Everyone has an opinion on what the best restaurant in their local area is. I’m sure that we’ve all passed on a glowing recommendation for the ‘best Italian restaurant’, extolled the virtues of the ‘best Indian restaurant’, or enthusiastically tweeted about the ‘best Chinese restaurant catering for small children in a square mile of Roundhay Park’. Ok, that last one may be a step too far, but you get the point.
Touted around far too often, ‘best’ can be a problematic description. As @philkirby eloquently put in his recent article ‘Why would anyone say that Leeds was the “best city”?’, best can be a divisive term that can aggravate anyone whose idea of ‘best’ differs from the one proffered. It’s also a highly subjective term, which in turn makes it a highly contested term which can have no crowned winner. How can one restaurant be termed ‘the best’ when there are so many restaurants sharing the same glowing accolades from their customers?
So why, you may ask, have I written a post entitled ‘ The best restaurant in Leeds?’?
“We’re in it to enjoy ourselves” declares Gip Dammone. To which his brother, John Dammone, immediately adds: “And be proud”. It’s been several days since I met the Dammone brothers at their restaurant, Salvo’s, but their words have lingered. Two simple but poignant declarations, they epitomised the very essence of what makes Leeds’ independent restaurants, like Salvo’s, so utterly fantastic.
Salvo’s is a Leeds legend. A small, family run restaurant in the student hub of Headingley, it’s spoken about throughout Leeds, and beyond, with utmost respect and reverence. We’re in an age where restaurants must fight harder than ever before for our business, where chefs need to inject even more passion and creativity into their dishes, where waiters and waitresses must wait even harder. Reputations can be built and lost by just one customer’s experience. But Salvo’s reputation never falters. After meeting its owners Gip and John, the sons of founder, Salvatore, it’s no surprise. Gip and John’s genuine passion, dedication and commitment to providing the very best experience for their loyal customers was truly inspiring. This doesn’t mean huge price tags or fussy plates reeking of ‘value added pretention’, as Gip ingeniously phrased it. No, it’s much simpler than that. Quality ingredients, a carefully thought-out menu, passion and pride. No more and no less.