It’s time for this month’s edition of our carefully-curated guide to food and drink in Manchester and the North. Christmas is just around the corner, and before Santa squeezes his ample behind down your chimney it’s time to look at some of the best bar and restaurant options from across the North of England.
The weather might be reliably awful, but the restaurants below are all tried and tested and guaranteed high-quality
In the meantime, why not work your way through this month’s guide. The weather might be reliably awful, but the restaurants below are all tried and tested and guaranteed high-quality and well worth a visit, or two, or five, over the next few weeks.
Some of the greatest things we’ve consumed this month are, in no particular order: flatbread in Ancoats, a deconstructed pie at one of the city’s most high-profile new restaurants, flamboyant cocktails at the city’s most welcoming bar (as well as providing the best steaks as far as the eye can see), the city’s best chicken and vegan chicken burgers, healthy and colourful ceviche, and much more.
And when it comes to restaurants and bars across the North West, you’ll find a vast range – whether that’s high-end British cuisine in Manchester, quality pub grub in Leeds, Peruvian cuisine in the city centre, and, of course, the return of the much-loved Manchester Christmas Markets.
The best independent food and drink places in Manchester and the North
So join us as we dive headfirst into the best independent food and drink places in our guide to food and drink in Manchester and the North. Expect everything from brand new pop-up ventures to well-established high-end destination venues. The one thing they have in common is that they’ll leave you satisfied and planning a trip back for more. And don’t worry about the waistline, it’s winter, you need to build up that fleshy winter coat.
Here are our picks
The Bull & Bear Manchester, 4 Norfolk St,, Manchester, M2 1DW - Visit now
The Bull & Bear is Tom’s first restaurant in the North of England, and judging by the food on offer, we’re incredibly lucky to have him. Whether you’re a red or a blue, the United Illuminati have done well with this one.
Erst, 9 Murray St, Manchester, M4 5BN - Visit now
Erst is one of the North’s standout restaurants, and if you care about the best modern food in the UK, you owe it to your tastebuds to try it. The entire menu is a treat, full of post-Nordic creations that are both simple and endlessly fascinating.
Hawksmoor, 184-186 Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3WB - Visit now
Hawksmoor have done a huge revamp of their cocktail menu, the first major update in nearly a decade. These concoctions come from six months of travel, tasting and tinkering from the award-winning bartending team.
Firebird Hope, Arndale Food Market, Manchester, M4 3AQ - Visit now
There’s a familiar face popping up in Manchester Arndale Market and those who have been to Hatch or YES in last year or so will recognise it. It’s Firebird Hope, a poultry pop-up offering a fresh take on the chicken burger.
The Ivy Spinningfields, The Pavilion, Byrom Street, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3HG - Visit now
Looking for the perfect winter drinks in stunning surroundings? The Ivy Spinningfields has transformed its roof terraces for the festive season, offering limited-edition cocktails and Christmas desserts.
El Gato Negro Tapas Leeds, 35 Park Row, Leeds, LS1 5JL - Visit now
El Gato Negro Tapas Leeds is the latest in the El Gato empire. Originally starting life inside a pub in Ripponden before moving to King Street Manchester a few years ago, this Spanish restaurant has finally made its way back to Mother Yorkshire with this brand new addition to the family.
Satisfy your hunger for knowledge as well as lunch with Scranchester’s food tours of the city centre. You may discover a new favourite hidden gem or learn a bit more about the cultural or historical significance of the food you eat all the time.
Bar Hütte is back for another stint at Spinningfields Square, following the wild success of last year. Expect Christmas karaoke and delightfully warm huts.
Head to Hatch for this ‘Festival of Winter and Christmas’, it’s open now and runs right up until Christmas Eve.