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Guide

The Coolest Places To Eat In Manchester

Looking for bare bricks, parquet wood flooring, dangly filament light bulbs, Scandi chairs, clipboard menus, natural wine, staff in trainers, chefs in flatcaps… you get the point.

Here we’ve collected together some of the most interesting and hip places to eat in Manchester, from laid-back suburban bistros to a back street sushi cave.

  • 7 Book Now Manchester

    Hawksmoor

    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 a 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.

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    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

    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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  • 9 Book Now Manchester

    Where the Light Gets In

    Modern British

    The UK’s most exciting ‘no menu’ restaurant. With no menu, esoteric wines and Michelin star price tag, WTLGI doesn’t adhere to the typical fine dining formula. But it’s been a success for Stockport, thanks to chef-patron Sam Buckley’s belief in doing things his own way. His aim is to create ‘a dining experience from the day’s catch, harvest and slaughter’ and to treat staff ethically and as part of the restaurant’s collective consciousness.

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  • 16 Book Now Manchester

    Umezushi

    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.

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  • Book Now Manchester

    Volta

    European

    A thrilling take on the neighbourhood restaurant format. Volta is owned by Luke ‘Unabomber’ Cowdrey and Justin Crawford. The DJ/restaurateurs are masters of putting creative energy behind a project and their second venture is a grown-up affair, offering luxurious steaks, and house aged negronis (and various other cocktails using the likes of lavender syrup, burnt orange peel and sanguinello) in a space that blurs the lines between bar and restaurant. The emphasis is on fun and the interior includes reclaimed vintage details, mixed in with a bare-brick. An old school, NYC grill house vibe.

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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

    Oystercatcher

    European

    “Doing lots of little things right” is a definition of perfection – and this simple seafood restaurant in Chorlton is just that. The kitchen’s Essa grill is masterfully handled by co-owner (and former Lead Station chef) Recep Canliisik, who churns out char-grilled whole squid and seabream, Thai-spiced monkfish tail and possibly the best calamari in the UK.

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  • 27 Book Now Manchester

    El Gato Negro

    Spanish

    Upmarket Manc-Spanish fusion, 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 with El Gato Negro. Top floor is a bar and dining, complete with retractable roof, fine wines, bespoke g&ts and cocktails, while wedged in the middle of the upmarket tapas bar on the ground floor is the restaurant proper, complete with open kitchen, exposed brick walls, comfy booths. Be warned however: there’s seldom a spare seat anywhere in the building. Both sexy and moreish, this Spanish restaurant is far greater than the sum of its parts.

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  • 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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  • 25 Book Now Lancashire

    Baratxuri

    Spanish

    Sublime homage to the pintxos bars of the Basque region. Basque enclave, Baratxuri, is the second Ramsbottom-based bar and restaurant from Joe and Fiona Botham. A spin-off from their business importing high-quality Spanish raw materials, including aged beef from Galician dairy cows, Baratxuri follows the success of their first venture, Levanter, which is just around the corner (and also in the top 100). Sourcing and perfectly cooked meat and fish are at the heart of the operation with a menu that includes bar-top pintxos, raciones (whole, shell on prawns cooked in garlic, or baked Catalan brie with a home-dried tomato tapenade) and a short ‘asado’ or wood-fired roasted meats menu. This could include a quarter of milk-fed lamb, Txuleton rib steak, Jacobs Ladder or octopus leg, all served whole and carved at the table with piles of roast potatoes and buttery ham and cabbage. Look out for pintxos such as Txistorra (a sausage roll encasing piquant chorizo) or Txangurro a la Donastiana a pimento-rich spider crab tartlet (a signature dish of San Sebastian) making their way from the open plan kitchen. To drink? Tzakoli is an obvious choice but everything is good from the medium-bodied Mencia M Mencia from the Luna Beberide winery in Bierzo to Xixarito Pedro Ximenez sherry and the Marioneta cocktail (a Negroni by any other name with the emphasis on the Spanish sweet vermouth). A wonderful place.

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  • Book Now Manchester

    Albert’s Schloss

    European

    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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  • Book Now Manchester

    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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  • tattu
    Book Now Manchester

    Tattu

    Chinese

    Located in the heart of Manchester’s gleaming business district (and also on East Parade in Leeds), Tattu 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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  • randall-Aubin-bar
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    Randall & Aubin

    British

    The famed Soho seafood restaurant got off to a good start after opening in Manchester in the summer of 2017, however rough conditions and a lack of direction lead to rumours of closure just a year later. It was time to sink or swim. Randall & Aubin’s founders, chef Ed Baines and business partner Jamie Poulton, subsequently stepped in and the ship swung back on course with renewed purpose and vigour. Manchester has not historically taken to seafood restaurants, however, Randall’s canny combination of fresh fishy dishes, like the breaded and fried lemon sole and the dressed Dorset crab, alongside brasserie classics like rotisserie chicken and steak frites have kept punters flooding back. It’s a looker too.

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  • Book Now Manchester

    Mughli

    Indian subcontinent

    Confidential readers are likely to be familiar with Mughli; the contemporary, social media embracing, second-generation Curry Mile restaurant that paved the way for the likes of Indian Tiffin Room, Amma’s Canteen and Dishoom. Obviously, this sort of thing is standard now, but Mughli was one of the first Indian restaurants to steam off the flock wallpaper and refresh their menu by adding authentic Indian street food dishes to a menu of British curry house classics.

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