We are absolutely spoilt for 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!
Best 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!
Best 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. For £52.50 or £62.50 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.
Best 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.
Best for Tasting Menus
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.
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 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) and Dough in the City.
But there is one clear winner in my opinion and that’s Whitelocks. Not only is the food utterly mouthwatering, but you can enjoy it in Leeds’ oldest pub in front of a roaring fire, a copper bar and a great selection of ales.
Best 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.
Best for Tapas
Whilst the likes of Iberica and Ambiente are definitely worth checking out, my heart lies with La Casita.
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:
- The last Sunday of every month you can get unlimited tapas for £18. It’s not the full menu but it’s more than enough to keep you entertained and it’s usually the best dishes anyway.
- 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.
Best 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 for Chinese
Although this is supposed to be the best Chinese and therefore should just include one restaurant, I’m going to have to include two because they are so different to each other. Which one is the best completely depends on your mood.
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 want the perfect balance between the salty Chinese that you crave and fresh ingredients, Crown Chinese is the ultimate Chinese buffet. Although it’s all-you-can-eat, food is ordered from the menu and cooked fresh. If you don’t fancy all-you-can-eat, there is a fantastic dim sum and hot pot menu too.
Best 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, Zapp, Thai a Roy Dee, Chaoprayha and My Thai, all of which serve great Thai food.
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 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.
Best of the Rest
There are so many restaurants amazing restaurants that I haven’t even mentioned, but 100% deserve to be included. Tharavadu, Shears Yard, George’s Great British Kitchen, Casa Colombiana, Bulgogi, Ox Club and Blackhouse are are favourites of mine, and there are so many places that I still need to try.
So tell me, what are you favourite restaurants in Leeds and where do I need to try next? Leave me a comment and let me know!