Dining out doesn’t get more diverse than this. There’s a restaurant revolution in Manchester with the city seeing a 22 per cent increase in new openings, more than three times that of London. It seems the city can’t get enough of everything foodie, from chic celebrity dining hot spots to cool pop ups.
Recent additions to the thrilling Manchester dining scene have been The Ivy in Spinningfields, Tast Catala, which brought a taste of Catalonia to King Street with a menu created by five-Michelin-star chef Paco Pérez, Mamucium near Victoria station, authentic Italian pasta kitchen Sugo, which opened its doors in Ancoats after success in Altrincham and Foodwell, an LA-style dining experience on the banks of the Irwell.
Aiden Byrne’s Restaurant MCR, Simon Martin’s gastronomic powerhouse, Mana in Ancoats and Mumbai street food purveyors, Dishoom, which opened in Manchester Hall are just a few of the newbies on the block. Look out too for Blank Canvas in The Printworks which is feeding our appetite for novelty by promising to regularly transform itself into something completely new.
The city’s Ancoats area has fast become one of the trendiest places to enjoy fantastic flavours. Elnecot on Blossom Street is a neighbourhood restaurant with an emphasis on regional produce and a strong veggie option. There’s the small plate Portuguese menu at Canto, oodles of noodles at Vnam and pizza at Rudy’s. You can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at The Counter House and the nation’s favourite at the Hip Hop Chip Shop while Erst is the latest to open its foods in the area.
Another newcomer to Manchester is Kala, the latest addition to chef Gary Usher’s stable which broke crowd funding records when £100k was raised in just 11 hours. Also on King Street is Tast. Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager and colleagues Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano teamed up with Michelin-starred Catalan chef Paco Perez and the Fazenda restaurant group for this gastronomic game-changer. Rosso at the top of King Street is part owned by Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs is still a popular haunt in the city too.
And it’s not just the footballers with a taste for hospitality, in the city you can dine at Annie’s owned by Coronation Street’s Jennie McAlpine, Gino D’Acampo’s Prosecco Bar in the Next store and at former Corrie star Rupert Hill’s The Rivals at the Royal Exchange Theatre. Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford, better known as the Unabombers DJs run the uber popular Refuge bar and restaurant at the Principal hotel and Real Housewives of Cheshire Seema Malhotra and Stacey Forsey are investors in the Menagerie bar and night spot.
It seems Manchester can’t get enough of everything foodie, from chic celebrity dining hot spots to cool pop ups
An ever-changing smorgasbord of delights
The Manchester drinking and dining scene is an ever-changing smorgasbord of delights and includes everything from burger joints to vegan cafes. Add alfresco pop-up bars and restaurants in the summer months and there are so many delicious reasons to dine out.
Casual dining as epitomised by the burger boom is still popular in the city. The upshot is, if you want a burger there’s plenty of places to eat one – Byron at Piccadilly, Almost Famous on High Street, Solita NQ on Turner Street… the list goes on.
But street food and shared plates are only part of the story. Manchester House in Spinningfields is now Aiden Byrne’s Restaurant MCR, serving up six and nine-course tasting menus. Adam Reid rules the kitchen at the posh French at the Midland Hotel offering fine dining without starched shirt formality, and 20 Stories is the perfect place to dine with a view, as it boasts 360 degree views of the city. It’s the perfect place for drinks on the terrace as long as you have a head for heights!
Eating is the new clubbing and Manchester’s dining and drinking culture has made it one of the most exciting cities in the UK. Everyone from all the major chains to premium brands otherwise only found in the capital and chic independents want to grab a slice of the action and in the process are helping to regenerate parts of the city.
El Gato Negro thrives on King Street, while the Corn Exchange has also been gastrofied. The shops have gone and in their place is a restaurant utopia that includes The Cosy Club tea room, pizza joint Vapiano, the Banyan, delicious southern Indian delights at Mowgli, Vietnamese street food at Pho, authentic Italian at Salvi’s, Mexican from celebrity chef Thomasina Myers’ Wahaca and the eponymous restaurant from celeb chef Gino D’Acampo.
From cool-themed venues such as bowling alley Dog Bowl to the elegant roof terrace of King Street Townhouse, stylish all-day dining at Harvey Nichols’ Second Floor Brasserie and Bar and louche cocktail lounges, the city shows a determination to flaunt its foodie credentials.
Eating is the new clubbing and Manchester’s dining and drinking culture has made it one of the most exciting cities in the UK
Oké Poké on Church Street in the Northern Quarter, which is has been inspired by the cooking of Hawaii and bases a menu around rice, fresh raw fish and vegetables, is bringing in the crowds, while Wood on First Street, from the MasterChef 2015 champion Simon Wood, who hails from Chadderton, also offers unintimidating high-end dining. Dine at The Anthologist overlooking St Peter’s Square, which is where you’ll also find long-established restaurants like the Rajdoot, Indian and the Armenian Taverna, flaunting their own brand of retro cool.
See through kitchens, “badass bar food” and “serious cider” are the signifiers of food cool, as is the MELD phenomenon – Music Eating Late-Night Drinking Spaces, such as Manchester’s Deaf Institute and Gorilla.
Food festivals are all part of the culinary explosion in the city and range from the Festa Italiana, a celebration with a Neapolitan flavour, to the famous Manchester Food and Drink Festival. There are festivals of craft beer, gin and cider. Craft beer can be drunk at venues such as Bundobust on Piccadilly and Brew Dog on Peter Street.
Spinningfields is all about lifestyle and experience so it is to The Alchemist, the Oast House pub, Ibérica, and Tattu, that the glamorous head to for a night of eating and drinking. Then there’s the relaxed family-friendly dining vibe of venues such as Wagamama and Carluccio’s. In the warmer weather, an outdoor bar and alfresco tables transform the area into a European-style piazza. Here you can meet for breakfast at Bagel Nash and return in the evening to dine at Thaikhun or Comptoir Libanais.
Hawksmoor on Deansgate has been a huge success. Owners Will Beckett and Huw Gott have sympathetically restored the Victorian Courthouse building on 184-186 Deansgate. Diners can enjoy a drink in the clubby bar before stepping into one of the dining rooms furnished in dark wood and fronted by elegant arched windows.
Across from Hawksmoor, there’s Gusto – the Living Ventures restaurant famed for steaks and cocktails which has made its home in the building which was once Heathcote’s, while footballer Gary Neville and former team mate Ryan Giggs are expanding their GG Hospitality portfolio to include The Stock Exchange Hotel, in the 1906 former Stock Exchange building on Norfolk Street with celebrity chef Tom Kerridge at the helm.
See through kitchens, “badass bar food” and “serious cider” are the signifiers of food cool, as is the MELD phenomenon – Music Eating Late-Night Drinking spaces
King Street is the location for another Living Ventures’ transformation at the former Room/Reform venue, into Grand Pacific, a flash eating space dominated by a bar that bases its look on the likes of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Honey Restaurant, part of the quirky Hotel Gotham, has an adventurous dining menu and offers a grandstand view of King Street. It’s a good place for afternoon tea, too.
As well as cool spaces there are the stars of the culinary scene such as James Martin at Casino 235 and Simon Rimmer’s Greens in Didsbury. Manchester also has a multicultural eating scene that’s pretty exceptional. From the curry mile in Rusholme to the culinary gems to be found in the city’s buzzing Chinatown, visitors can indulge in a wide range of global treats from the Spanish flavours of La Bandera to the much-praised Japanese joint Samsi. Try a Teppanyaki experience at Sapporo Liverpool Road or the Teppanyaki on George Street, or Chinese at footballers’ favourite Wings on Lincoln Square.
Turtle Bay in the Northern Quarter and on Oxford Street serves up Jamaican food and a laid-back vibe and Cheadle’s acclaimed Southern Indian-style street food at the Indian Tiffin Room is now open for business on First Street.
There’s no denying the glamour of restaurants such as San Carlo and sister restaurant San Carlo Cicchetti. Ever since Carlo Distefano opened his famed restaurant on King Street West it has been a magnet for a glamorous set and, with Fumo opening on Oxford Street, the brand is going from strength to strength. The family business now employs more than 900 staff at its San Carlo Cicchetti, Bottega at Selfridges, Fumo and San Carlo Fiorentina restaurants.
From the curry mile to the culinary gems to be found in the city’s buzzing Chinatown, visitors can indulge in a wide range of global treats