Manchester seemingly has it all: a multicultural populace, a thriving creative hub and an increasingly vibrant restaurant scene. The city is rapidly becoming the foodie capital of the North West thanks to the flurry of exceptional cafés, restaurants and other dining spots that have sprung up over the last few years.
Read on to discover the best restaurants Manchester has to offer.
01. The Bull & Bear
What Refined British classics in an opulent ex-trading room.
The lowdown Headed up by Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, this swish dining room is the height of sophistication – from the towering ceilings to the marble-topped tables. The food is British cooking in its most refined form: think rotisserie-baked potatoes stuffed with raw steak and crème fraîche, venison chilli topped with rice cream and chunks of chocolate, and the pièce de résistance: a whole, roasted quail coated in a fiery whiskey sauce and served with haggis.
Don’t miss Their take on Manchester tart is traditional, crisp and devourable in seconds.
4 Norfolk Street, Manchester M2 1DW; +44 161 470 3902
What Michelin-starred menus and out-there ingredients.
The lowdown The food at Mana is theatrical, experimental and beautifully presented; it’s no wonder it won Manchester’s first Michelin star in more than 40 years. A £140-a-head 16-course tasting menu features the likes of blue scallops, beeswax and wood ants – which adorn their profiterole-esque Æbleskivers. You’ll be hard-pressed to pick from the menu, but the eel smothered in a roasted yeast and blueberry sauce is tender, salty and utterly unmissable.
Don’t miss The ‘Beef tartare that tastes like beef’ (despite being made from fermented rhubarb).
42 Blossom Street, Manchester M4 6BF; +44 161 392 7294
What Botanical brunches in a hideaway café.
The lowdown Manchester’s Northern Quarter is bursting with industrial-chic cafés, but the best for brunch is Evelyn’s: an airy, plant-filled space directly opposite a multi-storey car park. Inside, exposed-brick walls and rose-gold lamps provide a photo-friendly backdrop for the brilliant brunch menu. The Blue Bowl is popular among the Instagram crowd, but the fluffy pancakes topped with honeycomb butter and berries are an excellent choice, too.
Don’t miss The Breakfast Americano brunch cocktail is a Vermouth-Campari-marmalade-tea mix served hot, and paired with a side of marmalade toast.
44 Tib Street, Manchester M4 1NB; +44 161 834 3303
What Modern Japanese in a Grade II-listed building.
The lowdown Manchester’s nickname in the 19th century was ‘Cottonopolis’, thanks to the intricately designed fabric churned out by its factories. Channelling this legacy and occupying a former tailor’s warehouse is today’s Cottonopolis, which produces similarly delicate Japanese dishes. Choose from their lengthy, tapas-style menu, making sure to try the Wagyu beef bao buns and salmon nigiri. After dinner, opt for one of the bar’s aesthetically pleasing cocktails and soak up the ambience among dark leather banquettes and geometric copper lights.
Don’t miss Yum Cha Sundays – you can get unlimited food for just £26 per person.
16 Newton Street, Manchester M1 2AE; +44 161 236 5144
05. 20 Stories
What Pretty plates and panoramic views.
The lowdown Sitting on the 19th storey of No. 1 Spinningfields is Manchester’s highest restaurant, where you’ll come for the views and stay for the menu. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer unrivalled vistas over the North West and the menu is a feast for the eyes, too. Toeing the line between delicate and hearty, dishes range from line-caught turbot swimming in a Champagne and shellfish broth, to homely braised lamb pie (best ordered with a side of chunky chips). Make sure to save room for the dark chocolate and hazelnut delice; it’s divine.
Don’t miss The leafy open-air roof terrace, which is the ideal sundowner spot on a warm evening.
No. 1 Spinningfields, 1 Hardman Square, Manchester M3 3EB; +44 161 204 3333
What Smoky Indian soul food, perfect for sharing.
The lowdown This family-owned curry house is a mainstay of Manchester’s Curry Mile, but what makes it stand out from the crowd is its tandoori-pit-cooked dishes. Keep it classic with a brilliantly done CTM (chicken tikka masala, for those not in the know) or order a tava roll – tender lamb kebab rolled in a charred roti wrap with a satisfying sting of sweet chilli chutney.
Don’t miss The best seat in the house, found beneath the huge mural of an Indian woman.
30 Wilmslow Road, Curry Mile, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5TQ; +44 161 248 0900