I'll skip the intro asking if you're a lover or hater or Valentine's Day, whether you're in a relationship or single and whether you're favouring 'Galantines' this year. Instead, let's skip straight to some of my favourite date night spots in Leeds. You can celebrate through February's week of love (although, if you're taking my advice, skip the 'big day' itself to avoid generic set-menus and 'deals' with upped prices), or make a mental note for your next date night in the city.
No matter what your dine-out style, I've hopefully included somewhere you'll be noting down for your next dine out.
Click through on each to head to their menu.
No pressure needed, a must-try for last minute arrangements.
Grab a seat where you can and start with a variety of choice from beers or some deliciously unusual cocktails from the menu. Bundobust is without a doubt the best vegetarian restaurant in Leeds but meat eaters shouldn't be put off by this - a quote from my other half (the ultimate meat fan): "It's the only place I'd consider going full-time vegetarian".
Dishes look small, but they're seriously fulfilling. Choose as many as you need and top up if you're not satisfied, I'd recommend 2-3 per person - depending on your appetite - for a meal, 1-2 to share if you're just wanting conversational nibbles. My favourites are the must try okra fries, egg bhurji and any of their curry pots are winners. The ideal sharing spot and an easy conversation starter on the food if you're in a first-date meet-up.
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One of my favourite restaurants and you can find it dotted around London as well as Leeds. You'll be walking out of the bustle of Trinity and into a nod towards a souk packed with trinkets and shopping bags to set the scene.
There's a few good options to try at this Lebanese restaurant, but a sharer date night would be worthy of the mezze platter (perfectly portioned for two, but throw in a couple of sides if you're hungry). For something all your own, the lamb kofta dishes are my favourite - either the lamb kofta tagine or from the grill, each seriously tasty.
The Middle Ground
This, the best Japanese food in Leeds. Little Tokyo is a deceptively beautiful place and the extensive menu means you have plenty of choice (no site to share, have a peek when you're next in the area). It's tucked away behind blacked out windows behind Briggate (head behind House of Fraser) but is nearly always full.
I'd suggest booking ahead, but with the exception of Valentine's Day, they're more than happy for you to wait for a table to free up. The must try is definitely the bento boxes, you can pick your meat and have it served traditionally Japanese with deep fried vegetables, rice, dipping sauce, salad and orange slices. One of my must-try restaurants in Leeds, whatever the occasion!
The best in sharing, with seriously quality food. This place can become pretty expensive if you allow your bites to rack-up, choose carefully to keep it reasonable or work your way through the menu for special occasions.
Your server will talk you through the menu in detail and give full information on all the specials of the day. Don't neglect the specials board as it's often where the best bits are.
Potentially Leeds' worst kept secret with two venues at the inner north and south points of the city centre. This is some of the most authentic Thai food in Leeds and each restaurant is super cute for a Valentine's vibe (side note, they're also on Deliveroo and will easily fit into a tight budget dining plan).
My favourite is the yellow curry with crispy noodles, but having worked through a load of choices on the menu, there's nothing that will be a let down! Both are lovingly small venues so book ahead or expect a short wait.
Hidden away by the BBC building, Kendall's Bistro opens up into a cosy restaurant, with every space available filled with diners. The menu changes daily allowing for fresh produce to be used at its best and the dishes to effectively change with the seasons. The blackboards host all their dishes, giving you an entirely different experience each visit.
For that reason, I can't share my favourite dishes but as one of the first date spots for me and my other half, it has a special place in my heart and has become a must try for me to share. The service is warm and friendly, food is comforting but of high quality and you'll be there a couple of hours before you realise how the time has ticked by.
The Luxury Spots
It's rare that I treat date night as a real luxury, but if the occasion permits, or if there's something to celebrate, then these are where I'm heading.
Bonus points with this restaurant as it also provides an Instagrammable opportunity at every turn. This is a beautiful Spanish tapas restaurant. I am forever in awe of the interiors, whether you visit through the day or at night, the ambience is incomparable to anywhere else in Leeds.
Favourites from the menu include the chorizo lollipops and the ham croquettes. Also another venue with a stellar cocktail menu and a beautiful waiting bar you should turn up early for.
Meat fans rejoice, I'd peg this as my favourite meat restaurant in Leeds for serious quality cuts and cooks. Head down the stairs from street level on Park Row and envelop yourself in the slick black interiors for dinner.
There is an extensive range of cuts to trial, I love the trio of medallions to cheat your way into trying a few in one serve. These are melt in the mouth dishes and to me, well worth that luxury price tag.
Definitely had to include Crafthouse in this round-up. There are regularly deals on here, so if you can't get there for Valentine's, keep an eye out for a future opportunity. Take the lift direct from Boar Lane to head up into the Leeds skyline. The restaurant is slick and clean and the menu matches, everything is delivered to an exceptional standard.
Favourites I've tried include the risotto and the rich veloute, but the menu regularly changes so don't pin your hopes on these. If you're visiting, definitely save room for dessert - something (if you haven't already noticed) I'm usually not all that bothered by - the dessert selection is the peak if you've got room, a little bit of everything to save you making the choice.
Any of those tickle your taste buds? You'll likely find me at Bundobust this week, with plans to re-try some of these favourites and share my full experience on the blog in the *hopefully* not too distant future. Any other date night spots I should be trying?