Lip-smacking food around Leeds

University of Leeds
4 min readAug 17, 2022

Aishwarya Sunderrajan, MSc Data Science and Analytics

Being a student city, Leeds has an abundance of amazing food outlets and offers a wide range of cuisines. It is a daunting task to cater to 300,000 hungry students looking to satisfy their taste buds while not breaking the bank. Here are some places that do it well:

Bakery 164

Takeaway, Delivery | Vegan friendly | Website

Located right opposite the Parkinson building, Bakery 164 undoubtedly serves the best sandwiches in Leeds (source: me). Eating your sandwich at the Parkinson steps is a rite of passage for all Uni of Leeds students. They also serve great coffee and baked goods to satisfy cravings. There’s a basket full of apples and bananas for all the health nuts out there. They make their bread (focaccia and ciabatta) in-store every morning and usually run out of food by mid-day. They’re very popular among students and staff so try visiting before 2pm!

Sandwiches start from £3.20, and they charge extra for toasting them (it’s worth it).

Lebanese Bites

Dine-in, Takeaway, Delivery | Vegan friendly | Halal

If you’re craving piping hot, mouthwatering shawarma, then this is the place to come to. Also located opposite the university, they serve fresh Lebanese food. Trust me, this is the closest I’ve had to Lebanese food outside the Middle East. The staff is always friendly, and you can ask for extra spicy sauce if you can handle the heat. I would recommend trying the falafel and chicken shawarma.

Individual shawarmas are priced at £3.50 in-store and are available as a meal too (although you wouldn’t need it as one roll is quite filling).

Zaap Thai

Dine-in, Takeaway, Delivery | Vegan friendly | Halal | Website

A group of people at Zaap Thai
Zaap Thai

Dining here is definitely an experience. The graffiti art, bunting and posters aim to mimic the bustling streets of Bangkok. The staff is energetic and offers extremely efficient service, so you won’t have to wait long for food! Everything on the menu tastes fantastic, but my personal favourites are the Pad Thai Bo Ran (stir-fried noodles with peanuts, egg, vegetables and choice of protein), Tom Yum (hot and spicy creamy soup) and Thai Milk Bubble Tea to wash it all down. It is located in Grand Arcade, City Center.

Main dishes range from £9-£15 and starters from £5-£7. All Bubble Teas cost £4.50.

Lupe’s Cantina

Dine-in, Takeaway | Vegan friendly | Website

Family-owned and operated, this cantina on Cardigan Road serves up some seriously authentic Mexican dishes. Don’t let its unassuming appearance fool you. All the ingredients are fresh and pack a punch. I would definitely recommend the cactus salad, Enchiladas de mole Negra (chicken-filled tortillas doused with black mole and toppings) and Chochinita Pibil (slow roasted pork marinated in achiote and orange juice, served with toppings and sides). They also serve mezcal, a popular Mexican spirit which you should try if you’re in the mood to party. Although the portions could be a bit bigger, this place satisfied my Latin American taste buds.

Starters range from £5-£7 and mains range from £9-£13.

Mr Su’s Dumplings and Noodles

Dine-in, Takeaway, Delivery | Vegan friendly | Halal

This very underrated Chinese eatery at Blenheim Terrace serves, you guessed it, dumplings and noodles. The food’s generously priced, portions are huge, and everything on the menu is handmade daily. You have the option to mix and match different noodles, toppings and broths. Dumplings are filled with beef, lamb or vegetables and are served with soy sauce and chilli oil. Every time I eat from there, I come closer to exploding from dumpling overload. I’d recommend everything on the menu only because I can’t choose a favourite.

Dumplings start from £7, while noodles start from £8.

Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen

Dine-in | Vegan friendly | Website

Rooftop at Belgrave Music Hall
Rooftop area at Belgrave

You ‘knead’ to try Dough Boy’s pizza at Belgrave. They sell it whole, a thin base with just the right amount of tomato sauce, bucketloads of cheese and a choice of toppings. The menu often changes as all ingredients are sourced locally, and availability varies. Themed pizzas are sold too, depending on the occasion. Patty Smith’s (the second kitchen at Belgrave) offers a great selection of burgers. This 3-floor extravaganza with live music, art exhibitions, great food and a rooftop bar is a Leeds student’s staple.

Pizzas range from £12-£15, and burgers range from £7-£10.

Trinity Kitchen

Dine-in, Takeaway, Delivery | Vegan friendly | Halal | Website

Trinity Kitchen neon sign
Trinity Kitchen

Smack in the middle of Trinity Leeds shopping centre, Trinity Kitchen houses five new food trucks every six weeks. You can find everything here from shawarma to chaat (a popular Indian street food), and most importantly, they offer student discounts. It’s great to go here with a group of people as everyone gets to satiate their cravings without having to fight over the order. Some permanent eateries are Archies (burgers, shakes and fries), Rola Wala (a modern spin on Indian street food), Tortilla (burritos and tacos), Doner Shack (doner kebaps) and others.

Prices vary from shop to shop and van to van.

All the lip-smacking food in Leeds makes going to university worth it (well, almost). Now that you know eating out doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank, take up this excellent opportunity to become a foodie in the bustling city of Leeds.

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