An old favourite, Salvo’s was voted the UK’s best Italian back in the day by Britain’s most beloved grumpy and wrinkled chef, Gordon Ramsey. With a deli to enjoy a more casual lunch or an upmarket, high end restaurant to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Salvo’s opened up in 1976 and has lasted all these years because the food is simply outstanding. There’s antipasti, pizza, pasta, risottos and scrumptious desserts to choose from – you’ll thank us later.
2. Fuji Hiro
Another old timer, this restaurant in town serves up hearty Japanese dishes at affordable prices. It has a simple, canteen style interior but the food speaks for itself with delicious gyoza (Japanese dumplings) and also noodles and Japanese curries with rice to pick from. They’ve got a super drinks menu too, with Japanese plum wine or sake, plus Japanese beers that help you wash down your dinner.
The winner of the 2016 Asian Curry Award, Akbar’s has been around for decades and is your best bet if you want the best lip-smacking curry in a city full of them. It has a central Leeds location on Eastgate with a spacious interior accompanied by authentic curry house neon lighting. It packs out in the evenings so booking will mean you’ll be guaranteed a spot. Don’t miss out on the Dopioza, accurately listed on the menu as an ‘Old School Favourite’.
4. The Cow and Calf
Not technically in Leeds, but just a short drive away, this fantastic pub has to make it on to our Top 10 list. The food is outstanding – traditional pub grub offered up to hungry punters who have been adventuring on Ilkley Moor and the Yorkshire Dales. A tried and tested favourite is the Sunday Sharing platter and as Sunday is the ultimate day of rest for most of us, you’ll enjoy toasting your feet by the fire and munching your way through everything the platter has to offer.
A lively place to start a night out, Bundobust serves up authentic Indian street food which consists of lots of little dishes, meaning you get to try a wide range of specialities. There’s a changing craft beer menu too, and we all know that Indian food goes hand in hand with a nice cold beer. The restaurant started out putting on little pop-ups and taking over other kitchens, so has been tried and tested. It’s been recommended in the 2017 Michelin Guide and listed as one of Time Out’s Top 10 Indian Restaurants in the UK, so make sure you give this one a go. But don’t worry, the prices aren’t Michelin – just the delicious food!
6. Nation of Shopkeepers
Craving a dirty, juicy and delicious burger? Then this is where you should head. With an Americana menu, a big beer garden and decent DJs, Nation of Shopkeepers is a perfect central spot to head to to dig in. With macaroni cheese, fried chicken and a rather unusual egg and peanut butter burger on the menu, this isn’t a spot for those looking to loose a few pounds. But if you’re not afraid of indulging or are in need of something to sort out a hangover, then go for the full shebang and top it all of with one of their indulgent desserts – the brownie gets us every time.
7. Pickles and Potters
This award-winning sandwich shop used to have a home in the Queens Arcade but now operates from a mobile kitchen. Sometimes, when you’re in the right mood, there’s nothing better than a perfectly executed, well-balanced sandwich, and Pickles and Potters makes the best in Leeds – hands down. They deliver straight to your door, so you won’t even need to leave home or work to sample all the menu has to offer.
8. Fourth Floor Cafe at Harvey Nichols
If you’re stuck in the middle of Leeds and desperate for some time out from the busy shopping streets, then head straight into Harvey Nics and get the lift up to the 4th floor. Here you’ll find a decadent cafe – expect smoked salmon and eggs, caviar and cocktails. There’s even an outdoor terrace for sunny days (or cloudy for the more optimistic diners amongst us) although we would recommend arriving in the morning to get a spot out there.
9. Bulgogi Grill
This is a great spot for adventurous diners, or even those looking for a first date destination. Leeds’ first Korean barbecue restaurant is fitted with table top grills for diners to grill their own dinners on! Don’t worry, you won’t have to do all the work as the trained chefs prepare all the sides and salads. But, it will definitely spark up some conversation and might even encourage some of you in to being a little more adventurous in the kitchen.
10. The Belgrave Feast
OK, OK so this isn’t really a restaurant, but it will give you the chance to sample Yorkshire’s finest food twice a month when the floors of this old music hall become home to a bustling street food market. There’s always so much to choose from, whether Patti Smith’s Burgers or Dough Boys Pizzas. It’s free to wander in so there’s nothing stopping you, and we’re sure it will be tough to resist a bite of something with so much on offer.
There you have it, a little list to get your mouths watering and senses savouring. You definitely shouldn’t be going hungry! If you are planning a trip out, why not view our favourite places to go in Leeds too?
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent a decade working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.