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Photograph: Kelly Bishop for Time Out

The 26 best restaurants in Manchester you need to try

From kebabs to tasting menus, curry cafés to veggie delights, here’s our pick of the best restaurants in Manchester

Rob Martin
Kelly Bishop
Written by
Rob Martin
Kelly Bishop

Manchester’s food scene is flourishing. Mana was awarded the city's first Michelin star in 40 years back in 2019, and retained it in last year’s awards. But new gems are popping up all the time; the likes of Climat, 10 Tib Lane, and British bistro Higher Ground have just found their way to our top ten. 

Here you'll find everything from pho to pizza and Middle Eastern to French, with well-loved neighbourhood joints sitting alongside swanky fine dining spots. Whatever you've got a hunger for, Manchester has something to satisfy your cravings. That's a promise. Here is our 2023 list of the best restaurants in the city. 

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This guide was recently updated by Kelly Bishop, a food writer based in Manchester. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

Top restaurants in Manchester

  • Restaurants
  • price 3 of 4

What is it? A modern, airy dining room serving a meat-focused tasting menu.

Why go? Off the tourist track but well worth the pilgrimage, Where The Light Gets In has really earned its Michelin Green Star. The passionate team operates in the loft of a lovingly restored Victorian coffee warehouse in Stockport and many of the ingredients are sourced from their own nearby allotment. There’s no denying you’ll spend some serious money here, but is it worth it? Yes, it is.

Time Out tip: While you’re in the area, nip to Yellowhammer bakery and wine bar round the corner, the side project of WTLGI owner Sam Buckley. 

  • Restaurants

What is it? A stylish natural wine bar and restaurant. 

Why go? This meticulously curated space looks like it’s come off the cover of a magazine, and equal attention goes into creating big flavours on the menu. At the heart of Erst’s kitchen, an open-flame grill kicks out dishes that vary according to the season. Think ice-cold oysters, deliciously fatty and crisp pork belly and cured fish with seasonally changing accompaniments.. Don’t miss the signature flatbread with beef fat and urfa chilli. 

Time Out tip: Trust the staff to recommend a bottle of natural wine and settle in for the evening. 

  • Restaurants

What is it? Probably Manchester’s hippest restaurant. 

Why go? Dream team Joe Otway, Richard Cossins and Daniel Craig Martin have Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, Noma and Where The Light Gets In on their CVs. Higher Ground has sustainability at the heart of its ever evolving menu. Whole animals from local farms are used across a variety of dishes so you might get pig head terrine and pork belly one month or slow cooked brisket and T bone steaks another. Organically grown fruit and veg from their own Cinderwood Market Garden (which also provides for many of Manchester’s best restaurants) plays a starring role. Wines are low intervention and tunes are smooth. On top of all that, the service makes you feel like a guest of honour.

Time Out tip: Try the Marfona potatoes which come pureed in a pool of smoked butter.

4. 10 Tib Lane

What is it? Intimate, low-lit date night spot with a big dollop of French influence. 

Why go? This gorgeous three-storey restaurant is a hidden gem tucked away down the unassuming Tib Lane just near the town hall. The menu of small sharing plates changes frequently and always has exciting seasonal veggie options like baby courgettes with polenta or chicory with pickled veg and candied walnuts. There’s also cracking fish and seafood and impeccably cooked meat, like onglet with red wine sauce or a French trimmed pork chop, and a carefully selected wine list featuring both natural and conventional gems.

Time Out tip: Don’t neglect the cocktails, the owners also own Chorlton’s coolest cocktail bar Henry C and they really know their stuff.


5. Climat

What is it? A rooftop restaurant with panoramic views of the city, an award-winning wine list and ‘Parisian expat’ small plates

Why go? If you really want to see Manchester, the view from this eighth-floor dining room is a must – especially at lunchtime or early evening. But it’s not just your eyes that are in for a treat, Climat’s menu overseen by chef Luke Richardson will amuse your bouche too. From playful signature snacks like hash browns with lemony taramasalata, billowing gougeres and retro vol au vents to big meaty cuts like dry-aged sirloin with dulse hollandaise, there’s a lot to love here. Neglect the wine list at your peril; Tolstoy-esque in length, the in-house sommeliers can guide you to the right bottle with charm, smarts, and a refreshing lack of snobbery. 

Time Out tip: There’s a great value prix fixe lunch and early dinner menu currently on offer at £26 for three courses.

6. The Sparrows

What is it? A cosy restaurant serving a variety of hand-made European dumpling and spätzle dishes.

Why go? Oh, so many reasons... The staff, who are lovely. The setting, which is warm. Oh, and then there’s the food. If you’re unfamiliar, spätzle is The Sparrow’s speciality: egg noodles that are common in South Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Alsace. Meanwhile, a more Eastern European flavour is brought in with the dumplings. Add to these the most delicious sauces, daily baked bread and a wine selection that’s full of surprises, and you can see why The Sparrows is a place to flock to.  

Time Out tip: Book and book early.


7. Another Hand

What is it? Startlingly skillful modern cooking on a hidden street. 

Why Go? The passion project of two chef friends Julian Pizer and Max Yorke, Another Hand has a cult following of dedicated foodies in the city. You’ve got to work to find it on Deansgate Mews. Head up some rainbow coloured steps that lead to an elevated street behind a row of estate agents on Deansgate. There’s a good chance you’ve walked past it many times. Expect the unexpected on your plate too. You might find olive oil or artichoke in a dessert or locally cultivated lion’s mane mushroom with chocolate sauce as a main. But there’s comfort food too like an ostentatious hasselback potato with black garlic and buttermilk. 

Time Out tip: There’s a spectacular Reuben sandwich on the lunch menu. 

8. Adam Reid at The French

What is it? Intricate, ingenious dishes assembled from the simplest of parts.

Why go? Despite its name, there’s a distinctly English twang to Mancunian Adam Reid’s menu and you’ll experience textural and sensory saturation as you make your way through the captivating courses. Now that The Midland hotel which houses it has had a £14 million refurbishment, The French, which had a Michelin star back in the 1970s, is finally in a setting deserving of its reputation.

Time Out tip: If you’re going to splurge on The French, go the whole hog and get the fantastic matched wines too.


What is it? The well-loved Manchester branch of the notorious chain.

Why go? For homey dishes served in the eclectic splendour of the 1920s Grade II-listed Manchester Hall. The cocktails can hold their own, too, with original takes on classic mixes. Expect Indian street food and traditional dishes inspired by the old Irani cafés of Mumbai. Humble, hearty and spicy, this is comfort food at its best.

Time Out tip: Go for breakfast and get a bacon and egg naan. 

10. Mana

What is it? Avant-garde British fine dining. 

Why go? Slick and serious Mana – which in 2019 became the first restaurant in Manchester to receive a Michelin star since 1977 (that was The French at the Midland Hotel) – serves thoughtful dishes using under-celebrated British ingredients and produce. The open kitchen enjoys surprising guests with anything from aerated yeast to duck hung over burning grape vines. The innovative menu won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re looking for a unique and memorable experience, this is the place..

Time Out tip: This place is reservation only and books out months in advance so plan well. 

  • Restaurants
  • Bistros

What is it? A neighbourhood bistro with an original menu and a la carte options.

Why go? There are few things more wonderful in life than a good neighbourhood bistro and Hispi is top of the pack in Manchester. Hidden away in the suburb of Didsbury, this is the kind of place you wish you had on your doorstep. Reliable, confident, classic cooking makes this relaxed spot many people’s go-to for special occasions.

Time Out tip: Dine early doors for a pocket-friendly three-course deal for under £30.

12. Kala

What is it? The chef behind neighbourhood favourite Hispi, Kala brings classic, down-to-earth dining to King Street, right in the middle of the city centre.

Why go? Everything here is cooked to a tee. Dive into tandoori style sea bream , chicken schnitzel with spiced coronation style butter, and perfectly cooked truffle and parmesan chips. It’s ideal for a spot of pre-theatre dining before heading to see the latest Maxine Peake masterpiece at the Royal Exchange a few minutes walk away. 

Time Out tip: The Sunday roast. Oh, the Sunday roast.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian

What is it? Indian street food and craft beer: it doesn’t get much better than that. 

Why go? Bundobust started out in Leeds and chose Manchester for its second and third outposts (one near Piccadilly Gardens and one that’s also a brewery on Oxford Road)– how lucky are we? Inside, it’s casual and hip with a smattering of retro Bollywood; long communal dining tables groan under the weight of dishes that fuse northern produce with Gujarati street food. The menu is vegetarian, but we reckon even the most hard-headed meat-eater wouldn’t have beef (sorry) with eating here.

Time Out tip: Bundobust also brews its own beer - try the coriander pilsner or the cider with tamarind.

14. Osma

What is it? A classy combination of flavours and style from Oslo and Manchester, where the founders come from.

Why go? One worth hopping on a tram to Prestwich for. The exquisite flavours in Osma’s menu of seasonal, locally sourced produce are matched by the stunning presentation and a lovely, welcoming team. With its inventive Scandinavian-influenced small plates, delicious Sunday roasts and a fine daily lunch menu, OSMA is a fantastic addition to the increasingly impressive north Manchester restaurant scene.

Time Out tip: OSMA now has an outpost in the multi-kitchen bar called Exhibition in the city centre, and the Sunday roast is highly rated.


15. Maray

What is it? A relaxed, friendly restaurant inspired by the Middle Eastern and North African flavours of the Marais district in Paris.

Why go? Tucked away in Lincoln Square, Maray has now been going for almost a decade, with restaurants in Manchester and Liverpool. Not only is the Manchester space a classy, cool and comfortable venue, it’s rare to find food of such quality at such a reasonable price in an unfussy setting and with a lovely bunch of people waiting to guide you through it. 

Time Out tip. Have the Disco Cauliflower. You’ll dance yourself dizzy.

16. The Black Friar

What is it? A gastro pub on the Salford/Manchester border.

Why go? Named after a Benedictine monk who promoted the healing power of people getting together for food and a drink, 
Salford’s Black Friar has had several incarnations. It’s been around for a while – it was rebuilt in 1986, and fire damage left it derelict for over a decade until it was refurbished and became a gastro pub. The mix of old and new – the old pub has been extended with a glassy modern restaurant – informs the menus, with traditional dishes with a twist being the order of the day.

Time Out tip: Treat yourself to a leisurely Sunday roast and you’ll be thanking Monk Benedict Farcire all the way home...

  • Restaurants
  • French

What is it? A family-run French restaurant that really knows its onions.

Why go? Amid the flurry of new restaurants in Manchester, old favourites sometimes don’t get as much press as they should; 63 Degrees is one of the most under-appreciated. Smack bang in the buzzy Northern Quarter, you’ll find a little slice of Paris in the shape of this family-run restaurant. The Moreaus left the glamour of their home city to bring a taste of the French capital to Manchester, and we forever thank them for it.

Time Out tip: This one’s not cheap but there is a five-course tasting menu (including a foie gras course) on a Tuesday for a more affordable £45.

18. Baratxuri

What is it? A backstreet Basque joint.

Why go? Having recently moved from Ramsbottom to join Osma at Exhibition on Peter Street, Baratxuri has an ethos of simple dishes cooked to perfection. Its Rescoldo wood-fired grill plays a role in almost every dish, imparting a smoky, chargrilled flavour to huge cuts of meat and whole fish, theatrically carved at the table.

Time Out tip: The Txuleton steak is spenny but worth it. It’s incredible.

  • Restaurants
  • Pan-Asian
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? A stunningly beautiful, modern take on Chinese food.

Why go? Tattu excels at wowing you across the senses. The attention to detail in the restaurant’s design and visuals is second to none in the city – even the lighting on the staircase will make you smile – and that’s fine. But what of the food? It’s astonishingly good. From wild mushroom spring rolls like you’ve never tasted to succulent black cod in saffron and the opulent ‘Silk Road’ desert, the chefs creating these delights are truly inspiring. It won’t be the cheapest meal out you’ve ever had, but it may well be one of the most memorable.

Time Out tip: There’s a living pink blossom tree in the main restaurant area and sitting beneath it as you dine adds something magical to the experience. Ask if there’s space when you book.

20. Honest Crust Pizza

What is it? Not so much a restaurant as a market trader in the acclaimed food hall Mackie Mayor, Honest Crust still deserves a place on this list for knocking out the city’s best pizza.

Why go? The Neapolitan-style base is light, chewy and dotted with charred bubbles like a leopard’s spots. Toppings are always top quality – think San Marzano tomatoes and locally made fennel sausage. Ours is the classic margherita: scoff it while you marvel at the 1858 Grade II-listed building surrounding you.

Time Out tip: Keep an eye out for special pizza collaborations with other restaurants in the city which in the past have included guest pizzs from Erst and Mughli.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese

What is it? A great-value spot offering sophisticated Japanese tapas-style dishes in Chinatown.

Why go? In among the buzz of Chinatown lies a single Japanese restaurant, Yuzu. It’s refined and simple, in terms of both food and decor. It was once one of Manchester’s best-kept secrets before a glowing review from food critic Jay Rayner changed all that. Reservations are now harder to come by, but they’re so very worth the wait.

Time Out tip: The lunch deal is a proper steal. 

  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian

What is it? The oldest and best vegetarian restaurant in Greater Manchester.

Why go? Set up by celebrity chef Simon Rimmer back when he was all chef, no celebrity. He and business partner Simon Connolly ensure the food at Greens is delicious and the atmosphere is relaxed – even if they do say they have been ‘terrifying carnivores since 1990’. The decor is warm and welcoming, and so are the staff. It’s a fantastic restaurant, fully deserving of its many awards. Sadly Greens’ OG Didsbury branch closed in 2024 but its outpost in the foodie suburb of Sale is going strong.

Time Out tip: The vegan take on hoi sin duck and pancakes with oyster mushrooms is a perennial favourite.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian

What is it? An unassuming restaurant serving, arguably, the finest vegetarian Indian food in the North West. 

Why go? There’s a well-trodden path to Lily’s from the nearby Ikea in Ashton, a handy parting gift for hungry shoppers who’ve finally escaped the Scandi maze. But even if you don’t need another Billy bookcase, this humble little Indian restaurant merits its own trip thanks to affordable prices, accomplished flavour combinations and an epic menu of more than 100 dishes.

Time Out tip: Headhunted chefs from Mumbai and Gujarat also expertly prepare a range of delicious sweets and you can now pick these up from Lily’s Deli outposts in both Ancoats and Chorlton too.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese

What is it? A cheerful Vietnamese with a great handle on the classics.

Why go? Descend the steps of this low-key basement in Chinatown to discover gigantic bowls of hearty pho, topped with your choice of raw beef, perfectly cooked prawns or tofu and mushrooms. Team with refreshing summer rolls or sticky BBQ pork skewers to share. This Vietnamese café is decidedly no-frills, but that doesn’t matter when you’ve got a full belly for a great price.

Time Out tip: Try the Vietnamese drip coffee with condensed milk.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian

What is it? Canteen-style Indian restaurant serving rice ‘n’ curry combos for under a tenner.

Why go? This & That has been serving rice ’n’ three to hungry Mancs since 1984 and it’s still going strong. The family-run restaurant was revamped a while back – a controversial move that made it fit in with the trendy cafés surrounding it – but this back-alley diner is still just as popular. Expect no-frills dining and big portions.

Time Out tip: Look out for the special Sunday nihari stew.

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