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Top 40 tasting menus: the finest of fine dining in the North West

1 month ago

We’ve covered the North West to bring you the best tasting menus. From Manchester to Merseyside, from the Lakeland fells to Leeds (which is just about North West with a little geographic boundary shifting), these are the places to go for course upon course of food bliss.

You’ll need to book ahead – and possibly book a room – but everywhere on this list is well worth a visit. With affordable fine dining, an Indian tasting menu, a Masterchef: The Professionals finalist, a plant-based gastronomic supper club and Michelin stars sprinkled like Halen Mon salt across this posh nosh Confidential Guide, there is something for everyone.

Our Top 40 tasting menus are the cream of the crop. The seasonal, locally-sourced, heritage-variety crop, obviously.

  • The private dining room at 20 Stories, Manchester.
    Spinningfields

    20 Stories

    Bars

    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 chef puts the finishing touches to a dish at French restaurant 63 Degrees in Manchester's NQ.
    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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  • 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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  • One of the dishes at Allium, a Michelin Star restaurant in the Lake Distirct
    Cumbria

    Allium at Askham Hall

    Restaurant - British

    Allium at Askham Hall has a dedication to seasonality that is rare, for all the term is bandied about these days. The restaurant is almost entirely self-sufficient, relying on the produce grown in the kitchen gardens. The estate also farms rare breeds and local native breeds which are raised for their flavour not commercial profitability – the proof is on the plate.

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  • Dessert at Arkle, the 3AA Rosette restaurant at the Chester Grosvenor Hotel
    Chester

    Arkle

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Arkle is the feather in Chester’s foodie cap. The three AA Rosette restaurant, located in the grand Chester Grosvenor Hotel, is the hautest of haute cuisine in the city. It offers five and seven-course tasting menus as well as wine flights from some of the finest cellars in the country – as well as an appearance in the Michelin Guide, Arkle also has the AA Notable Wine Award.

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  • Dakota Grill Manchester Lamb Rump
    Book Now Northern Quarter

    Dakota Grill Manchester

    Bars

    Dakota Grill Manchester is the work of former Malmaison owner, Ken McCollough and it is as dark-hued and handsome as the successful boutique hotel chain. It’s an inviting place with flickering candlelight, very retro-sexy – sure to be the setting for many a first date.

    The focus at Dakota is on steaks which are very good – all grass-fed, 28 day-aged, hand-cut Aberdeenshire beef cooked over hot coals.

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  • Gastropub the Freemasons at Wiswell is situated in the picturesque Ribble Valley in Lancashire
    Clitheroe

    Freemasons at Wiswell

    Pubs

    Cooking goes from strength to strength at the Freemasons at Wiswell in Lancashire’s Ribble Valley. Roaring fires, cast-iron fireplaces and pictures of fantastically proportioned livestock lend a cosy vibe to the renovated cottages which make up what’s been described as the original gastropub.

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  • Heft restaurant building
    Cumbria

    Heft

    Restaurant - British

    Awarded with a Michelin star in 2023, Heft is the brainchild of chef, Kevin Tickle and his wife, Nicola.

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  • Country house hotel Holbeck Ghyll has stunning views over Windermere in the Lake District.
    Cumbria

    Holbeck Ghyll

    Bars

    Situated in the hills above Windermere, Holbeck Ghyll could easily claim a place in a list of the most romantic restaurants in the world.

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  • One of the dishes served at Lake Road Kitchen, the acclaimed restaurant in Ambleside in The Lake District.
    Cumbria

    Lake Road Kitchen

    Restaurant - European

    A wild-maned toddler of a restaurant, bound for great things, Lake Road Kitchen is an exciting place to eat. Now the holder of Michelin Star, it’s the baby of former Samling chef James Cross and is one of the leading lights in the Lakes foraging trend.

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  • Lobster thermidor as served at La Popote restaurant in Marton near Macclesfield
    Congleton

    La Popote

    Restaurant - French

    This small family-owned French bistro is tucked away in pretty Marton, near Macclesfield. Heavily influenced by classical French cooking, the owner of La Popote is Dutch, his wife Scottish and their first restaurants were in South Africa. But the blend of influences works.

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  • Book Now Cumbria

    L’Enclume

    Restaurant - Modern British

    L’Enclume is Simon Rogan’s three Michelin-starred restaurant located in the Lake District village of Cartmel, which is widely regarded as one of the UK’s leading dining destinations. The restaurant is situated in a former 13th-century blacksmith’s workshop.

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  • A seafood dish from Mana, Manchester.
    Ancoats

    Mana

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Michelin-starred restaurant Mana is the brainchild of chef patron Simon Martin who mastered his trade at the renowned Noma in Copenhagen. In his first few years at Mana, Martin has succeeded in carving his own path – one which confuses and delights people in equal measure.

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  • Baltic Triangle

    Manifest

    Restaurant - Modern British

    The manifesto at industrial-chic restaurant and “dine-at-wine-bar” Manifest is “seasonal plates and famous Liverpool hospitality”, with the Modern British menus regularly changing to reflect both local produce availability and the wines that will be matched to the food.

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  • One of the stunning dishes served at Moor Hall, the restaurant with two Michelin stars in Aughton, Lancashire.
    Aughton

    Moor Hall

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Mark Birchall, ex-head chef at L’Enclume, is chef-patron of Moor Hall, an outstanding, two Michelin star, five AA Rosette restaurant with rooms.

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  • One of the dishes served at MUSU in Manchester
    Book Now Spinningfields

    MUSU

    Bars

    The Japanese word MUSU translates as ‘infinite possibilities’ and while Chef Patron Michael Shaw’s quartet of menus may not be infinite they are certainly unique for Manchester at least. With a combination of Japanese and more locally-sourced ingredients, the guest is invited to choose the way they prefer to dine at MUSU.

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  • Beef dish at Next Door, a restaurant in Frodsham
    Frodsham

    Next Door

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Next Door is one of Cheshire’s most delightful restaurants. Housed in Frodsham’s timber-framed old butcher’s shop, it’s full of charm and is well-known locally for its superb cooking. It has a place in the Michelin Guide and has been awarded three AA Rosettes.

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  • Exterior of Northcote - the Michelin star restaurant and hotel in the Ribble Valley.
    Lancashire

    Northcote

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Northcote is where chef-patron Nigel Haworth earned his stripes as an instigator of contemporary British fine dining. Today, Michelin star chef and one of BBC2’s Great British Menu winners, Lisa Goodwin-Allen, heads up the kitchen.

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  • One of the elegant dishes served at Nova, a Modern British restaurant in Heswall, Wirral.
    Heswall

    Nova

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Nova is a longstanding favourite for those looking for creative fine-dining on the Wirral. Ran by husband and wife team Moyo and Jana, it expanded into larger premises in 2021, thankfully without losing the warm, relaxing feel of the original restaurant.

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  • One of the mains served at Old Stamp House - the Michelin star restaurant in Ambleside, the Lake District.
    Cumbria

    Old Stamp House

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Head to Ambleside’s Old Stamp House for regional cooking in a heritage space by one of Cumbria’s most promising chefs.

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  • One of the dishes served at Oxa, a modern British restaurant on the Wirral, Merseyside.
    Book Now Oxton

    OXA

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Oxa is the casual sister restaurant to the ground-breaking Restaurant 8 in Liverpool but it is by no means the poor relation.

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  • A cocktail at Panoramic 34 in Liverpool city centre.
    Business District (Liverpool)

    Panoramic 34

    Bars

    Panoramic 34 was the UK’s highest restaurant when it opened in 2008, and although others have since taken that title, it still offers an impressive vantage point with a 360-degree view of Liverpool, the Mersey, and beyond to Wales. 

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  • A dish from the Pentonbridge Inn paired with wine.
    Cumbria

    Pentonbridge Inn

    Pubs

    Pentonbridge Inn is a former coaching inn in the unspoilt wilds of North Cumbria, near the Scottish Borders. If that sounds a bit remote for dinner, it is the perfect place for a countryside getaway with snug and stylish rooms to stay over.

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  • A plate of sashimi at Peter Street Kitchen - the Japanese and Mexican restaurant in the former Free Trade Hall in Manchester
    Manchester City Centre

    Peter Street Kitchen

    Bars

    Specialising in two distinct, contemporary cuisines, Mexican and Japanese, Peter Street Kitchen’s punchy small plates ooze luxury. There are several menus, from the sashimi, tataki and tartare of The Hibachi Experience to the pick n mix of the a la carte. Will you go all Mexican, all Japanese or mix up your tacos and tempura by grabbing dishes from both sides of the world?

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  • The entrance to Prashad restaurant in Bradford, which is known for its vegetarian Indian food
    Bradford

    Prashad

    Bars

    Prashad is a Gordon Ramsay-rated thrill for anyone craving Gujarati vegetarian food. Since starring on Ramsay’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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  • Coconut, passion fruit & banana from Restaurant 8 in Liverpool
    Book Now Cavern Quarter

    Restaurant 8

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Chef and co-owner Andrew Sheridan (who you might recognise from Great British Menu) has uprooted Restaurant 8 from Birmingham and returned to the city of his birth. It’s a tough blow for the Brummies; the restaurant had built up a mighty reputation in the city, being awarded three AA Rosettes. But it’s excellent news for Liverpool.

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  • Lancashire

    Restaurant Metamorphica

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Metamorphica is a modern British restaurant based in Rossendale that focuses on quality. It is an independent project run by Chef Steven Halligan.

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  • Book Now Cumbria

    Rogan & Co.

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Situated in an atmospheric 14th-century building beside the pretty River Eea in Cartmel, Rogan & Co is the home of Simon Rogan’s Michelin-starred neighbourhood restaurant.

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  • A dish served at Roski restaurant in Liverpool from MasterChef winner Anton Piotrowski
    Georgian Quarter

    Roski

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Roski is a wild child of a restaurant from MasterChef: The Professionals winner Anton Piotrowski.

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  • Cocktail at Sexy Fish, a restaurant in Manchester
    Spinningfields

    Sexy Fish

    Bars

    Sexy Fish is no mere minnow in the UK dining scene. It’s brought to you by Caprice Holdings, the group behind some of London’s most glam dining spots. Think of it as more of a humongous mermaid – beautiful and ever so slightly improbable.

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  • An example of the dishes on the menu at Six By Nico Restaurant Manchester
    Manchester City Centre

    Six By Nico Manchester

    Restaurant - European

    The “six” of Six By Nico refers to the six-course tasting menu, which runs for stints of six weeks only and of which there are just two choices: meat and fish or vegetarian. The “Nico” of Six By Nico refers to award-winning Scottish-Italian chef and owner Nico Simeone.

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  • Cumbria

    Source

    Restaurant - Global

    Source (previously known as HRiSHi) is a Michelin Star restaurant located at The Gilpin Hotel near Windermere in the Lake District.

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  • Skipton

    The Angel at Hetton

    Pubs

    One of the stars of TV’s The Trip with Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan – and awarded a Michelin star in 2021 – The Angel at Hetton is the original gastro pub with rooms.

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  • Inside the Art School, a recommended date night restaurant in Liverpool.
    Georgian Quarter

    The Art School

    Restaurant - Modern British

    The Art School delivers upmarket, regionally-inspired cooking from local legend, Paul Askew. Opening in late 2014, this fancy contemporary British restaurant is a place for that special occasion.

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  • An example of the Michelin star cooking found at The Box Tree restaurant in Ilkley, Yorkshire
    West Yorkshire

    The Box Tree

    Restaurant - Modern British

    While there’s been a restaurant on this site for more than 50 years, owner-proprietor team Simon and Rena Gueller keep things firmly up to date at Ilkley’s picture-perfect The Box Tree. Expect a contemporary take on classical French cooking at a restaurant which has seen famous chefs like Marco Pierre White behind the pass.

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  • A dish from The Cottage In The Wood
    Cumbria

    The Cottage In The Wood

    Restaurant - British

    The Lake District has its fair share of places to make a food pilgrimage and The Cottage In The Wood is one of them. It has a Michelin Star, is officially one of the UK’s Top 100 restaurants, and has a great reputation.

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  • The light and airy dining room at The Forest Side - a Michelin star restaurant in Grasmere, the Lake District
    Cumbria

    The Forest Side

    Restaurant - Modern British

    Michelin-starred restaurant and hotel The Forest Side, owned by Lakes hotelier Andrew Wildsmith, is built on the foundations of the cooking of former L’Enclume forager, Kevin Tickle.

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  • The glass-fronted dining room at The Samling has views of Lake Windermere
    Cumbria

    The Samling

    Restaurant - Modern British

    The Samling is a delightful lodge and fine-dining restaurant oozing exclusivity. A favourite of Hollywood celebs (like Tom Cruise), it’s easy to see why this charming collection of restored farm cottages is thriving.

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  • The Three Fishes - Restaurant Exterior
    Lancashire

    The Three Fishes

    Pubs

    The Three Fishes at Mitton is in the heart of the beautiful Ribble Valley in Lancashire. Expect an immaculate whitewashed listed building, a cross between an Inn and a country pub, a welcoming bar and an original slate floor all warmed by open log fires.

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  • A dish by Eddie Shepherd at The Walled Gardens in Whalley Range, Manchester.
    Whalley Range

    The Walled Gardens by Eddie Shepherd

    Restaurant - Vegan

    The Walled Gardens is a unique plant-based culinary experience from award-winning chef Eddie Shepherd. It takes place in an open kitchen in his own home in Whalley Range – and only eight guests can dine each night, making it one of the most exclusive restaurants in the city.

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  • One of the dishes served at Vice & Virtue: A Confidential Guides recommended restaurant in Leeds city centre
    Leeds

    Vice & Virtue

    Bars

    At Vice & Virtue, cocktails are a savvy delight, the tasting menus are a sprightly revelation – and it would be a sin not to appreciate both.

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  • Pumpkin pie at Where The Light Gets In
    Stockport

    Where the Light Gets In

    Restaurant - Modern British

    With no menu and esoteric wines, Where the Light Gets In 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.

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