From quirky, colourful and cosy venues offering beautiful cappuccinos and cakes, to more upmarket establishments serving sumptuous snacks and lunches, Leeds is home to a great variety of coffee shops and cafés.
Claire Schofield picks out six of the very best.
This kooky little café offers more than just your average dining experience. It’s small and cosy, decorated with wooden furnishings, which brings a charming rustic feel to it. Serving a very reasonably priced selection of hot and cold sandwiches, jacket potatoes, soups and a glorious full English breakfast, amongst other nibbles, Café Lento is the perfect lunch time stop.
The staff are exceptionally friendly and the service always excellent, and if the quirky décor – including some delightfully eccentric lightbulb shaped salt and pepper holders – isn’t enough to entice you in, then the expansive array of books, puzzles and games adorning the walls sure will. Who said you had to be bored whilst waiting for your food?
21a North Lane, Headingley, LS6 3HW (07988 660 768, cafelento.co.uk)
Located opposite the Leeds University’s Parkinson building, this rather aptly named establishment is easy to find. It’s a regular haunt for students being so conveniently located for the campus, but don’t let the hordes of student clientele put you off visiting – as you could always take a trip to their new café located in the Victoria Quarter. Serving freshly homemade food, including sandwiches, Paninis and hot soups, the café also serves a selection of delicious cakes, including their famous chocolate brownies.
To wash it all down, a range of Fairtrade coffees, teas and hot chocolate is available, including the rather rarer white hot chocolate for those with an exceptionally sweet tooth.
If you walk up and down Lands Lane in Leeds city centre enough times, the chances are you will be hassled by someone carrying a big stick advertising a little coffee shop called Heaven. While this approach to entice you through the door is a little annoying, you’ll be glad once you finally pay a visit.
Far from being the fanciest café you might ever dine in, this cute little coffee shop serves up a real treat. From marvellously indulgent Belgian hot chocolates complete with whipped cream and marshmallows, to freshly made sandwiches and baguettes, French toast, teacakes and pastries, there is something to satisfy any lunch-time craving. They also serve a free pastry or porridge in the morning with a coffee if you pop in before 10.30am and, in another added bonus, if you buy one (or two) cups of tea after 2.30pm you receive 50% off all cakes, pastries and made-to-order sandwiches.
34 Lands Lane, LS1 6LB (Facebook),
The very sight of all the cakes and pastries is enough to lure you through the door of this sweet little café. The cakes on offer are a little more fancy than your average coffee shop, with the likes of warm Belgian chocolate desserts, pancakes, éclairs, gateauxs and profiteroles on offer. It’s slightly pricy, but the substantial selection of food and cakes available does make up for this. Plus, it is nice to indulge every once in a while.
As well as the traditional snacks, like sandwiches and toasties, there are also some more generous meals if you’re feeling a bit more peckish, including lasagne, spaghetti and quiches. The food is of high quality and with the added addition of speciality cakes available to order, Patisserie Valerie takes indulgence that one step further.
50a Albion Street, LS1 6AD (0113 242 4739, website)
Unit 2 Ground Floor, 8 St Pauls Street, LS1 2LE (0113 242 2197, website)
This modern little hang-out may not be widely known due to its slightly hidden location away from the centre of town, but it is well worth discovering. The clean and inviting interior is complemented by the friendly staff and efficient service. Food is freshly prepared in the front of the café, behind an enticing counter displaying fresh salad, meats, fruits, and cakes. The light snacks are really quite filling, as freshly toasted sandwiches and Paninis are served with a side salad, crisps and coleslaw, making it more of a meal than a tasty treat.
Be sure to save enough room for dessert as the mouth-watering selection of cakes, ranging from lemon drizzle, chocolate brownies, and fresh scones served with jam and cream, are too good to miss out on. Special dietary needs are also catered for, including a range of gluten free options.
429 Otley Road, LS16 6AJ (0113 267 2671)
Pickles & Potter
Serving a range of homemade food, including their very own speciality chutneys and relishes, Pickles & Potter is a café that dishes up good quality food with pride. Sandwiches are served either hot or cold, with the option of adding your own ingredients to customise your lunch, while jacket potatoes and homemade soups and cakes are also on offer.
All food is fresh and well presented, although it is a tad highly priced. But with top quality ingredients, including hand cut ham and beef, and a variety of rare and unusual local cheeses, the high prices are justified as it offers something a little different than your standard sandwich café.
22 Queens Arcade, LS1 6LF (0113 242 7702, www.picklesandpotter.co.uk)