SquareMeal Review of Salvo's

Just about everyone in Leeds has heard of Salvo’s. Opened in 1976, this busy, buzzing trattoria run by the Dammone family has been sending out heaps of Italian and Sicilian favourites ever since. From a lengthy menu you might go for king prawns with chilli or pot-roast beef in red wine, but it’s the pasta dishes and thin, crisp pizzas that people really come to Salvo’s for. In the old days space was at a premium and queuing was a necessity, but that was all swept away in 2011, with an extension next door and a dramatically revamped design. Now, happily, you can book – though they still leave some tables for walk-ins, and anyone waiting can make use of the upstairs bar which is suitably decorated with family photos, a real-live Vespa and a working jukebox. Salvo’s got cool.

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Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Food Hygiene Rating

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115 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3PX

0113 275 5017


Opening Times

Mon-Sat 12N-2pm Mon-Thu 6-10.45pm Fri-Sat 5.30-11pm


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2 Reviews 

Paul A

18 May 2015  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 4
Good old Salvo's
Good old Salvo's - probably the best bet on a Sunday evening in Leeds, and full of happy punters creating a good atmosphere to go with the always satisfying, uncomplicated but tasty, well-balanced and well-presented Italian cooking. In the unfortunate absence of the signature dish, Gamberoni Abruzzese, as they had run out of king prawns, we resorted to Queen scallops in the shell with a sheep's cheese base, lemon and rocket, King scallops with ham and a thick pea velouté, and fresh sardines tastily served with grilled paprika. Our disappointment about the prawns was in fact more than made up for by the fact that one of our all-time favourites, swordfish, was on the specials offer, and we jumped at the chance to sample it as it appears on the menu so rarely these days, even in fish restaurants. It was beautifully cooked and came with new potatoes, an agro-dolce vegetable mix, sultanas and pine nuts. One of the party had very good cod, probably done in the water-bath but none the worse for that, with a Sicilian caponata and garlic aïoli. Our desserts were also up to scratch - nothing too unusual, but the Amalfi lemon mousse with a lovely forest fruits sorbet, blood orange syrup and segments, and a delightfully tart chocolate ganache with proper vanilla ice cream brought our meal to a satisfying conclusion. With its friendly, efficient service and consistently enjoyable food, Salvo's could teach some fine-dining places a lesson or two.

Richard M

26 February 2009  
Food & Drink 3
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 3.5
Upon initial inspection, Salvos appears to be a friendly, family-owned, slightly classy Italian restaurant at the side of a busy road. This is just a cover. The truth is, Salvos was born to the sounds of thunder in a cobwebbed laboratory by some balding genius who had eaten too much Parmesan cheese before bed. It is a creation, not a business, designed to crush, destroy and laugh-at all the other “italian” restaurants in Headingley and if it had ears, there would be two bloody big bolts behind them. It's fancy, it's friendly and it knows it. Salvos caters to two groups of Headingley diners; people who like cricket and the parents of middle-class-white-students (or is that just one group?). A warning I wish I'd received before my first visit: this is not an eatery reserved for “sugar-daddies”, those are their daughters. The service was experienced, efficient and convivial in all the right ratios, testament again to the genius of the Salvos “creator”. The food, however, lacked the ‘spark’ that was felt elsewhere. It was as though, on that stormy night, when Dr. Salvo-stein watched the bolt of life-giving electricity pulse through the building, it didn't quite reach the kitchen. My aubergine with Ricotta and rocket was nicely smokey, but a little cold and was SCREAMING for a balsamic reduction or a citrus-y dressing to kick it up the bum. My main of traditional pesto spaghetti with pan fried greens was not-so-traditional and, instead, came with pan fried cream. A fellow diner's whitefish chowder tasted good, but looked a little like one of those Sunday morning, Baileys coloured puddles outside “Tequila” or “Tiger Tiger”. I'm exaggerating, but honestly, if I were to go again, I'd just ask for a basket of the amazing complimentary foccacia (from the Salumeria?) and a bucket of oil and vinegar. Alas, it seems we have learned nothing from those gothic tales of artificial creation; we should know not to ask too much from a beast which has been built in a lab. Perfection is more easily stumbled upon than manufactured.
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