Confidential Guides

The buzzy restaurant floor at San Carlo Cicchetti in Manchester city centre

We’re guessing you’re here because you’re looking for somewhere to eat. Good, because this is Confidential Guides and we’re here to help.

You might know our parent site, Founded in 2003, it’s now one of the North’s leading digital lifestyle magazines; drawing millions of annual visitors with quality local content on everything from arts to architecture, politics to pavements (don’t ask) and of course first-class food and drink coverage. With chef interviews, new openings, impartial restaurant reviews and more besides, our finger is firmly on the region’s culinary pulse.

That’s why we founded Confidential Guides in 2018, as a handy resource that pools our collective knowledge to help readers choose where to spend there their hard-earned smackeroons. It began with our Top 100, a hotlist of top-notch restaurants across the North, and has since expanded to include more expansive venue directories; beginning with the North West, and with plans to ultimately cover the wider North. From fine dining favourites to humble backstreet gems, there’s something for every budget and occasion.

Some things to mention about Confidential Guides…

  • We can’t promise this directory is exhaustive – it’s just our recommendations, and constantly growing – but we think all venues included provide a quality experience. And, unlike review sites that can be biased, it’s based on the knowledge of our passionate local staff and readers
  • We also value our readers’ opinions so, if there’s somewhere you think we’ve missed, let us know and we’ll check it out (please note this site is only for permanent venues, not pop-ups)
  • Inclusion cannot be influenced by commercial relationships; all venues included must have satisfied our quality standards
  • Our main requirement is first-rate food but we may make exceptions for certain venues that we think offer an enjoyable experience; for example through great entertainment
  • While we think our (fully paid for and unbiased) reviews are incredibly important, sometimes they don’t reflect the true picture; for instance, the kitchen may have had a uniquely bad day when our reviewer visited. If we believe this is the case, and it is rare, we will include the venue regardless of an unfavourable review
  • Reviews will also inevitably become outdated; staff, concepts, locations and even names are just some of the elements that can change. Needless to say, older reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt – they still make for cracking reads though. As for descriptions and practical info, all details were correct at the time of writing

Oh, and one last thing…

Aside from creating a handy resource for our readers, there’s another main motive behind Confidential Guides. Over the last few years we’ve grown tired of being underrepresented in nearly all major restaurant guides. Northern restaurants are, it seems, an afterthought; a bit of a chore and an accessory to the usual London love-in. And that just won’t do. This region has some of the best produce, talent and passion not only in the UK but in Europe – sod it, the whole bloody world. So if they’re not going to do it, we will. And do it better…that’s the plan anyway. Enjoy.


The Confidential Guides team.


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