Top Italian Restaurants in Leeds
A Taste of Italy in Yorkshire
Italian food, the cuisine of our dreams… One could dream all day about the tastes and flavours. Crispy wood-fired pizzas, rich pasta and creamy gelato. How about aged prosciutto, artisan parmigiano and indulgent truffles? The list of dishes and high-quality produce is truly endless.
But where to get such delicious and mouth-watering dishes in Leeds? To help you in your quest for Italian cuisine, we’ve consequently compiled a list of the top Italian restaurants in Leeds. Ones that pour real passion and authenticity into their food. From fine dining chefs and aperitivo experts, to artisan gelaterias and master pizzaiolos, we think our list features some of best places to eat in this Yorkshire city.
Yes, you could visit one of the chain restaurants that are on nearly every corner. But where’s the romance in that? Instead why not pick a family-run eatery in the suburbs, a Sicilian street food joint or a Neapolitan inspired pizzeria? There’s also plenty of contemporary restaurants in the Leeds city centre for you to pick from. The choice for good quality Italian restaurants is countless!
Italian Restaurants in Leeds
CULTO Italian Kitchen is a neighbourhood restaurant that believe in cooking authentic, rustic dishes with only the best ingredients imported directly from Italy. The casual dining area has a welcoming and homey atmosphere, making it perfect for friends and family to gather over great food and drinks.
You’ll be scratching your head over what delicious dish to pick, with an extensive Italian wine list and indulgent offering of antipasto, pasta, stone-baked pizza and grilled meats. We recommend the creamy burrata appetiser, seafood linguine or their famous diavola pizza nera that’s topped with spicy Calabrian salami and fresh chilli on a black pizza base made with vegetable charcoal.
CULTO is informal and without reservations, hence customers at this popular eatery are served on a first-come, first-served basis. So get in early!
Price: ££ Occasion: Casual dinner with your loved one Address: 97 Stainbeck Road, Meanwood, Leeds, LS7 2PR Hours: Monday to Thursday, 12pm – 2:30pm and 5pm – 11pm; Friday & Saturday, 12pm – 11pm; Sunday, 12pm – 10pm
Some say the Italian aperitivo is a way of life in Italy, the type of dining that the world envies. What’s better than a daily ritual of cocktails and wines with spuntini platters? For us, not much. Thankfully, Veeno has two outlets in Leeds and gives locals the opportunity to take part in this most enjoyable Italian tradition.
The knowledgable staff behind these restaurants are wine connoisseurs and offer a dazzling list of whites, rosés, reds and proseccos sourced from the Veeno family vineyard in Sicily. All the classic Italian aperitifs are available including Aperol, Campari or Limoncello spritzes, as well as negroni and peach Bellinis.
As for the food, all the products are imported directly from Italian suppliers. Graze on aged prosciutto and parmesan from Bologna, spicy sausage from Calabria, buffalo mozzarella from Naples and gorgonzola from Piedmont (to name just a few delicacies).
Veeno in Duncan Street Price: £££ Address: 7 Duncan Street, City Centre, Leeds, LS1 6DQ Hours: Sunday & Monday, 12:30pm – 9pm; Tuesday to Thursday, 12:30pm – 10pm; Friday & Saturday, 12:30pm – 1am
Veeno in Wellington Place Price: £££ Address: 5 Wellington Place, City Centre, Leeds, LS1 4AP Hours: Monday to Friday, 12:30pm – 10pm, Saturday, 3pm – 10pm
POCO Sicilian Street Food
Okay, we admit that the casual POCO Sicilian Street Food isn’t quite a restaurant. But there’s no way we could compile a list of the best Italian restaurants in Leeds and not include this wonder of an eatery. It serves authentic Italian food at its best – mouth-watering, flavoursome, rich and creamy.
We’re talking thick-crust pizza al taglio, focaccine sandwiches, calzones, arancini, juicy rotisserie chicken, as well as sweet treats like cannoli pastries and rotating Sicilian desserts. Although it only opened in December 2017, this street food joint in Burley is already a local favourite.
Price: £ Occasion: Tasty food on the go Address: 360 Kirkstall Road, Burley, Leeds, LS4 2HQ Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11am – 9pm; Friday & Saturday, 11am – 11pm; Sunday, 11am –10am
Trattoria Il Forno
Despite being located in Horsforth, in the outskirts of the city, Trattoria Il Forno is known throughout Leeds for serving exceptional Italian food that’s humble and delicious. This family-run pizzeria and gelateria genuinely care about their customers, welcoming everyone and anyone into their relaxed restaurant.
The extensive menu offers over 30 wood-fired pizzas, alongside a delicious range of pasta, risotto and calzones. We have our eyes on the traditional caprese pizza with buffalo mozzarella, or the sophisticated pizza alle pere covered with gorgonzola, pear and walnut.
Trattoria Il Forno also has a great wine list, homemade desserts and noteworthy artisanal gelato with creative flavours like Ferrero Rocher and blood orange sorbet.
Price: £££ Occasion: For whenever pizza cravings kick in, a laid-back meal with family or friends Address: 85 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds LS18 5BP Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm – 10pm; Sunday, 12pm – 9pm
Salvo’s has a long and loving relationship with the people of Leeds and Yorkshire. First opened in 1976 by Salvatore Dammone, this family-run restaurant has been serving authentic Italian food for over 40 years. Now headed by sons Gip and John, the dedication to South Italian rustic cuisine and hospitality is as alive as ever.
Expect to see mouth-watering classics like melanzane alla parmigiana, linguine alla carbonara, pappardelle al ragu di Bologna, and of course Neapolitan-style pizza. The extensive menu has something for everyone, with separate vegan and gluten-free menus available.
With a modern dining room, quality service and contemporary Italian food, it’s little wonder why this atmospheric restaurant is a Leeds favourite. If you’re after a more casual meal or something on the go, we recommend their sister cafe and delicatessen Salumeria, located next door.
Price: £££ Occasion: A people-pleaser that suits dining out with the family Address: 115 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3PX Hours: Monday to Friday, 12pm – 2pm and 5:30pm – 9:30pm; Saturday, 12pm – 10pm; Sunday, 12pm – 9pm
If you’re searching for high-end cuisine, look no further than Aperitivo in West Park. This North Leeds restaurant produces contemporary Italian dishes with a Yorkshire twist and for that reason it’s considered a heaven for the foodies of Leeds. Owner and award-winning chef Luke Downing is the brains behind the restaurant and he’s created a seasonal menu which follows the principles of high-quality ingredients, fresh produce and the use of local suppliers.
With that comes homemade pasta and bread, stone-baked pizzas and charcuterie meats being cured on site. Furthermore, with passionate mixologists behind the bar, the cocktail list is superb and the wine list is dominated by Italian varietals that complement the menu perfectly. Apertivo’s warm and unpretentious atmosphere heightens the refined food and sophisticated drinks list even more, resulting in one of Leeds best restaurants.
Price: £££ Occasion: The sophistication makes it ideal for a special occasion Address: 293 Spen Lane, West Park, Leeds, LS16 5BD Hours: Wednesday & Thursday, 4pm – 11pm; Friday & Saturday, 12pm – 11pm; Sunday, 12pm – 9:30pm
Simply put, Ecco Pizzeria dish out some of the best pizza in Leeds. That’s because the pizzaiolos at this independently-run restaurant are passionate and artisans by nature, inspired by the authenticity of Neapolitan-style pizza. As a result, attention to detail is key.
The dough is handmade, the seasonal toppings are high-quality and the pizza is baked in a traditional wood-fired oven, which was handcrafted in the hills of Tuscany. If you’re really hungry, have a feast and order the half-metre pizza with classic Italian toppings like spicy pepperoni or roasted aubergine.
Did we mention Ecco also specialise in gelato? After all that pizza, save room for a traditional Italian ice cream and be sure to try mouth-watering flavours like pistachio, chocolate hazelnut, stracciatella or lemon sorbet.
Price: ££ Occasion: Easy-going vibes that’s perfect for pizza with the family Address: 93 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3PS Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 5pm – 11pm; Friday, 12pm – 3pm and 5pm – 11pm; Weekends, 12pm – 11pm
Although Zucco is located outside the Leeds city centre, we assure you that this suburban restaurant is worth the special trip. In contrast to our other featured restaurants, Zucco specialises in small sharing plates and seasonal food that changes regularly depending on what’s fresh from the local suppliers.
The menu includes a selection of bread and pizzas, but our eyes are on the bountiful seafood, meat and vegetable dishes. This is full-flavour Italian cuisine like braised beef pappardelle, whole grilled sardines and butter tagliatelle with mushrooms and truffle oil. Popular with Meanwood locals and those in the know, make sure you book because Zucco is always busy.
Price: £££ Occasion: For dining out with the foodie in your life Address: 603 Meanwood Road, Meanwood, Leeds, LS6 4AY Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 12pm – 2:30pm and 6pm – 10pm; Friday, 12pm – 2:30pm and 5:30pm – 10:30pm; Saturday, 12pm – 3pm and 5pm – 10:30pm; Sunday, 12pm – 8:30pm
Located in the heart of the Leeds city centre, Viva Restaurant is quintessentially Italian with its authentic menu and intimate atmosphere. The food is traditional and includes comforting starters like bruschetta and antipasto platters for grazing. Following that, diners can enjoy a delectable menu of grilled meats, pasta and pizza.
Tucked away on the Northside of Leeds Bridge, the dining room is cosy and homey with old photos lining the walls and checkered tiles on the floor. Don’t miss the cute corner bar, with classic aperitif cocktails and glasses of Italian wine on offer.
Price: £££ Occasion: Reliable meal for when in the Leeds city centre Address: 9-11 Bridge End, City Centre, Leeds, LS1 7HG Hours: Monday, 5pm – 10pm; Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm – 2pm and 5pm – 10pm
Last on our list is Ciao Bella, a beautiful bar and restaurant located along a cobbled street of Brewery Wharf. Situated inside a converted old mill, the dining room is atmospheric with exposed bricks and steel adding a historic yet modern touch. The spacious outdoor seating area is also worth mentioning.
Ciao Bella’s menu keeps it authentic by following the traditional Italian dining format of antipasto starters, primi piatti (first course) pasta dishes and secondi piatti (second course) meat dishes. We recommend porchetta casalinga, slow-cooked pork belly cooked with port wine, or stincotto d’agnello, succulent lamb shanks served with red wine cabbage and mashed potatoes. The wine list, meanwhile, is equally impressive and features French Champagne, refreshing New Zealand whites and robust Italian reds.
Price: £££ Occasion: Al fresco dining in the summer Address: 20 Dock Street, Brewery Wharf, Leeds, LS10 1JF Hours: Monday to Thursday, 12pm – 10:30pm; Friday & Saturday, 12pm – 11pm; Sunday, 12pm – 10:30pm