Leeds Restaurant Cheat Sheet

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Trying to decide where to go out to eat is one of the great dilemmas of our time – up there with “What should I watch from my Netflix queue?” and “Which pet would I save in the event of a house fire?” (Broad City and whichever one usually gets the most likes on Instagram, respectively) – so here’s the Leeds Restaurant Cheat Sheet, a handy tool to help take the stress out of choosing.

I’ll try and provide a few suggestions for each type of cuisine, suited to different price ranges and occasions – Just decide what you’re in the mood for use the brief summaries to help guide your decision.  The list will be updated regularly to try and keep up with the frantic pace of Leeds food.

Coffee & BreakfastPan-AsianMexican & South AmericanItalianBurgers & BBQNorth African & MediterraneanVegetarian & VeganBritish & SeasonalSupper Clubs & Something PoshOther


Coffee & Breakfast 

Laynes Espresso. Best flat white in town, and bakes from Noisette Bakehouse and Leeds Bread Co-op, conveniently located next to the train station (£)

La Bottega Milanese. Beautiful, spacious shop, great coffee, and Italian pastries & homemade pasta dishes (£)

Mrs Atha’s. Ace coffee, talented baristas, more crockery and spoons than your Nan and classic breakfast sandwiches & pancakes (££)

Bowery. Best choice in Headingley for coffee, with sourdough toast, homemade granola and various bakes to go with it (£)

Opposite. Little cabin in the Victoria Quarter is perfect for a quick fix on the go, but the Chapel Allerton is my favourite (£)

The Greedy Pig. Reliably excellent Full English & Pancakes, with specials like Bone Barrow & Brisket Burgers and bakes on the specials board.  SUPER good value for money, worth noting that they’re not open on Sunday though (£)

The Grub & Grog Shop. Perfect Sunday morning brunch food in the perfect Sunday all-day lounging venue, Northern Monk Refectory.  Great takes on Full & Vegetarian breakfasts, homemade crumpets, sandwiches and the amazing Ox Tongue Hash (£)


Pan-Asian 

My Thai. Fast, cheap and incredibly tasty, the reigning king in an area overcrowded with Thai places (£)

Thai Aroi Dee. Untouchable in its day, but judgement should be reserved until they re-open (Latest update: Now open, but having some teething issues in the new restaurant) (£)

Little Tokyo. Popular, but I don’t rate it highly.  Bento boxes are ok, but there’s too many fried items going on that leave me feeling a bit grimey.  Decent cocktails, but food quality and service is inconsistent (£££)

Fuji Hiro. Has lived long enough to see itself become a Fuji Villain. Prices are wildly at odds with the no-frills canteen vibes, and the food doesn’t rarely lives up to its reputation. (££)

Pho. Permanent resident of Trinity Kitchen, and in some months the most reliable thing on offer there.  One of only two Vietnamese places in Leeds I’m aware of (along with Nom Deli, which I’ve not got round to trying yet) (£)


Mexican & South American

Pinche Pinche. Out in Chapel Allerton but well worth the journey.  Recently expanded their decent Tex-Mex style menu to include even better street food-style small plates (££)

Neon Cactus. Dive-bar Mexican done really well, with a huge selection of Tequilas and hot sauces (£)

Cielo Blanco. Neon Cactus’ younger sibling, with natural light and more refined tastes – tacos, empanadas, salads, market dishes, and fresh pressed juices (££)

Casa Colombiana. Hearty Peruvian home-cooking in the Grand Arcade, with one of the warmest hosts around (£)


Italian

Zucco. Small plates of Italian home-cooked style food and potent, dry cocktails.  My favourite place to go out to eat, one of the many good reasons to travel down the road to Meanwood (£££)

Ecco. Traditional Neapolitan pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven.  They offer delivery, but eat in for best results (££)

Dough Boys. Hot singles in your area: Some of the best Pizza in Leeds served by the slice inside Belgrave Music Hall, more often than not half price (£) 


Burgers & BBQ 

Patty Smith’s. Hole in the wall at the back of Belgrave Music Hall which does one burger and does it exceptionally well – the joint-best burger and the best chips in Leeds, yeah I said it (£)

MeatLiquor. This is the other joint-best burger in Leeds; the best choice if you want more of a sit-down several-course meal (££)

Boss Burgers. Best takeaway burger, bar none (£)

Red’s True BBQ. Popular, well-concepted restaurant with great service and decent enough sandwiches, but pretty poor ribs and chicken (£££)


North African & Mediterranean

Humpit. Brilliant value-for-money lunch spot serving huge slicks of hummus and fresh falafel.  Showcased some new dishes at Leeds Indie Food events which I’ve got high hopes for (£)

Cafe Moor. Shwarma and Lebanese delicacies in the entrance to the market.  Only open during usual market hours so look out for them at street food events (£) 

Shawarma. Best takeaway in the University area, serving shwarma, falafel and kofte wraps & meals.  Open late so perfect for food after gigs at the Union, delivery also available (£)


Vegetarian & Vegan

Bundobust. South-Indian small plates/snack pots, ideal for grazing on while you sample their expert beer selection (££)

Hansas. Local favourite of almost 30 years – Gujarati vegetarian Indian food with East African touches, order the Thali and get a bit of everything (££)


British & Seasonal

The Hungry Bear. Another fine reason to visit Meanwood – Modern British cooking with a “dinner party in a friend’s living room” vibe (£££)

The Grub & Grog Shop. Colourful, hearty viking food – think charred root veg, seasonal greens, pork belly, beef heart – all paired with Northern Monk beers, hop syrup, and malty smells from the brewery downstairs (££)

Shear’s Yard. Modern British with fine dining flourishes like soils and emulsions.  Their £17.50 3-course set menu with a £10 bottle of house red represents the best dining value since the Boots Meal Deal (Set Menu ££/A la Carte £££)

The Reliance. Seasonal game, fish and veg in a cosy dining room with an open-plan kitchen, well-stocked bar and home-made charcuterie (£££)


Supper Clubs & Something Posh 

The Swine That Dines. Each month Jo & Stu from The Greedy Pig get to show off their catering chops (sometimes literally) by picking a high-welfare animal and giving ticket-holders a chance to eat every part of it.  They don’t have an alcohol license, so it’s BYOB as well (£££)

Northern Monk Refectory. Monthly guest-spots and themed supper evenings hosted in the awesome Northern Monk Brewery’s tap room, with a helping hand from the capable hands of Grub & Grog’s Jim and Dan (£££)

The Man Behind the Curtain. Chef Michael O’Hare projects his personality into the venue and menu to ensure this isn’t your average Michelin-star contender (££££)


Other

Ira B’s. Legit Jewish deli offerings out in Moortown – chicken soup, schnitzel, bagels, and a salt beef on rye that gives Katz Deli a run for its money (££)
Caribbean Cafe. Located on Butchers Row in the Market hall.  The best curry goat, jerk chicken and escoveitch fish around, and the owner is a top gent to boot (£)

Smoqued. Smoked meats served as amazing Tacos and Tostadas, and some pretty special Kimchi Poutine.  Part of the May/June Trinity Kitchen crop (£)

Fu-Schnickens. Steamed buns which have won the award for best street food in the UK, and I’m not going to contest that.  Find them at most street food events around the city (£)

Manjit’s Kitchen. OG Leeds vendors, their chilli paneer wraps and chaats are a firm and well deserved local favourite (£)

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