The food scene in Leeds is the envy of its neighbouring cities, proudly securing a number of Michelin stars in recent years (sorry Manchester, always the bridesmaid, never the bride). As such, you’ll find excellent restaurants of all kinds, from those specialising in traditional locally-sourced fare, to more outlandish fine dining tasting menus, and Indian restaurants with a unique Yorkshire twist.
Leeds is arguably the capital of West Yorkshire, and it is an international city. The background of a Leodensian may be British, Irish, Indian, Pakistani, Kurdish, or Zimbabwean, and the list goes on. Restaurants have a long history in the city, with fish and chip joints going back deep into Victorian times, and a plethora of Italian, Indian and Greek eateries popping up after the second world war. Today, a medley of cultures creates a landscape of foods for the connoisseur.
The Reliance, for example, specialises in up-to-the-minute contemporary dining. Seared duckling hearts with daffodils? They’ve got you covered. Tharavadu meanwhile focuses on the cuisine of Kerala, India, with deliciously spiced squid, prawn, and fish dishes. You won’t get this just anywhere, and it’s far more delicate than your typical restaurant or takeaway fare. Gaucho meanwhile takes the idea of a steak and turns it into an art form. Rump, ribeye, sirloin, fillet – you won’t find a better steak experience in the north.
One of the afore-mentioned Michelin Star restaurants is The Man Behind the Curtain, a mysterious endeavour in which guests are not handed a menu. Instead, proprietor and chef Michael O’Hare decides what precision-designed dishes will be sent over. Ox Club meanwhile is all about down-home wood-fired meat dishes. They earn their star the old-fashioned way.
Romantic dinners for two, food for a group of friends, or a family gathering – whatever you’re looking for, Leeds offers the perfect culinary setting. Here are our favourite restaurants in Leeds.