Buca Di Pizza, Leeds

With my office in Whitehall Quay and Alison’s old apartment in West Point, I’ve walked past this place hundreds of times but never had the chance to eat here. After a few drinks in the new bars that have popped up in Wellington Place one Friday night, we decided to check it out on the walk home.

The restaurant front is merely a wooden shed with a tuk tuk parked up next to it. But don’t let this trick you, the restaurant itself is huge! Having bought the entire cellar network for an old hotel, the space has long winding alleys and alcoves with a crazy amount of seating. Apparently they haven’t even kitted out all of the space they own, with some doors leading to even more tunnels that extend down to the river. A completely different feel to the new Pizza Fella on Vicar Lane. And it seems insanely popular! We could only get a table for two on the basis we were staying there for less than an hour.

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I imagine the main reason people are drawn to the place is because of their “Tutto” deal, which gets you unlimited pizza bought to your table and complimentary refills of beer and prosecco for ninety minutes for £22. Not only is this good value, a way to try all the pizzas, and a decent way to set the scene for a night out, it works wonders for large groups that want to take the effort out of ordering and settling the bill. The place was full of big tables exactly for this reason I imagine. The staff seemed to be doing a good job of keeping glasses full too.

But for a couple that have probably already had too much to drink, the deal isn’t as exciting, so we opted out and ordered two individual pizzas instead. The choice is amazing, with classics alongside some of Buca’s inventions! They have come up with some seriously creative combos. We went for the Hickory Pig (spiced cheddar, pancetta, pulled pork and bbq sauce) and the My Cousin Vinay (paneer, onion bhajis, spinach, curry sauce and mint sauce). Who would have thought that onion bhajis on a pizza work! They weren’t the best pizzas I’d had, the crusts were really thin, but they were tasty and generous with toppings.

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There are so many amazing options on the menu. I need to go back and try the Nduja Love Me (what a name, nduja, sausage, chicken and sun-dried tomatoes) and the Chilli Con Carnivoro (pulled pork, chilli con carne, jalapeños and two types of cheddar). They also offer a decent lunchtime deal with pizza and a drink for a tenner.

Buca Di Pizza is clearly proving to be a success. They’re converting the old newsagents right above the Leeds spot into a prosecco bar and also opening a new restaurant in Manchester. With their original topping combos and deals that scream out for big parties, it’s easy to see why. Pizza Fella remains my favourite in Leeds, but this place looks like it’s better suited to bigger groups.

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