So let's be real, Leeds is pretty darn great. There is a next-level volume of places to eat (as you might have garnered from the amount of places on my Leeds guide) and with all the new places, my to-eat list is ever growing.
I've shown you around the Leeds West End, so onto the next spot in the city. I was invited on a mini circuit of the next venue, which was the perfect excuse to give you the full run down. Today it's all about the little entertainment hub in the city centre, The Light. It ticks the boxes for food, drinks, Vue cinema and Virgin Active gym - plus a smattering of stores amongst the foodie favourites.
When you have the spur of the moment dinner decisions, this place is a dream for an easy option, still with a variety to choose from. So, what are the choices?
George's Great British Kitchen
The whimsical Great British restaurant that is... You'll enter to a Great British Seaside vibe - beach hut booths, newspaper menus and a whole host of candyfloss. Expect a plethora of British favourites, with a new twist: cod in onion bhaji batter, bangers with champagne mash, creme brulee with candyfloss custard - it's an experience.
Come for the food, stay for the drinks. The cocktail menu is an entire experience in itself and being a group of bloggers, we obviously picked out the ones for the prettiest pictures. The candyfloss option was my first choice and so moreishly sweet, topped with that gargantuan fluffy garnish.
There are meat and veg options available for burritos or burrito bowls and loaded nachos, all entirely custom just like building your Subway sandwich. My favourite is a basket of nachos loaded with everything, washed down with lemon & lime water - tasty goodness!
Browns is an old favourite. It's a local for mine and my mum's meet ups, with great service and some tasty gastro classics. The food isn't the peak, but with seasonal menu refreshes, a delicious cocktail menu and such a frequent place for me and mum, it's always going to be a favourite - the old style venue is the cherry on top.
The restaurant offering from The Radisson in Leeds. The brand is a spin-off from the Land of a 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota, providing a little happy to my heart as it's where my bestie just called home for four years. The space itself is gorgeous, with a fire pit in the back which would be perfect for a group-meet. We got a taster of the starters on offer, I opted for the Caesar salad croquettes garnished with anchovies. The croquettes were a unique serve of a classic and a great option to start off a meal - we also got chance to meet the chef behind the menu who shared his passion for working with meat dishes, something which is clear to see if you get chance to have a browse of the dishes on offer.
Cocktails are a standard here, with each of the bar staff having a differing signature base liquor - we got pocket-sized serves to suit our taste buds which whet my appetite to try more. Another hotel restaurant offering in Leeds that might surprise you.
You'll have no doubt heard of the concept, an all you can eat meat place where you show invite or decline the servers based on the card on your table. This is a meat eaters haven of course, but the salad bar supporting the mains is more than enough to fill a veggie diet should you have any in attendance.
The servers are incredibly friendly here and - as with the other similar restaurants in this concept I've tried - they don't necessarily adhere to a red card, so be prepared to verbally turn down different meat skewers on offer. From the salad bar, definitely get the Feijoada hot pot (one of my all time favourite dishes). From the skewers, make the most of all you can eat, there are no filler options - my favourites were probably the Linguica sausage or Maminha sirloin. You're looking at just under £20 for evening service, I obviously have to compare to Fazenda's £30+ price tag - very similar meats with a comparable quality, potentially with a slightly smaller salad bar.
The windows are lined with fairy lights draped down the glass which always catches my eye, even if it is in every second restaurant these days. This Caribbean restaurant is a great gateway for any fussy eaters - plenty of new flavours to try, but nothing insanely out of the box that will be too far from their comfort zones. If you need that little push, catch up on my fussy eater post 💁🏻
The mains are so rich in flavour, the jerk chicken in particular is one of my faves that I've tried. On the night, we were welcomed with dessert to finish off a foodie tour of The Light. I opted for the passion pie - a sourly sweet passion fruit curd with pastry and meringue, so tasty and definitely worth saving room for.
La Bottega Milanese
In a nut shell, your go-to for a coffee or quick snack - sweet or savoury. The food places dotted throughout are all chain options, aside from La Bottega Milanese that has the two spots in Leeds, and nowhere further afield. This spot is A+ for people watching and grabbing a coffee and a sweet treat to nurse in one of the edge seats is a perfect weekend activity.
There are some small bite lunch options on offer too, pastries, fresh sandwiches and pastas and of course, a delicious selection of coffee to perk up your afternoon. I prefer this venue to the Russel Street outlet, both for staff, offering of food and people watching - one of my favourite indie coffee spots in the city.
Alongside the above, there's the usual offerings of Nandos, Starbucks, Frankie & Benny's + Bagel Nash, amongst other familiar chain spots, but I don't think these need an introduction.
Long story short, The Light is a bit of a hidden treasure in terms of the amount of choice on offer. I'm always one to champion the indies around the city, but should you need the old faithful option, this is where you should head.
Have a read of my guide to the West End of Leeds if you haven't already and keep your peepers out for some other round-ups of foodie hubs around the city. Any recommendations?