It’s time to eat, drink and be merry, and this year we’re going all out to make Christmas food and drink in Manchester and the North the most fun possible.
With that in mind, we have a host of events and food and drink updates from across the North, including the return of the Corn Exchange Christmas Markets in Leeds, special happenings at Tattu in Leeds and Paul Askew’s wonderful Art School restaurant in Liverpool.
Manchester-wise, we heartily recommend The Embankment Kitchen, but of course, we can’t eat turkey every night so branch out a little with the Christmas offerings from Peru Perdu, or head over to Hatch to sample the varied festive menus from their street food vendors. And if you want a fun-packed night out, Escape To Freight Island (now known as Winter Island for the next few weeks) is a must-visit.
But most of all, think back to just a few years ago when Christmas food and drink basically meant ordering a takeaway or grabbing a beer from the fridge. And as good as they can be, nothing compares to sitting in a well-run restaurant or bar and letting them take charge of the cooking, the serving and the washing up.
Here are our picks
Food Sorcery Manchester, Deansgate Square, Manchester, M15 4UA - Visit now
Struggling to come up with ideas for a next-level Christmas present this year? Take a seat because we’ve got the ultimate gift: cookery class gift vouchers at the wonderful Food Sorcery Manchester. It doesn’t matter if the recipient is a budding Heston or can’t even slice a sprout, there’s something here for all skill levels.
Canto, Fairbairn Unit A, Fairbairn Building, Henry Street, Manchester, M4 5DH - Visit now
Canto is one of our favourite restaurants in Ancoats, and one of the standout destinations on Cutting Room Square. The Mediterranean-inspired food is glorious, the venue itself is beautiful and it’s the perfect place to while away a few hours dining and drinking and watching the world go by. We’ve heard great things about their latest menu (full review coming very soon), but if you’re looking for a Christmas gift, this could be the perfect place to go. Their wine gift boxes come in three options, ideal for all budgets, or you can pick up a gift card for your loved ones. Best of all, they can be used at the equally excellent El Gato Negro and Habas restaurants, both just a few minutes walk away.
Spinningfields is the jewel in Manchester’s crown, and this Christmas and New Year’s Eve it’s all set to sparkle. This pretty area hosts some of the North West’s very best restaurants and bars, and they’re pushing the boat out for the festive season, with plenty of special seasonal events, drinks and menus for all you lucky visitors. Take a look at our guide to the exciting happenings there this December.
Albert’s Schloss, 27 Peter Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 5QR - Visit now
Not many nations do Christmas better than Germany, and you can sample more than a little bit of their festive cheer at the always-excellent Albert Schloss. And if you want to start early, they’ve launched a host of mouthwatering breakfast items for you to guzzle down while surrounded by their stunning Christmas decorations. New additions include the star of the show – Kroissant Royale; a fresh, haus-baked croissant with lashings of sweet slow cooked onions, melted gouda cheese, Burford Brown fried eggs, shallots and chives, with a choice of smoked back bacon, Schloss famous bratwurst, or Moving Mountains vegan sausage to complete.
INNSiDE by Meliá Hotel, 1 First Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 4RP - Visit now
INNSIDE isn’t just one of Manchester’s most relaxing hotels, it also hosts Gino D’Acampo’s fantastic First Street Bar and Kitchen. Here, you’ll find four new menus for the festive period: The Festive Menu, Festive A La Carte Menu, Christmas Day Menu, and Festive Lunch Menu. Then, on Christmas Day, Gino’s traditional menu will be served with all the trimmings: a delicious four-course Christmas Day menu, complete with a glass of fizz on arrival, for only £80 per person (there’s also a Christmas Day menu for kids, priced at £45 per child).
Salvi’s Deansgate Square, Owen St., Manchester , M15 4TQ - Visit now
From panettone and pandoro by the slice, mulled wine, traditional Neapolitan festive specialities, and delis loaded with authentic Italian festive offerings, the Christmas menu at all the Salvi’s outlets in Manchester is ready to fill both hearts and bellies.
Looking for a thoughtful gift? Owner Maurizio Cecco has also curated special hampers with the finest hand-picked Italian cooking ingredients, while customers are welcome to pick-up the rest of their Buon Natale essentials, imported fresh weekly.
Each location has its unique surprise in store – cosy winter huts, Manchester’s first Rum Babas in a cup, Secret Santa cocktail, iconic collectable D&G panettone, live music, and delicious specials, as the Ceccos open their doors to everyone for a big “family” Christmas across the city centre, filled with authentic food, great people and a buzzing atmosphere.
Tattu Leeds, Minerva, 29 E Parade, Leeds , LS1 5PS - Visit now
Tattu has been transformed into a winter paradise inspired by China’s Great Snow where diners can enjoy a culinary journey from East to West under an artfully curated Aurora Borealis light show. You can also enjoy limited edition winter specials including the Mount Heng Flambe dessert, the Frozen Cherry Blossom dessert and the magical Aurora Borealis cocktail.
Ducie Street Warehouse, Ground Floor, Warehouse, Ducie St,, Manchester, M1 2TP - Visit now
There’s a fresh new Christmas menu at Ducie Street’s restaurant, plus a Christmas pop-up market, and workshops. Other activities include a disco brunch with the ridiculously talented Drag Race star, Cheddar Gorgeous.
Red’s True Barbecue, 22 Lloyd Street, Albert Square, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 5WA - Visit now
Despite being all about sticky BBQ food, the venue itself has a classy feel to it, blending a fun night out with belly-filling food. And that’s precisely what you can expect this Christmas with Red’s well-crafted festive menu.
Escape to Freight Island, Mayfield Depot, 11 Baring St, Manchester, M1 2PY - Visit now
Escape To Freight is having a temporary name-change for the festive season. Winter Island will host Christmas tree forest, pop-up winter market, festive food and drink traders, Christmas workshops, live DJs, entertainment, performances and much more.
Habas Bar & Restaurant, 43A Brown St, Manchester, M2 2JJ - Visit now
Modern Middle Eastern bar and restaurant Habas is getting into the festive spirit, with the launch of its very own Christmas market on King Street, opposite El Gato Negro. The Michelin-Listed restaurant is serving a selection of the restaurant’s signature seasonal dishes to hungry market-visitors.
Dakota Bar & Grill Manchester, 29 Ducie St, Manchester, M1 2JL - Visit now
Christmas is about excess, and Dakota do it beautifully, in terms of eye-poppingly good cocktails and hearty, heavy, hot food. If you’re looking for a special festive night out in one of the city’s smartest looking venues, the Dakota Bar & Grill can’t be recommended enough.
Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar, 22b, The Corn Exchange, Corporation St, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 3TR - Visit now
Salvi’s and Deansgate Square have come together to host an Italian Christmas market, running from 27th Nov – 22nd Dec (the family-run restaurant group launches its own food hub at the luxury development in the new year). Salvi’s will be serving up the very best in authentic Italian food and drink from a two-tipi hub, four festive huts and a cosy fire-pit with complimentary blankets, along with DJs, live music, live entertainment, Christmas gifts, hampers, panettone and tiramisu making workshops, kids events, and bars by Italian beverage heavyweights Campari and Peroni.
Embankment Kitchen Restaurant & Bar, 16 Chapel St, Salford, M3 7NH - Visit now
Embankment Kitchen has a brand new Winter Garden. Adorned with fairy lights, luxurious blankets and outdoor heaters, this is the perfect spot to cosy up with a warm mug of mulled wine for the first festive season since before you-know-what.