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Guide

Manchester’s Best Restaurants For People Watching

4 years ago

A restaurant that is good for ‘people-watching’ is not an easy thing to define. Because they’re not just fancy schmancy celeb-spotting spots – even been to a curry house in the early AMs? And what is ‘people-watching’ anyway? The observing of people, yes, but we do that all the time. Somewhere where you can go, alone, order some food, kick back and watch the world go by? Perfect. Somewhere you can go with mates and talk about people’s shoes? That works. Somewhere with lots of good-looking people to ogle? Yes. Somewhere full of weirdos? Even better.

Anyway, here’s our pick of Manchester’s best restaurants for people watching… for some reason or another.

  • A table set for dinner at Instagrammer's paradise Tattu restaurant in Manchester, Spinningfields
    Spinningfields

    Tattu Manchester

    Chinese

    Located in the heart of the Spinningfields business district, Tattu Manchester is an Instagrammer’s dream. Think penumbral lighting, body art-inspired cocktails and a full-size cherry blossom tree with hand-sewn silk petals. You’d be forgiven for expecting such opulent surroundings to outshine the food. Not so.

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  • The buzzy restaurant floor at San Carlo Cicchetti in Manchester city centre
    Book Now Manchester City Centre

    San Carlo Cicchetti

    Italian

    As the first San Carlo Cicchetti, the Manchester restaurant had a lot to prove on opening in 2010. Over a decade and several awards later, it’s still going strong. Why? We think it’s attention to detail. Founder Carlo Distefano is a stickler for quality and you’ll find the same passion for produce and impeccable service at every San Carlo. Let’s just say it runs in the family. 

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  • The exterior of Hawksmoor Manchester on Deansgate - the first Hawksmoor to open outside of London
    Manchester City Centre

    Hawksmoor

    British

    The best steakhouse in the North. Opening on Deansgate in 2015, the first Hawksmoor steakhouse outside of London is a confident affair. Well sourced steak and attention to detail have created a place like no other.

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  • El Gato Negro, the much-praised Spanish restaurant on King Street, Manchester
    Manchester City Centre

    El Gato Negro Manchester

    Spanish

    El Gato Negro is an upmarket Manc-Spanish fusion restaurant that really, really works. Originally from Yorkshire, chef Simon Shaw has created an indulgent, three-storey church to his passion for the best in Spanish food and wine.

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  • Book Now Manchester City Centre

    The Refuge

    European

    Winning small plate fusion in an iconic and glamorous setting. Housed in Manchester’s iconic The Refuge Assurance Company dating back to 1858, this DJ-run restaurant and bar is large and sassy.

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  • The striking glass pyramid that houses the entrance to Australasia in Manchester city centre
    Spinningfields

    Australasia

    Pan Asian

    Pacific Rim fusion fare for the fashion set. The undeniable theatre of the place, the approach of the staff and the craft of the food make any occasion feel like a million dollars at Australasia.

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  • Inside Albert's Schloss, the Bavarian-inspired cook haus and bier palace in Manchester city centre.
    Manchester City Centre

    Albert’s Schloss

    European

    Albert’s Schloss is a Bavarian-inspired fun palace of extraordinary dimensions and clever design. Behind the glistening tiles of the former Manchester and Salford Wesleyan Mission building (est in 1910) you’ll discover a vast bar, real fires, perfectly preserved original plaster, and a wall stuffed generously with flowers by floral artists’ Frog. You’ll also find a stage, DJ booth and network of beer pipes and tanks serving unpasturised Pilsner Urquell to hordes of adoring punters.

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  • Sunset dining with a view at 20 Stories restaurant in Manchester
    Spinningfields

    20 Stories

    European

    Manchester’s highest – and possibly finest – restaurant, bar and terrace. D&D London’s flagship Manchester restaurant, 20 Stories was the opening of 2018. Floor to ceiling windows (and a huge, outdoor terrace, the same size as the entire restaurant floor), afford breathtaking views of the city and surrounding countryside, while the menu offers modern British, seasonal dishes. 

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  • A colourful small plate served at Volta in Didsbury: a Confidential Guides' recommended restaurant
    Book Now Manchester

    Volta

    European

    Volta is owned by Luke ‘Unabomber’ Cowdrey and Justin Crawford – the DJ-restauranteur duo behind Chorlton’s Electrik bar, the Electrik Chair club night, and Refuge by Volta in Manchester city centre’s Kimpton Clocktower Hotel. 

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