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Guide

21 best restaurants in the Northern Quarter

11 months ago

Once a rundown area on the edge of the city centre, the Northern Quarter is now one of Manchester’s trendiest neighbourhoods. Back in the 1990s, low rents meant it was adopted by artists and creative businesses, giving it a bohemian, counter-cultural feel. As is often the case, the rents increased as the area got ‘cooler’ and the artists moved to the edges once more.

Despite this the Northern Quarter has retained its youthful, alternative feel. It’s packed with fantastic indie bars and quirky retailers – and it’s a goldmine for great food.

Here are 21 of the best spots for eating out in Manchester’s NQ including longstanding favourites such as TNQ and Trof, and more recent additions like The Green Lab and Ramona. From burgers to baked goods, ramen to risotto… whether you’re after a sit-down meal for a special occasion, a quick snack, or a brunch catch-up with friends, there’s one that’ll suit you.

Use our search function to find even more gems in the Northern Quarter and beyond.

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  • A chef puts the finishing touches to a dish at French restaurant 63 Degrees in Manchester's NQ.
    Northern Quarter

    63 Degrees

    Restaurant - French

    Ran by husband and wife team Eric and Florence Moreau, 63 Degrees is a classic chef-proprieteur French restaurant with roots in the refined cuisine of their home city of Paris.

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    BAB NQ

    Restaurant - Middle Eastern

    If you feel it’s time to spice up your life, look no further than this Northern Quarter indie, where the main offer is ‘kebabs worth sitting down for’. Yep, BAB by name, ‘babs by nature, but that’s not doing the menu full justice – there are also meze small plates to mix and match, skewers and shawarmas, and non-babs such as an epic surf & turf spread.

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  • The Bay Horse Tavern Manchester
    Northern Quarter

    The Bay Horse

    Restaurant - British

    The Bay Horse Tavern, to give it its full moniker, describes itself as “a modern take on a Victorian Pub” and, with its dark hues and warm woods, puttering candles and kitschy knick-knacks, and range of gins, craft beers and “other libations”, it may well straddle the eras.

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    Ciaooo Neapolitan Pizzeria

    Restaurant - Italian

    Cult pizzeria Ciaooo may not be as well-known as some of its beautifully blistered-based brethren, but that’s all to the good. At least there’s a chance of getting a table. As it is, it’s often full of savvy locals who know just where to get some of the best pizzas in Manchester – on Swan Street at the top of Great Ancoats Street it transpires.

    Service is excellent and the pizzas are even better. There is a wide selection with a mix of classics and modern inventions. Most importantly, the dough rises above its competitors. It is puffed-up pillowy perfection.

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  • Dakota Grill Manchester Lamb Rump
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    Dakota Grill Manchester

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Dakota Grill Manchester is the work of former Malmaison owner, Ken McCollough and it is as dark-hued and handsome as the successful boutique hotel chain. It’s an inviting place with flickering candlelight, very retro-sexy – sure to be the setting for many a first date.

    The focus at Dakota is on steaks which are very good – all grass-fed, 28 day-aged, hand-cut Aberdeenshire beef cooked over hot coals.

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  • Ducie Street Warehouse
    Northern Quarter

    Ducie Street Warehouse

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Ducie Street Warehouse is all sorts of things, but one of those things is a restaurant. It’s an all-day affair with everything from classic brunches to late-night cocktails. On the menu you’ll find a good selection of small sharing dishes and large plates – it’s a sociable kind of place. And of course, you’ll also find Ducie Street Warehouse’s signature focaccia flatbreads.

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  • Roast squash with labneh and zhoug at Evelyn's in the NQ
    Northern Quarter

    Evelyn’s

    Restaurant - Global

    Evelyn’s is a very clever restaurant. It’s from the chaps behind Mughli so expect a quality operation although it is very different to the standout star of Curry Mile.

    It’s a light and leafy sort of place, both in the surroundings and on the plate. Evelyn’s offers a fresher, healthier take on dining out but despite that, it won’t leave you feeling like you’re at a well-being bootcamp. There are still things like apple crumble and custard on the menu.

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    Evuna Manchester NQ

    Bottle Shop

    The second city centre Evuna, open since 2013, bagsies a corner spot in the Northern Quarter that provides the outward-facing window seats with a prime people-watching position. Wood panelling, Moorish tiles and rustic blackboards offer atmosphere, perfect for cosying up over those authentic small plates.

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  • Ancoats

    The Firehouse

    Restaurant - Global

    Found in the former E & A Auto Services garage depot on Swan Street, Firehouse is the sister restaurant to Ramona’s Detroit-style pizzeria. Promoting “Wild. Slow. Days.” the Firehouse is part restaurant, part bar and part performance venue where tables are available to book for dinner and “after dark drinking”. The space is open and airy with a real laid-back feel. White shutters, bleached brick and glitter balls hanging from the high ceiling complete the chilled out party ambience.

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  • Northern Quarter

    Gooey Bakery & Café

    Restaurant

    If you’re a fan of brunch and baked goods but it just has to be Instagrammable, Gooey should be top of the list.

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  • healthy food and smoothie at The Green Lab Northern Quarter
    Northern Quarter

    The Green Lab

    Restaurant - Healthy

    Founded in May 2019 by Manchester sisters Nikita and Kanika, The Green Lab is described as a health and well-being lifestyle store. Upstairs it’s a cafe specialising in juices and salads, while downstairs, it’s a health studio, called The Health Lab, which focuses mainly on reformer pilates.

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  • Steak from Tender Cow at Mackie Mayor, a food hall in Manchester.
    Northern Quarter

    Mackie Mayor

    Restaurant - Global

    Mackie Mayor is a cosmopolitan food hall located in an 1858 Grade II listed market building on the edge of Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

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  • Noi Quattro Pizza Northern Quarter Manchester
    Northern Quarter

    Noi Quattro

    Restaurant - Italian

    If it’s a taste of Italy you’re after, think NQ for proper pizza – Noi Quattro, to be precise. Meaning “us four”, Noi Quattro is owned and run by four friends from Turin who wanted to share their proud Italian heritage through the food they put on your plate.

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    The Pen & Pencil

    Restaurant - Global

    Whatever level of hunger you’re anticipating, you’ll not have a rumbling tum for long next time you head on up to the Northern Quarter, with the host of all-day eating options on offer at The Pen & Pencil ranging from light bites to proper sit-down dinners.

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  • Purezza in Manchester city centre is a vegan pizza restaurant.
    Northern Quarter

    Purezza

    Restaurant - Vegan

    Sitting in the old Dough Kitchen spot in the Northern Quarter, Purezza is yet another pizza restaurant for Manchester – but one with the distinction of offering solely vegan pizza and a menu that has many gluten-free items.

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  • The terrace at Ramona Manchester
    Ancoats

    Ramona

    Restaurant - Italian

    Predominantly a pizzeria, Ramona incorporates a bakery, margarita bar, coffee counter, stage and Firehouse restaurant, and is found in the rollershuttered ex-E & A Auto Services garage depot on Swan Street, complete with a tree-lined forecourt, now the campfire beer garden.

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  • A gelato croissant at Sicilian NQ - a recommended place for ice cream in Manchester
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    Sicilian NQ

    Restaurant - Italian

    Based in the Northern Quarter, this friendly neighbourhood bistro and bar is the place to avanti if it’s a taste of traditional Sicily you fancy – from authentic street food snacks through big plates of pasta to desserts and holiday memory gelato, eat in or take away.

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  • Fish dish at Street Urchin
    Ancoats

    Street Urchin

    Restaurant - Modern British

    For Street Urchin, think less about raggedy kids hanging about Victorian mills (although it is on the edge of Ancoats) and more about seafood delicacies. Fish is plentiful on the menu at this English market diner, although meat gets a look-in too.

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  • Crab, mussel and caviar fishcakes at TNQ.
    Northern Quarter

    TNQ

    Restaurant - Modern British

    This unassuming, independent restaurant overlooking the historic Smithfield Fish Market is a stalwart of the Northern Quarter’s dining scene. Co-owner and chef Anthony Fielden has been cooking up a storm at TNQ since 2004, winning various awards and accolades along the way. 

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  • Tokyo Ramen, manchester
    Northern Quarter

    Tokyo Ramen

    Restaurant - Japanese

    Spartan and stripped back is the only description for Tokyo Ramen – and that’s both the menu and the restaurant itself. With barely enough space to swing a noodle, the place only accommodates 20 walk-ins. It’s not a sociable place, more a utilitarian slurping station.

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  • The exterior of Trof, a restaurant and bar in the Northern Quarter.
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    Trof

    Restaurant - Global

    Trof was the OG Mission Mars bar in Manchester and it’s still got ‘top Manchester night out’ written all over its labyrinth three stories.

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  • yard and coop fried chicken and chips NQ
    Northern Quarter

    Yard & Coop Manchester

    Restaurant - American

    We’d rather see a restaurant that does one thing well than one that does a wide variety of dishes to the same average standard. Yard & Coop Manchester is firmly in the former category. It serves buttermilk fried chicken and that’s about it, unless you’re a veggie in which case you can have halloumi instead.

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