Guide

An insider’s guide to eating and drinking in Altrincham

Recently declared proud owner of the best high street in England, Altrincham has made a dramatic transformation from grot to hot in just under a decade and really does have a whole lot to shout about. Not least its impressive Market Hall which was revamped by entrepreneur Nick Johnson just over five years ago, setting a precedent for Mackie Mayor, his second project, and the likes of the recently pimped Stockport Produce Hall by local businessman Steve Pilling.

Altrincham is hugely food-focused, with a good helping of dining spots well worth a hop on a tram. It’s another Greater Manchester (or borderline Cheshire) town benefitting from our region’s vibrant cultural mix with restaurants offering cuisines as diverse as Syrian, Cambodian, and Sardinian. A smattering of great bars, some plush cafes and plenty of interesting local artisans add to the variety. No wonder it’s one of the hottest property markets in our region right now.

 

 

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    Sugo Pasta Kitchen

    Italian

    Another Altrincham success story, this Puglian-inspired restaurant opened on Shaw Road – right by the transformative Market House – in 2015. Their simple and uncompromisingly authentic Southern Italian dishes soon won them fans, as good ole word-of-mouth momentum brought diners piling in from across the region. Accolades and glowing reviews soon followed, as did a second restaurant, in Ancoats, in 2018, which is proving equally popular with local foodies.

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    Porta Altrincham

    European

    Portuguese-inspired small plates and a menu that really delivers. Porta might be another tapas place – but this one is a smash hit serving excellent food and fine wines. Typical dishes include deep fried goats cheese, dripping in local honey with slivers of fresh orange and the most unctuous, sticky ox cheek, perfectly paired with pickled walnuts and lightly toasted cumin seeds.

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    Tre Ciccio

    Italian

    Translating as ‘three chubby friends’ (a self-effacing reference to owner Francesco Scafuri and a pair of his portly pals from back in Campania), Tre Cicco doesn’t look much from the outside, or even the inside, at first. The ground floor of Altrincham’s newish Italian restaurant only houses a couple of tables, some giant fridges and a bar. But once you descend the windy staircase, it opens into a tardis-like trattoria. Tre Ciccio’s reassuringly short menu centres on their wood-fired oven, in which they cook variations of Neopolitana pizza and roast chicken. The wine list is similarly brisk, which works well in a bustling family restaurant.

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    The Con Club

    Japanese

    Set in the beautifully restored, airy space of the former Working Men’s Conservative Club (surely an oxymoron?) just opposite the much celebrated Alty Market, The Con Club’s whitewashed brick walls and high vaulted ceiling reverberate the chitter chatter, clinking cocktail glasses and raucous laughter of its diners to create a truly buzzing atmosphere.

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    Market House Indoor Food Hall

    Setting a precedent for the likes of Mackie Mayor and Stockport Product Hall, many have hailed the revamping of the market as the touch paper that lit Altrincham’s foodie scene ablaze.

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    Yara

    Middle Eastern

    Tiny and usually packed to the rafters of its converted terraced house, Yara is one of those hidden gems that the locals keep trying to get us to shut up about. With a large and perhaps overwhelming menu of Syrian and Lebanese dishes, there is plenty for the adventurous to get stuck into as well as a few dishes that have made their way from the Middle East and onto our weekly supermarket shop done properly here.

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    Libero

    European

    Starting life as a fun little pop-up, Libero is a football-themed craft ale bar which encourages its customers to don vintage footie shirts and cosy up for a beery, amiable bit of bonding. It doesn’t get much more niche. Niche and also titch (yes, we know they don’t rhyme), the bar is only 250 square feet. So it’s kind of like inviting your mates round to watch the match at yours. But when the weather’s good, there’s a lovely outdoor area with picnic tables too.

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    WowYauChow

    Chinese

    Modern ‘British Chinese’ from Henry Yau that has quickly become a firm favourite in Alty and, as we predicted in March, he is now scattering those black sesame seeds further afield with branches due to open in Rochdale and Stockport. WowYauChow is east meets west bringing a modern British twist to some Chinese classics served as small plates to encourage sharing, tasting and hopefully less waste.

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    Mort Subite

    European

    Given the much-publicised dangers of drinking too much booze, it takes a certain dark sense of humour to name your bar Mort Subite (meaning ‘sudden death’ in French). That’s not the only thing about this underground drinking den that’s dark, just try taking photos down there. Factor in the taxidermied birds, burlesque opulence and, well, the beer itself and things get very shadowy indeed. Did we mention that it’s housed in a former mortuary?

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    Angkor Soul

    Pan Asian

    In our globalised lives many of us are pretty au fait with the vibrant cuisines of Vietnam and Thailand but Cambodian, or Khmer, food is still relatively unexplored territory. At least here in the UK it is, where there are still only a handful of dedicated Cambodian restaurants, two of which are from the team behind Angkor Soul. The Marple branch opened in 2017, to rave reviews from the national press, closely followed by this unassuming Altrincham-based sibling in 2018.

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    Sardus Cucina

    European

    Sardus, named after the mythological hero that christened the tiny island in his own name, is a sleek little Sardinian Cucina. Fitting in alongside the other less-represented cuisines that Altrincham is slowly becoming known for, it offers dishes familiar enough to your favourite Italian gaff but with interesting Sardinian twists to ring the changes.

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    Blanchflower

    British

    ‘Create, don’t curate’ is Blanchflower’s motto and to that end, much of their produce, from bacon and sausages to bread and pastries, is made in-house. We like sustainable ventures, they’re essential in these climate-challenged times, and Blanchflower’s cottage industry gets points for being bloody good at whipping up their artisan wares too.

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    Toast

    Modern British

    As Nigel Slater once said, ‘No matter how bad things get, it’s impossible not to love someone who made you toast.’ So a cafe whose concept is ‘things on toast’ was always going to find a place in people’s hearts. The menu offers toast for breakfast, toast for lunch, and you guessed it, toast for …dessert.

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    Riddles Bar

    Vintage cocktail bar and self-proclaimed makers of Altrincham’s best Old Fashioned, Riddles focus on high-quality ingredients blended by expert mixologists. The classics are there, naturally, but they like to experiment too with libations such as ‘Salted Toffee Toots’ featuring Baileys, vodka, toffee nut, salt and peanuts, or how about a spicy ‘Eastern Courage’ with gin, chilli, fresh coriander, pink grapefruit, cumin, absinthe and ginger ale?

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    Common Ground

    European

    Common Ground is an artisan tea and coffee house for people who know the difference between Aeropress, Batch Brew and V60, and no, they aren’t bands. They also do lattes, for lesser mortals like us, but feel free to have yours with matcha, turmeric or beetroot a la mode. Their hot chocolate is very, very special too. On the side, there are a gorgeous range of cakes including Portuguese Pastel de Nata, American style cinnamon knots or, if you prefer your sweet treats to come with a halo, a raw vegan cake.

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