Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor

Summer is officially over and that means it’s time to start working on your ‘winter coat’, aka putting on a few pounds in preparation for those cold dark nights.

And, yet again we have a bumper crop of places to recommend this month, including newcomer to the thriving Ancoats food scene, Canto, courtesy of the team behind the widely-lauded El Gato Negro Tapas restaurant; highbrow but delicious lunch offerings at the Manchester Art Gallery restaurant; Polish food on Deansgate Mews in the Great Northern Warehouse; truly authentic Sicilian food at T’Arricrii in Hatch; quality steak at Alston Bar And Beef for all you meat-lovers; top-class vegan and vegetarian options at Manchester’s cultural hub, HOME; low-down and dirty bar food and drinks at Bunny Jackson’s Juke Joint on First Street; and many more.

At our reckoning, that gives you two places a week to explore – more than enough to check out the best that the North has to offer while the autumn nights draw in.

Be sure to check back next month for yet more of our top-recommended places to eat and drink in the North of England.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Manchester Art Gallery Cafe

    Manchester Art Gallery

    Manchester Art Gallery Cafe, Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL - Visit now

    The joys of Manchester’s art gallery are well-documented, but add in this new and improved cafe, and what we have here is a spectacular day out.

  • 2. Canto

    Ian Jones

    Canto, Fairbairn Unit A, Fairbairn Building, Henry Street, Manchester, M4 5DH - Visit now

    Simon Shaw, founder and Creative Director of the acclaimed tapas restaurant El Gato Negro, has teamed up with Porto-born Head Chef Carlos Gomes to create a space and menu that feel authentically Portuguese.

  • 3. Platzki

    Ian Jones

    Platzki, Deansgate Mews, Great Northern, 255 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4EN - Visit now

    Our reviewer came away from his meal wondering why he’d never thought of trying Polish cuisine before. Platzki scores at the top end of the cafe scale.

  • 4. T’Arricrii

    Ian Jones

    T’Arricrii, Hatch, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 7ED - Visit now

    T’Arricrii is ran by Sicilian brothers Romeo and Riccardo Rizzo, who specialise in food from Sicily. This means the two key items on the menu are arancini and cannoli – both staples of the Sicilian diet. You’ll likely have tried both before, but not like this.

  • 5. First Floor Restaurant at HOME

    Paul Karalius

    First Floor Restaurant at HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 4FN - Visit now

    There are a number of meat and seafood dishes on the menu, but even hardened carnivores and pescatarians should dive into the veggie and vegan dishes. Much like The Cornerhouse in its day, this is what the HOME restaurant truly excels at.

  • 6. Alston Bar & Beef

    Alston Bar & Beef
    Charlie Spargo

    Alston Bar & Beef, Cathedral Street, Manchester, M4 3TR - Visit now

    This Corn Exchange steak and gin joint is doing a lot of things very well and has bags of potential. After only about a year in its spot, we can expect to see it make its name known locally, keep improving and make its mark.

  • 7. Bunny Jackson’s Juke Joint

    Martin Kevill

    Bunny Jackson’s Juke Joint, 1 Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester, M15 4RA - Visit now

    Bunny Jackson’s Juke Joint is casual and approachable, with a fantastic bar and food menu. It’s the perfect place to catch the house band and kick back with a few drinks.

  • 8. James Martin Manchester

    Ian Jones

    James Martin Manchester, 2 Watson St, Manchester, M3 4LP - Visit now

    James Martin’s Manchester restaurant delivers a solid top-quality experience. It hovers around that hinterland between high-end and middle-brow dining, serving up impressively detailed dishes, while never being overly fusty or wallet-drainingly expensive.

More in Food and Drink

Cinema 31 October 2018, from £10

The Village Screen presents Halloween screenings at Kenwood Hall Hotel

This Halloween, Sheffield’s Kenwood Hall Hotel is inviting people to experience two spooktacular film events, with screenings of The Witches and The Shining on Wednesday 31st October in the wooded grounds of the hotel.

Cinemagoers are encouraged to don their best fancy dress and immerse themselves in the ultimate autumn outdoor film experience. Ahead of each event, there will be a live band performing quirky, acoustic covers as well as food by some of the North’s best street food traders.

Childrens 2–12 May 2019, from £00.00

Leeds International Festival 2019

Leeds International Festival, the UK’s leading metropolitan festival of new ideas and innovation, is back for its second year, this time featuring more than 50 events and 40 speakers over 15 days.

Vintage by the Sea courtesy Emma Sudall
Families 31 August–1 September 2019, FREE

Vintage by the Sea in Morecambe

Celebrate the brilliance of 20th century design, fashion, vehicles and entertainment at this award-winning festival set around Morecambe’s famous art deco Midland Hotel.

Culture Guides

Tours and Activities

In this month’s top picks of Tours and Activities in Manchester, we are featuring the guides who take you into the darker underbelly of the city, as well as some of the more macabre activities.

Exhibitions and art in Manchester


Autumn is festival season in the visual art world. We preview some familiar favourites alongside a brand-new addition to the scene – brainchild of Manchester’s resident prize-winning peace activist, Qaisra Shahraz.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


For this month’s eclectic theatre guide we’ve hunted out exclusive dance events, durational performance and some hair-raising Halloween hijinks.


It’s October, and the cinemas of Manchester and the North are taking the opportunity to host all manner of spooky screenings.


Spaghettify yourself in a black hole at Manchester Science Festival, experience spectaculars at the Winter Droving in Penrith, Lightpool Festival in Blackpool and Light Up Lancaster. There’s a LOT to do folks.

Writer Eley Williams.


More spoken word nights are emerging to join our favourite regulars, there are lots of launches and one-offs and workshops and conferences and even walking tours, and tickets are selling like hot cakes for Manchester Literature Festival, the Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival and Chester Literature Festival.


This month’s music guide features cutting-edge jazz, joyous disco, and singular voices in rock.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
16 October 2018–19 March 2019, FREE

Explorer Tours at The John Rylands Library

Flecky Bennett’s HALLOWEEN 2018 Ghost Walk
Activity 13 October 2018–13 May 2019, from £15

Flecky Bennett’s Ghost Walks

Senga Nengudi – The Henry Moore Institute
Exhibitions 21 September 2018–17 February 2019, FREE

Senga Nengudi at the Henry Moore Institute

Exhibitions 1 October 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

PERSPECTIVES – around Manchester

Native: Manchester at PAPER Gallery
Exhibitions 29 September–3 November 2018, FREE

Native: Manchester at PAPER Gallery