Life In Leeds
Food and Drink in Leeds
Leeds has become a genuine destination for food-fans in recent years, with a raft of exciting new openings happening across the city.
We’ve got one of the fastest growing food and drink scenes in the UK, well ahead of London, Manchester and Liverpool, and we’ve been singled out as leading the way when it comes to independent restaurant growth.
We’re bucking the trend for homogenised high streets and an influx of restaurant chains with interesting independents landing every month in Leeds. You really can enjoy every type of cuisine here, ranging from street food favourites to the culinary masterpieces of celebrity chefs and Masterchef winners.
The city is renowned for its lively street food scene and brilliant food festivals, celebrating everything the city’s food and drink scene has to offer. There are so many places to choose from that it can be daunting deciding where to eat, so we’ve rounded up a small selection of some of the best places to eat and drink in Leeds.
Cheap and cheerful
Dining out can be hard when you’re watching those pennies. But don’t despair, because Leeds has loads of budget-friendly restaurants that mean you don’t have to wash up every night.
Take your pick from great places in the city centre to eat for under a tenner, all combining taste, portion size and price.
80 per cent of the delicious dishes on My Thai’s menu are under £8, and the same can be said for its next-door neighbour, Fuji Hiro – a basic Japanese café famed for its quality food. Then there’s Pieminister, where you can stuff your face with award-winning pie and mash meal deal, and Pizza Fella, which has people queuing out the door for its authentic (and reasonably priced) wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas.
Don’t forget our Students’ Union bars, where you can pick up some cheap and filling food and drink deals.
A whole floor of food trucks
Trinity Kitchen sits on the top floor of Trinity Leeds and is arguably the best thing about the huge shopping centre. It’s the city’s street food hotspot, a mix of permanent stalls and street food trucks that change every month. The constant change means there’s always something new to try and you’ll never get bored of the offering. Plus, the permanent residents serve up everything from Vietnamese dumplings and Indian wraps, to burritos and fancy fish and chips.
Giving it a run for its money, though, is Kirkgate Market’s new dining experience; a row of street food cafés serving tasty treats from across the world. Prices range between £3 and £9 for a main course.
Low 'n' slow BBQ
Red's brought real American low and slow barbecue to Leeds and now has two restaurants in the city – one on Call Lane and the other in Headingley – both serving up a selection of burgers, pulled pork, loaded fries and BBQ sides.
Bundobust serves up an impressive selection of unique and mouth-wateringly good vegetarian Indian street food, alongside an equally unusual craft beer menu. Its refreshingly different offering has made it a firm Leeds favourite.
Leeds is full of brilliant burger joints, and Almost Famous is one of the best. Sometimes only a big juicy burger will do and they make them perfectly here, serving them up alongside loaded fries and creative cocktails.
Iberica is the perfect place to enjoy authentic Spanish tapas, and alongside its contemporary tapas dishes, it offers a huge selection of charcuterie meats, cheeses and wines to enjoy. Plus, it’s situated within the listed antique Hepper House, so the surroundings are stunning and it has the best toilets in town.
Veggies and vegans
Vegetarians and vegans will find plenty of places to eat in Leeds. Roots & Fruits is the city’s oldest dedicated vegetarian café, serving up tasty veggie and vegan food from its little Grand Arcade café for over 25 years. Then there’s Global Tribe Café, another purely vegetarian restaurant tucked away in the city centre and The Old Red Bus Station on Vicar Lane boasts the city’s first 100% vegan cantina.
Headingley and Hyde Park hot spots
The student suburbs are full of restaurants and cafes offering great value for money.
BYOB Thai café Jino’s has irresistible early bird offers. For cheap pub grub, take your pick of Headingley Taps, Original Oak or Skyrack, or dine out on regular 2-4-1 deals at The Arc, Box or Trio. If you’re feeling a bit more flush, you won’t find much better than Headingley institution Salvo’s for authentic Italian food, or its sister café and deli Salvo’s Salumeria next door.
Down the road in Hyde Park is Boss Burgers, voted into the top five in the country by Trip Advisor, and Lupe’s Cantina Mexicana, serving up all manner of Central American delights in a bright, colourful setting.
Yes, Leeds has got all the best independent cafés and restaurants to explore – but sometimes we know nothing else but your trusted favourites will do. There are three Pizza Express restaurants in the city centre (and one in Headingley), two Nando's for your chicken cravings, Carluccio’s or Jamie’s for premium Italian, or Wagamamas on Greek Street when it’s noodles or nothing. At the top of Trinity shopping centre and Harvey Nichols you’ll also find Yo Sushi.
Laid-back fine dining
Shears Yard is an independent kitchen and bar with a continually evolving menu guided by seasonality and local produce. It’s laid-back fine dining at its best - the food here ranges from Marmite-glazed pork belly to pan roast fillet of cod and brown shrimps, complemented by an extensive drinks menu. It also does one of the city’s best bottomless brunches every Saturday.