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11 great vegetarian dishes you need to try in Manchester

Arian restaurant
Vegetarian fesenjan

Aside from a handful of dedicated vegetarian outlets where the menu is all yours for the taking, vegetarians in the city generally know how to survive one carefully-chosen dish at a time. From spicy Bánh mì in Chinatown, to the pricy vegetarian’s dream at Manchester House, there are outstanding veggie meals across the spectrum if you know where to look. Here are 11 you should definitely try.

Tofu Bánh Mì at I Am Pho 
Tucked down a little stairway on George Street in Chinatown, £3 and a short wait buys you one of the tastiest treats in the city. If a hearty baguette seems out of place in a Vietnamese eatery, that’s down to French colonialism. This hybrid dish fills a generous portion of bread with tofu, fresh coriander, pickled carrot, cucumber and, if you want it spicy, fresh red chilli too. Delicious, filling and ideal for a quick lunch stop-off.
44 George Street, M1 4HF

Individual Vegetable Selection Platter at Umezushi 
Vegetarians often stall before choosing Japanese as a cuisine, but it’s not just fish-flesh on offer, as this delightful veggie sushi platter for only a tenner proves. Umezushi has a terrific location under an archway near the Arena, both cosy and chic, and the presentation of the food is an art in itself.
4 Mirabel Street, M3 1PJ

Paneer Chilli at Ghurka Grill
This one begins as a challenge, then becomes addictive. With a degree of fieriness that’s absolutely not for amateurs, hearty cubes of chewy paneer are encrusted with chilli and spices. Unlike many other super-hot dishes, this one is full on with the flavour too. Just have a glass of water at the ready.
194 Burton Road, M20 1LH

Falafel and Halloumi Mixed Pitta at Zorba’s
If you must venture to the Arndale, you might as well treat yourself to a stop-off at the Market where there are a surprising amount of food-wins in a small area. One of the best snacks is found at Zorba’s. The falafel halloumi mixed pitta is generous and messy – get hummus, yoghurt and all the works. It gets busy so don’t be afraid to eat standing up with a sly beer from Microbar round the corner.
Arndale Market, M4 2EA

Shamong at Tibetan Kitchen
The lovely gents at Tibetan Kitchen in Whalley Range will rustle up a bespoke vegetarian plate if you ask nicely, but the Shamong does just fine for your first time – simple savoury flavours of garlic and butter on fresh mushrooms, green beans and rice. This Himalayan outlet is great for vegans too, don’t walk away without some vegetable momos in your order.
254 Upper Chorlton Road, M16 0BN

Beer-Battered Halloumi at Bistro 1847 
Bistro rarely disappoints. Their beer-battered halloumi is veggie comfort food galore, and something of a Manchester classic. Crispy and light on the outside, with salty chewy slabs of Greek cheese within. Don’t forget this is contemporary cuisine, so it all comes with a twist – mushy pea emulsion, smoked lemon curd and gin pickled shallots.
58 Mosley Street (entrance on Booth Street), M2 3HZ

Spring Onion Fritters at Ho’s Bakery
Another champion of snacks to be had in Chinatown, this bready treat is equally salty and sweet, filled with spring onion and deep-fried. There’s no pretending it’s good for you so try eating it quick while it’s toasty warm and before the grease turns the bag translucent. You’ll never look back.
46 Faulkner Street, M1 4FH

Veggie Chilli Dog at Home Sweet Home
Whether you’re about to go out on the lash, or about to die from the night before, this monster-dog should be your meal of choice. Junk food for vegetarians doesn’t come much better– tasty, cheesy, hot and embarrassingly large. You’ll be back on form in no time.
49 Edge Street, M4 1HW

Uttapam at Sanskruti
Disclaimer: you could stick a pin anywhere in this menu and find a dish to croon over. This under-worshipped South Manchester Indian is home to a fully-vegetarian (and plenty-vegan) menu. The uttapams are pretty special – little dosa-like pizzas packed with flavour. Not only is the food fine and the choice plentiful, but the venue and staff are lovely too, and it’s all Vegetarian Society approved.
95 Mauldeth Road, M14 6SR

Fesenjan at Arian
Persian food is still pretty rare in Manchester which is a shame as it's so delicious, but much of it is lamb based. What a delight then to see a large selection of traditional Iranian food on offer with vegetarian versions of many of the main meals at Arian in Chorlton. 
Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton, M21 8AZ

Vegetarian Tasting Menu at Manchester House 
A vegetarian tasting menu is a rare treat, and the one at Manchester House is sheer vegetarian alchemy. Twelve unique dishes arrive at the table one at a time, each one like a piece of edible jewellery. At just shy of a hundred quid, you’d better appreciate the artistry, but by the time the braised salsify and artichoke gnocchi lands on your table you’ll probably forget about the price tag.
18 Bridge Street, M3 3BZ

Words: Greg Thorpe