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You're a foodie


Leeds is a haven for foodies, and you’re about to see why. We’re lucky enough to have restaurants serving delicious cuisine from almost every corner of the world, and at prices to suit every budget.

Take a look through this list and see what yummy food you could be enjoying if you choose to live in Leeds. Don’t think this is everything though – there’s SO much more besides this list.

Budget friendly grub

If you are on a budget (as we’re aware most students are!), some of the best food in Leeds can be enjoyed for under £5. Here are some of our students’ favourites:

Lupe’s Cantina

Sitting on a builder's yard, Lupe's Cantina might not look like much from the outside, but you won’t be disappointed by their authentic Mexican dishes and Mexican beer to wash it down. A quick look online proves that it’s not just their food which draws in the crowds – their music, atmosphere and friendly staff receive rave reviews too.

Student favourite dishes:

  • Try their traditional guacamole – you may be surprised at just how fresh and delicious it is! 
Zaap Thai

Zaap is a Thai restaurant that will transport you to Bangkok when you step through the door! Decorated to look like a Thai night market. You might even be seated in a tuk tuk for your meal, which is pretty cool right? -Get there early though, this place gets packed due to their great prices and delicious cuisine.

Student favourite dishes:

  • Can you ever go wrong with Pad Thai? Grab yours with chicken, tofu, beef or prawns 
Bar Burrito

Located in the city centre, Bar Burrito is a quick, no fuss place to grab some tasty and filling Mexican food. Choose between nachos, a burrito, tacos or a rice bowl piled high with meat and veg. They offer a great student discount of 20%, so don’t forget to bring your student card along when you visit.

Student favourite dishes:

  • The classic burrito is large, filling and great value 

Jenny Bar Burrito sign image
Image provided by student Jenny

Falafel Guys

This small but mighty food van is famous on the streets of Leeds. Usually found at the bottom of Briggate, they have 5* reviews on Trip Advisor, and are currently number 1 out of 1,739 restaurants in Leeds! If that’s not impressive enough, their food is really good value – you can grab a meal from the Falafel Guys for less than £5. Grab yourself a yummy wrap or salad bowl, and fill it with falafel, chicken or halloumi. YUM.

Student favourite dishes:

  • They’re named after their falafel, but it’s their halloumi wraps which get our attention. We promise you won’t be disappointed!
I am Döner

This place is the stuff of legend. It wins awards all the time, and you can expect to wait up to half an hour for your food to be made, it’s that popular. You may be wondering what’s so special about this little Headingley kebab shop. Well, it’s a mixture of their fresh ingredients, their high quality meat and their founder’s vision (he used to work in a Michelin star kitchen!). This is definitely no greasy kebab to be ashamed of – it’s a taste sensation. Try one for yourself the next time you visit Headingley.

Student favourite dishes:

  • Special street Cart Fries - Grilled chicken, doner, halloumi, falafel and lightly spiced skin on fries topped with pickled cabbage, red onion, tomato, grated carrot, feta and lemon covered in chilli and garlic sauce. Mmmmm.

 

The funky, unusual and budget-blowing

The Man Behind The Curtain

This is the city’s only Michelin Star restaurant, so as you can imagine, it’s pretty fancy. It was opened in 2014 by chef Michael O'Hare, and booking a table here hasn’t gotten any easier since then due to its extreme popularity! It’s known for its artistic tasting menu, and diners are advised to leave at least 3 hours to enjoy the 14 courses. It’s definitely not something which you could afford regularly as a student, but we couldn’t talk about food in Leeds without mentioning it!

Fazenda

If you’re a big meat eater, you’ll love Fazenda. This pretty restaurant on Granary Wharf is a very memorable experience. Take your seat, help yourself to their decadent buffet, and wait as their staff constantly wander around serving you 15 different types of delicious meat. You get a card on your table which you display to let staff know whether you want more meat or whether you’re full. Make sure you’re hungry when you go!

Student tip:

  • There’s only one option here – unlimited meat and a gourmet sides bar. While it’s pricey, it’s slightly cheaper on lunchtime. 
Tattu

Make sure you bring your camera along when you visit Tattu, as you’re going to want to take A LOT of pictures! The contemporary Chinese food is beautifully presented, and the décor of the restaurant itself is truly spectacular. It’s a little bit on the pricier side, so it’s maybe one to add to the list for when you have friends and family come to visit.

Student tip:

  • Getting a set menu at lunchtime for 2 or more people may save you some money compared to the evening A La Carte menu. Your options are more limited, but still all declicious!
Bulgogi Grill

You don’t often visit a restaurant and expect to cook the food yourself, do you? Well, that’s exactly what you have to do at Bulgogi Grill, but trust us, it’s loads of fun! This Korean table-top BBQ restaurant provides you with your grill, tongs and your chosen meat, then you’re left to your own devices! Cook your food, wrap it in lettuce, dip in a yummy sauce and enjoy. 

Almost Famous

Ever fancied a burger with hot sauce, chilli con carne, bacon mayo and salt and vinegar crisps crushed on top? Perhaps you haven’t, but we think you’ll love it once you’ve visited Almost Famous. This wacky burger joint on Great George Street has decoration that’s as funky as its food. Make sure you’re hungry when you visit, as portions are huge, and you’re going to want to order a bit of everything!

Student favourite dishes:

  • PHOENIX FRIES – a mix of normal and sweet potato fries topped with bacon rain, JD maple glaze, shoestring onions, frazzle dust, chillies, bacon bacon mayo and redneck BBQ sauce. Can you remember all that?

Student Jodie's image of Almost Famous burger
Image provided by student Jodie 

Shears Yard

This modern restaurant features pretty decoration and even prettier food. Think exposed bricks, steel beams and twinkly lights. The food is very fancy – we had to search online to see what a few of the ingredients were! Their menu changes regularly, so keep checking. We recommend visiting here with family, as some dishes are pretty pricey.

Mans Market

Described as a ‘Hip, new age Chinese restaurant concept’, Mans Market is a little hidden gem. It’s tucked away on Wellington Street, just behind the train station. Eating here is really fun – write your choice on your menu and then peg it up on the washing line that’s above your head. The food sounds like your traditional Chinese dishes, but they’re presented in a way that’s anything but traditional! Take a look at their Instagram to see what we mean…

Student tip:

  • Take a look at their weekly specials, as you can grab a bargain! On lunchtimes, you can enjoy a box full of food and a beer for just £6.50 which is super value.
Trinity Kitchen

Not your typical shopping centre food court, Trinity Kitchen serves an ever-changing selection of delicious street food from all over Yorkshire. This place is great to visit in a big group, as you’re not restricted to just one type of cuisine. We’re sure that even the fussiest eater will be spoilt for choice here… just take a look!

Student tip:

  • Make sure you take your student card along, as most places here offer a healthy discount!

Student Jessica's image of Pho in Trinity Kitchen

Cuisine from around the world

Indian

Indian cuisine is something we do particularly well here in Leeds. Some delicious offerings include the well-known restaurant chain Akbars, funky street food restaurant Bundobust, and the exciting craft beer-selling delights of The Cats Pyjamas

Thai

Thai food is also incredibly popular. Zaap Thai is one which we’ve already mentioned, but there are plenty more too. Jino’s in Headingley is a firm student favourite, My Thai offer a good-value set menu, and Sukothai is a great place to visit if you fancy a classier, more formal Thai dining experience

Japanese

There’s plenty to choose from if you fancy Japanese food in Leeds. Little Tokyo is loved by many students for it’s beautiful decoration, which includes a pond filled with koi carp! There’s also Issho – a pretty rooftop bar and sushi restaurant located inside Victoria Gate.

American

You can’t walk for two minutes in Leeds without being faced by burger after delicious burger. The question is – which ones should you try? Well, for a start you could head to Meat Liqor, Patty Smiths or Almost Famous (which we mentioned before). There’s also Red’s True Barbecue, Nation of Shopkeepers and Archie’s who deserve a mention for serving up delicious burgers for decent prices.

Greek

Santorini bar and grill is known for its fresh, delicious Greek cuisine, which you can enjoy for a very reasonable price if you choose the set menu.  Souvlaki in the city centre is also a great choice if you’re looking for succulent meat, delicious tangy olives and a lovely relaxed atmosphere.

Italian

Salvo’s in Headingley is often the go-to place for our students who wish to have a delicious Italian feast. There’s also Poco on Kirkstall Road, which is a Sicilan street food takeaway who’s arancini balls have a reputation for being absolutely delicious. If you fancy heading into the city centre, take a look at Bibis, Livin’Italy, Pizza Fella or Gusto. 

Bottomless brunches

If unlimited food and drink sounds like your scene, you’ll love living in Leeds. ‘Bottomless brunches’ are popping up all over the place, and some of them are extremely good value. Many are in the morning or early afternoon, but some extend right up until dinner time, meaning you can stretch the festivities right up until the evening. Just some places which offer a bottomless brunch are: Cau, The Lost and Found, East 59th, Manahatta, Buca Di Pizza and Gaucho.

Yorkshire

Yorkshire puddings deserve a special mention seeing as Leeds is proud to be the biggest city in Yorkshire. If you’re looking for a slightly different take on the traditional Yorkshire pudding, you could try the Yorkshire wrap company in Kirkgate Market. Other places renowned for their Yorkshires are Kirkstall Bridge Inn, The Lamb and Flag and The Midnight Bell.

Food festivals, markets, pop-ups and more

As well as more restaurants than you can shake a stick at, Leeds has a lot of cool pop-up foodie events and goings on too.

Firstly, we have food festivals and markets – where do we start? North Leeds Food Festival happens every summer in the beautiful Roundhay Park. Enjoy artisan food from around the world, music, games and plenty more exciting entertainment. The annual Christkindelmarkt Christmas market serves up plenty of warming, delicious food – with the frankfurter sausages attracting huge queues. Leeds Indie Food is a city-wide festival of independent food and drink, with a huge array of Leeds’ restaurants joining in and providing amazing discounts for diners. They also host ‘Veg North’ which is especially for vegetarians, as well as a tonne of other cool events. -Belgrave Feast takes place every second Saturday of the month and they invite an ever-changing array of street food vendors into the venue, as well as putting on a fascinating arts market. You can also enjoy the occasional food market at Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds’ very own gothic ruined abbey from the 1100s.

Kirkgate Market

The award-winning Kirkgate Market in Leeds city centre is loved by Leeds’ student community, and it’s easy to see why. It sells an array of delicious fresh produce for bargain prices, as well as having a cool street-food area, where you can enjoy food from some famous local names such as Manjit’s Kitchen, Banh & Me and Jenny’s Jerk Chicken. There’s also a new late night market, #kirkLATE,  which is the perfect place to visit if you fancy yummy food, music and a chilled out atmosphere.

The real junk food project

This is an excellent initiative in Leeds – a string of cafes which serve delicious food that would otherwise have ended up in landfill. You pay as you feel, meaning you’ll get a yummy meal for less than what you pay for your usual dinner, as well as knowing that you’re fighting the global problem of food waste.

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