Six of the Best: Tapas Restaurants in Leeds

7 September 2016.......    Oliver - La Casita, Horsforth
Slow cooked Daube of beef, mustard trufle and wild mushrooms.
 Picture Tony Johnson.
7 September 2016....... Oliver - La Casita, Horsforth Slow cooked Daube of beef, mustard trufle and wild mushrooms. Picture Tony Johnson.
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Tapas restaurants are more popular than ever and Leeds has no shortage of them, so if you fancy nipping out to indulge in the Spanish cuisine, here are half a dozen places to try

LA CASITA - HORSFORTH

Little Oliver..Pintura Kitchen, Trinity Street,Leeds...SH100142333b...5th October 2015 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

Little Oliver..Pintura Kitchen, Trinity Street,Leeds...SH100142333b...5th October 2015 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

Open since April, this is possible one of the most exciting tapas places in Leeds at the moment, not least because it is run by the award-winning team behind its namesake in Ilkley - there, head chef Simon Miller trained with Marco Pierre White, amongst others. This venture into Leeds represents a bold step for the team and they’ve done a great job in converting a unit at the bottom of Town Street. The interior is deceptively spacious, light and airy, with a nice little outdoor seating area hidden down the side. Food is exceptional. Try slow cooked Daube of beef, mustard truffle and wild mushrooms.

VIVA CUBA - KIRKSTALL

The style is casual and laid back with flickering candles setting the mood and dark wooden tables to fill with tapas and rum cocktails, beer and wine, all of which eases you effortlessly into the very South American vibe. It’s also very romantic without being overblown and expensive, so, no need to break the suit out (unless you really want to, of course).

There are at least 40 different tapas dishes to choose from the classic patatas bravas to sweet and spicy Caribbean lamb stew. It’s a place you will want to come back to again and again.

Date:22nd June 2015. Picture James Hardisty, (JH1009/12h) For Oliver.........Sandinista, Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds. Pictured Meat & Cheese Platter.

Date:22nd June 2015. Picture James Hardisty, (JH1009/12h) For Oliver.........Sandinista, Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds. Pictured Meat & Cheese Platter.

RICCI’S - INFIRMARY STREET

Michael Ricci has had a presence in Halifax for a number of years but recently he decided to bring his not inconsiderable talent to Leeds. This is sophisticated dining, with handsome plates of food and handsome diners to boot.

Exposed brick walls and weathered wood is an echo of his Halifax heritage, the food is to die for: Padron peppers, roasted and sprinkled with Ibizan salt, salmon tartare with grilled asparagus, miso crème fraiche and beetroot mooli or braised octopus with roast chorizo piperade. Verdict: hedonism but with style.

PINTURA - TRINITY

Oliver..Iberica, Hepper House, East Parade, Leeds...Iberica Octopus.27th April 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

Oliver..Iberica, Hepper House, East Parade, Leeds...Iberica Octopus.27th April 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

Open since April 2015, there is raw passion on display at this innovative and ambitious restaurant. The decor is bold and arresting and it embraces you like a long lost friend the moment you walk in. Prepare for a gastronomic adventure into the heritage of Basque Country with mostly tapas-style small plates but also a smattering of picotear (to peck at) dishes, with specials on a blackboard.

Try the carrillada de cerdo (£6.95), a serving of logic-defyingly tender Iberico pig cheek served with a slightly bitter cauliflower puree and crispy ears.

SANDINISTA - CROSS BELGRAVE STREET

Sandinista has an earthy, relaxed atmosphere with young, friendly staff, it’s lively and wants you to stay all night, sipping cocktails and trying some of the great tapas, such as rump steak, smoked sausage and prawn jambalaya and chorizo hash pan.

Oliver.
Viva Cuba, Kirkstall Road, Leeds.  (BR1001/56b) 10 Decemebr 2013.  Picture Bruce Rollinson

Oliver. Viva Cuba, Kirkstall Road, Leeds. (BR1001/56b) 10 Decemebr 2013. Picture Bruce Rollinson

It’s also in a great location, being near to The Grand theatre and The Belgrave Music Hall, so perfect for a quick pre or post-performance meal. If you manage to bag a window seat, it’s also a great place to people watch. Good food, friendly service and a great atmosphere.

IBERICA - EAST PARADE

Iberica is sublime. If you want to impress friends from out of town (even from London) this will do the job, hands down.

Situated in a former auction house, it is a light and airy space, boasting high ceilings and stunning chandeliers. There are no starters as such. Instead, there is a ‘To begin’ section, with nibbles such as olives, bread and anchovies in vinegar from £2.50 to £5. Then there is the artisan cheese section, with 10 varieties. Finally there is the cured meats and ham section – not forgetting the Jamón Ibérico, which is made from pure-bred, free-range pigs fed only on acorns. It’s happiness on a dish.

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Whipped Goats Cheese Stuffed Piquillo Peppers.
Ricci's Tapas & Cicchetti, Goodbard House, Infirmary Street, Leeds.   12 August 2016.  Picture Bruce Rollinson

Whipped Goats Cheese Stuffed Piquillo Peppers. Ricci's Tapas & Cicchetti, Goodbard House, Infirmary Street, Leeds. 12 August 2016. Picture Bruce Rollinson

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