Some of the cicchetti, or small plates, served at Bacaro in Liverpool city centre.
Guide

The top 20 small plates in the North West

We Brits don’t traditionally look too kindly on sharing our dinner. We tend to favour a procession of ‘private’ plates and issue a death stare to anyone who tries to nick one of our chips. But over the past few years, we’ve seen a change in dining decorum. Once only tolerated on an ‘exotic’ visit to a tapas restaurant, ordering a selection of small plates to share between two or more has become de rigueur in all sorts of UK restaurants from Japanese to Scandi.

Our top 100 includes plenty of them, so we’ve put them together into a handy guide. From dishes such as smoked beets, goats cheese and nettle sauce at gorgeous upmarket gastropub The Moorcock, to a procession of Indian street food perfect for soaking up a few craft beers at Bundobust as well as some next level tapas from the likes of El Gato Negro and Lunya. Shake off your stiff upper lip, grab some friends and family and get stuck in.

  • The unassuming exterior of The Moorcock Inn in Sowerby Bridge: a Confidential Guides recommended restaurant
    4 Book Now West Yorkshire

    The Moorcock Inn

    Modern British

    An astonishing arrival on the Northern culinary scene, The Moorcock Inn serves foraged and regional ingredients in thrilling configurations, catching the eye of national food critics and diners alike.

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  • Inside Elnecot, one of the new generation of restaurants in Ancoats, Manchester.
    Book Now Greater Manchester

    Elnecot

    European

    Named after the first recorded name for Ancoats, Elnecot (meaning ‘lonely cottages’) takes its influence from historical cooking methods with lots of fermenting, a little foraging and a few nose-to-tail dishes.

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  • Inside Skosh restaurant in York which serves adventurous world-fusion food with spectacular results.
    17 Book Now North Yorkshire

    Skosh

    European

    Going by name and appearances, you’d be forgiven for mistaking Skosh for a Scandi furniture shop: tables the colour of driftwood bob in a greyscale dining room with an Ikea-yellow wall as the backdrop. In fact, its open kitchen is staffed with chefs preparing British dishes with an adventurous and international flavour. Skosh offers as close to perfect as world-fusion cooking gets in the UK. 

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  • El Gato Negro, the much-praised Spanish restaurant on King Street, Manchester
    27 Book Now Greater Manchester

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

    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 Greater Manchester

    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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  • Bundobust Manchester is best known for its vegetarian small plates and craft beers
    23 Book Now Greater Manchester

    Bundobust Manchester

    Indian subcontinent

    Bundobust is a huge beer hall serving craft ales 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, thanks to its stellar menu of Indian small plates.

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  • Eel as served at Jöro - the Nordic-inspired, acclaimed restaurant in Sheffield.
    20 Book Now South Yorkshire

    Jöro

    Scandi

    Offering Nordic-inspired fine dining inside a shipping container, Jöro has secured accolades galore, including a clutch of AA Rosettes and Michelin Bib Gourmand.

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  • The sun shining on Maray restaurant on Bold Street, Liverpool city centre.
    Book Now Merseyside

    Maray Bold St

    European

    Serving irresistible Middle Eastern fusion small plates, Maray is a slow-burning smash hit. Inspired by (and named after) the Middle-Eastern flavours of Paris’ Marais district, it provides an informal, communal dining experience which revolves around excellent falafels, small plates, fine wines and cocktails.

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  • The homely interior of The Roebuck Inn in Mobberley, Cheshire
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    The Roebuck Inn

    British

    Multi-award-winning pub in the Cheshire countryside. Winner of countless ‘best pub’ awards, and established in 1708, the latest incarnation of The Roebuck Inn is owned by Cheshire Cat Pubs. The Grade II Listed building is now a bonafide ‘rustic country inn’ with six bedrooms, a bar, a bistro and a tiered beer garden.

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  • Inside Bacaro, the Liverpool bar that serves Venetian-inspired small plates
    Book Now Merseyside

    Bacaro

    European

    Like the backstreet Venetian tapas places which inspired this central Liverpool bar and restaurant, there is something about Salt House Bacaro that makes you never want to leave.

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  • Belzan is known for cocktails and maverick small plates
    Book Now Merseyside

    Belzan

    European

    Following punchy reviews in the local and national press, it has been hard to secure a table at Liverpool’s Belzan.

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  • Outside dining at Porta Altrincham - a tapas restaurant recommended by Confidential Guides
    Book Now Greater Manchester

    Porta Altrincham

    European

    Portuguese-inspired small plates and a menu that really delivers. Porta Altrincham might be another tapas place – but this one is a smash hit serving excellent food and fine wines.

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  • Book Now Greater Manchester

    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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  • Spanish wines displayed at Lunya restaurant and deli in Liverpool city centre.
    Book Now Merseyside

    Lunya

    Spanish

    World-class Catalan deli and restaurant Lunya is a wonderful place to hang out, with tapas and full-bodied meals on offer. Just don’t expect predictable options in a venue known for signature dishes like Catalan Scouse (morcilla and chorizo stew), or croquetas with oxtail and horseradish mousse.

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  • A colourful small plate served at Volta in Didsbury: a Confidential Guides' recommended restaurant
    Book Now Greater 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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  • Asparagus as served at The Swine That Dines - an inventive restaurant in Leeds city centre
    Book Now West Yorkshire

    The Swine That Dines

    Modern British

    Adventurous cooking at one of Leeds’ most respected restaurants. The Swine That Dines is driven by a passion for extremely high welfare meat – and eating all of the animal. Expect their regularly changing menus of small plates to feature dishes such as hogget with offal ragu, pumpkin and cannellini, and ox tongue with pickled mushrooms and mustard, alongside equally inventive vegetarian options.

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  • Levanter Restaurant Ramsbottom Figs Wine
    Book Now Lancashire

    Levanter

    Spanish

    Owned and run by Basque food importers Joe and Fiona Botham, Levanter is ‘a true tapas bar’ serving authentic Spanish dishes, wines and sherries.

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