Your group-dining dilemmas solved - from eating with vegan friends to appeasing fussy in-laws

Trying to please everyone when dining out in a group can be like trying to chair a UN meeting where each country is being represented by a particularly radgy toddler. For each attendee over three people, the chances of an obscure dislike or dietary requirement rearing its head increases exponentially - some of which you hadn’t yet realised existed.

Leeds may have over 1,500 dining spots to choose from, but that doesn’t make this conundrum any easier when trying to satisfy a range of tastes and appetites. Here’s a guide to dining out in Leeds which should help you prepare for any circumstances...

Your Auntie’s gone gluten-free

What was once just a serious dietary requirement for some has since become a bit of a trend, with people self-diagnosing themselves as celiac because they often feel a bit bloated after polishing off a lasagne and garlic baguette. Luckily, Leeds has its fair share of restaurants who are happy to accommodate the genuine celiacs, as well as the people who just can’t handle their Kingsmill.

Deemed “gluten-free heaven” by one TripAdvisor fangirl, The Oxford Place (2 Oxford Place, LS1 3AX ) is an obvious choice in the hunt for gluten-free food in Leeds. The only 100% GF restaurant in the city continues to receive rave reviews following its takeover by new owners a couple of months ago, with dishes ranging from brunch to pies to burgers, fresh fish, and a solid selection of vegan options for extra bonus points. The Oxford Place’s bistro-esque vibe means that it’s laid back enough for a lunch-time escapade but fancy enough for a more formal evening affair.

While gluten-free pizzas may not have been on Salvo’s menu when it opened its doors in 1976, the Headingley institution has moved with the times to cater to all sorts of dietary requirements; pretty much any pizza or pasta gluten-free on request, including the highly-recommended pizza marinara, which is a fab sharing starter.

This family-run restaurant ticks all the right boxes for a family meal: cracking atmosphere, a menu extensive enough to keep everyone happy, and even a kiddies menu for the little ones. Fun fact: Salvo’s sold its one millionth pizza this year - all that practice must have made perfect. 115 & 107 Otley Road, Headingley, LS6 3PX

Dinner with @a.damsmith 🍴
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Fazenda is perhaps not an obvious choice in the quest for gluten-free in Leeds, but I suppose fresh-grilled meat is a perfectly suitable substitute for any other food group. Turn your card to green and have the likes of beef sirloin, pork belly and Brazilian delicacy chicken hearts delivered to your table until your belly is full, the meat sweats are present and you’re considering becoming a temporary vegetarian.

If you want a bit of variety in your diet, the salad bar (more interesting than it sounds, and not at all like the Pizza Hut one) is all-you-can-eat, too, and packed with plenty of gluten-free vegetables and sides (and salami). Added group dining bonus: the set price to dine helps to avoid the impending awkwardness of splitting the bill at the end of the meal. Waterman’s Place Unit 4-7 Granary Wharf, LS1 4GL

Your uncle’s idea of five-a-day is a five-bird roast

We’ve all got that one relative for whom “celery” is a dirty word, and anything that hasn’t ended up on their plate via an abattoir is “rabbit food”. Much as we’d like to educate them on the error of their ways, it makes everybody’s life easier to just accommodate their normy tastes. That doesn’t mean you should have to eat at Toby Carvery, though...

With a name like Souvlaki -  the Greek speciality consisting of meat grilled on a skewer, it’s unsurprising that meat features heavily on the menu at this city centre Greek restaurant. Souvlaki brings a taste of Greece to Leeds, thankfully in a way that doesn’t remind you of lads’ holidays in Kos. There’s the meat platter to share for starters (as well as pork, lamb or chicken souvlaki skewers of course) not forgetting other Greek specialities like beef stifado and lamb kleftiko. Portion sizes are authentically hearty, too, so hopefully your uncle will be too knackered to start airing his thoughts on a hard Brexit after dinner… 18 Great George St, LS1 3DW

❤️👌🏼 #leeds #souvlaki #greek #food #restaurant @danieltrigg
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Not many restaurants would allow diners to take charge of a hot bbq for fear of breaking every health and safety regulation in the book, but that’s the main attraction at Bulgogi Grill, where diners cook their own meat, seafood and vegetables on table-top grills before wrapping it up in lettuce with accompanying kimchi, unlimited rice and sauces.

If you’re feeling hungry, Bulgogi offer a £24.95 Korean Table BBQ where you can feast on meat and seafood until you’re full to the brim. Eating a Bulgogi is something of a theatrical dining experience and the DIY element adds an element of fun that’s great for group dining. 9 Merrion Way, Arena Quarter, LS2 8BT

Korean cuisine for dinner 💜🇰🇷 #MBLeeds
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Dining in a basement doesn’t sound like the most glamorous experience on paper but Sous le Nez en Ville couldn’t be a more inviting place for a meal, and there’s almost no part of an animal that the French haven’t found a way to make delicious (usually involving duck fat or butter)

The menu du soir is available Monday - Saturday 5.30pm - 7pm and Saturday lunchtime between 12-2pm. Including three courses and half a bottle of wine, it’s good value at £28.95 and offers a wealth of meaty options. Steak is very much on the menu if you choose to go à la carte alongside other classic French favourites such as foie gras and veal in a beurre blanc. There’s a good list of wines to choose from and the choice of desserts isn’t half bad either. Quebec Street, LS1 2HA

Best meal in town.
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All that foreign muck gives me stomach ulcers

Unfortunately, this stipulation doesn’t mean that you and whichever old relative your parents have wheeled out for the afternoon have a shared appreciation for seasonal British produce, it usually just means they find anything with seasoning a bit spicy. Rule, Britannia indeed. Don’t worry though, there’s a cracking selection of British influenced food menus at city centre joints for the most patriotic of eaters.

A short stroll away from the train station is The Cross Keys, the old-fashioned boozer jewel in the North Bar family crown. The menu isn’t extensive but succeeds in serving up British classics, including a pie of the day, Yorkshire ham, chips and fried duck egg, and ye old British classic fish and chips, with a few twists along the way.

There’s a big focus on British and local, ethically sourced ingredients, and many would say the Sunday dinner is up there with the best in Leeds, even more so when washed down with a North Brewing Co. pint. Whatever the Cross Keys is doing, it appears to be doing it right -  it is the only Leeds pub in the Michelin Guide’s Eating Out in Pubs Guide for 2017. 107 Water Lane, LS11 5WD

Similarly at Town Hall Tavern, British classics are paired with your pick of Timothy Taylor’s award-winning beers, brewed in nearby Keighley. This is a real what-you-see-is-what-you-get type place, which makes it a great low-risk option for a family meal or for dining in groups, with the added bonus being that the presentation of the food is first class. On Sundays their menu features a classic roast and an entire menu consisting of a mighty selection of award-winning Yorkshire cheeses. 17 Westgate, LS1 2RA

Sunday roasting
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While it’s a no-brainer for a tipple before a show at adjoining City Varieties, The White Swan is often overlooked for when it comes to food. The pub, however, has a British-influenced food menu served every day of the week, and at decent prices. It’s cosy inside and combines the feel of a secluded local pub with the benefit of a prime city centre location.

Some items on the menu are infused with beers and ales from local favourite Leeds Brewery; we’re talking Leeds Best battered haddock, Hellfire ale cheddar and Gathering Storm barbeque sauce to name a few. If all that can’t please your average “meat and two veg” lover happy then what can? Swan Street, LS1 6LG

Our babysitter's ghosting me after 'the incident' last time she looked after the kids

Finding restaurants with a child-friendly policy isn’t as easy as it sounds but the following establishments have plenty to keep the little ones happy - or at least distracted - without the grown ups having to compromise or get dragged into a ball-pool.

Kids are well catered for at Brasserie Blanc, which has a specially created menu for little ones fronted by Henri Le Worm, a French cartoon character complete with moustache, beret and striped t-shirt. A main, side, dessert and drink is a bargain at £6.95. Older children can get a half portion of selected dishes from the main menu, and dining at the Leeds branch of Raymond Blanc’s brasserie empire is also great value for adults, with the two-course set menu coming in £11.95. Situated in an old converted Victorian mill sporting thick vaulted brick ceilings and with river views, Brasserie Blanc is a good mix of smart, but informal and relaxed enough to bring the whole family. Victoria Mill, Sovereign Street, LS1 4BJ

Shopping done, celebratory breakfast 🙌🏽 • #ihateshopping #weekend #breakfast
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Chances are you’ve heard of Sukhothai due to its monopoly of Thai restaurants dotted around the city. The kids can grab a bite to eat from the children’s menu, which includes dishes such as chicken satay and beef stir fry and a dessert of ice cream for £5.95.

The food menu isn’t the cheapest, but you get what you pay for. If you fancy a bit of everything on offer, you can tuck into the popular all-you-can-eat buffet every Sunday for a decent £14.95 per adult. Snazzy isn’t a word bandied around too much these days but it perfectly describes the decor; think leather booths and caramel tones for days. 15 South Parade, LS1 5QS

🤚 up for those who love our sharing platter!
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You can keep the kids entertained with a spot of pizza making at Gusto on Greek Street. Bambino pizza chefs can create their own pizzas. before devouring and then finishing it all off with ice cream. There’s also the option to have items from the regular menu as a half portion if they’re "too old and mature" (read: thirteen) for that kind of activity.

For the adults, there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone when choosing from a wide range of pizza, pasta and mains. A decent selection of classic cocktails is a good way to wash it all down, and the kids can even join in with a mocktail or two. 10 Greek Street, LS1 5RU

Do love a day trip to @gustorestaurants #leeds . . #italianrestaurant #interiors
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Your Dad’s too tight to pay for parking in tow

No need to put up with your Dad stood at a parking meter ranting about daylight robbery and calling the council every name under the sun: who needs to venture into the city centre when you’re spoilt for choice in the suburbs?

Probably Leeds’ worst kept secret when it comes to dining out in the ‘burbs, Zucco is a firm favourite among the Leeds Confidential team. Can you blame us? Rustic, Italian small plate dining without pretence and perfect for sharing in groups - if you’re not feeling too greedy to demolish it all yourself. It’s the type of place which suits any kind of celebration and time of day.

Must order favourites on the menu include fritto misto, crispy, golden arancini and deep fried zucchini, and there’s also a good range of meat and seafood dishes to be shared, tapas style. Wash it all down with an aperol spritz and you’re golden. Zucco is popular among locals and also those who have cottoned on from further afield, so do yourself a favour and book in advance. 603 Meanwood Road, LS6 4AY

Me today: 🍕🍕🍕🏃🏽🌞
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Nestled at the centre of one of the city’s most sought after suburbs, Pinche Pinche is home to Mexican food so delicious you’ll have booked flights to Oaxaca before you know it. Dive into the selection of classic Mexican fare ranging from fresh guacamole and meaty burritos to Mexican-inspired tapas designed to share, before finishing it all off with one too many tequilas from behind the bar.

There’s even a children’s menu to keep the kids happy if nachos and tacos can’t do the trick. Pinche Pinche isn’t fancy, nor is it trying to be: it’s authentic Mexican food done well and a definite crowd pleaser. Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton,  LS7 4NY

Slap bang opposite Cardigan Fields is Sheesh Mahal, newly re-opened this year following devastating damage from the Boxing Day floods of 2015. The interior may have been treated to a well-needed refurbishment and lick of paint for its re-opening but the high quality of the food remains the same: this is traditional curry house at it’s best - no frills, no surprises, just damn good curry at very reasonable prices, with not a plastic white pot à la Bundobust in near proximity.

The menu is lined with classic curry house dishes including a good range of vegetarian options, along with a bread selection that will blow your mind. 346-348 Kirkstall Road, LS4 2DS

Your brother's new girlfriend is vegan, and by pure coincidence your brother's gone vegan...

While there are a lack of strictly vegan restaurants in Leeds, there’s a stellar selection of places willing to accommodate vegan diets if a plant-based is your jam.

From the outside Tharavadu may look like your typical curry house, but a glance at the menu will quickly change your mind. The restaurant is home to South Indian cuisine - delicious, authentic and original dishes that’ll leave you coming back for more. There’s a whole host of vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu, from starters such as the golden, crispy uzhunnu vada (lentil doughnuts, a must-try), vegetable-packed dosas the size of a small child, and sweet and spicy coconut-y mains.

Prices are reasonable for the quality of the food that you’ll be inhaling in an instant and the service is top-notch. Booking is recommended as waiting lists are known to be up to a few weeks long. 7-8, Mill Hill, LS15 DQ

Where would we be without The Reliance? This little bar and gastropub’s selection of fresh, tasty, seasonal dishes somehow manages to offer something for everyone at reasonable prices. They’re very happy to cater for vegans and have many items of the menu that can be made vegan-friendly, including the vegetarian Sunday dinner.

Good service and a great atmosphere is always guaranteed whatever time of day you pop by, and there’s a great selection of beers and wines, all of which make for a great family or group meal. Watch the world go by through the restaurant’s giant glass windows with a full belly and a glass of something nice. 76-78 North Street, LS2 7PN

Tattu is one of the new kids on the Leeds restaurant scene and and it certainly has the wow factor, so don’t be surprised to witness fellow diners instagramming the hell out of their food while it goes cold. The food is as contemporary as its decor - a fusion of traditional Chinese favours with a all-round modern dining experience and stunning presentation.

Much of the menu uses locally sourced produce and is served as a mix of small plates and larger dishes. There’s a separate menu for vegans to make life a little easier, and staff are knowledgeable about the vegan fare on offer. Tattu is like the Waitrose of the Leeds Chinese restaurant scene for most of us: to be frequented as a treat or on pay day, as the food isn’t on the cheap side. 29 East Parade, Minerva House, LS1 5PS

🌸 lunch menu - Taste of Tattu 2 courses £19.50, 3 courses £24.50 available 12-3pm daily. #manchester #leeds #lunch
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