Way before I started this blog, the job of choosing where to eat was more often than not left to yours truly, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner. Even though I’ve always been happy to give suggestions, it’s always daunting being put on the spot….what if I mess up!! How would I live it down??
So, with this in mind, I thought to myself ‘where would I recommend to people go if they had 24/48 hours to eat their way through Leeds?‘ This list is just my personal opinion and has been hard to leave great places out, some may be favourites of yours already. I’ve not eaten in every single cafe/restaurant in the city so some/all you may agree/disagree with, but that’s alright whichever way. You may notice that I’m only sticking to independents, even though there are plenty of established chains, it’s great to support our independent businesses.
Ok, for some reason I had to start with coffee, regular readers may know of my growing love of the drink and how I’ve enjoyed learning about it over the last year.
Leeds’ big four are Laynes Espresso, La Bottega Milanese, Opposite and Mrs Athas, my favourites are:
Laynes Espresso - this highly respected independent coffee shop has a reputation which spreads far and wide! With skilled baristas making some of the best coffee in the city using Square Mile beans. Paired with knockout bakes and breakfasts it’s one of my go-to places, my favourite is a piccolo and a brioche bostock slice.
Laynes Espresso – 16 New Station Street, Leeds, LS15DL
La Bottega Milanese – another favourite indie coffee spot, also one of Leeds’ originals. Now with it’s second shop open on Bond Court; larger than it’s sister shop in The light, it serves the same fantastic artisan coffee roasted by Grumpy Mule. Apart from the coffee there’s an irresistible display of traditional patisserie, panini and much more! With a space that’s asthestically pleasing on the eye too, in particular its fantastic communal table which takes centre stage. My favourite tipple here is a piccolo paired with a gorgeous custard tart.
La Bottega Milanese – 2 Bond Court, Leeds LS1 2JZ
The Greedy Pig – this team definitely have to be in the category for best breakfast in Leeds. The ‘Greedy Pig Breakfast’ wins on all fronts for carnivores and for those who are not meat inclined the ‘Veggie Breakfast’ sounds appealing too with bacon making way for spiced corn bread! But what’s great is not only do they serve up awesome food, Jo and Stu who own and run the place are genuinely lovely people to boot!
Hepworth’s Deli – Found in Thornton’s Arcade, just off Leeds’ main pedestrianised thoroughfare Briggate, Hepworth’s serves a deli brunch menu. With a decent Full English and an Egg’s Benedict with bacon that’s pretty good too! This is my usual Sunday brunch choice (as The Greedy Pig are closed).
Hepworth’s Deli - 21 Thorntons Arcade, Leeds, LS1 6LQ
Belgrave Music Hall & Canteens‘ Laynes brunch (one Sunday a month) – Carl Fleischer from Laynes Espresso heads a team full of culinary talent to bring brunch to the Leeds masses. It’s become a highly popular event since it’s inception, with dishes like Brioche French toast with caramelised banana and beetroot cured salmon with pea, feta and corn fritter on the menu, it’s inventive and pushing the brunch boundaries in the direction I am loving!
Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen – 1A Cross Belgrave St, Leeds, LS2 8JP
Another place great for breakfast/brunch is Mrs Athas – serves great food alongside superb coffee!
Mrs Athas – Central Rd, Leeds, LS1 6DE
NOM: newly opened Vietnamese Deli with the great street food options, such as Bánh mì, Phở and Cuốn (summer rolls), sold at great prices too, Plenty of fresh, authentic flavours on show here.
NOM – 77A Great George Str, Leeds LS1 3BR
Cafe Moor – well known for their base in Kirkgate Market, there’s tasty Middle Eastern and North African street food to be had at reasonable prices. The Chicken Sharwarma is one of the most popular dishes, I must admit it is really good, but for me I always swear by the Chicken Borek! Part of the fun is getting a lovely soothing glass of mint tea while you wait.
Café Moor – Kirkgate Market, 34 George Street, Leeds LS2 7HY
You’d also get a fab lunch at Friends of Ham, with their short, but succinct menu full of great produce.
Friends of Ham - 4 New Station St, Leeds, LS1 5DL
I’ve listed a number of different places, in the hope of suiting different pockets here.
Easy on the pocket:
Fuji Hiro – one of my favourite places to eat in Leeds, I love this place! The edamame, ebi katsu and gyoza (literally to die for) and the yaki soba are my go-to dishes!! I’ve been known to drive into the city centre just to collect a takeaway, then head back out home just to get a fix of the stuff! Great value for money, their set meals are £15.95- £16.95.
Fuji Hiro - 45 Wade Lane, Leeds, LS2 8NJ
Ephesus – delicious Turkish food that always delivers in terms of price and flavours! Located in Rodley so would require a little drive out, but it’s worth it. Another great restaurant for carnivores and non-meat eaters alike, their two-course all day menu for £12.99 is a pretty good one. I love the griddled halloumi cheese and minced lamb pide, a Turkish version of pizza.
Ephesus Restaurant – 4 Rodley Lane, Rodley, Leeds, LS13 1HU
A bit more on the pocket:
The Reliance - great spot for relaxed dining, serving up decent food in decent surroundings with lovely service. These guys have even received well-earned plaudits from much revered critic Marina O’Loughlin - ‘The Reliance is an outfit with both heart and brain engaged, exactly the sort of place I hope to find on my travels’.
The Reliance – 76-78 North St, Leeds, LS2 7PN
Zucco in Meanwood has found many fans with their delicious small plates of Italian food which are perfect for the sharing experience. Favourite dishes include deep fried zucchini with mint, soft shell crab and braised beef pappardelle amongst others!
Zucco – 603 Meanwood Rd, Leeds, LS6 4AY
Another notable place is The Hungry Bear in Meanwood, serving up tasty food in a pleasant dining room they also have homemade ales on offer too.
The Hungry Bear – 10 -14 Stonegate Rd, Leeds LS6 4HY
Not so easy on the pocket:
The Man behind the Curtain – opened a few months ago, if you love innovation, creativity and down right tasty food, which happens to look like works of art, this could be the place for you. With a 12 course tasting menu, you will not be given chance to get bored with its amazing tastes and textures. A destination restaurant for a special occasion! Dinner will set you back £65 per person.
The Man Behind The Curtain – 68-78 Vicar Lane, Leeds LS1 7JH
Late night supper:
Bundobust – fantastic place to get ‘munch’ as they call it here, with a menu full of Gujarati Indian street food with craft beers and ales to match. I love the bundo chaat, onion gobi bhaji bhaji and okra fries, the mango lassi always hits the spot too!
Bundobust – 6 Mill Hill, Leeds, LS1 5DQ
Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen: Since opening in October 2013, this venue seems to have bolstered the Northern Quarter’s status as the place to spend a night out. With some of the best late night snacks to chow down on, it’s a big draw on the food front too.
With Dough Boys pizza, (my favourite is the Baa No More) and Patty Smith’s Burgers. Then Fu-Schnikens selling the Gua Bao, these winners of British Street foods Northern Heat 2014) are probably my favourite of the three with their Taiwanese steamed buns!
Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen – 1A Cross Belgrave St, Leeds, LS2 8JP
Like I said earlier, this is purely just my opinion and I could’ve added lots more. It’s probably indicative of the strength of the food and drink scene in Leeds that it’s hard to narrow a list like this down! Maybe my list will change over the next year or so, I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.
Well there you go, let me know what you think, nothing harsh though please!! I wanna know your recommendations.