas. Coupling authentic Spanish ingredients with locally sourced produce, this place serves a delicious range of dishes along with great wine. However, there are two factors that make La Casita particularly amazing:

  1. The last Sunday of every month you can get unlimited tapas for £20. It’s not the full menu but it’s more than enough to keep you entertained and it’s usually the best dishes anyway.
  2. They have an Espresso Martini menu! If, like me, you feel like you need to try them all in one evening, ask for decaf so you’re not up all night.

Ambiente is also great for tapas, and El Gato Negro has recently opened although I’m yet to try it!

Best Restaurants in Leeds for French

Oooh this is a tough one! Until very recently, Kendells Bistro was my favourite French restaurant in Leeds. Not only is the food incredible, the candle light and blackboard menu make for a very romantic evening.But recently I went to Sous Le Nez and it just (!) beat it. After a lovely, delicate starter of Queen scallops, I had the most mind-blowingly tasty main course of veal wellington. The service is fantastic, the prices are reasonable and there is a great buzz in there.

Best Restaurants in Leeds for Chinese

The best restaurant in Leeds for Chinese food depends on your mood. Do you want trendy or dirty Chinese, as my Dad would say? For special occasions and if you have some cash to splash, Tattu cannot be beaten. Not only does the interior and food presentation make it highly Instagram-able, the dishes have just the right level of complexity and the ingredients are high quality.

If you’re feeling very hungry and fancy more of an old school ‘dirty Chinese’, Crown Chinese is the place for you. It’s the ultimate Chinese buffet, offering all-you-can-eat ordered from the menu and cooked fresh. It offers the perfect balance between the salty Chinese that you crave and fresh ingredients, and if you don’t fancy all-you-can-eat there’s a fantastic dim sum and hot pot menu too offering authentic dishes.

Best Restaurant in Leeds for Thai

I’ve recently updated this post as I didn’t previously have a Thai section, mainly because I couldn’t decide between Sukothai, Thai Aroy Dee, Chaoprayha and My Thai, all of which serve great Thai food.

A shot of a thai dish at Mommy Thai in Leeds. In the background someone is pouring water from a jug

However, I recently tried Mommy Thai for the first time and it’s now top of my list! The small café style restaurant feels cosy and authentic, whilst the price tag makes it super affordable. I went for lunch with a friend and discovered the lunchtime deal of a starter and main course for just £7.95 – we were absolutely stuffed so they don’t scrimp on portion sizes either. The food itself was packed full of flavour: we had satay chicken skewers and steamed pork dumplings to start (which we shared), and my main course was the stickiest, sweetest tamarind duck with perfectly crispy skin and succulent meat.

Best Restaurants in Leeds for Sushi

There’s no competition here, it has to be Blue Sakura. Not only do they have an all-you-can-eat sushi menu and let you order on an iPad so that you don’t feel embarrassed by the amount of times you have to wave over a waiter, the fish is fresh, the menu is varied and it’s honestly the best sushi in Leeds. I’ve written a post all about it here.

A mixed plate of sushi at Blue Sakura, one of the best restaurants in Leeds. The rolls are lined up on long, thin plates and a hand is about to grab one piece of sushi with chopsticks

If you want to try somewhere different, Senbon Sekura is fantastic (and if it wasn’t for the all-you-can-eat offering at Blue Sakrua, it might have just edged it). Issho is lovely too, but a little on the pricey side, and Little Tokyo does the most amazing Katsu curry!

Best Restaurants in Leeds For Indian

As with Chinese food, it really depends on the style of Indian food that you want! However, my top pick has to be Tharavadu, which has quite rightly been included in the Michelin guide and is thought by many as the best restaurant in Leeds. Here you can eat traditional Keralan food prepared by chefs who were born and brought up in Kerala and it really is fantastic.

Other good Indian restaurants in Leeds are Bundobust for vegetarian small plates, Indian Tiffin Room, Bengal Brasserie, Nawaab, Akbars and Mumtaz.

Restaurants That I’m Yet to Try

The list of places that I’m desperate to try in Leeds keeps getting longer! Just some of these places include:

If you’ve been to any of these places or there’s anywhere I’ve missed off that I need to try, please let me know! Hopefully this rather long post has given you some ideas of the best restaurants in Leeds, and if you want even more suggestions of where to eat in Leeds, have a read of my post ‘How to Eat Like a Local in Leeds‘.

Nell xx

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  1. Jo
    November 15, 2018 / 11:03 am

    Loved this guide Ellen! And the fact that you found Fazenda emotional because I can just imagine you there crying about how the good the steak is 😂 I also really like Cat’s Pyjamas when we went ☺️

  2. Steph
    November 15, 2018 / 11:59 am

    Deffo using this as a reference guide Ellen 😉 I went to Sou Le Nes about 6 years ago and loved it! But always forget about it so thanks for that reminder 😉 x

    • Nelladmin
      November 17, 2018 / 11:57 am

      You’re welcome, it’s such a great restaurant! Xx

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