Here are the Top 5 restaurants in Manchester, as voted for by our panel of Top 100 judges, taking into account our own review scores and other guidebook scores, plus any rosettes, stars, plates, forks and all that stuff…
6 Book Now Manchester Modern British
Culinary rock’n’roll from Simon Rogan’s protege, Adam Reid. Enjoy fine dining in Grade II listed Victorian surrounds – with a side order of Mancunian attitude. The soundtrack (which could include The Beatles and Oasis) is drawn from Reid’s personal playlist and sets a cool scene for pin-sharp creations. The tasting menu could include salt-aged duck with acidic cherry sauce, or soft raw scallops with buttermilk gel and flowers plucked from the roof-top garden. Upscale comfort food is another trend while desserts could include Reid’s blown-sugar clementine with white chocolate leaf and sea buckthorn sorbet. Reid won the Great British Menu dessert round with a similar creation, available to pre-order called ‘Golden Empire’. The winelist is brilliantly expansive and dining here feels like an occasion – no matter what time of day you visit. A draped-off lounge area with its own reception, creates the illusion of an independent restaurant rather than one shoe-horned into a bustling hotel.
7 Book Now Manchester British
The best steakhouse in the North. Opening on Deansgate in 2015, the first Hawksmoor steakhouse outside of London is a confident affair. Steak and attention to detail have created a branch like no other, whose beef is among the world’s finest. Sourced from Yorkshire’s Ginger Pig, choose from huge sharing cuts such as T-bone, Porterhouse and prime rib, with solo steaks available if you’re not into sharing. Starters such as Caesar salad with airy Doddington shavings, an artisan burrata made in Wiltshire or sticky, rare breed Old Spot belly ribs are meals in themselves,while seafood is strength. Ethically sourced scallops bath in white port and garlic butter, or try the UK-sourced monkfish, grilled over charcoal. Side orders such as triple-cooked chips, creamed spinach, anchovy hollandaise and bone marrow gravy are reason enough to visit, and the location is lovely. Packed with nooks and crannies, the wood-lined former court room feels unpretentious and the Mid Century light fittings, sourced from the US, reflect the subtle good taste at work. Drinks take in classic cocktails and ‘Sharpeners’ (we recommend the Hawksmoor Collins and ridiculously gingery Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew) while the winelist is packed with intriguing, accessible wines. A reliably brilliant experience.
16 Book Now Manchester Japanese
Nose-to-tail sushi from acclaimed experts in an off-the-beaten track location. This sushi restaurant with simple décor comes up trumps in the food department with a menu that changes according to availability and daily specials. Widely regarded as one of the finest Japanese restaurants in the UK, highlights could include Hamachi (Japanese Amberjack) and toro sashimi (buttery tuna belly) or fresh water eel nigiri. Special mention also goes to the wagyu nigiri. Sushi sets could include hosomaki (four mini rolls), uramaki (reverse rolls), temaki (hand roll)and gunkan (two battle ship rolls). It’s a menu to please the most jaded of diners. Wines and beers include lively Japanese Koshu wine, sake and European wines as well as beers like Asahi and Estrella. With fresh locally sourced fish delivered every day and an ever-changing specials board, the choice is extensive. The £64 tasting menu takes in shellfish sashimi, congee, pork with bonito, many ways with tuna and roasted plum-sake-infused pineapple. An understated tour de force.
23 Book Now Manchester Indian subcontinent
Veggie Bollywood blockbuster serving small plates and the best in beer. Bundobust is a huge beer hall serving tens of craft beers from a massive bar in the heart of Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens. It also happpened to win Restaurant of the Year at the 2017 Manchester Food and Drink Festival awards. How? Well, the story starts like this: Bradford buddies Marko Husak of Sparrow Bar and Mayur Patel of vegetarian Indian restaurant, Prashad, teamed up to open the first Bundobust in Leeds in 2014. The second opened in Manchester in 2016, with Bundobust Liverpool set to join the gang in 2018. Beer is Husak’s sphere of expertise but the small plate interpretations of veggie dishes from Prashad are a blast. Everything arrives in coolly branded little tubs costing anywhere from £4 to £7 (£80 will buy you the entire menu). Start with okra fries, Bundo chaat, before dipping into Mumbai-style veggie burgers (Vada Pav) made from spicy mash coated in besan flour and deep-fried, and served with chutneys and hot chillies. There’s a vegan Masala Dosa too, as well as perfect, fluffy rice cushions (idli) atop a thick soup (sambhar) of lentils and aubergine. Seasonal bhaji could include broccoli or brussell sprout while the simple chole saag (chickpea and spinach curry) is heaven sent. Beers could include Bombay Dazzler, a floral wheat beer tailor-made by Leeds’ Northern Monk brewers, Chorlton Brewing Co’s Mosaic Citra Double Sour, or the excellent Juicy Bhaghra, made by Danish outfit, Dry & Bitter.