We’re heading into August, and the food & drink scene across the North continues to get more varied and more exciting by the day. The weather is chaotic, and our political system moreso, but the restaurants of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and beyond provide a safe haven, whether from the blazing sun, torrential downpours or clowns masquerading as Prime Ministers. And this edition of our four-weekly food & drink guide has advice on all the best places to explore and revisit over the coming weeks. But where to begin?
This month, we have multiple new restaurants in Liverpool, a surprisingly accomplished seafood menu from the city’s leading steakhouse, incredible (and affordable) tasting menus in Manchester, a report on both food and rooms at a charming hotel in nearby Prestbury, the latest home for one of Manchester’s best Mexican restaurants, plus new menus and revamps from a host of other worthy inclusions.
So take a deep breath, take your belt buckle down a notch and join us on a trip through the best places to eat across the North this month. The list covers everything from traditional British cuisine to the city’s best Nordic-inspired small plates, with more than a couple of confident newcomers along the way. Eat, drink and be merry, at least until 31st October kicks in and we enter economic meltdown. Bottoms up!
Here are our picks
Erst, 9 Murray St, Manchester, M4 5BN - Visit now
Along with Umezushi and Stockport’s Where The Light Gets In, 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.
Six By Nico Manchester, 60 Spring Gardens, Manchester, M2 2BQ - Visit now
The courses at Six By Nico are up there with those at The French or Restaurant MCR, but with a vastly more entertaining back story, and for under £30 per person, the price compares incredibly well to pretty much any decent restaurant in the city. Welcome to Manchester, Six By Nico, we’re already huge fans.
The Bridge in Prestbury, The Village, Prestbury, Macclesfield, SK10 4DQ - Visit now
Not only can The Bridge accommodate you with the best night sleep you’ve had in yonks, hop downstairs and you’ll also be in the immediate vicinity of a hearty menu, comprising quintessential British fare with a modern twist using only the best of locally sourced produce.
Hafla Hafla, 73 Lark Lane, Liverpool, L17 8UP - Visit now
The restaurant scene in Liverpool is currently thriving and there’s the danger Hafla Hafla might be overlooked given the abundance of new places opening over the next few months. But it’s more than deserving of your attention, time and also the fiver taxi fare it’ll cost you from town.
Hawksmoor, 184-186 Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3WB - Visit now
Hawksmoor have launched their More Than Steak menu, offering as much attention to detail to seafood as they give to their world-famous steaks. If you’re a non-meat-eater, or simply fancy something different, you won’t be disappointed.
Dakota Bar & Grill Manchester, 29 Ducie St, Manchester, M1 2JL - Visit now
If you’re looking for somewhere a little extra special, that will treat you like the marvellous individual that you are, we cannot recommend Dakota Bar & Grill enough. Every step of your experience with them is a well-thought-out, invested symphony that you’ll certainly want front row seats for… with a trough of the gnocchi, just for good measure.
Maray Albert Dock, Unit 4, Britannia Pavilion, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AD - Visit now
Maray is the darling of Liverpool. It’s pointless trying to pretend otherwise. In the five years since they took over a charity shop at the top of Bold Street they have charmed everyone who has stepped over their mosaic-tiled doorstep, Jay Rayner included. And now, they’re at the docks! Expectations are more than high, they’re stratospheric.
El Gato Negro Liverpool, Walker House, Exchange Flags, Liverpool,, Liverpool, L2 3YL - Visit now
Excitement builds around the upcoming launch of El Gato in Liverpool. With the success of Canto in Ancoats, it looks like a small empire is being built around Simon Shaw and the El Gato brand. And when you consider the popularity of all his projects in Manchester, due in no small part to his meticulous standards, this can only be a good thing – not least for the people of Liverpool.
GRUB’s Food Fair returns to Mayfield Depot, with a bigger site and a huge array of top-class local food traders.
Throughout the year discover Tudor attitudes to health and food, with a different activity to try each month from making butter in a churn to creating a Tudor pinch pot to keep your remedies in. Explore the way in which the Tudors looked after their health and wellbeing, and get your body Tudor ready! This event is free, but normal admission charges apply for the venue.
For the Chorlton Beer Mile, six of the best bars are teaming up to celebrate our personal favorite stretch over August Bank Holiday weekend.
Westfest returns to Burton Road, a celebration the street’s independent businesses. An excellent excuse to eat, drink and be merry in West Didsbury.
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.
Discover the stories held within the walls of Manchester’s iconic Midland Hotel before enjoying a decadent cream tea.
Join acclaimed multi-award winning Chef Patron of El Gato Negro, Simon Shaw, at Manchester Art Gallery for a one-off, immersive dining experience.
The biggest food and drink festival in the North is back, and this time it’s a brand new location: the picturesque Cathedral Gardens.
A new course from the Vegetarian Society Cookery School. Learn the essential skills for any chocolatier with Chocolate Craft for Vegans.