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CASA COLOMBIANA - A Place To Eat And Feel Good About Eating!

Once the trees are taken down and the cold sets in, we find ourselves facing the daunting reality of January. The festivities of December have dissipated before our eyes; the canapes, the work-do nibbles, the endless cycle of Christmas dinners and turkey sandwiches. Despite gorging ourselves on cheese and chocolate and surrendering ourselves to dry January, we find ourselves trying to balance our bank accounts and food groups all over again.

It can be near impossible to go out for dinner these days without accidentally ending up 'out out' or dipping into the overdraft. Even though the post-Covid lull in the hospitality scene has forced restaurants to take on new measures - I mean, even The Ivy has a rewards app now.

Not only is it tricky to justify dining out these days, but finding somewhere that is worth the money and the effort of going out into the arctic weather is the real reason we find ourselves under blankets and breaking our new years resolutions with a takeaway.

So, where can you grab a bite to eat in Leeds these days where the quality of the food is reflected by atmosphere, and won't leave you fearing a bank app notification? I hate to sound biased but I'm going to suggest my favourite restaurant - Casa Colmobiana.

A hidden gem located in the Grand Arcade, Casa is an independent Latin American restaurant and bar, managed by owners David and Marta. The dishes combine flavours which come together in perfect harmony with ingredients that are fresh and naturally gluten free. Ideal for me as someone who suffers from gluten intolerance, though my partner did not taste the difference! I personally recommend the corn cake with prawns, the tacos and the fried plantain, served with salsa dip, lime and - if you're doing damp Jan like I am - a cheeky margarita or mojito. We ordered six plates of tapas ourselves and were overjoyed to find that with drinks the bill only came to £60ish! The delightful Marta almost swayed us into getting dessert, but we were so full already we had to pass, giving us even more reason to return.

The spirit of the owners is not just present in the food but in the warm ambiance of the restaurant and its service. Every time we visit, we are made to feel as welcome as one might feel going over to someone's house for a dinner party. The owners host the 7pm restaurant rush with attentiveness and good humour, we could have spent hours laughing and joking with David who really made our night. You find yourselves saying, I can't wait to bring so-and-so here for dinner next time, or, shall we book in for that special date night?

Once the bill is paid and you're on your way, you don't feel overburdened by a sense of gluttony or regret. The food is so tasty and refreshing that you can only feel good about eating it, which really is what dining out should be about! Instead of forcing yourself to pick half-heartedly from over-priced set menus at chain restaurants, retreat away from the Shepherds pies and deliveroo deals and into the oasis of Casa Colombiana. I promise you, it is the best place to eat to beat any early 2024 blues.

Thank you David and Marta for having us. We will be back!

Article By Saskia Dylan

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