Set just behind the main shopping high street of Briggate on Central Road is another edition to the thriving independent coffee scene of Leeds.
Walking into Mrs Atha's feels like you have just entered a downtown New York coffee house. Exposed brickwork, high ceilings, and mood lighting add to the feel. The guys who work behind the counter are all really well informed about the coffee served. Along with the regular house blend each week they have a guest coffee. The all day breakfast menu has mostly sandwich fare along with pancakes. Pastries and cakes are also available from the counter. Nearly everything on the menu comes in around the £3 50p mark.
The atmosphere is friendly with sofas and communal tables giving an informal air to the place.
18 Central Rd, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DE
Google map: bit.ly/ZVFGOt
I discovered this place yesterday, even though I have lived in Leeds for four years. Hidden away next to a fish and chip shop (I think that's new too?) just off Wellington Street, this place serves up a brilliant sandwich.
Although I had never been there before, I was clearly late to the party on this one as it was very busy and there was a queue for sandwiches. I had a roast beef sandwich on the biggest slices of bread I've ever seen, and my friend had a jacket potato slathered with tuna mayonnaise!
We were lucky to get a table as most people were ordering lunch to take away. The food was delicious, and we had to go back for some carrot cake to finish it off in style. I would really recommend Appetite cafe.
My girlfriend and I decided to visit Leeds Seventeen after receiving a recommendation from a friend. The reception by the staff was warm, and the menu was perfect for us (traditional English dishes with a contemporary feel).
I ordered a rib-eye steak (medium rare), and my girlfriend ordered the duck. Both meals were beautifully cooked and presented. The prices where very reasonable for what felt like a high-end restaurant. The side dishes were a bit small, but priced appropriately so we didn't mind.
We took advantage of their early bird deal, meaning we got 30% off our total bill. Highly recommended!
A trip to Leeds would not be complete without a visit to Fuji Hiro. A small noodle bar based near the Merrion Centre. The exterior may not look impressive and the interior is simple to say the least, but once your food arrives you will realise there is no need for frills as the food speaks for itself. Mountains of noodles or giant soup bowls filled to the brim with fresh succulent chicken breast, garlic, chilli, ginger, you will not be disspapointed. And you will no doubt go away feeling like your clothing may have shrunk.
Merrion Centre, 45 Wade Lane, Leeds, LS2 8NJ
+44(0)113 243 9184
Nearest Station - Leeds City
Google map: tinyurl.com/yaf25aa
Not only is Hansa's one of the finest Indian restaurants in Leeds (indeed, restaurant of any kind), it is also entirely vegetarian - as much Indian cuisine traditionally is, or in Britain, was at least. The finest ingredients, lovingly prepared, go into making subtle, complex Gujarati dishes, whose flavours can all be made out even in the hottest of dishes. The staff - including Hansa herself - are extremely helpful and friendly, eager to explain the dishes to you, if you need any help after the thorough and interesting menu. A real treasure.
72-74 North St, Leeds, LS2 7PN - a fifteen minute walk from Leeds City Station, or ten from the bus station.
A lively little neighbourhood three miles north of the city centre, Chapel Allerton is about as close to a continental drinking and dining experience as you'll get in the north of England and is home to a clutch of the region's finest restaurants. Clustered around the junction of Stainbeck Lane and Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton may not be possessed of the beauty of a French square or Italian piazza but come on a summer's evening and find a lively, friendly buzz without the sense of underlying tension and atmosphere of total drunkeness that most of Britain's drinking districts entail. The restaurants and bars spill out onto the pavements, many with heated or covered seating areas, nestling in between a range of small independent shops that make a daytime trip a pleasant diversion from the bustle of central Leeds. Some of Chapel Allerton's more renowned restaurants include the much-lauded Sukhothai, held by many to be one of the country's finest Thai restaurants, a branch of Leeds' greek Olive Tree restaurant, Sami's North African cuisine, and two Casa Mias, the original, cheaper, trattoria-style eatery with a range of light Italian meals and sumptuous desserts and Casa Mia Grande, a high-end, high-quality Italian dining establishment that is among Leeds' best restaurants. As for drinking, traditional pubs like the Regent compete for your custom with quirky bars like Further North and quality cocktails at the Hub, Zed and Angels Share, amongst many others
Chapel Allerton, north Leeds, take the no2 or 3 bus from various points in the city centre.
Dough is a restaurant in the leafy suburbs of Leeds. It has gone from strength to strength and is now considered among many Leeds diners to be one of the best restaurants in the county! It's small and intimate but this Parisian style bistro creates a fantastic atmosphere. The service is superb and laid-back. The food, however, is what really does the talking, with menus that change on every visit, food sourced only from the local region - apparently the chef has his own allotment that he uses produce from! As well as the quality of the food, the fact they allow customers to 'bring their own' while remaining fully licensed is a revelation in the industry, proving that not all businesses are just out to make a quick buck!
Address is 293 Spen Lane, Headingley, Leeds, LS16 5BD. Tel 0113 2787255. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Nearest station is Headingley I presume.
This is Roundhay/Harehill's up and coming restaurant, and extremely good value. The secret is out, because these days Arti is getting a full house and is popular with white and Asian customers alike.
Arti offers some south Indian fare such as dhosa and idli as well as the more standard Indian dishes; warning - the starters are huge and really delicious.
Arti started his restaurant a couple of years back, is very friendly, keen to find out what the customer thinks. This boy's going places! It's a hard act to follow - we've moved to a different city and still looking for an Arti replacement.
285-287 Roundhay Road
Leeds LS8 4HS
The Sheesh Mahal on Kirkstall Road always manages to amaze me with both the quality of the food and service on offer. Azram, the owner, is always serving and chatting with his regulars, and nothing is too much trouble for him, whether it is explaining the history behind dishes on the menu, or providing cake and a free bottle of wine for a friend's birthday.
There are many very, very good curry houses in Leeds and Bradford, but the Sheesh manages to serve food that's up there with the best. The service always tips the scales in the Sheesh's direction though.
Key dishes to try include the prawn puri starter, and either the fish balti or sheesh gosht karahi with a side order of cauliflower and aubergine. I've tried most of the menu and have yet to have a bad meal there.
Kirkstall Road, Leeds
We had lunch at Plush last Thursday, our first visit. Friendly and welcoming staff, lovely food - fresh, well presented and full of flavour across all three courses - with a good bottle of Sauv Blanc.
All with prompt but unobtrusive service.
Seated by a tropical fish tank, which was entertaining. All for £50 - great value and well recommended.
10 York Place. Near Wellington Street and railway station.
0113 234 3344
The fish is truly stunning, loads of well cooked chips, mushy peas are great as is the service. However, the batter is out of this world - crispy, and just flakes off the fish and tastes great (they use beef dripping as you always should!). If you're ever near Leeds, head for this place asap!
12-14 North Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HE
Tel: 0113 2323344
Cafe and takeaway. It is a proven fact that fish and chips are uneatable south of the Trent and west of the Pennines. Bryan's set out to be simply the best in West Riding, excelling where excellent was the norm. If you really want it (for they do cater for the less discriminating tastes) there is perfect cod. But exquisite haddock is the norm. With mushy peas, of course.
Headingley. Ask anyone, or follow your nose.
Simply the best Thai restaurant in Leeds. Tucked away behind the impressive Town Hall (or City Hall, I always get them mixed up, basically the massive hall on Headrow).
Cheap with mains at less than a fiver and starters about £2. Friendly staff and a convivial atmosphere when it's full. Keeps funny opening hours though, its open through the day but closes at 10pm.
Worth popping into the Victoria Hotel just along the road afterwards for a swift one.
39 Great George Street, Leeds LS1 3BB, Tel: 0113 245 9224
Punjabi Indian restaurant a little way out of town (about 1.5 miles) but worth making the effort for.
Staffed by possibly the smiliest gents I have ever seen or met. Not massive portions by some standards, its all about the flavours, which are consistently a notch above other curry houses around and about. Still a proper good feed though, and all at a belting price.
Raja's has almost a permanent place in the Leeds Good Food Guide.
There are many many other ethnic eateries along the same road (Roundhay Road) so it's worth a look if you're not bothered about Raja's, but there are no bars in the area (except for a well dodgy Irish bar).
If you crave booze give me a knock, theres always beer and wine in the fridge, and I live just round the corner from Raja's.
186 Roundhay Road
0113 248 0411
Not just in Leeds but in Yorkshire in general. I am a Mancunian, not a United fan, but cultural programming dicates that I'm not really meant to readily hand out compliments to our Yorkshire counterparts. Well, I don't care when it comes to fish and chips. The fish tastes like fish in Yorkshire, not like white rubbery stuff in batter we get over here, and the chips melt in the mouth. How good are the chippies once you get past Rochdale? I simply don't eat fish and chips in my own city any more, I wait for my trips to Yorkshire instead. The ones next to the Chemic Tavern in Woodhouse and tucked down a little side street close to the Skyrack pub in Headingley are particularly good.
A chippy on every street - or so it seems.
Thousands of shoppers every day pass some of Leeds’ best kept secrets - the pubs in the little alleys off Briggate. Of these, the best two are Whitelocks (down an alley by the Northern Rock) a fantastic time-warp of a pub with walls covered in mirrors supplied by long since defunct breweries. Excellent real ale, and famed for its luncheons. The other highlight is the Angel Inn, a Sam Smiths boozer down an alley beside Dixons. Cheap beer and comfortable surroundings - the upstairs lounge is a great way to pass an hour with the papers away from the bustle of Briggate.
Briggate, Leeds city centre; nearest station: Leeds City.
Wow - this place is amazing. Who would have thought that a restaurant that from the outside looks like a newsagents and stuck in boring suburbs could be this fantastic. You must book in advance and you get offered either a 7pm or 9pm sitting - but do it because it’s worth it.
Quality food like this doesn't usually come this cheap - and given the name of the place, baked stuff is a bit of a speciality (and believe me those breads and biscuity pudding things are out of this world). It’s a case of bring your own with the booze - so get your self a fancy bottle of plonk and head there now.
293 Spen Lane, West Park, Headingley; tel: 0113 278 7255
Built in the Victorian times, it's fairly obvious that the Corn Exchange was the centre of the corn trade in Leeds. Now it is home to lots of small independent shops and shouldn't be missed by any visitors to the city. The beautiful domed roof can be admired from the around the top level of shops or from a cafe table right at the bottom.
It recently won Yorkshire and Humberside restaurant of the year in the Observer Food Monthly and it's obvious why. Room updates classic dishes such as Bangers and Mash or Chow Mein with brilliant results. Plus the downstairs Bedroom is the perfect post-dinner spot for cocktails and champagne - pure indulgence.
Room, Boar Lane, Leeds; www.roomrestaurants.com/
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