There are plenty of great places to eat in Leeds
But sometimes a special occasion – whether a romantic dinner or a group celebration – demands somewhere exceptional.
From Michelin-starred fine dining to champagne afternoon tea, here’s our pick of ten great restaurants in or near to the city for a special occasion.
The Man Behind the Curtain
— Michael O'Hare (@hairmetalchef) May 31, 2016
Taking its name from a quote in The Wizard of Oz, The Man Behind The Curtain, run by Michael O’Hare, was awarded a Michelin star in October 2015. O’Hare’s multi course tasting menu at £75 (£135 with wine) is a thrillingly inventive culinary journey, with outlandish creations immaculately presented.
It’s already booked up for the entirety of 2016, but you can book now for next year. A Menu Rapide at lunch is a more affordable option at £45.
Top Floor Flannels, 68-78 Vicar Lane LS1 7JH – themanbehindthecurtain.co.uk
Located on the fifth floor of the Trinity Leeds shopping centre, elegant Crafthouse offers stunning views across the city from the restaurant and summer terrace. The restaurant boasts a seasonally-changing menu with a focus on quality produce – the highlight being meat and fish dishes chargrilled at 480 degrees over charcoal in the Josper oven.
A chef’s tasting menu offers six courses of signature dishes for £65, or at lunchtime you can indulge in three courses for £23.50.
Level 5 Trinity Leeds, 70 Boar Lane, LS1 6HW – crafthouse-restaurant.com
— Laura MacLeod (@anneemacc) August 6, 2016
Formerly a bakery, award-winning French restaurant Dough offers cocktails you won’t find anywhere else, a great value menu de jour (£17.50 for two courses and a glass of wine) and a specialist tasting menu (£60 including matched drinks).
Expect innovative and seasonal dishes using local produce and championing Yorkshire, such as Whitby king scallop with tarragon black pudding. Group bookings include dining options for 18 to 50 guests.
293 Spen Lane, LS16 5BD – doughleeds.com
Bon weekend, Leeds! We look forward to seeing some new faces in soon. pic.twitter.com/JPgFpSFMhp
— Kendells Bistro (@KendellsBistro) July 29, 2016
With romantic flickering candles and blackboard menus, Kendells, next to the West Yorkshire Playhouse, BBC Leeds and the Northern Ballet Dance Theatre, feels like a Parisian bistro.
It’s informal rather than stuffy, with the main focus on quality of food – think venison rack with bitter chocolate sauce, or roast whole seabass with olive oil, lemon and herbs. A prix fixe menu offers three courses and half a bottle of house wine for £27.95.
3 St Peter’s Square, LS9 8AH – kendellsbistro.co.uk
Brasserie Forty 4
A photo posted by Charlotte Linkens (@clinkens2) on
Situated on the Calls waterfront, family-run Brasserie Forty 4 offers fine British cooking. An a la carte menu includes haunch of venison with truffled cauliflower puree, roasted shallot and Madeira sauce, or a 16oz chateaubriand for two, while a set lunch is £20 per person.
There is a private dining room which seats up to 34 guests and a balcony over the River Aire for outdoor eating, and they offer a free lunchtime chauffeur service in and around Leeds city centre if you fancy arriving in style.
44 The Calls, LS2 7EW – brasserie44.com
Fourth Floor Harvey Nichols
With award-winning design – stunning metallic finishes, teal leather seats, statement mirrors and lighting – the Fourth Floor Café offers a luxurious city-centre dining experience. A seasonal menu showcases Yorkshire’s finest produce, with dishes such as roast beef with crisp ox cheek roll, charred turnip, green beans, radish and spinach purée or sage and thyme marinated pork chop.
A lunch menu offers three courses for £23. For a daytime treat, try the champagne afternoon tea.
107-111 Briggate, LS1 6AZ – harveynichols.com
Friends of Ham
A photo posted by Friends of Ham (@framleeds) on
For high quality food and drink in a relaxed, friendly and informal setting, award-winning Friends of Ham is perfect for sharing great beer, wine, charcuterie and cheese.
It may be casual, but you won’t find better charcuterie sharing boards, whether you prefer Spanish Jabugo Ibérico, Italian Coppa Trentina or French Noir de Bigorre ham. They take group and corporate bookings during the daytime in the basement.
4-8 New Station St, LS1 5DL – friendsofham.co.uk
Vavasour at Hazlewood Castle
Set on a 77-acre wooded property with a moat, this 11th century castle offers elegant private rooms, luxury accommodation and award-winning dining in an idyllic rural location less than 30 minutes from Leeds.
Chef Tim Hamer produces seasonal dishes such as herb crusted rack of lamb with dauphinoise potato, peas, broad beans, girolles and redcurrant jus, while afternoon tea includes a champagne option.
Paradise Lane, Hazlewood LS24 9NJ – hazlewood-castle.co.uk
A photo posted by SalvosLeeds (@salvosleeds) on
Salvo’s Restaurant has been serving contemporary Italian food in an informal relaxed atmosphere for 40 years and is something of an institution. The menu includes dishes such as twice-cooked Campania style belly pork or black squid ink risotto served with fresh squid and gremolata, while a light lunch set menu offers great value for money.
Special events include wine tastings and dinners showcasing the very best in Italian regional cuisine, and group bookings are welcome.
111-115 Otley Road, LS6 3PX – salvos.co.uk
— Rudding Park Hotel (@RuddingPark) August 5, 2016
Half an hour’s drive from Leeds, the 2 AA Rosette Clocktower restaurant in Harrogate has won numerous awards. You can dine beneath a striking pink glass chandelier, or relax in the bright and airy conservatory alongside a 400-year-old olive tree.
Start with Whitby crab followed by Holme Farm venison cutlet and finish with a three Yorkshire cheese experience. A private dining room seats up to 14 guests.
Rudding Park Hotel, Spa & Golf, Rudding Lane, Follifoot, Harrogate HG3 1JH – ruddingpark.co.uk
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Main image: Laura MacLeod via Twitter