Whatever tickles your culinary fancy - from brilliant burgers to barnstorming breakfasts and brunches - there are plenty of very good Manchester restaurants to get stuck into. And with such a sound selection on offer, it can be tricky to whittle down where to head, which is why we've put together what we deem to be the best Manchester restaurants, handily listed below. So whether you're a committed gastronome, a fledgling foodie or somewhere in between, head to these restaurants and prepare to have your palate pleased.
Manchester's best restaurants
Manchester’s food lovers are forever fretting over the city’s lack of a Michelin star, but that might be about to change as executive chef Simon Rogan is at the top of his game. Over the years, he’s turned more and more to local, seasonal ingredients, showcasing the bare bones of flavour on imaginatively designed plates at his restaurants in Cartmel (the two Michelin star L’Enclume), at Claridges (Fera), and this, The French, in Manchester’s ornate Victorian-era railway hotel, The Midland.
With a sumptuous sky bar and tasting menu by ambitious executive chef, Aiden Byrne, Manchester House celebrates the city’s inimitable sense of style with aplomb. As the flagship restaurant and bar of Manchester’s most prolific and showy restaurant group, Living Ventures, no expense has been spared on the sleek industrial-chic design – or on the multi-million pound state of the art kitchens.
When the two-Michelin starred Micheal Caines isn't popping up on TV cooking shows, he's running several successful restaurants across the UK. One of which is this, at the ABode hotel. There are three menus available to choose from: the six-course 'tasting; the nine-course ‘prestige tasting’; and the a la carte. Each menu uses quality local produce to showcase Caines' flair, with the kind of impressive, inventive takes on contemporary European cooking for which he is known.
Although restaurants of its ilk are ten-a-penny in Manchester these days, The Grill On the Alley has been filling the bellies of Manchester folk with steak, seafood and cocktails for years with very few complaints. Once you've sunk a few passion fruit slings at the bar, you’re led through the closely packed tables by a friendly member of staff. The dining room features a grand, open kitchen; the decor is all wood, exposed brick, low lighting and leather booths, both comfortable and lively when the restaurant is full – which it usually is.
Mr Cooper’s executive chef Simon Rogan has a lot on his plate. Having been awarded plaudits and two Michelin stars two for his debut restaurant, L’Enclume in Cartmel, he’s overseen this recent opening of Fera in Claridges, and transformed the food and drink offering at Manchester’s Midland Hotel with his flagship fine dining restaurant The French (confusingly serving only the most regional modern British food) and a more casual, bistro affair called Mr Cooper’s House and Garden.
Not too long ago most of the best restaurants in Manchester weren’t in Manchester at all, but rather the suburbs – the likes of Ramsbottom and Prestwich. And while the city centre has caught up and overtaken the fringes, there’s still much to be gained from venturing out of town, in this instance just five miles south to the quaint leafy suburb of Heaton Moor.
Having splashed out a whoppng £2million on the place, the people behins Fazenda must be confident in their offer. And so they should be. You can certainly see where the money has been spent. There's an impressive bar area, and an outdoors terrace for 50, a great location to enjoy a tipple from the award-winning cocktail list. Fazenda offers 15 different cuts of beef, chicken, lamb and pork, while a bountiful salad bar caters for all diners, with options including sushi, smoked salmon, cured meats, hot dishes and traditional Brazilian dishes. As you'd expect there's an impressive wine selection too.
Brought to you by the folks behind Almost Famous is this contemporary Tex-Mex restaurant. Located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, this is Manchester’s premier spot for beer, tacos, burgers, burritos, beer, steaks, chilli, cocktails, fries, sides, desserts and even more beer.
Cicchetti (pronounced chi-ket-tee) are small snacks, designed to be shared and traditionally served in the bars of Venice. Think Italian tapas and you won't go far wrong. You might be familiar with this kind of food from London’s Polpo (and associated spin offs and imitations), but equally impressive Venetian delights are available in Manchester, at San Carlo Cicchetti.
If small, offbeat and elegant are on your dining tick list, The Rose Garden will be a love match. Ambitious modern British food and English wines are served with a hearty dose of homeliness in an out-there interior where Zaha Hadid-style minimalism meets the Google rainbow.
With its glass prism-shaped entrance bursting up through Spinningfield’s pavement, Australasia literally takes you ‘down under’ to sample its pan-Asian cuisine. It’s one of the only places in town serving dishes inspired by South East Asian, Indonesian and Japanese cooking. Despite being an underground restaurant it's certainly not a gloomy place.
Among the colour and noise of Chinatown exits a single Japanese restaurant, Yuzu. It was once one of Manchester’s best ‘hidden gems’, before a glowing review from food critic Jay Rayner let the cat out of the bag. Now reservations are harder to come by, particularly at peak times, but they’re worth the wait.
The winner of the 2012 Manchester Tourism Award for Restaurant of the Year is an impressive 300 seat space just off the Oxford Road corridor. Modern and sleek and a far cry from the curry mile, Zouk offers Indian cuisine of the highest standard in a large, two-storey restaurant where you can also dine alfresco in the outdoor shisha lounge.
There are plenty of Thai and Malaysian restaurants to choose from in Manchester, some headed up by celebrity chefs (Ning), others located in swanky million pound buildings (Vermillion) or high profile locations like King Street (Chaophraya). One that has none of those things but consistently delivers good food is straight up, authentic Thai restaurant Phetpailin.
While certain other places nearby have been grabbing the limelight, this Manchester stalwart has quietly been turning out quality food in a relaxed and friendly environment for many years. Named after its location, The Northern Quarter Restaurant and Bar (or ‘TNQ’) shares many of the qualities of its namesake and much like the area it appeals to the artistic, young professionals and creative types with its unique combination of stylish, funky minimalism.