Reading Rachel's list of 10 London restaurants she can't wait to eat at when she returns this summer, it struck me how many amazing restaurants in Leeds that I haven't been to but sorely want to. London gets all the glory when it comes to eating out, but there are some real gems right here - and I can't wait to give them a try! So here's my list, what's on yours?
Kendells has been on my list ever since I moved to Leeds, and I have bookmarked a visit for when I finish my Masters degree. Constantly touted as Leeds best restaurant, I want to see if it lives up to the hype! The website tells me it is a relaxed, informal restaurant where the focus is on the quality of the food. They're USP, as it were, is the freshness of the food and the menu. The menu changes daily to reflect what's in season, so there are no printed menus - only blackboards. Once something's sold out, it's sold out - so if you have your eye on a specific dish, get in early! I love this idea - and the example dishes of exquisite French cuisine which are listed on the website have my mouth watering already. Bon appetit, indeed!
The crowning glory of Leeds Trinity, I'm cheating a bit by putting this on the list because I have eaten at Angelica once before. However, we hadn't booked so were squeezed onto the bar, so I would love to go again and experience it properly. Suffice to say, it feels like you're in Gossip Girl - the panoramic views across the city, the sleek decor and the extensive cocktail list are entirely glamorous. The menu is a mix of sushi from the 'Raw Bar' and a small selection of cooked dishes with an international flavour - my eye is drawn to the lobster macaroni and cheese at once, but there is also steak, risotto and a beautiful offering of desserts - if you don't have the seaside doughnuts, then it will be a trip wasted. Oh, and if the weather ever turns nice - there's a full wraparound terrace. Pure luxury.
Angelica's sister restaurant, Crafthouse offers a seasonal menu of British fare. The sophisticated, industrial feel of the decor matches well with Angelica and gives Crafthouse a modern, luxurious vibe which I am excited to experience. The menu is ever changing, currently boasting lamb and seafood at the forefront - but with an impressive meat selection sourced from renowned supplier 'The Ginger Pig'. There are set lunch and pre-theatre menus for those who are on a budget (including me!). I'm stoked that these kinds of restaurants are setting up shop here in Leeds - the perfect place for a special occassion meal.
Another offering from Leeds Trinity, Cielo Blanco is a Mexican restaurant owned by the same people who run popular bar, Neon Cactus. The menu consists of authentic street and market food, including empanadas and tostadas in a range of flavours, as well as heartier dishes like burritos and enchiladas. I can't wait to get stuck into the drinks menu - an impressive list of tequilas and cocktails - I'm also impressed by the extensive mocktail menu, an area usually sorely lacking at most restaurants. From the pictures, this restaurant looks bright, friendly and bustling - the perfect place for dinner with friends. I also love the outside-inside 'courtyard' outside - you'll be protected from the rain, whilst getting that fun feeling of sitting outside under the treas. Plus, who doesn't love Mexican food?
Sous La Nez
Another French restaurant - friends who have dined here have raved about it, and the awards it keeps winning confirms my suspicions that I have to try this bistro! Anywhere that has a separate cheese menu has got to be a winner, am I right? The rest of the menu is similarly tempting - highlights including a saffron seafood and chorizo risotto, deep fried brie and a 'Gateau of Fillet Steak Stuffed with Shallots, Mushrooms & Garlic'. Alongside the delicious-sounding food offering, there is an impressive wine menu with over 41 pages! As a lover of French food, Sous La Nezis most definitely on the list!
I've driven past this restaurant more times than I can count, and every time I see the distinctive sign painted on a wall down on The Calls, I think about how much I want to try this seafood restaurant. I am a massive fan of seafood - I love lobster (who doesn't?), I can't get enough of prawns and I've always wanted to try one of those 'fruits de mer' platters. Livebait seems like the perfect place to try one!
Just down the road from our house, this tapas restaurant has a reputation for providing the best, authentic Spanish tapas in Leeds. El Bareto is a little out of the way of the main part of Chapel Allerton; this is a cosy bar and restaurant which promises great flavours and a good time for a reasonable price. Who can ask better than that, eh? Plan are afoot to make a group trip here, so I'll be sure to report back!
One of the main attractions of the Leeds dining scene, Anthony's is situated at the bottom of the stunning Corn Exchange - a truly beautiful setting to dine. The menu is mainly composed of traditional dishes - steaks and the like, but the dessert menu offers 29 cheeses alongside the sweet puddings. However, whilst the a la carte menu offers many delights, I have actually got my eye on the Monday night Guinea Pig menu. Three courses and coffee for £24.95, this is a cheaper way to enjoy Anthony's. You can't choose what you eat, but that's all part of the fun! You can also hire the venue for weddings, and if the cost wasn't so extortionate it might just be top of my list!
Hansa's, located on the road out of town up towards Meanwood, specialises in Gujarati vegetarian cuisine and has rave reviews across the blogosphere. Another award-winning restaurant, Hansa's cookbooks are also critically acclaimed. This totally different from the usual places that we eat (mostly because Paul would never frequent a vegetarian restaurant) but I'm hoping to take my vegetarian foodie friend Dave here when he comes to visit. We'll need to set aside a few hours, partly for gossiping and partly to make a choice off of the delicious, extensive menu.
Jino's Thai Cafe
Jino's Thai Cafe is a little restaurant, which looks inconsequential from the outside, but is rumoured to be the best thai food in town. Whilst I'm not sure that Sukhothai would agree, I definitely don't mind testing out the theory! The menu is a dizzying mix of dishes, but I've got my eye on the prawn tom yam, geow grob and pad kee mao. I'm so glad that I'm making thai curry after I finish this article, because I'm getting cravings just thinking about it! Plus, BYO without corkage? Amazing.All photos are taken from the restaurant's website or Facebook page, except where noted. If I've accidentally stolen your photo and you want me to take it down, just drop me a line!