As thriving suburb of Leeds, Headingley has plenty to offer both residents and visitors, including lots of marvelous restaurants. Situated just minutes from the city centre, Headingley is packed full of restaurants to suit every taste and budget. So, whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, up-market seated dining, or an authentic street food experience, you’ll easily find the best restaurant in Headingley for you.
With so many tasty Headingley restaurants to choose from, we thought we’d help you choose your next meal out. We’ve compiled a list of the best restaurants in Headingley, featuring something for everyone. Whether you’re a pizza-lover, crave a Mexican feast, or fancy a touch of spice, we’ve got the best places to eat in Headingley in 2023. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and pick your favourite.
Be sure to check out our guide to the best Sunday roasts in Leeds.
8 Best Headingley Restaurants 2023
The first gastronomic delight on our list of the best restaurants in Headingley, Leeds is Heaney & Mill, a long-time local hotspot offering a combination of traditionally British dishes and authentic flavours from across the globe. Situated on Otley Road, towards the far end of the suburb, it’s rare that you won’t see this Headingley restaurant’s terrace full to the brim with diners and drinkers. Headed by executive chef and 2012 MasterChef finalist, Tom Rennolds, Heaney & Mill is by far one of the best places to get food in Headingley any time of the day. From brunch, lunch and Sunday roasts to dinner and drinks, this restaurant in Headingley has you covered!
Inside, expect a cosy welcome of warm lighting, homely furnishings and a mix of soul and classic rock creating a tuneful backdrop to your meal. Sit down to peruse the menu; a good wine selection, a hearty cocktail range, and a diverse array of British and worldwide dishes. Using only the finest quality, freshest local ingredients, this Headingley restaurant serves up everything from small plates and deli platters to Sunday lunches. The a la carte menu features a great range of starters, options from the grill, mains and sides. To start, we’d recommend the whipped feta bruschetta or the truffle and honey burrata. Moving onto main course, opt for the black truffle risotto, the treacle-glazed pork cheeks, or the spatchcock poussin. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting this restaurant in Headingley on a Sunday, be sure to treat yourself to one of Heaney & Mill’s infamous roasts. Choose from the likes of goat’s cheese roulade, honey mustard roast gammon, corn-fed chicken, lamb rump, and dry-aged roast beef, with all the trimmings of course.
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If Thai food is what you’re craving, Jino’s Thai Cafe is one of the best restaurants in Headingley for freshly home-cooked, authentic dishes from the far east. Located on North Lane, Jino’s offers a relaxed, homely atmosphere, along with affordable but down-right delicious food in Heandingley. Family owned and run by Malinee, Mark, Nathan, Jasmine and their passionate team, this Thai restaurant in Headingley prides itself on authenticity. Chef Malinee ended up in Leeds after moving from here home in Chiang Mai with her husband Paul Brown.
Don’t be put off by this Headingley restaurant’s modest aesthetic. The food and service certainly surpass this. When we say you can get reasonably priced food here, we’re talking 2 courses and a drink for under £10 at lunchtime. Choose from appetisers, sharing platters, soups, rice dishes, curries, noodles, and sides. We’d recommend the Pad Kee Mao, a spicy noodle dish cooked with fresh vegetables, or the Pla Shu Shi, a Thai-style fish curry with crispy haddock pieces, red and green peppers, and sweet basil. Or, if you’re heading to this Thai restaurant in Headingley with a group, why not order one of their sharing platters. For two people, Jino’s Mix comes with chicken satays, spring rolls, and deep-friend vegetables in batter with a range of dipping sauces.
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For a taste of Italy in the North of England, head to Salvo’s, Headingley’s answer to Naples. Having opened in 1976, Salvo’s is a long-standing favourite and one of the most popular places to eat in Headingley. Following a £250,000 refurbishment, the much loved Italian restaurant in Headingley has a refreshed look that now tallies up with its AA Rosette and its consistent listing in The Good Food Guide since 1985. The perfect Headingley restaurant for a relaxed evening spent with friends, family and comforting food, be sure to visit this one when you’re next in Leeds.
Today, the menu consists of a number of old firm favourites along with plenty of new additions. To start, you’ll find traditional Italian delights like bruschetta, arancini, carpaccio and buffalo mozarella, as well as those with a more modern twist: polpette (pork and steak ‘nduja meatballs), panelle (Sicilian chickpea fritters), and fritto misto (fried squid, king prawns and white bait). Moving onto the main event, you’ve got the choice of pasta, pizza or dishes from the grill. When it comes to pasta, we’d recommend the rich agnello ragu (a rich white wine and lamb shoulder ragu) or the funghi (porcini mushrooms truffle puree, cream and parmesan). As for the pizza, find classics like Margarita and Romana, as well as toppings like fennel sausage, ‘nduja meatballs, spicy spianata salami, roast courgette and artichoke.
One of the best Indian restaurants in Headingley, De Baga is a self-proclaimed Goan foodie spot, showcasing flavours and dishes that remain unknown to the mainstream. As one of the first ‘modern Indians’, this Headingley restaurant offers something you can’t get at the traditional ‘English curry houses’ you might be used to. Yet, somehow De Baga maintains that distinct feeling of a shared experience that’s made those traditional Indian restaurants such a hit for the past half a century. This combination of new and old is what makes De Baga one of the best places to eat in Headingley, Leeds in 2023.
Service is friendly and relaxed, while the decor is vibrant and fresh, reminiscent of a Goan beach; think 1970s-style tablecloths and turquoise tiling. When it comes to the menu at this Indian restaurant in Headingley, the options are vast. To kick off your feast, choose from ‘vegetarian starters’, ‘meat starters’ and ‘starters from the sea’. For veggies, we’d recommend the Aamchi Mumbai Sev Puri, the famous Bombay street food made of a crisp puff pastry filled with sweet potato bhaji, popular Indian chutneys and sprinkled with gram flour vermicelli. Alternatively, choose the Tandoori chicken chop from the meat section, or the Baga chilli prawns from the sea. For main, again you have the choice of meat and meat-free options, including Mutton curry, slow-cooked black lentil Dal, lamb leg curry, and seafood curry.
Sitting pretty in Meanwood, Zucco is a simple northern Italian restaurant that offers sharing platters in the ‘food capital of the North’. Bringing together chefs from Headingley’s Salvo’s and London’s Polpo, this authentic Headingley restaurant has been an instant hit amongst locals and visitors alike. Having eschewed the three-course meal norm in favour of starter-sized portions to share, this is one of the most unique places to eat in Headingley.
With an extensive menu, Zucco recommends ordering two to three dishes per person; but we wouldn’t blame you for ordering more. After all, there are just too many delicious-sounding treats to choose from. Think goats cheese pizzetta, pan fried sea bass with violetta potatoes, confit duck leg with balsamic reduction, Parmesan breaded chicken, slow-cooked lamb with capers and sun-blushed tomatoes, tagliatelle with mushrooms and white truffle oil, Burrata with roasted red pepper, and the list goes on and on. If you’re looking for a romantic meal for two or somewhere to get together with friends, what better place to do so than over some sharing plates at this formidable Italian restaurant in Headingley, Leeds?
Set in a prime location on Otley Road, this restaurant in Headingley is Poco’s second outlet, following the first on Kirkstall Road which opened in 2018. Hoping to replicate Kirkstall’s success, this Sicilian Headingley restaurant displays its delicious pizza slices in the window to entice customers through its doors. Looking through the window, you can admire two different display cabinets; one for savoury and one for sweet. If you do decide to grab something to eat here (which why wouldn’t you?), take a seat at the row of bar stools along the back of the wall to eat in or take your slice away with you.
Best known for its pizza, Poco is the perfect place to go food in Headingley when you’re in a rush. But they also serve a delightful array of chicken, arancini, and fried calzone. The quality of the food here is top-notch across the board and there are plenty of options for veggies and vegans too! Whatever pizza or pasta you order, we’d certainly recommend getting a side of the veggie arancini – stuffed rice balls, coated with breadcrumbs, deep fried and filled with aubergine and ricotta. All the ingredients at this Headingley restaurant are imported from the south of Italy for a true authentic experience.
Situated on the bustling Cardigan Road, Lupes Cantina is the best Mexican restaurant in Headingley, Leeds. This family-run joint boasts a modest, almost shack-like exterior, behind which you’ll find a charming restaurant that serves up some of the best food in Headingley. Opened in 2016 by head chef and owner, Rudy, this restaurant in Headingley takes its authenticity seriously. Born and raised in Veracruz, Mexico, Rudy serves up his family’s traditional recipes, passed down by his mother, Lupe.
From the fresh guacamole right down to the Margaritas, this Mexican restaurant in Headingley nails the authentic cuisine. For us, the highlight are the grilled black tiger prawns with garlic and achiote, chargrilled to perfection. Other delicious options include chicken enchiladas, the Mexico City Quesadillas, and the ceviche Veracruz Mixto, which includes haddock, shrimp, salsa and a passion fruit serrano broth. So, if you’re looking for authentic Mexican food at an affordable price, look no further than Lupes Cantina.
Another Otley Road phenomenon, The Cat’s Pyjamas many people’s go to for best Indian restaurant in Headingley. After the Headrow branch closed down, this Headingley restaurant became a favourite for many who couldn’t do without it. Small, cosy and colourful, The Cat’s PJ’s has a constant buzz that draws customers in from the street outside. This Indian restaurant in Headingley describes itself as the home of “Indian street food and craft beer” – what more could you want? Founded by local businesswoman Alison White, along with multi-garlanded chef Alfred Prasad, the food here certainly won’t disappoint!
When it comes to the menu, you’ll find all the classics alongside some slightly more ‘out there’ options. There’s a rogan josh, a whole tandoori chicken, a saag paneer and plenty more of our long-time favourites. Also find more modern delights like okra fries, tandoori chicken wings, butter chicken, mushroom pakora and more.
And there you have it: our pick of the very best restaurants in Headingley, Leeds in 2023. From fragrant Indians and authentic Italians to vibrant Mexicans and classic British Headingley restaurants, you’re sure to find something for everyone! Be sure to take a look at our guide to the best vegan restaurants in Leeds, too!