Cantina restaurant Leeds


Our insider guide to Leeds’ FAVOURITE local restaurants and eateries

Leeds has an enviable reputation as the Foodie Capital of the North – and for good reason. The city buzzes with restaurants, bars and street food markets, offering intrepid diners and drinkers the chance to explore culinary traditions from across the globe, from big budget fine dining to quick, accessible bites on the go.

So, you’ll have lots of options! But, if you’re organising a conference, sometimes options aren’t enough. What you need is insight. And if you really want the bonafide Leeds dining experience for your guests, you’ll want to find those places that are local institutions; the places that Leeds folk go back to time and again.

So, here’s our guide to Leeds’ best ‘local favourite’ eateries – helpfully divided up according to occasion.



Döner Summer

Deep in the heart of Leeds’ thriving collection of cocktail bars and cool after hours hangouts is Döner Summer, a quirky-named purveyor of vegan junk food that means even vegan and veggie diners don’t have to forgo an amazing burger, box of fried chicken, or fully loaded kebab. All meat free, all messy and all delicious.

Our tip? If you’re worn out from a day of conference networking and just want to hit the hotel, Döner Summer can always be found on popular meal delivery apps – kebab in bed anyone?


Things in Bread

Looking for a mid-session lunch on the go? Things in Bread does exactly what it says on the… sign, with a hunger-inducing menu of sandwiches which use the freshest local ingredients and home baked bread. This really is the king of the sandwich game in Leeds, with options including Roast Chickpea Salad, or that perennial classic, the BLT.

Our tip? To be sure your lunch will be ready and waiting, ring ahead to pre-order and save time. This little location is busy for a reason!



Empire Cafe

When it comes to pushing the boat out and finding some of the finest food in the city, Empire Cafe is a must try. This critically acclaimed eatery has been wowing diners with a meaty menu specialising in rotisserie chicken, complete with a variety of aromatic rubs and signature chicken-schmaltz potatoes.

Our tip? There’s no finer place for a pre-dinner cocktail, so ask the staff to recommend a tipple to match your choices from the menu.



Sqew is on a mission to deliver the authentic Shawarma bar experience. Just around the corner from Briggate, Leeds’ most famous shopping street, it offers diners some incredible options, including heavenly hummus bowls, grilled meat (or veggie) platters and all sorts of sauces and salads.

Our tip? The salad bar offers the chance to truly customise your order, so load up on the greens you love.



With the University of Leeds campus proving a popular venue for conferences of all shapes and sizes, it’s no surprise that veggie and vegan diners have found their way to some incredible meat free eating opportunities. Cantina might be the pick of the bunch, billed as a ‘vegan canteen’ offering home made burgers, fries and melting arancini.

Our tip? Cantina’s meal deals are amazing value, offering hot and tasty vegan grub and a drink for the same price you’d pay for a supermarket sandwich!




Blue Pavilion

No rundown of local favourites could be complete without a trip to the east. Blue Pavilion offers all the splendour of banquet dining, with options for everything from dim sum and meat to seafood and vegetarian/vegan options.

Our tip? Blue Pavilion offers a cracking set menu, so if you suffer from choice paralysis why not let their kitchen take you on a journey?


Eat Your Greens

This is a local restaurant with a clear foodie philosophy. It’s all about seasonal, organic local ingredients taken from farm to fork. As they say on the website, it’s good for the planet, good for the farmer and – trust us – extremely tasty for you!

Expect beautifully prepared fish, poultry, meat and veg, alongside a brilliant natural wine list.

Our tip? These guys really do have a special way with veg, so don’t sleep on their show stopping no-meat dishes.



This is a place that comes Michelin Recommended. And if that doesn’t do it for you, how about this: it’s also the Captain of the Indian Cricket team, Virat Kohli’s favourite Leeds restaurant. He doesn’t count as a local but rest assured we all share his feelings.

With a menu of authentic Keralan cuisine, featuring a sumptuous selection of curries, rice and grills, it’s a restaurant that’s delivering the clever trick of being both adventurous in menu and yet deeply comforting.

Our tip? Don’t miss the speciality breads. The parathas and pooris are seriously good!




Sister venue of Things in Bread, Doh’hut is a much-hyped pilgrimage for dessert lovers. It genuinely doesn’t get much better when it comes to donuts, with a range of sweet fillings and weekly specials like Milky Bar Pudding or Toffee Apple and Creme Brulee.

Our tip? Load up on sandwiches at Things in Bread next door, then top off your dream lunch with this perfect dessert.


If these tasty local treasures have fuelled a hunger for your next conference in Leeds, our team is on hand to help with further recommendations, venues or bookings. For more information visit