With over 500,000 people in the greater Leicester area, this thriving multicultural city in the heart of the country has a ton of great options for food and drink, largely thanks to the many people from around the world who call the city home.
What are good places to eat in Leicester?
This influx of people, drawn by the manufacturing jobs, as well as the city’s two universities, mean that Leicester is now a brilliant place for a curry- or a pizza, and much else besides: dig in. So if you’re looking for places to eat in Leicester, here are some recommendations.
Italians came to Leicester to work in the city’s hosiery factories, and stuck around long enough to open restaurants offering a really delicious taste of home (there are over 30 independent Italian restaurants in the city centre alone).
For higher-end dining on Granby Street, try San Carlo, which makes up for its slightly formal atmosphere with incredibly friendly native Italian staff. Here, you definitely get what you pay for: and the calzone here is to die for.
Granby Street also offers fresh pizza at reasonably-priced Grosseto and a wider range of Italian dishes at newbie restaurant Vesuvio. If you’re up in chi-chi Clarendon Park, Don Leone makes the tastiest penne al salmone this side of Milan, while atmospheric Cafe Roma (think checked table cloths and dripping candles in wine bottles) is located just outside the Cultural Quarter, and serves up a great selection of Italian favourites for both veggies and meat-eaters.
Leicester’s large South Asian community has made a big impression on the city’s gastronomic scene, and one often-overlooked gem is Shivalli. Found on Welford Road at the bottom of New Walk, Shivalli is a fully vegetarian restaurant that’s also a big hitter with non-veggies. A buffet lunch will set you back a mere £4.95, and the attentive staff can’t do enough for you. Try the paneer here, it’s amazing- some even say Shivalli has the best Indian food outside of India.
Welford Road is also home to Spice Bazzar, a great family-friendly restaurant, while Kayal, Sayonara Thali and James Balti House all come highly recommended.
Some of the Best Independent Restaurants in Leicester
If you’re not in the mood for Italian or Indian, that’s OK: Leicester has more to offer.
The Turkey Cafe offers amazing afternoon teas and cocktails in a quirky Art Nouveau building in the city centre, while old favourite Mrs. Bridge’s Tearooms offers all-day weekend breakfasts, salted popcorn chocolate tarts, homemade macarons, and any number of other home-baked goodies.
Slightly out of the city centre, near the King Power Stadium, is North Bar and Kitchen, offering halloumi burgers, pavlovas, and creamy soups, as well as an impressive range of gins: all in a modern, sleek, European-style setting.
Those in the mood for authentic Japanese should definitely book ahead at Kuru Kuru Sushi, as this lovely little restaurant has limited seating, despite its popularity. Tasty Turkish food is to be found at Efes Mangal BBQ, while those who appreciate French cuisine will love Le Petit Rouge or Bistrot Pierre.
Sometimes you want something simple and familiar- and there’s nothing wrong with that! Leicester’s High Cross shopping centre has definitely benefited from its new extension, and it’s a great spot to hit up if you’re with your family or just not quite sure what you want. All the usual favourites are represented here, from Yo! Sushi to Patisserie Valerie, Carluccio’s, Cafe Rouge, Frankie & Benny’s, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Pizza Express, Zizzi, and Nando’s.
If you have your own favourite places to eat in Leicester, we’d like to hear from you so either drop us a line or leave a review to inspire us!
If you would like additional ideas for things to do in Leicester, why not take a look at more of the attractions and events in our other Leicester guides.