Spanish food is all the rage nowadays, and in Leeds, tapas restaurants are springing up all over the city showcasing the cuisine’s best flavours through their tasty, flavour-packed small plates of food. Served hot, cold, in platters with several for sharing or alone as appetisers, these tasty morsels are best accompanied by a glass (or a bottle) of wine, some sangria or even a craft beer or two. The majority of Leeds’ best tapas restaurants can be found around the city centre, but you can also find several others found as far away as Kirkstall, Roundhay and even further afield. Tapas restaurants in Leeds provide the ideal space for grabbing after-work drinks with friends, an evening with that special someone or a unique family dinner. Heck, there’s never a bad time to eat tapas!
Legend has it that the first tapas came about during the 14th century, when King Alfonso X of Castille was recovering from a serious illness. In order to keep from overstressing his body, his aides made sure that each glass of wine given to him was accompanied by a small amount of food. After a quick recuperation, the king declared that alcohol must always be served alongside a small snack, and thus tapas were born. Of course, this is just one of many myths. Another common belief is that, because tapas comes from the word ‘cover’ or ‘lid’ in Spanish, tapas such as bread were originally placed over the top of wine glasses to keep flies from making their way in. No matter the story, we’re just happy tapas became a thing – try the best in one of the many tapas restaurants in Leeds.
The Spanish love a good bottle of wine, and that’s something we can definitely get on board with. Spain is home to the largest amount of land devoted to vineyards in the entire world, with ample space all over the country for growing grapes that will eventually make their way into some of the world’s finest wines. One famous grape variety and wine you’ll find in Leeds’ tapas restaurants is tempranillo, which is one of the most widely planted varieties in Spain. With a less intense flavour than wines like cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir, tempranillo goes well with many different tapas dishes, no matter whether the dishes contain meat, seafood or vegetables. If you’re not skilled enough to decide on the perfect wine, let one of the professionals at the tapas restaurants in Leeds help you out – sometimes, in the fancier Leeds tapas restaurants, there’s even a sommelier to help you pair your food.
In Spain, tapas are commonly found in pubs and are a normal part of the drinking experience. In some places, you’ll even find several varieties of tapas laid out on warming trays for guests to sample as they drink. Usually, tapas are seasoned with cumin, salt, chillies and paprika, packed with garlic and doused with olive oil. They are often eaten as a snack between lunch and dinner, and are usually accompanied by plenty of alcohol. In parts of Spain such as Andalusia, tapas are served in bars for free to encourage patrons to keep buying drinks and stay in the bar for a longer period of time. The saltiness and oiliness no doubt makes guests feel thirstier, and that keeps both the drinkers and the bar owners happy. Tapas restaurants in Leeds are quite different from those in Spain in that going to a tapas restaurant is more of a special occasion, and not just a benefit to drinking in a bar.
In Leeds, tapas restaurants are often an upmarket affair, with gourmet ingredients, artisanal meats and cheeses and heartier main courses available alongside a wide range of Spanish wines, beers, and cocktails. Some tapas restaurants in Leeds are much more traditional than others, with some catering to the local foodie crowd, others to gourmands and some to the Spanish expat community. There are several tapas restaurants in Leeds city centre that cater to the upmarket crowd, and their proximity to the city’s biggest sights make them popular among tourists out and about. It’s even possible to find pintxos, or Basque-style tapas, in some of the better tapas restaurants in Leeds. If you’re looking for the most authentic tapas restaurants in Leeds, do a bit of research and you’ll be handsomely rewarded.
New to tapas? No worries. At Quandoo, we have a huge selection of the best tapas restaurants in Leeds for you to try. Browse using an array of filters and narrow down your search by price range, location and cuisine type. There are tapas restaurants all over Leeds to visit, and some of the very best are bookable on Quandoo. Best of all, it’s free, instant and super easy to use. Book at one of the best tapas restaurants in Leeds and get rewarded!