Six months of living in city centre Leeds has certainly opened my eyes to its vast choice of fantastic independent places to eat and drink. As a new food blogger, and spoilt for choice, I couldn’t have been living anywhere better!
These are my current favourites (in no particular order) based on various factors, but the main thing being, that they all serve dam good food!
For something unique & spicy – Bundobust:
This is by far the place I’ve eaten at the most. Whenever I have a first time visitor to Leeds, I bring them here. Its unique and seriously tasty vegetarian Indian street food, never fails to disappoint anyone.
From the light Bhel Puri, to the Biyiani Balls, and spicy Paneer & Mushroom kebabs, it’s hard to pick a favourite. Who said Okra fries? Ooh, go on then!
They also sell an extensive range of world wide craft beers to wash your food down with.
I would happily become a vegetarian if I could eat at Bundobust every day!
Bundobust, 6, Mill Hill, LS1 5DQ. http://www.bundobust.com
For Breakfast – The Greedy Pig:
Once a greasy run down cafe, this North Street cafe is far more than that now. You can still order a good old fry up, but there are many more options on the menu, from American style pancakes to hearty sandwiches.
My favourite is the house special of Mergeuz Sausage (Spiced North African Lamb meat), served with Duck Eggs, Harrisa and Patas Bravas.
On weekend nights they also hold a supper club ‘The Swine that Dines’, which I’m yet to try out.
The Greedy Pig, 58, North Street, LS2 7PN
For turning Carnivores to Veggies – Hansas:
Hansas Gujarati vegetarian restaurant is one of one Leeds oldest establishments, having served locals for 30 years.
It’s not for the faint hearted though, their dishes pack some serious punch! Try the Pani Puri, mini bite sized hollow puris, stuffed with spiced Chickpeas & Onions with Tamarind & Mint sauce. These are enjoyed best eaten in one go!
We met Hansa herself on our visit, along with her husband Kish, who was more than happy to have a good chat with us.
Hansas, 72-74, North Street, LS2 7PN http://hansasrestaurant.com
For a Convieniently Tasty Meal – Rola Wolla:
Based in Trinity Kitchen, this has been my “go to” place, whether after the gym, or on a Saturday lunch if I can’t decide where to go for food.
They serve wraps, salads and rice bowls. I usually go for the Chicken Tikka & Paneer Naan wrap, with fresh salad, pickle & sauces. So tasty, so fresh, and a bargain at £5.95.
Rola Wala, Trinity Kitchen, LS1 5AY http://www.rolawala.com/food
For something “free” from – 2, Oxford Place:
Located in a town house at the side of the City’s Library and Art Gallery, you feel instantly at home in this quirky and intimate little place. More importantly though the Gastro pub style food was simply delicious, with an ample choice, and even a separate vegetarian menu.
On my recent visit here, I chosed the Tarragon Chicken dish for my main course which consisted of; Roasted Chicken thighs with Thyme & Rosemary, Fondant Potatoes, mixed veg and a beautiful Tarragon infused cream sauce.
It also serves a variety of vegan and dairy free food, and boasts a 100% Gluten free kitchen. To top it off the restaurant won the UKs Best of Free From Award in 2015! Book in advance for large groups
2 Oxford Place, LS1 3AX https://2oxfordplace.com/
For lunch with Friends – Archie’s:
It was literally only last week that I discovered Archies down on Granary Wharf, underneath Leeds train station arches.
Set in a cool, laid back, urban deco style venue, the place has lots to offer. From healthy detox juices, to tapas style dishes and your traditional British Classics.
My favourite tapas dish we tried was the Lamb Cutlets. The Lamb was beautifully cooked, still a little pink inside, with the Polenta & Cumin crust working wonderfully with the meat. The smoked Aubergine purée finished it off nicely.
Archie’s, Dark Neville St, Granary Wharf LS1 4BR http://www.archiesleeds.co.uk/
For something Authentic – Cielo Blanco:
This is authentic Mexican food at its finest, based in Trinity shopping centre.
Cielos sharing boards are a great option to go for, packed with various street food including Pot Stews, Spicy Rice, Ribs, Salsa & Tamale Wraps. They also serve classic favourites such as Burritos & Tacos.
Cielo Blanco, 415 Trinity Leeds, Albion Street, LS1 5AY http://cieloblanco.co.uk
For the Experience – Bulgogi:
A perfect place for a first date (which one of my visits was!), or to catch up with friends in a fun, interactive environment.
Each table has a traditional Korean style BBQ grill, which you use to cook your own food on.
For £22.95 per person you get Dumplings and Sushi starters, then various meats, seafood & vegetables for cooking on the BBQ. Accompanying this you have rice and lettuce to wrap your food in, along with dips, the Tamarind one being my favourite.
9-11 Merrion Street, LS2 8BT, http://www.bulgogi-grill.co.uk
For something “Meaty” – Caracas Grill:
I hadn’t eaten Venezuelan food before until I visited Caracus Grill last year. It’s a modest and relaxed place, with cool South American street art on its walls.
Upon recommendation, I opted for the Caracas Parrilla, marinated flat iron steak, chicken & sausage. The meats had been marinated in their ‘special’ sauce for 12 hours. This was accompanied by coleslaw, fries, Hallaquitas (boiled corn flour dough in red pepper water) and a trio of sauces (green chilli, coriander & a type of raita sauce).
The meats were cooked beautifully, and the green chilli sauce worked really well mixed into the dish giving it a nice kick. I ended up buying a tub of this sauce to take home it was that good!
If you like your meats this place is definitely worth a visit. Vegetarian options are limited though to salads, corn breads and cheese.
Caracus Grill, 7 Duncan Street, LS1 6DQ, http://caracasgrill.com/
For a Sandwich – Cafe 164:
Working just round the corner from Cafe 164 for a little over 12 months now, has turned me into a regular visitor here.
The sandwiches are simply delicious, with fresh daily homemade bread including fillings such as Homous & Fallel, Chilli Chicken & Sweet Potato.
If, like me, you have a sweet tooth the cakes are also pretty good. For me the Rocky Road wins hands down. Get in early though to avoid disappointment, they sell out fast!
The cafe also displays various art exhibitions from both local & international artists.
Cafe 164, Monroe House, Duke Street, Ls9 8AG, http://cafe164.com/web/