Best places to eat in Leeds city centre
Booked your accommodation, your transport and reserved your tickets for Leeds International Festival of Ideas? Your next step is probably to plan how you’ll spend your time in the city. And, of course, the most important part of this is where you’ll be eating!
That’s exactly why we’ve picked out the best food venues that are within easy walking distance of Leeds Playhouse. Whether you’re looking for a wholesome sit-down meal or to try out something new and exciting, there’s plenty of delicious options to choose from.
Set in Leeds’ Cultural Quarter, just a three minute walk from the playhouse, the Wardrobe is a multifunctional space that’s home to a bar, kitchen, venue, and arts space. Not only do they host a variety of events, but they also serve a delicious menu with plates designed by their award-winning head chef.
Options include their wholesome (and potentially boozy) bottomless brunch Saturdays, as well as a variety of lunch and dinner options. Their main menu consists of burgers, pizzas, loaded fries as well as small plates and sharers, and if you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, their locally-baked focaccia, wraps and salads are a win. They also cater to a range of dietary needs, including gluten-free, veggie and vegan diets.
Opposite Leeds Playhouse, Aagrah Leeds is part of an award-winning group of family-owned Indian and Kashmiri restaurants across Yorkshire. They provide an amazing variety of curries and delicious dishes to choose from, with a great range of vegan, veggie and regional specialty dishes. Whatever your preferred spice level, or type of curry, you’re sure to find something you’ll love at Aagrah.
They also provide a special ‘early bird’ or ‘pre-theatre’ offer from Monday – Thursday which means you can order two starters and two mains, and get the least expensive dish for free.
Fresh, handmade pasta served daily in the Cultural Quarter? Yes, you heard that right.
With a range of gluten-free pasta alternatives, vegan options and a delicious range of dishes to choose from, Sarto’s is definitely worth a visit if you’re a pasta enthusiast. Unique to the city of Leeds, Sarto’s is open from Monday to Sunday, with a dedicated lunch menu on Fridays from 12- 4pm. Their dessert menu includes traditional Italian treats such as cannoli, sorbet and tiramisu.
Whilst Sarto’s don’t necessarily serve “traditional” Italian pasta dishes, they do source local produce, so you can know that every ingredient has been carefully chosen and prepared. Pasta shapes you’ll find on their revolving menu include fettuccine, gnocchi, radiatori and rigatoni.
Providing a fine dining experience that transports you to a luxurious French bistro, Kendells Bistro is a restaurant that certainly deserves a mention. Unsurprisingly, they have an excellent selection of wines to accompany every meal, and a relaxed ambience created by chalkboard menus and flickering candles.
Kendells serves a range of traditional French dishes, from snails and mussels to beef bourguignon, made fresh daily and presented with incredible artistry. Following your main, there’s a range of French desserts to choose from including crème brûlée brulee, tarte tatin and gâteau au fromage.
The bistro is open from 5:30pm Tuesday to Saturday and based in the Cultural Quarter.
If you love Japanese food, this unlimited sushi restaurant could be just your thing. Sakku, you pay per person, and get to enjoy the entirety of their lunch or dinner menu with an unlimited amount of food. And if sushi isn’t your thing, there’s also bao buns, noodle and rice dishes, grilled meat and fish, soups and salads.
As you might expect, it can get pretty pricey, but if you’ve got a good appetite it means you can sample whatever you fancy, and even try out something new for the first time. You can also enjoy your meal with cocktails, as you settle back in Sakku’s beautiful venue in the heart of the Cultural Quarter.
The Playhouse itself has a good range of food options, which can be enjoyed both at lunch time and in the evening. They serve sandwiches, pastries, coffee and cakes at the Front Room Cafe, and the Playhouse Kitchen has made-to-order pizzas, as well as other hot meals. They’re happy to cater for a range of dietary requirements, providing gluten-free and vegan options.
Eating at the Playhouse could be a great way to save rushing to and from the main event. They even have a bar in the same building, so you can relax with an alcoholic beverage or soft drink before or after the festival.
House of Fu
House of Fu arrived with a bang mid 2021, and has been serving up some of Leeds’ best ramen ever since.
The venue is modern and unique, with bespoke tables, hand-painted murals, neon installations and custom crockery from a local pottery studio. As for the food itself, they serve a variety of delicious ramen, rice bowls and gyoza, including exciting weekly specials such as chicken & prawn toast, cumin lamb, and chicken kiev gyoza. Their menu is constantly expanding and adapting to serve the very best that chef Ben Iley has to offer.
House of Fu recently expanded their second floor to include their ‘Hello Music Bar’ and private hire karaoke rooms, so there’s plenty to keep you going for the rest of the night. Just six minutes on foot from Leeds Playhouse, this restaurant is perfect for a quick bite to eat or some lively evening entertainment.
This Michelin Guide recommended restaurant offers one of the city’s best fine dining experiences. It’s just a ten minute walk away from Leeds Playhouse, and you’ll find some of the finest dishes the city has to offer with HOME’s exquisite tasting menu, designed by chef Elizabeth Cottam.
HOME prides itself on providing a relaxed and informal environment, where you can enjoy their eight to ten course menu with friends or family. It’s a culinary experience that you certainly won’t forget once you’re home. Bookings are announced up to three months in advance, so it’s worth checking regularly if you’re interested.