With the unpredictability of UK weather and the arrival of Step two of the roadmap out of lockdown (May 17th), we can finally ditch the jackets, blankets and brollies and escape to the safety of the warm and cosy indoors of our favourite bars and restaurants.
After work drinks, family dinners, friendly get togethers and date nights are all firmly back on the table and we’re spoilt for choice for places to enjoy tucking into delicious food and sipping on refreshing beverages in cosy and cool interiors.
We’ve rounded up the city’s best dining destinations who are ready to welcome you back.
In the city’s historic quarter, the soul of Latin America has arrived in the form of new bar and restaurant Sonrisa. Guaranteed to make you smile from the inside out, enjoy delicious Argentine delectable in beautiful surroundings. The authentic menu is bursting with new favourites including a mouth-watering Marucha Flat Iron served with buttery potato terrine, tangy pickled shallots, aioli and picante chimichurri; or, if you want to share, the stunning 900g Sirloin on the bone served with garlic and potato terrine, caramelised red peppers, padron peppers and picante chimichurri.
Based in a Grade II listed building in Leicester’s City Centre, Passionate about providing authentic Italian pizza, Peter’s Pizzeria has plenty of varieties for you to choose from that will have you throwing out those takeaway menus. Their eye-catching interiors includes an array of original features that you’ll can treat your eyes with while you’re devouring your pizza.
An ode to Joe Orton, the famous Leicester playwright Orton’s Brasserie is the perfect place to enjoy fresh, local, contemporary British cuisine as well as a range of delicious cocktails. Launched last year in between lockdowns, now is the time to book your table for lunch or dinner and enjoy their insta-worthy Pan-Fried Chicken Breast, Orton’s Fish and Chips or Aubergine & Harissa.
Calling all coffee lovers! Leicester Coffee House provides good quality, ethically sourced coffee that tastes amazing! From Monday-Friday 8am-3pm pop by their Granby Street location and choose from two single origin coffees or a decaf for their carefully crafted espresso-based drinks and all the beans are roasted in house. Recently refurbished settle in to their comfortable and relaxed space with music and vintage furnishing adding to the ambience.
Reopening their doors for the first time in a while, you can finally enjoy the world of craft beers and cocktails alongside a superb menu of classic freshly cooked pub food at Queen of Bradgate. They’re back with great offers including Foodie Mondays (Half price starters and desserts with every full price main course) and Tapas Tuesday (3 tapas & a drink for £15.95/5 tapas and a drink for £24.95) that you won’t be able to resist.
The small but might deli is tucked into the ground floor of the city’s Silver Arcade and a perfect spot for a post or pre-shopping trip. A self-described “quirky deli experience” they have a mouth-watering range of food from all across the UK to enjoy with an extensive and inclusive rustic menu. You’ll also find local craft beers, chutneys, jams, biscuits, cakes, Hambleton’s breads and local cheeses, so you won’t be leaving with an empty stomach or hand.
The social hub of the Cultural Quarter, The Exchange Bar and coffee house, is the perfect place to meet for that much-needed and long-awaited catch up with friends. Their friendly laid-back bar offers top-notch coffee, delicious sweets, and lazy weekend brunches. Fancy a light bite, you can choose from one of their sharing boards and they even have a Scotch Egg of the week!
Enjoy the best gelato in the city! Gelato Village have crafted their gelato and sorbetto from 100% natural ingredients to give it that true authentic Italian taste. The cornerstone of their gelataria is their milk from Vine Farm Dairy which is delivered fresh to the gelateria and you can even pick up by the litre and enjoy at home. Based in St Martin’s Square, enjoy your pick of delicious flavours of gelato and sorbetto, grab a soft drink from the fridge or indulge in their coffee from famed family run coffee supplier Caffe Vergnano.
Part of the ‘Beautiful Pubs’ Collective, Rutland & Derby is based in the city’s Cathedral Quarter and known as a place to meet, eat and drink. The vibrant pub pride themselves on pulling a well-kept pint and mixing cocktails with artisan spirits as well innovative pub food. Open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, expect craft beers, cocktails, fine wines, live music and food from ‘The Poutine Collective’ pop-up kitchen.
Enjoy classic pub food in the city’s oldest standing house which now serves as Wygstons House. You can choose to soak up the sunshine in their amazing outdoor space overlooking Jubilee Square or enjoy their indoor dining. Their famous roast dinners return on 23rd May so get booking so you can dine their sensational Sunday lunch.
Newly refurbished and in the heart of the city, housed in the former Brucciani’s, visit Five Fox Lane to enjoy some of the old favourites include soda floats and iced buns. Their menu is full of classic sandwiches, jacket potatoes and cakes (including their famous lemon splits) and is locally sourced and made fresh daily. If you stop by for your morning coffee, be sure to be there before 11am and get a free croissant!
Step into Café Bruxelles and marvel at their a vast rage of Belgian beers and European inspired menu that compliments its neoclassical interiors. Whether you want to enjoy one of their cocktails inside or soak up the sunshine in Bruxelles beautiful garden while tucking into a gourmet meal, the choice is all yours!
Offering two floors of South American vibes in the city’s St Martin’s Square, head to Bodega with your amigos to delve into their homemade South American cuisine alongside their delicious cocktail menu. They’ve launched a brand new menu of street Food, small plates, large plates, sides and desserts where you can choose from Burritos, Enchiladas, Quesadillas, Tacos and so much more!
Serving fresh, seasonal food since 2013, Grays Coffee Shop & Kitchen is the best place to go for a diverse menu of food. It’s become a staple in the cultural quarter for breakfast and lunch and the go-to place for eclectic events. They’re also home to #LastFriday, the legendary street food night on the last Friday of every month featuring a carousel of food traders to enjoy as an after-work social.
Enjoy authentic Indian food and experience the award-winning contemporary fine dining of Chutney Ivy. Their culinary magic and wide range of flavours will satisfy you tantalizing taste buds with cuisines from all around the world. Heading back to the theatre? Stop by for their pre-theatre menu and sink your teeth into dishes including Paneer Tikka Shashlik (Chunks of Indian cheese in a spicy marinade of cumin, coriander, chillies and soy sauce grilled in the Tandoor with chunky onions and mixed peppers) and Maachi Amritsari (Succulent chunks of white fillets of fish delicately spiced, coated in an ajwain and gram flour batter and deep fried until golden.)
The family run café and restaurant has been providing the city with everything from homemade cakes, coffee and panini to pasta, pizza and a wide variety of traditional Italian dishes since 1996. Dine in on a Wednesday and take advantage of their Pizza Wednesday offer of homemade Italian pizza’s for £9 or 2 for £15.
A classic British Public House, in fact the older in the city, serving fine ales and food since 1720. Flash forward to 2021 and they’re ready to welcome you back indoors serving up plenty of ales and their newly refreshed food menu which includes slow-roasted pork belly, steak and ale pie, burritos and plenty of plant-based options for vegan and vegetarian customers.
While we can’t travel to the exotic destinations of Australia & Bali, you can grab a taste at the eatery inspired by those very places at Orso. Find fresh, delicious food with a menu that changes weekly. You might enjoy a poached egg on avocado for brunch, a summer salad for lunch or maybe even treat yourself to a cheese melt! With a changing menu there is always something new to try, so why try to resist!
A cocktail bar inspired by the 1930s jazz age glam and vintage American style, Manhattan34 captures the atmosphere of this time with and provides you an elegant place to unwind. Serving exceptional classics and innovative new creations, it’s a cocktail-lovers haven as well as having craft beers and real ales to choose from.
100% Vegan, 100% natural and 100% healthy, Prana is a plant-food based paradise. During lockdown, they’ve been working hard on a new and improved menu using the finest Wholefood and organic ingredients. Expect to be wowed by their selection of showstopping cakes to enjoy with an artisan coffee or a whole leaf tea and that’s not all they also have a great menu of pizzas, burgers, rice bowls and sweet treats.
Family friendly and accessible, James Café Bistro is the new home of We Are Leicester and boasts a quirky interior decorated with the artwork of 60+ local artists and designers. Food is made fresh to order using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. The team are happy to adapt dishes to suit vegan and gluten-free diets – just ask! Every week diners are spoilt for choice with a new specials menu containing delicious lunch options and homemade desserts.
The newly launched Indian café concept, Desi Street Food brings a sense of the street market experience of India to the city – drinking Chai or Limca, eating Chaats or a healthy Salad. Enjoy freshly cooked food using only locally sourced good quality produce, bursting with delicious flavours and all 100% vegetarian. Pop by for breakfast, lunch or just a quick snack.
Cocktail galore! 33 Cank Street is the perfect place to catch up with your friends over (many) cocktails after a long lockdown. The city’s first table service cocktail bar shakes up classic cocktails and an ever-changing collection of boutique in house creations so you’re sure to find something to suit your palate.
Based in the iconic former NatWest bank building, Steak lovers must visit Middleton’s Steakhouse & Grill. Tuck into delicious mix of prime cuts of meat, grills, burgers, fresh fish and delicious desserts in an outstanding setting in the heart of the city. Add to this a fabulous selection of wines and a cocktail list packed with classics.
A traditional English free house with modernist flair, the historic Two-Tailed Lion is situated in a listed building within the historic Greyfriars area of the city’s Old Town. Head along and enjoy craft beer, real ale, fine wines, premium sprits and quality food. Spread over 2 floors, there’s plenty of space and time to enjoy their rotating choice of kegged, cask and bottled beers. When it comes to food, they’ve mastered the art of the beer snack.