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Guide

The most romantic bars and restaurants in Manchester

8 months ago

It’s getting kind of close to Valentine’s Day now, but you don’t like the thought of giving in to a big Hallmark holiday by forking out for set menus, roses or balloons. That’s cool, we can help.

Here are, 20+ bars and restaurants that are romantic but not soppy, sexy but not saccharine and open in the run-up to, and days after Valentine’s Day as well.

Not a set menu in sight. Lovely.

  • Modern British fine dining at Adam Reid at The French, the restaurant in the Midland Hotel, Manchester
    Manchester City Centre

    Adam Reid at The French

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Culinary rock and roll from Simon Rogan’s protege, Adam Reid. Enjoy fine-dining in Grade II Listed Victorian surrounds – with a side order of Mancunian attitude.

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

    Australasia

    Restaurant - 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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  • Baratxuri in Ramsbottom pays homage to the pintxos bars of the Basque region
    Ramsbottom

    Baratxuri

    Restaurant - Spanish

    Basque enclave Baratxuri is the second Ramsbottom-based bar and restaurant from Joe and Fiona Botham.

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  • Beech Road's Bar San Juan is a Chorlton favourite for Spanish food and sangria
    Chorlton

    Bar San Juan

    Restaurant - Spanish

    Beech Road’s Bar San Juan is almost always bursting at the seams with customers. This unassuming little tapas bar is one of those hidden gems of almost cult-like status that locals just love to recommend. Rightly so.

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  • Book Now Manchester City Centre

    The Black Friar

    Restaurant - Modern British

    The Black Friar stood empty and unloved for almost 20 years before reopening in summer 2021 after a substantial renovation project. Now a modern British restaurant and a traditional pub, it has two distinct settings with menus to match.

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  • A dish served at Campo Blanco, a tapas bar in Whitefield, Bury, Greater Manchester
    Book Now Whitefield

    Campo Blanco

    Restaurant - Spanish

    Campo Blanco means “white field” in Spanish, so it comes as no surprise that this restaurant is the go-to place for tapas in the vicinity, serving classic Catalan-style small plates along with dishes inspired by other cuisines from around the Mediterranean region.

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  • cuckoo prestwich door
    Prestwich

    Cuckoo

    Restaurant - Italian

    Like the interloping bird that gives it its name, Cuckoo was an odd-one-out when it first opened in Prestwich back in 2013. Since then a whole flock of likeminded, indie cafe-bars have landed in this suburb, but Cuckoo is still the favourite for many.

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

    El Gato Negro Manchester

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

    Erst

    Restaurant - 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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  • Grand Pacific Manchester
    Book Now Manchester City Centre

    Grand Pacific

    Restaurant - Pan Asian

    Grand Pacific is the work of Living Ventures and it easily outshines its sibling venues in terms of pure glamour. Not in a big chandeliers, glass and chrome Spinningfields way, but with a decadent blend of colonial Raffles-style grandeur and some of the best of the city’s Victorian architecture.

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

    The Jane Eyre

    Restaurant - 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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  • Kala Bistro Cod Loin
    Book Now Manchester City Centre

    Kala Bistro

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Kala describes itself as a humble bistro but humility is not usually a word associated with Gary Usher, the chef behind the Elite Bistros group. Having said that, perhaps the social media motormouth has every reason to feel pretty darn perky. Some very well-regarded chefs have only good things to say about him, such as former boss, Angela Hartnett, and the supposed ‘humble bistro food’ at Kala is elegant and impressive. It’s more fine dining than simple fodder, that’s for sure.

    The dishes sound simple but they have a flair and a verve that can’t fail to delight. Expect starters such as baked goat’s cheese with purple carrots and smoked garlic or crispy pig’s head croquette. Typical mains range from miso glazed squash to pan-roasted cod with curry and almond sauce but the rightly famous featherblade of beef is a mainstay.

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  • Velvet green booths and natural lighting at Masons Restaurant and Bar in Manchester city centre.
    Manchester City Centre

    Masons

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Nestled in the Grade II Listed former Freemasons Hall, Masons Restaurant and Bar serves retro fine-dining fare in princely surrounds.

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  • The Perfect Match restaurant, Sale
    Book Now Sale

    The Perfect Match

    Restaurant - European

    New opening The Perfect Match on the traffic-heavy A56 in Sale isn’t the easiest place to get to but it’s well worth the effort.

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  • A cocktail and a bouquet of roses at Rosa, an Italian restaurant in Westhoughton, Bolton
    Book Now Bolton

    Rosa

    Restaurant - Italian

    Cicchetti, bar, grill. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Rosa’s food is inspired by Italy, and the menus are updated regularly to reflect the changing seasons in this smart-looking restaurant complete with sheltered garden – also perfect for soaking up some sunshine and a cocktail or two.

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  • Book Now Manchester City Centre

    Rosso

    Restaurant - Italian

    If it’s a stylish lunch date destination you’re after or some suitably chic eats for dinner à deux, Rosso might be the one, resplendent in clean white suffused with natural light and with plenty of Italian-inspired vegetarian, pescatarian and meat-lover options on the menu.

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  • The exterior of San Carlo Manchester with its distinctive orange awning.
    Book Now Manchester City Centre

    San Carlo Manchester

    Restaurant - Italian

    San Carlo is Manchester’s most famous and, some say, best Italian restaurant. Run by the Distefano family, it’s said to have one of the largest turnovers in the UK. It’s also the place to be papped and there’s usually a bank of photographers outside to prove the point.

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  • San Carlo Fumo Dinner and Wine
    Book Now Manchester City Centre

    San Carlo Fumo

    Restaurant - Italian

    Head to any of the ristorantes in the acclaimed and award-winning family-run San Carlo Group and you know you’re in for exceptional ingredients, artfully prepared, and served in super chic surroundings. Fumo’s speciality is its vast choice of Venice-inspired cicchetti small plates to share and swap with friends or family, along with its cocktail bar.

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  • Tast Restaurant Manchester
    Book Now Manchester City Centre

    Tast

    Restaurant - Spanish

    Catalan restaurant Tast brings the fiercely independent spirit of north-eastern Spain to your table courtesy head chef Paco Pérez – holder of six Michelin stars – and his passionate team, who now run seven acclaimed restaurants around the world.

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

    Tattu Manchester

    Restaurant - 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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  • Victor's restaurant, Hale
    Book Now Hale

    Victor’s

    Restaurant - Global

    Victor’s is an upscale neighbourhood restaurant. Of course it is, it’s in Hale. Locals call in for everything from brunch to dinner and cocktails and pretty much everything in between.

    There’s a global menu with an emphasis on Japanese cuisine. Apart from sushi and sashimi – of which there is a good selection for somewhere that doesn’t specialise in raw fish – you’ll find dishes like seabass and scallop ceviche, Caesar salad, baked stone bass with lemongrass and pak choi and steaks from the grill.

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  • Manchester City Centre

    Wood & Company

    Bars

    With its disguised entrance and back street location, Wood & Co has the feel of a secret speakeasy only frequented by those in the know. The unmarked door is on South King Street, in between Cross Street and Deansgate. Descend the steps and you’ll find yourself in a tiled, sleek space centred on a marble bar that stretches the length of the room.

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  • Lamb rump with potato rosti and broad beans served at 10 Tib Lane, a French restaurant in Manchester city centre.
    Manchester City Centre

    10 Tib Lane

    Restaurant - French

    10 Tib Lane is one of the brave new openings of summer 2021; a time when securing staff and supplies, never mind diners, is an ongoing challenge for everyone. 

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  • A chef puts the finishing touches to a dish at French restaurant 63 Degrees in Manchester's NQ.
    Book Now Northern Quarter

    63 Degrees

    Restaurant - French

    Ran by husband and wife team Eric and Florence Moreau, 63 Degrees is a classic chef-proprieteur French restaurant with roots in the refined cuisine of their home city of Paris.

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