Guide

An Insider’s Guide to Eating and Drinking in Ancoats

1 month ago

Whereas once a trot around Ancoats would have you tripping over sickly urchins and dodging razor-happy street gangs amongst overcrowded slums and thundering warehouses, now you’re more likely to trip over a half-eaten cruffin discarded by some digital marketeer outside a Vietnamese street food diner – the one next to the Japanese tea place.

Once the heart of industrial Manchester, Ancoats is now the epicentre of all that is new and hip in the city’s food and drink scene. The coming of shiny new apartment blocks and amenities has initiated a rush to feed all of these young, trendy incomers, with their empty bellies, disposable incomes and penchant for artisanal anything.

The last few years have seen a number of the region’s most exciting food and drink businesses open in the area. Here we’ve collected our favourites together in a handy guide…

  • Take a seat inside the cafe at Ancoats Coffee Co in Royal Mills
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    Ancoats Coffee Co.

    Coffee

    If you’re serious about your coffee, Ancoats Coffee Co has to be your first port of call in this part of the city. Inspired by owner Jamie Bowland’s time spent in the flat-white Mecca that is Melbourne, this is a destination for people who really care about what goes in their cup.

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  • Portuguese tapas restaurant Canto on Cutting Room Square in Manchester
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    Canto

    Portuguese

    Canto is a Modern Portuguese restaurant from Simon Shaw, the creative director behind the consistently brilliant El Gato Negro on King Street.

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  • Chaology in Manchester Ancoats offers traditional Japanese tea and sweets in a peaceful environment
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    Chaology

    Japanese

    Specialising in Japanese tea and sweets, Chaology provides a unique experience in Manchester with a strict focus on quiet and relaxation.

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  • The casual, arty interior of The Counter House - a health-led restaurant on Cutting Room Square, Ancoats
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    The Counter House

    American

    Gut-cleansing spirulina juices, turmeric scented Buddha bowls and raw vegan cookies, The Counter House menu reads like a dream list of Insta hashtags for plant-powered millennials.

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  • Edinburgh Castle Manchester Table
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    Edinburgh Castle

    British

    The Edinburgh Castle is a fortification for fortifying yourself, full of hearty British fare. This defence against hunger has two parts. No, not motte and bailey, but an upstairs restaurant and a downstairs pub. Upstairs, downstairs and all the connotations that go along with that.

    The downstairs is a traditional old pub with a welcoming drinking zone and a separate eating area. Traditional pub or not, this is much more than just some Scampi Fries. In fact, this is some of the very best pub food in the city.

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  • Inside Elnecot, one of the new generation of restaurants in Ancoats, Manchester.
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    Elnecot

    European

    Named after the first recorded name for Ancoats, Elnecot (meaning ‘lonely cottages’) takes its influence from historical cooking methods with lots of fermenting, a little foraging and a few nose-to-tail dishes.

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  • Figs take centre stage in this dish from Erst restaurant in Ancoats.
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    Erst

    British

    “Yet more small plates in Ancoats?” we hear you cry. Well yes, but trust us, Erst is worth your attention. This is a place for serious foodies so don’t come looking for mac n cheese balls. Plenty of other places can satisfy that filthy craving for you.

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  • Battered squid rings from Hip Hop Chip Shop, the maverick fish and chip restaurant in Ancoats
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    The Hip Hop Chip Shop

    British

    A National Fish & Chip Award winner, the Manchester street food heroes opened up their first bricks ‘n’ mortar outlet in trendy Ancoats late in 2018, following a hard fought crowdfunding campaign. A kicked-back dining experience with proper comfort food, cool artwork and a cracking soundtrack, the HHCS collective have reworked the national dish with inventive additions like Jerk batter, Louisiana spiced crab cakes and their chilli battered sausage. Obviously the traditional fish ‘n’ chips are bang on too, livened up by their trademark flavoured salts and vinegars.

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  • Red chairs in the window of the stylish Jane Eyre bar and restaurant in Ancoats
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    The Jane Eyre

    British

    The Jane Eyre is a self-styled ‘neighbourhood bar’ offering seasonal food, classic cocktails and local beers. Presided over by Eyre siblings Jonny and Joe, it is, mildly disappointingly, not a Gothic homage to the Yorkshire based tragic-heroine but actually named after their late mum. 

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  • The vegan burger served at Jimmy's Manchester - a rock n roll barbecue restaurant on Cutting Room Square, Ancoats.
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    Jimmy’s Manchester

    American

    Fans of the original, now closed Jimmy’s Manchester in the NQ will find this new version on Cutting Room Square both familiar and strange. It’s got the same dive bar vibe, with rock and indie on the stereo, red and black furnishings, and neon signs on the walls. But unlike its predecessor, it’s not a live music venue and hopes of getting a licence for gigs in this residential area are low. Instead, the upstairs space is devoted to a barbecue restaurant where they cook burgers, wings, and skewers over live flame. 

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  • One of the dishes served at Manchester's only Michelin star restaurant, Mana in Ancoats.
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    Mana

    Modern British

    Michelin-starred restaurant Mana is the brainchild of chef patron Simon Martin who mastered his trade at the renowned Noma in Copenhagen. In his first few years at Mana, Martin has succeeded in carving his own path – one which confuses and delights people in equal measure.

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  • Inside NAM, the Vietnamese restaurant and bar on Cutting Room Square in Ancoats.
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    NAM

    Vietnamese

    Another neighbourhood favourite in the now achingly hip Cutting Room Square. NAM’s light and airy space with its natural parquet floors and glossy white brick bar echoes the light and healthy Vietnamese cuisine on the menu.

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  • Croissants fresh from the oven at Pollen Bakery - an award-winning bakery and cafe in New Islington, Manchester
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    Pollen Bakery

    European

    After an initial stint tucked away in an archway near Piccadilly, this airy bakery and cafe moved to a spot overlooking New Islington’s marina. Since then Pollen Bakery has bagged Best Food and Drink Retailer at the Manchester Food and Drink Awards, and been listed in the Sunday Times top 20 UK bakeries.

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  • Neapolitan-style pizzas being prepared at Rudy's Pizza in Ancoats, Manchester
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    Rudy’s Pizza Manchester Ancoats

    Italian

    Listed amongst the world’s best pizzerias in international pizza guide, Where To Eat Pizza, Rudy’s Pizza has grown from a pop-up project into a full blown word-of-mouth phenomenon.

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  • Two pints of craft beer at Seven Bro7hers Manchester, also known as the Ancoats Beerhouse.
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    Seven Bro7hers Manchester

    American

    This bar on Cutting Room Square from the Seven Bro7hers Brewery clan is perfectly placed to cater for the craft beer drinkers of Ancoats.

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  • A dish of pasta with a glass of red wine at Sugo Pasta Kitchen Altrincham, a Confidential Guides recommended restaurant
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    Sugo Pasta Kitchen Altrincham

    Italian

    Another Altrincham success story, the Puglian-inspired Sugo Pasta Kitchen 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 further restaurants.

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  • The pastel-hued interior of Trove Manchester - a bakery-cafe that fits in perfectly to the Ancoats food scene
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    Trove Manchester

    European

    Trove Manchester is the younger sister of the original Trove in Levenshulme which made its name through fantastic bread and an ‘everything made from scratch’ philosophy.

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  • A bowl of pho topped with fresh herbs from Viet Shack Manchester Ancoats, a recommended Vietnamese restaurant
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    Viet Shack Manchester Ancoats

    Vietnamese

    Nelson Lam and Leo Tran’s Viet Shack empire started with a humble takeaway stall in the Arndale Market which quickly gained a reputation for its dazzling lunch dishes at bargain prices.

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