I moved to Leeds in 2013 and have lived there on and off ever since, so I’ve come to discover lots of vegan delights in the city.
Whilst there aren’t many 100% veggie-dedicated places, there are so many places that put in that extra-special effort to cater to us vegans. And it doesn’t go unnoticed, I see the following places being recommended time and time again. It just goes to show what a dedication to herbivorous custom can do!
I’m not including places in Hyde Park and Headingley here – that will come at a later date – so fear not, all the die hard Grove Cafe and Oranaise fans. They will have their moment.
There’s also plenty of well-known chain restaurants in Leeds that serve vegan options such as Zizzi, Wagamama, Handmade Burger Company, Pizza Express, Yo! Sushi, Itsu, Las Iguanas, and so on, and so forth. These places are better though.
(Serves meat) With a very central location just behind Briggate (about a 10 minute walk from the train station), Little Tokyo is a Japanese restaurant which offers tofu, mock meat, and vegetable dishes. I definitely recommend trying the mock chicken legs here. The ambience is lovely with traditional Japanese decor and table settings, with lots of sushi and bento boxes to choose from. Don’t miss out on the veggie dumplings, either!
(Vegetarian) This fully vegetarian restaurant is something a little different, offering Indian street food and craft beers. It’s not really a place for fancy dining, but more of a “drop in with mates” after work or before a night out kinda joint. Again, about a 10 minute walk from the train station, it’s not hard to find and it’s got a lovely atmosphere. I recommend the tarka dhal (lentil curry) and rice!
(Vegetarian) Another fully vegetarian Indian, but this time – it’s fancy. Hansa’s is a stunning little restaurant on North Street that is not to be missed. I often choose to dine here for my birthday celebrations, as the food is really something quite special. I love that they offer a “surprise” option on the menu – the staff choose your dishes for you. It’s a great idea, since the food is very traditional and not the typical British style curry we are used to. Book a table to avoid disappointment.
(Serves meat) Belgrave is not a restaurant per se, but it does offer absolutely delicious food. There’s a slice bar where you can grab some pizza to go with your spirits and beers. The slice bar always offers a vegan option, and, if it isn’t listed, just mention to the team that you are vegan and they will put together a new pizza for you. Belgrave offers burgers too but there is no vegan option, unfortunately.
(Vegan) Did I hear… houmous? (Yes, this is how I choose to spell it so let’s get over it now). There are 2 Humpit locations in Leeds that I know of: one in the Corn Exchange, and one in the Leeds University Union. It’s a houmous and pita bar and everything on offer is vegan so you can have whatever you want off the menu. You can get salad, or wraps, or just bread to dunk in your houmous – the possibilities are endless. And delicious.
(Serves meat) Another option in the Corn Exchange is a tofu hot dog from Primo’s. You can choose toppings to go on your dog (I usually choose onions, jalapenos and gherkins) and there’s a choice of fries to go with it too. I’ve always been more of a hot dog gal than a burger gal so I know my stuff, and this vegan hot dog gets a thumbs up from me!
Global Tribe Cafe
(Vegetarian) For something a little more quaint, there’s Global Tribe Cafe upstairs on Swan Street. It is notoriously hard to get a table here, especially at peak times, not only because it is so small but also because it is amazing. They served cooked breakfasts, pancakes, and omelettes and for lunch they serve sandwiches, soup, pies, salads, pizza, mezze, and so much more. There’s even dessert – including cheesecake!
(Serves meat) This Belgian restaurant in the John Lewis centre is primarily a bakery, and its restaurant has a “communal table” vibe (although you can indeed have your own private table). Vegan options are labelled with a carrot which I just find adorable and so it gets extra points from me for that, but the vegan options are also a-plenty and delicious. I recommend the chilli sin carne!
(Serves meat) Pho is a Vietnamese street food stand in Trinity Kitchen with ridiculous amounts of vegan options. Choose from spring rolls, summer rolls, curry, noodles, salads, and soups, with a couple of dessert options thrown in there too.
(Serves meat) Another place to go in Trinity Kitchen is Rola Wala for more Indian street food. Choose a base – naan, grain bowl, or cauliflower & kale bowl – then choose your filling – Keralan dal (a nine spice dal made from beetroot, coconut and channa dal) or roasted Mumbai gobi (roasted kale, sweet potato, cauliflower, green peas, garlic and spices).
(Vegetarian) I really do love this little cafe, located in the Grand Arcade. Another great place to grab a vegan breakfast or lunch, there’s always something wholesome like lasagne or a burger on offer – and don’t forget about the jackfruit, which I wholeheartedly recommend! There will always be a seasonal main listed on the specials board, too, and lots of choice for dessert.
(Vegan) Cantina is a restaurant for “naughty street food” upstairs in the Old Red Bus Station bar on Vicar Lane, and it is highly recommended to book ahead. It runs from 5-10pm Tuesday-Saturday with a hand picked menu of vegan delights with vegan beers and wines on offer to go along with it. It’s great to see a fully vegan restaurant thriving in Leeds and I hope it inspires other places to drop the veggie act! Veganism is huge, and vegan food is great – as you will find out at Cantina.