Ambiente Tapas Leeds review: Heaps of variety at this cosy riverside gem

Ambiente Tapas, LeedsAmbiente Tapas, Leeds
Ambiente Tapas, Leeds
As we ran into Ambiente Tapas (there was a bitter wind outside) we were welcomed by a blast of warm air, twinkling Christmas lights and cosy decor.

With stunning views over the River Aire, exposed brick walls and a mis-match of wicker and metal chairs, the restaurant seamlessly blends the traditional with the modern.

Ambiente is a small tapas chain and Spanish sherry bar and staff are on a mission to convert their customers to what they call a “misunderstood and underrated” beverage.

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Unfortunately they had their work cut out with myself and my friend - she can’t drink red wine, I’m really not a fan of sherry - but our waitress did try her hardest. We went for a jug of the sangria instead (which was divine).

Around three to four tapas dishes are recommended per person and there are plenty of meat, fish, veggie and vegan options to choose from.

Unfortunately, some dishes were unavailable and while I appreciate the supply difficulties that restaurants are facing right now, we weren’t told of this until after we had set our hearts on the dishes. It was likely just an oversight from our server.

We started with the Pan Catalan, warm baked bread topped with a mountain of tangy tomato and garlic.

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The Croquetas de Pescado (salmon and smoked haddock croquettes served with aioli) were crisp on the outside and deliciously oozy inside and the Gambas (tempura tiger prawns) were well-cooked in a light batter.

The patatas bravas were perfectly crisp with well-balanced aioli and tangy tomato sauce, but the portobello mushrooms were a bit of a let down - sliced (and soggy) instead of whole and needed a good pinch of salt.

My friend wasn’t sure about her chicken and chorizo kebab either, she found the herb seasoning on the chicken overwhelming.

But my favourite dish of the evening was the pan-fried kale with candied walnuts, vegetable crisps and plenty of pungent blue cheese dressing. And our final dish to arrive, the vegan green beans with pine nuts, had a rich and smokey flavour and a nice crunch.

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I’ve found that tapas restaurants in the UK often rely very heavily on tomato-based sauces, but there was a huge variety of flavour across our dishes at Ambiente - most exceptionally cooked and reasonably priced for the generous portion sizes, in a gorgeously cosy atmosphere.

This won’t be the last they see of me.


Address: 36-38 The Calls, Leeds, LS2 7EW

Telephone: 0113 246 1848

Opening hours: Mon-Sun, noon-10pm.



Food: 8/10

Value: 7/10

Atmosphere: 9/10

Service: 5/10

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