Guide

The best restaurants under £20.

Here at Confidentials, we love a bit of posh nosh, obvs. We get really excited about both tasting and telling people about the very best food that the North West has to offer. Unfortunately for your bank balance, that level of quality usually comes with a matching price tag. It can be an expensive do, this fine-dining lark. But not always. Sometimes we come across outrageously good grub at a very reasonable price indeed, and that’s when we get really excited.

This is our guide to eating really well for less than twenty quid. Many of these restaurants offer more expensive options but they all have either a set menu or decent a la carte menu options that come to less than £20 per person for a decent scran. This usually means a starter and a main course or main course and dessert depending on which side of that particular food fight you’re on. These lot all feature chefs that we consider to be right at the top of their game, no less than the best for our Top 100. The food is all bloody good but casting an eye over the bill at the end of your meal won’t drain the blood from your cheeks.

  • Bundobust food
    23 Book Now Manchester

    Bundobust

    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 happened to win Restaurant of the Year at the 2017 Manchester Food and Drink Festival awards.

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  • rudys-pizza
    Book Now Manchester

    Rudy’s Pizza

    Italian

    Listed amongst the world’s best pizzerias in international pizza guide, Where To Eat Pizza, Rudy’s has grown from a pop-up pizza project into a full blown word-of-mouth phenomenon. Queues were (and still are) a regular occurrence outside the original, if a little awkward Ancoats branch – opened in 2015. However, a bigger, bolder and meaner site, opened on Peter Street in 2018 following investment by new backers Mission Mars (owners of smash hit Albert’s Schloss next door), mean punters no longer face such an agonising wait for what many believe to be the best pizza in the North West.

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  • Book Now Manchester

    Lily’s

    Indian subcontinent

    Basic, vegetarian curryhouse, serving some of the best South Indian food in the UK. Lily’s is an unassuming Indian vegetarian café in Ashton. It looks like a simple diner, a locals-only type establishment. But there’s cooking going on here that puts much of the Curry Mile to shame.

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  • Book Now Manchester

    Hispi

    European

    Hispi is, quite simply, a great bistro. Fifth in a growing chain of restaurants conceived by Gary Usher, the concept started with Sticky Walnut in Chester (see also Top 100), a neighbourhood operation which made its name off the back of great, simple food, quaffable wine served in beakers, and excellent quality produce. Expect chunky British dishes – such as chicken liver pate and braised featherblade – made with fresh ingredients and great results.

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  • Book Now Manchester

    Amma’s Canteen

    Indian subcontinent

    Passionate Keralan-Indian-Brit fusion. A great place to eat can make the back end of nowhere worth visiting – and (largely) Keralan restaurant Amma’s Canteen, on the outskirts of Chorlton, feels like a destination. Located opposite Southern Cemetery on Barlow Moor Road, the area is defiantly residential, yet with its jaunty trompe de l’oeil wallpaper and feature filaments, Amma’s is a joy. Keralan-Brit chef Saju Ravindran cooks with a rainbow of freshly toasted spices.

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  • tre-ciccio
    Book Now Manchester

    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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  • Book Now Manchester

    Chaat Cart

    Indian subcontinent

    Top notch Indian street food and small plates in a vibrant setting. Former street food vendors, Chaat Cart have set up permanent home in Marple, under the auspices of founder Aarti Pandey. The venue’s interior, as colouful as the food on offer, has been designed by Soo Wilkinson. Flavours are multi-dimensons and portions are small (which is reflected in the price). In short, Chaat Cart is an excellent reason to visit Marple – plus there’s an atmospheric ‘secret’ gin garden out the back for fair weather visits.

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  • Book Now Liverpool

    Spire

    European

    This grown-up bistro near Liverpool’s Penny Lane is the brainchild of chef-patron, and award-winning regional ‘Food Hero’ Matt Locke. Choose from either the a la carte or prix fixe menu, bursting packed with local ingredients, cooked with the flair of a true Francophile. Typical examples include confit duck with a rhubarb and ginger puree and crisp parma ham, lightly curried, smoked haddock arancini, ham hock with homemade piccailli and Mrs Kirkham’s Cheddar, or a classic chicken liver parfait with toasted brioche, followed by meat-tastic mains.

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  • Book Now Yorkshire

    Gimbals

    European

    A mesmerising neighbourhood bistro in Sowerby Bridge. Run by talented husband and wife team, Simon and Janet Baker, this playfully eclectic restaurant has a Spanish bent but you’ll also find Persian and North African influence. Dishes are nothing but surprising and generous; a trio of (not so) Petites Desserts, for example, could include apple and Pedro Ximenez raisin turnover, a sharp lemon tart and fragrant mango sorbet.

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  • Book Now Cheshire

    Indian Tiffin Room

    Indian subcontinent

    Indian Tiffin Room is doing something quite different to your average Anglo-Indian flock wall-papered curry house. They specialise in serving restaurant versions of the typical street food you’ll find across India. The ‘grazing or starters’ represent the fact a huge proportion of India is vegetarian, although carnivores can chew their way through a marinated chicken lollypop or an Indo-Chinese chilli chicken. What they don’t know about combining rice and lentils isn’t worth knowing; giant pancake dosas, uttapam and passarattu are uniformly excellent.

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  • Book Now Manchester

    Yuzu

    Japanese

    An oasis of calm in bustling Chinatown. Yuzu is a neighbourhood-style Japanese restaurant offering refreshingly uncomplicated dishes served in Zen-like surroundings. You won’t find a conveyor belt of sushi here, but something altogether more traditional.

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  • Book Now Yorkshire

    Prashad

    Indian subcontinent

    Award-winning veggie south Indian cuisine. Prashad is a Gordon Ramsey-rated thrill for anyone craving Gujarati vegetarian food. Since starring on Ramsey’s ‘Best Restaurant’ show, the team have made the most of the exposure. Expansion, relocation and even a Sunday Times top 40 rated cookbook followed.

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  • Book Now Manchester

    Alston Bar and Beef

    European

    All your steak (and gin) needs sorted. Alston Bar & Beef Manchester is the groups’ second venue – their first in England – and it’s a big one. Start with seared scallops and ‘burnt ends’ or a traditional ‘Arbroath smokie and crowdie roulade’; a cylinder of soft, flavour-packed fishy paté with charred corn and potato foam. Steak is the main event – and rightly so. Sourced from accredited farms situated along the Scottish Borders, an area of luscious grasslands known as the Tweed Valley, meat is dry-hung for 35 days.

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  • Book Now Manchester

    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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  • Book Now Manchester

    Yang Sing

    Chinese

    Upmarket Cantonese with Mancunian influences. Yang Sing was one of the very first restaurants in the UK to offer Cantonese fine dining. Innovative chef, Harry Yeung, is still at the helm – and he’s still got it. The setting brings to mind Wong Kar Wai films and Chanel adverts; ruby lacquer and vintage prints set the tone. Dishes range from the comforting to the fantastical. There’s even a dim sum take on afternoon tea to enjoy, complete with Yeung’s trademark cuttlefish cakes transformed into Manchester’s ‘bumblebee’ mascot.

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