Since living as an honorary Yorkshire man for the past 8 years, I’ve enjoyed an abundance of beautiful restaurants the gorgeous city of Leeds has to offer and with a constant flow of unique establishments opening across the city, there’s an abundance of variety to fit any taste.
If you’ve ever fancied visiting Leeds, or you’re one of the lucky ones who reside in this bustling City or close enough to feast in the various eateries, you might feel a little head blown by the shear choice available, so I’m here to help!
I’ve summarised a few of my favourite restaurants I’ve been privileged enough to sample. So, if you want to know about steak, sushi, old fashioned pate , artichoke skin and salt aged North Atlantic cod and even barbecued eel (it turns out I’m a massive eel fan!) then read on:
Vice & Virtue
Vice & Virtue is one dining experience you’ll remember. Simply put, it’s just bloody special. From drinking in the dark and opulent ‘Vice’ Bar, with ‘Burlesque’ vibes and a beautiful cocktail bar, serving delicious and slightly unusual cocktails, like the gorgeous ‘Wasabi, Jasmin & Gin’ – which packed a serious taste punch!
To the main restaurant ‘Virtue’ which is a light, bright area, which had the tables in front of the main ‘stage’ (the exposed kitchen) I love watching chefs going about their art whilst your whilst your nattering and gossiping, so this was a right treat! Watching food being prepared adds a sense of honesty to a dining experience, since you see everything the chefs are doing- plus you get to see when your food’s about to be served, I’m a right impatient fatty!
The restaurant itself is very understated, in terms of detail and presentation, however, it made perfect sense when I received the first course, it was immediately apparent that the ‘wow’ factor and theatre was in the daring and scrumptious cuisine before me, from Artichoke skins with truffle & pennybun served on a real piece of moss aged wood, to Iberica spork tongue and salt aged North Atlantic cod with crimson asparagus, it was mind blowing! The dishes were created using so many exotic ingredients (some I’ve never heard of) so the excitement is definitely in the unknown, you have to put your faith in the chefs which ultimately pays off, every single course was a knock-out…there really is no other word to describe it!
Although you have the option of eating A La Carte, I was lucky enough to try the tasting menu which was served with a wine pairing, something I’ve never had before, however, the variations of wine placed with each dish really did compliment the flavours and heightened the taste experience even more.
The taster menu changes with the seasons and many if not all of the ingredients are sourced locally (some foraged) so you’ll always enjoy the freshest of ingredients during your visit- make sure you book quick though, this gorgeous and experimental restaurant is regularly booked up!
Book online here: https://viceandvirtueleeds.co.uk/
68 New Briggate, Leeds LS1 6NU
Lamb & Flag
Why do I love the Lamb & Flag? Simple, because it feels like home. It’s a restored 19th century building with warm exposed brick work and big airy windows, allowing you to see outside onto its gorgeous courtyard beer garden, perfect for summer BBQ’s (which have gone down a storm since its refurb!)
The bar staff here are so lovely, I’ve asked for recommendations on several occasions regarding the extensive range of beer and the staff are always so enthusiastic when it comes to finding me the most suitable drink (which they always get spot on!)
The menu offers a range of proper good Yorkshire grub, presented gorgeously and is packed full of delicious fresh flavour. I’ve tried the ‘ham hock hash with pea puree and poached egg’, the ‘rib eye steak’ and sampled the ‘strawberry & Pimm’s Eton mess’ (since I couldn’t manage a full dessert myself!) and I devoured every morsel.
I love the vibe here and strangely enough you feel like your a long long way from the bustle of the city, it almost feels like your in a country pub, which feels odd when you step back out onto Church Row and realise where you are!
If you’re looking for cosy delicious heart-warming food in warm cosy surroundings, then get yourself to the Lamb & Flag, it’s a place I’ll always recommend for good priced, tasty food with a lovely atmosphere to boot.
1 Church Row, Leeds LS2 7HD
If you’re a steak lover, then Blackhouse needs to be on your list of restaurants to visit. Specialising in all things ‘steak and cocktail’, it’s a perfect place to take friends before an evening out on the town, or to have a ‘boojee’ meal with friends and family.
I tried a variety of starters from the new summer menu which included cauliflower cheese souffle, pulled beef bon bons, smoked haddock fishcake, smoked salmon roulade, quail’s eggs with celery salt, potted beef and torched red pepper humous. My favourite was easily the cauliflower cheese soufflé, it hit all the right notes; the perfect balance of texture and flavour which had my taste buds doing cartwheels, handstands and pelvic thrusts!
For the main course I obviously had to go for the steak! I opted for no sauce, just so I could taste the steak in all its bear naked glory (with some skinny fries on the side) and the verdict….BEAUT!! It was a flavoursome and tender cut which melted in my mouth, but then what do you expect when their cuts are 28 days wet and dry aged and air dried for 24 hours in their own Himalayan rock salt chamber? I can tell you now, all of that hard work has paid off. Get yourself over to Blackhouse and try for yourself oh and don’t forget to try the cocktails, the espresso martini was bloody marvellous!
31-33 E Parade, Leeds LS1 5PS
Located in Holbeck’s urban village- apparently the oldest industrial buildings in the world, this little beauty is a perfect mixture of traditional and contemporary collaborating effortlessly to give a distinctly heart warming atmosphere. Midnight Bell not only makes you feel warm cosy and fuzzy, but leaves you full to the brim with mouth-watering food made from a plethora of fresh Yorkshire ingredients and with a bar fully stocked with ales, beers and anything else you might fancy, it’s the ideal venue to eat, drink and stay for a few hours!
The menu is simple but definitely not boring- I’ve enjoyed the chicken liver pate with pink peppercorn butter, sea salt and rosemary focaccia toast (the toast was so nice I asked for more and they brought out another basket full for me!) I then had the pan fried sea bass fillet, with crushed new potatoes, wilted greens and lemon caper butter, this had the wow factor in terms of presentation and taste wise, it was fresh, heart warming and tasty as hell. The fish was light, flaky and downright perfect. Needless to say, both courses were followed by a couple of pints of their dark stout which was recommended by the lovely bartender- and something I’ve been recommending to friends since!
Reasonably priced and with one of the best beer gardens in Leeds, I really don’t think I need to say owt’ else to convince you otherwise, get yourself over and have a try for yourself!
101 Water Ln, Leeds LS11 5QN
This wonderful Japanese Sushi & Grill offers an express menu or their now famous ‘all- you-can-eat’ menu, where you order from a tablet on your table. The tablet sends your order directly to the kitchen and your food choices are sent over toy your table as soon as your dish is cooked, or if you choose raw sashimi or temaki its sent to your table as soon as its made! Apparently in Japan and Korea this high-tech table service is quite common, however, for me it felt unique and special, especially in the city of Leeds, which gives this wonderful restaurant its edge compared to any other ‘all-you-can-eats’ I’ve visited.
I tried a variety of gorgeous dishes, including gunkan maki, sashimi and even torched sushi, the torched salmon nigiri was heaven! My favourite was the BBQ eel nigiri, which I must have ordered about 3 dish loads, it turns out i’m a massive eel fan! (honestly, you have to try it to believe it!) It’s freshly barbecued and packed full of flavour. I also tried their deep-fried dishes like the king prawn tempura, tofu and salt and pepper chicken, which all tasted fresh and very moreish.
The portion sizes are small, which is perfect, it allowed me sample a large variety of options without wasting anything, plus my wonderful waiter also made some recommendations for us which he felt we needed to try, like the octopus sashimi which was simply delicious.
The décor was also stunningly beautiful, the blossom trees and table layout gave Blue Sakura another edge to the typical ‘all-you-can-eat’ layout, it’s a very glamorous looking restaurant, however, at £29.95 a-head, you can enjoy a boujee meal without breaking the bank!
I love Blue Sakura and if you enjoy this type of cuisine, you’ll certainly fall in love with it too.
2-3 Merrion Way, Leeds LS2 8BT