A firm favourite among Leeds’ caffeine connoisseurs, La Bottega Milanese brings the essence of European café culture to the heart of Yorkshire with timeless Italian style, a buzzing atmosphere and espresso so good you’ll want to come back time and time again.

This pioneering brand was founded by Alex Galantino, who opened his first ‘cupboard-sized’ premises in The Calls back in 2009. At that time, speciality coffee shops were thin on the ground and micro roasters hadn’t yet started popping up in every UK town and city. In fact, when La Bottega’s second shop came to The Light two years later, it was the only place outside of London where you could still get an espresso at 11:00pm.

Alex trained as a barista in Milan but tried out various careers following his move to Leeds before realising that an authentic continental-style espresso bar was just what the city needed. After thirteen successful years, which saw an LBM pop up in Harvey Nichols, the closure of The Light store and the arrival of two new permanent shops, he passed the reins on to the company’s new director, Katia Pereira, in March 2022.

La Bottega Milanese’s mantra is ‘if it’s not from Italy, it’s from Yorkshire’. Many of the shop’s sweet treats are imported from Italy, as are the fine meats that fill its delicious sandwiches. The bread and croissants, however, are baked nearby and the vegetables used in its hearty pasta dishes are sourced from Leeds markets. There’s something on the menu to suit all dietary requirements, with gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options available. The cafe’s warm welcome even extends to its four legged guests, who can lap up their own puppuccinos.

When it comes to coffee, LBM offers regularly changing guest blends alongside its own highly-rated ‘La Classica’. This ethically-sourced, 100% speciality grade Arabica is roasted locally and combines a northern Italian espresso profile with third wave attributes such as a lighter roast. Judges at the 2020 Great Taste awards, where the coffee earned a Gold Star, described it as having a ‘bright fruity acidity’ with a ‘sour cherry flavour’ and ‘smooth medium/thick body.’

La Classica is sold in restaurants and bars throughout the UK and beyond but the best place to try it is naturally at one of La Bottega Milanese’s own cafés in Leeds. These can be found in Park House on the corner of St Paul’s Street and at 2 Bond Court in the city’s contemporary office district.

Bond Court has recently undergone a makeover and now boasts a fresh, modern interior that encapsulates the luxurious feel that Milan is famous for. If you’re looking for a new place to get your caffeine fix, why not join the “Milanesi’ and call in for breakfast or a tasty post-work snack?

Images- @labottegamilanese