The 4 Best Places to Find Authentic Food in Leeds

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If you’re a big foodie like me, then you are likely to have a hunger for delicious authentic international cuisine as oppose to always succumbing to the big restaurant chains like Wagamama and Pizza Express. While, of course, there is nothing wrong with these chains, it is often good to know that you are eating international food that has been prepared and served in the way it was intended to be. Throughout my time at University, I have sought the best spots for this type of food and have recommended what you should order at each of them. Happy eating!

  •   Tharavadu  

Tharavadu serves up delicious and authentic Keralan (south-west Indian) cuisine, located near the city’s station. It is no wonder that Tharavadu has won awards such as the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Best Indian Restaurant in Leeds and achieved Michelin Recommended status in 2019.

The menu includes many fish mains as well as an option to try a bit of everything with the Sadya (also known as Thali) which comes with a soup starter and traditional hot dessert. Some dishes are served authentically in banana leaves.

The atmosphere is vibrant and loud, and traditional dress worn by the smiling staff makes you feel like you really could be dining in Kerala. Booking is essential even on weeknights.

I recommend Masala Dosa (it’s huge!) and pictured is Tharavadu Sadya.

  • Holy Ramen

Holy Ramen located within Assembly Underground is as good as its name suggests. Focusing on serving up authentic Chinese Ramen, it is Leeds first joint to do so. Holy Ramen serve until their delicious broth runs out for the day. Moderately priced at around £7 for a large bowl of cold-curing goodness, this is not one to be missed.

I recommend: The Chicken Ramen with an added soft egg. 

  • Zaap Thai

Although there are a lot of Thai restaurants in Leeds, Zaap stands out. With multiple outlets mainly in the North East (the original being in Leeds), Thai offers authentic street food in an exciting setting that is just as authentic as the food, making you feel as if you are wandering the streets of Bangkok.

You can even sit in a tuk-tuk to eat and drink your bottle of Chang. Better yet, Zaap offers weeknight deals such as their Pad Thai Tuesday or Curry Monday where you can get a main and a beer for £10.

I recommend Thai Fish Cakes, Pad Ma Maung Him Ma Parn (Cashew Stir Fry, pictured)

  • Sarto 

Although a recent newcomer to Leeds food scene, Sarto has already made a big name for itself. Serving fresh pasta that is made daily in house, the restaurant promotes casual dining and high-quality, seasonal and fresh Italian pasta dishes. You can even sit at the bar and watch your pasta being prepared in front of you in the open kitchen if you fancy. Although the pasta here is produced in the traditional and authentic Italian way, Sarto puts its own spin on the traditional Italian dishes always with a generous serving of parmesan.

I recommend Burrata with salsa verde (pictured) and Fettucine beef cheek ragú.