Legendary Leeds restaurant and venue celebrates 50 years of serving the city

Restaurant founder Oliver Teodorani and his wife Luciana
-Credit: (Image: Roth Read Photography)

An iconic Leeds restaurant is celebrating 50 years of serving the city.

Leeds, like many cities, sees restaurants and bars come and go, but only a few leave a lasting legacy across generations. Bibis Italianissimo, a family-owned independent restaurant, is one of those venues.

Business partners Oliver Teodorani and Dino Aristotelous opened the restaurant, back 1974, bringing something new to the northern food scene, with Bibis going on to become a genuine Yorkshire institution. To mark a triumphant 50 years in the notoriously tough hospitality industry, Bibis recently held their unforgettable icons party and is hosting a golden gala black tie event in October.

Read more: Two exciting fast food giants to open at the White Rose Shopping Centre

Now in its third home, Bibis made its debut at a Mill Hill site back in 1974, before moving to Greek Street in 1988. During their time on Greek street, the partnership ended, leaving Oliver to grow the brand and set his sights on the next chapter.

In 2004, Bibis doubled in size and relocated to the Criterion Place venue, where it remains today. The 300-seat restaurant, designed by famous interior designer Tessa Kennedy, notable for The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz, features art deco elements that evoke the opulence of a bygone era. The centrepiece is the stunning bar, complemented by a 4,000 sq ft open kitchen that seamlessly blends the dining and culinary spaces.

Bibis has always aimed to be a destination pioneering the social dining scene. It was one of the first restaurants to introduce entertainment mixed with dining, which is now a standard in the hospitality industry. Inspired by the swinging 60s, the disco boom of the 70s, and the vibrant nightclub scenes of London, Paris and Milan, Oliver envisioned a venue where live music and dining could coexist. This vision gave rise to Bibis famed Showtime events.

Now serving as the home of Showtime for nearly two decades, Bibis offers the fusion of dining, drinks and entertainment. Showcasing a diverse range of acts spanning from the best tribute acts, live bands and talented musicians, Bibis provides a captivating and memorable experience for all guests.

To this day, Bibis remains family-owned, and one of the oldest independent restaurants in the region, led by Oliver and his wife Luciana, who have passionately managed the current site for the last 20 years.

Oliver said: “I’m as passionate about the business as when I started 50-years-ago, and Bibis wouldn’t be where it is today without the hard work of team Bibis, both past and present, and my wonderful wife Luciana - the face of Bibis Italianissimo.”

All dishes at Bibis are created freshly in-house, including their special recipe pizza dough alongside their bespoke desserts and cakes. Complemented with an extensive cocktail menu.

Speaking of the 50th birthday celebrations, Oliver added: “As we celebrate this milestone, we are also looking to the future. We continually evolve our shows and introduce fresh acts for our Showtime events, embracing the next generation of diners and performers. Our motto, ‘sempre Avanti’ – always forward – embodies our commitment to continuous innovation. We wouldn’t be here, doing what we love, without the support of our fantastic guests across multiple generations. To them, I say grazie mille and thank you for the memories.”

You can find out more by visiting the venue’s website.

To find out the latest food and drink news in our city you can visit our Best in Leeds homepage. There you will also find a guide to great things to do in Leeds. Stuck at home and wishing you were there? Download your favourite artists from Amazon and Apple music.

Yorkshire Live has launched Explore Yorkshire, which will look at Yorkshire's unique identity and destinations and celebrate God's Own County for what it is - the best place in the world. Whether you are looking for a day out, a weekend away or to try somewhere new, Explore Yorkshire is here to help. Our brilliant new newsletter will bring all of this content together for you in one place - sign up here to get it direct to your inbox.