Pictures on social media show a black mass of the insects congregating outside the four-month-old Itsu sushi restaurant on Commercial Street.
A staff member at the Japanese-themed restaurant, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “They turned up around 2pm.
“They are circling around the queen bee and I think they are just looking for a new home.
“We are just closed until the bee-man arrives as we need to make sure none of the bees get inside in case any customers suffer from bee allergies.
“Luckily we only had five customers in at the time and they were able to leave safely.
“It is just evening staff in here at the moment so no one has been trapped in after their shift and we are just getting on with our restaurant duties.
“We are waiting for pest control to arrive and we will see what they say but hopefully we will be open later on.”
Passer-by, Katie Timms, posted on Twitter: “Huge bee or wasp nest in Leeds.... nasty.”
Matthew Cullen also wrote on social media: “Check out this swarm of Bees outside ITSU shop in Leeds.”