Best restaurants in Leicester

Leicester might not be top of your list when it comes to foodie cities to visit, but don’t be quick to judge, because there’s a lot going on in this county town. From atmospheric coffee shops to independent bars, proper pubs and Michelin-starred restaurants, its diverse food scene just might surprise you. Check out all of Leicester’s best restaurants right here if you don’t believe us.

Updated on 08 September 2023

Leicester’s rich history, beautiful architecture, plethora of museums and pretty outdoor spaces make it a great option for staycations, weekend getaways and easy day trips. Many fall in love instantly with its remarkable heritage; stroll down its medieval streets to uncover St Martin’s Cathedral, aka the resting place of King Richard III, or pay a visit to its age-old Jewry Wall, one of the largest remaining Roman structures in Britain. Today, of course, Leicester is more commonly known for its Premier League football team, with sports fans flocking to its King Power Stadium to catch a match.   

It’s also one of the most culturally diverse cities in the east Midlands with a vast Asian population. This melting pot of different cultures is what spurred the creation of the city’s Golden Mile, a mile-long stretch just north of the city centre famous for its fine jewellery shops, fashion, spices and, yes, food. Discover a wealth of Indian restaurants and vegetarian food along this vibrant road, with long-standing Bobby’s often cited as one of the best places to eat on the Golden Mile.  

Venture a little further out of the city centre and you’ll find a host of Michelin-rated restaurants worth a special look-in. Sure, they might require a short trip in the car, but what’s a half hour drive when great food is on the line? Finally, don’t forget to round-off your visit with a trip to Melton Mobray just north east of Leicester - the original home of the iconic pork pie. Convinced of its foodie credentials yet? Have a browse of Leicester's best restaurants and you soon will be.  

Bodega Cantina Leicester

Bodega Cantina Leicester

6 St Martins Square, Leicester , Leicestershire, LE1 5DF

Bodega Cantina’s crowd-pleasing offering combines colourful interiors with vibrant South American plates, from tacos and ceviche to Argentian steaks. Kids and vegan menus make it open to all, and it runs a great-value happy hour every day of the week! 

£30 - £49
South American
Herb

Herb

96 Granby Street, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE11DJ

Keralan restaurant Herb focuses on vegetarian and vegan cooking exclusively, with dishes inspired by head chef Ramdas Krishna’s love for his home town. Spinach dosas, herb soup, lentil curries and veg stir fries are all served in abundance.

Under £30
Vegetarian
Indian
San Carlo - Leicester

San Carlo - Leicester

38 - 40 Granby Street, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 1DE

Multi-award-winning San Carlo group are famed for their unapologetically lavish Italian restaurants, and this one in Leicester is no different. Ostentatious interiors, Italian classics and a fun, informal atmosphere make it a popular bet in the city centre.

Italian
Bobby’s

Bobby’s

154-156 Belgrave Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE4 5AT

Vegetarian and vegan restaurant Bobby’s was one of the first Indian restaurants of its kind in the UK. You can find it on the Golden Mile where it serves up everything from gastronomic street food to traditional thalis. 

Under £30
Vegetarian
Indian
Tandem

Tandem

59 Highcross Street, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 4PG

Glitzy Indian restaurant and cocktail bar Tandem serves up great food and a fun night out in one fell swoop. Spanning two floors, the spacious restaurant serves a menu inspired by Goan and Portuguese influences. Stick around for a cocktail at the bar post-dinner.  

£30 - £49
Bars
Indian
Mrs Bridge’s Tea Rooms

Mrs Bridge’s Tea Rooms

17 Loseby Lane, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 5DR

This quaint and cutesy tearoom has become part of Leicester’s furniture over the years, serving breakfast, lunch, brunch and afternoon tea to locals for more than 100 years. Grab a seat in its pretty patio garden in the summer if you can.

Under £30
Afternoon tea
The Olive Branch Rutland

The Olive Branch Rutland

Main Street, Clipsham, Stamford, Rutland, LE15 7SH

Bordering Leicestershire you will find award-winning country pub and hotel The Olive Branch. With a menu of contemporary British dishes, pub classics and a dedicated children's menu, it's a welcoming spot for all.

£30 - £49
Modern European
British
Gastropub
Chutney Ivy

Chutney Ivy

41 Halford Street, Leicester, LE1 1TR

This spacious contemporary Indian restaurant is great for date nights, family dinners and big nights out! The menu is replete with plenty of familiar favourites, plus a few surprising options. The crispy duck samosas with tamarind and cucumber relish make a great appetiser. 

£30 - £49
Indian
The White Swan Lutterworth

The White Swan Lutterworth

Main Street, Shawell , Leicestershire, LE17 6AG

The White Swan is first and foremost a traditional country pub, but with a more contemporary feel and one that serves a six-course tasting menu. Locally-sourced, seasonally-led plates are designed by head chef duo Alex and Dan, including delights such as roscoff onion veloute with truffle custard. 

£50 - £79
British
Gastropub
The Joiners Bruntingthorpe

The Joiners Bruntingthorpe

Church Walk, Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire, LE17 5QH

Travel a little way south of Leicester to discover this charming village inn, where a relaxed approach to food and service makes it popular with locals and visitors alike. A concise-ish menu addresses all the classics: steak and chips, chicken supreme and a tasty-sounding artichoke gnocchi. 

£30 - £49
Pubs
British
Giggling Squid Leicester

Giggling Squid Leicester

3-5 St Martin's Court Square, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 5DF

Great value, properly tasty Thai food has become Giggling Squid’s USP, and we’ll always recommend it to anyone with a hankering for a half decent pad Thai or a soul-warming massaman curry. It might be a chain, but it’s a good one. 

Under £30
Thai
Hammer & Pincers

Hammer & Pincers

5 East Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 6ST

This warm and cosy restaurant with rooms offers a wealth of vibrant tasting and grazing menus. Dishes include smoked rabbit with goose liver and black garlic, scallops with sweetcorn and kombu and chocolate with olive oil and muscovado. 

£30 - £49
Modern European
Stag & Hounds

Stag & Hounds

4 Main Street, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, LE14 2JQ

Low ceilings and wooden beams inject this 16th-century country pub with huge amounts of charm. Combine that with local beers, weekly-changing menus and an award-winning chef and you can see why Michelin has granted it one of its famed Bib Gourmand awards.  

£30 - £49
Pubs
British
Kayal Leicester

Kayal Leicester

153, Granby Street, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 6FE

One of Leicester’s top-rated Indian restaurants, Kayal focuses on the cuisine of Kerala in south India with a menu of fragrant, mildly-spiced dishes using ultra fresh ingredients. Expect fish and seafood curries, masala dosas and Thali dishes.

£30 - £49
Indian
Sapori

Sapori

40 Stadon Road, Anstey, Leicestershire, LE7 7AY

Sapori, meaning flavour in Italian, specialises in modern Italian fine dining and it certainly lives up to its name. A la carte and tasting menus take inspiration from head chef Andrea Scarpati’s home town of Naples, who puts a refined spin on classic dishes. Think smoked beef tartare with pickled beetroots, onions, yellow tomato ketchup, apple and celery sorbet and parmesan crisp. 

£50 - £79
Italian

If you're planning on staying in the area for a few days, it's worth paying a visit to some of Leicester's nearby cities. We've got guides to Birmingham's best restaurants and the best places to eat in Nottingham too, which are both packed with top foodie spots. 

However, if you'd prefer to stay in the area and can't quite find anything in this list that tickles your fancy, why not check out all the restaurants Leicester has to offer? You can easily filter the list by budget, cuisine and occasion, so that if you want to see which restaurants in Leicester offer afternoon tea - you can! 

Join SquareMeal Rewards

Collect points, worth at least £1, every time you book online and dine at a participating restaurant.

Start Collecting Points

Already a member? Sign in