Oliver Awards 2022: How you can help to celebrate the best bars, cafes and restaurants in Leeds

It wasn't until it was taken away that I fully realised the value of eating and drinking out.
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From a crisp pint in a sunny beer garden to dressing up and enjoying a spectacular tasting menu, it's a moment to escape the mundanity of everyday life and enjoy time with friends and loved ones.

In 2019, the hospitality sector contributed £59.3billion to the UK economy - and that year a YouGov poll found that one in ten Brits ate out or ordered a takeaway at least once a week.

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And during the pandemic, enjoying a restaurant-quality meal at home took on a whole new importance as we looked for a little slice of happiness to break up those long days in lockdown.

Entries are now open for the Oliver Awards 2022, with the winners announced at a ceremony at Queens Hotel on March 28Entries are now open for the Oliver Awards 2022, with the winners announced at a ceremony at Queens Hotel on March 28
Entries are now open for the Oliver Awards 2022, with the winners announced at a ceremony at Queens Hotel on March 28

Since the world reopened, I've had the privilege of visiting dozens of Leeds restaurants, bars and pubs as part of our Little Oliver and Barfly review series.

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Oliver Awards 2022: Entries now open as the Yorkshire Evening Post celebrates Le...

And, I must admit, my dining habits extend well beyond my role - there's nothing I love more than stumbling across a new eatery, or tasting the vibrant menus that have had diners flocking back through the doors of restaurants.

Leeds boasts one of the finest food and drinks scenes in the country and despite unimaginable pressures over the last two years, they have managed to get people back in seats with innovative new menus, slick refurbishments and friendly customer service.

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We all have our favourite spots in Leeds, whether it's a local boozer or a fine-dining institution. Now, we need your help to celebrate them.

The Yorkshire Evening Post's Oliver Awards have returned for the 13th year, highlighting what the Leeds food and drink scene has to offer.

We'd love you to encourage your favourite restaurant, bar, pub, cafe or takeaway to enter, by dropping them a message, tagging them on Facebook or letting your server know about the awards while you're enjoying your meal.

Even applying for the awards has given a much-needed morale boost, Bobby Gheeta of Fleur Cafe recently told me, and coming away with a win will help to solidify a restaurant's place on the Leeds map.

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The categories that businesses can enter into are: Best Cafe/Deli, Best Gastro Pub & Brewery, Best Brunch, Best Local Produce, Best Bar, Best Speciality, Best Family Friendly, Best Use of Outdoor Space, Sustainability, Best Customer Service, Newcomer of the Year, Best Takeaway Offering, Best Fine Dining Experience and Chef of the Year.

And the public can nominate a business for the Outstanding Contribution award, a chance for us to single out someone special for praise - whether they have overcome personal difficulty, helped others during the pandemic or achieved something out of the ordinary.

Who do you think would make a worthy winner? Enter them now at www.oliverawards.co.uk.

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