Leeds stalwart Bibis is the place to go for big family celebrations and is often packed out on a Saturday night, but how does it fare for a quick midweek meal?
Despite having lived in Leeds for nearly two decades, this reviewer has somehow never eaten at what has become a city institution. Walking into Bibis sets the tone for your whole visit: grand Art Deco doors open to reveal a huge, ostentatious interior.
Some parts of the restaurant are starting to look a little tired - I struggled to find a toilet stall that locked - but staff are smartly dressed and the gleaming bar in the centre of the restaurant commands attention.
What’s the menu like?
In Italian style, the menu is divided into antipasti, pasta and secondi courses. There is also an extensive pizza selection and, impressively, five vegan main dishes on offer.
Now onto the food
On a weekday evening, the restaurant was quiet and our food arrived pretty quickly.
My ‘anatra all’arancia’, a crispy half-duck with orange and almond in a balsamic and honey glaze, looked fantastic. It came with a side of steamed vegetables and I counted at least seven or eight types of veg in the bowl. The sauce was perhaps a little too sweet but the dish as a whole was great fun.
My companion’s ‘pizza delizioza’ also looked the part. It was topped with asparagus, bags of cheese and not one but two poached eggs.
Room for dessert?
Just barely. We decided to split a ‘bicchiere fruttato’, a beautifully presented sundae dish filled with fresh fruit, lemon curd and sweet yogurt cream.
And the drinks?
I plumped for a mocktail and it was the only bum note of the meal. The Calabria had sounded like it would be tart and refreshing, with fresh cucumber, mint syrup, elderflower syrup, fresh lemon juice and Sprite. In reality, it had the colour of the Incredible Hulk and the flavour of a Fox’s Glacier Mint. There were also lumps of something which were struggling to make it up the straw.
How much was the bill? Was it value for money?
This was a good value meal, not much more expensive than the big Italian-style chains but offering bags more character.
The duck was £17.50, the pizza was £12 and the dessert was £6.50. One mocktail at £5 and a still water for £1 brought the total to £42.
A 'discretionary' 10 per cent service charge was then added to the bill automatically, which was a little irritating.
READ MORE: Bibis on a Saturday reviewed
Address: Bibis Italianissimo, Criterion Place, Sovereign Street, Leeds, LS1 4AG
Telephone: 0113 243 0905
Opening hours: Monday closed. Tuesday & Wednesday 12pm-10pm. Thursday 12pm-10.30pm. Friday & Saturday 12pm-11pm. Sunday 12pm-9pm. Bar stays open later each night.