Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor

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

  • 1. Randall & Aubin Manchester

    Randall And Aubin Manchester
    Ian Jones

    Randall & Aubin Manchester, 64 Bridge St, Manchester, M3 3BN - Visit now

    Manchester’s only high-end seafood restaurant and oyster bar. The follow-up to the hugely successful original Soho venture.

  • 2. Erst


    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.

  • 3. Six By Nico Manchester

    Six By Nico

    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.

  • 4. The Bridge in Prestbury

    The Bridge

    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.

  • 5. Hafla Hafla

    Hafla Hafla

    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.

  • 6. Hawksmoor

    Image courtesy of Marketing Manchester

    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.

  • 7. Dakota Bar & Grill Manchester

    Dakota Bar & Grill
    Francesca Wilson

    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.

  • 8. Maray Albert Dock


    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.

  • 9. El Camino

    Martin Kevill

    El Camino, Whitworth Locke, 74 Princess St, Manchester, M1 6JD - Visit now

    El Camino is a destination best shared with friends – recommended for lunchtimes and late nights, it’s a lil bit of Mehico in the heart of Manchester.

  • 10. El Gato Negro Liverpool

    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.

More in Food and Drink

GRUB Mayfield
Families 3 May–29 September 2019, FREE

Grub Food Fair at Mayfield

GRUB’s Food Fair returns to Mayfield Depot, with a bigger site and a huge array of top-class local food traders.

Families 22 May–3 November 2019, FREE

Get Your Body Tudor Ready at Little Moreton Hall

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.

Food and Drink 25 August 2019, FREE

Chorlton Beer Mile

For the Chorlton Beer Mile, six of the best bars are teaming up to celebrate our personal favorite stretch over August Bank Holiday weekend.

Families 31 August–1 September 2019, FREE

Westfest on Burton Road

Westfest returns to Burton Road, a celebration the street’s independent businesses. An excellent excuse to eat, drink and be merry in West Didsbury.

Vintage by the Sea
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.

tour and cream tea
Activity 2 September 2019, from £20

The Midland Hotel Tour and Cream Tea

Discover the stories held within the walls of Manchester’s iconic Midland Hotel before enjoying a decadent cream tea.

Simon Shaw Supper Club at Manchester Art Gallery
Food and Drink 7 September 2019, from £65

Simon Shaw Supper Club at Manchester Art Gallery

Join acclaimed multi-award winning Chef Patron of El Gato Negro, Simon Shaw, at Manchester Art Gallery for a one-off, immersive dining experience.

Manchester Food & Drink Festival 2019
Festivals 26 September–7 October 2019, FREE

Manchester Food & Drink Festival 2019

The biggest food and drink festival in the North is back, and this time it’s a brand new location: the picturesque Cathedral Gardens.

Food and Drink 6 October 2019, from £139

Chocolate Craft for Vegans at The Vegetarian Society Cookery School

A new course from the Vegetarian Society Cookery School. Learn the essential skills for any chocolatier with Chocolate Craft for Vegans.

Culture Guides


Escape to the cinema this month. We round up the best new releases, special one-off screenings and retrospectives showing near you.

Christina Quarles at The Hepworth Wakefield


Like the 58th Venice Biennale which opened earlier this May, our latest pick of exhibitions across the north also has a strong ecological bent.

Digital Dimensions at Eureka! Children playing in digital dimensions with light pillars


All the most creative experiences for your family; inside, outside and in to space! The best family things to do in Manchester and the North.

Guy Garvey


August is quiet, but the books are back in September with one-off reading events, some much-anticipated launches and the return of the Northern Lights Writers’ Conference as we gear up for Manchester Literature Festival in October.


Get ready for some massive shows in Manchester and the north this summer!

Theatre in Manchester


We’re gearing up for the new theatre season – our guide this month features all the best performances happening now and over the next few weeks.

comedy character

Tours and Activities

Challenge yourself to try something different this summer with our guide of Manchester based Tours and Activities. You’re bound to find something new to do in the city.

Places to go / stay / shop / eat / drink

Things to do right now

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GRUB Mayfield
Families 3 May–29 September 2019, FREE

Grub Food Fair at Mayfield

a row of 4 historical tudor figures that you may encounter on this outdoor trail at speke hall
Families 20 July–1 September 2019, FREE

Trailblazing Tudors at Speke Hall

the night sky as explored in the planetarium shows
Education 1 January–30 December 2019, from £2

Planetarium Shows at World Museum Liverpool

The Den at Stalybridge Civic Hall
Families 13–24 August 2019, All tickets are pay what you decide, available from Stalybridge Civic Hall.

The Den at Stalybridge Civic Hall