Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor

It’s March, the weather is appalling and a worrying health crisis is sweeping the world. Despite all this, and the rush to ‘self-isolate’, we can – and should – still go out and enjoy ourselves, providing we stay safe, and here are ten great reasons why in this month’s food and drink guide.

Restaurants across Manchester and the North are making it clear that they’re taking all the necessary precautions, so it’s important not to panic and put your life on hold. We have word that Italian and Chinese restaurants, in particular, are suffering, so if you’re wondering where to dine, support your local food scene and put those top of your list.

As for this month’s recommended eats, we’ve covered a wide range of venues, new and old. A trip to the Lake District uncovered some of the most spectacular food and drink around, while we revisit some old favourites, and we’ve even got news of a special charity event featuring our very own food and drink editor cooking for Manchester’s great and good.

So join us as we dive headfirst into the best and most unique places to eat and drink across the North. Expect everything from cute tearooms to probably the best (and most affordable) tasting menu in Manchester. They’ll all leave you delighted and hungering for a return trip. Don’t let doom-mongering tabloids scare you off, keep dining and keep supporting your local food scene.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Baha

    Ian Jones

    Baha, 18 Ash St, Bowness-on-Windermere, LA23 3EB - Visit now

    Baha provides a stylish and unique hang-out for the people of Bowness-On-Windermere, offering up smart, original ideas from a passionate and talented chef. If you’re thinking of heading to the Lakes once this pre-springtime storm frenzy clears up, put this superb restaurant high on your list.

  • 2. Six By Nico Manchester

    Six By Nico

    Six By Nico Manchester, 60 Spring Gardens, Manchester, M2 2BQ - Visit now

    Measure for measure, Six By Nico is shaping up to be Manchester’s best restaurant. The courses are always a delight, complex but easy to understand, and with a smart, modern ever-changing theme that brings together diners from all ages, palates and income.

  • 3. Isca Wines

    Isca Wine

    Isca Wines, 825 Stockport Rd, Levenshulme, M19 3PN - Visit now

    Isca Wine is an intimate and well-stocked wine bar at the heart of Levenshulme that plays host to a range of quality workshops and food-based events.

  • 4. Sicilian NQ

    Sicilian NQ

    Sicilian NQ, 14 Turner Street, Manchester, M4 1DZ - Visit now

    At Sicilian NQ, the focus is on authentic dishes, fresh ingredients, and of course, a warm welcoming (and very Italian) atmosphere.

  • 5. Rosa’s Thai Cafe Manchester

    Rosa's Thai Cafe Manchester
    Rosa's Thai Cafe

    Rosa’s Thai Cafe Manchester, The Old Courthouse, 184 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3WB - Visit now

    For a true Thai experience, book a table at the newly opened Rosa’s Thai Cafe in Manchester. It’s full of feelgood vibes and intoxicating aromas.

  • 6. El Capo

    El Capo, 12 Tariff Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 2FF - Visit now

    El Capo are doing a lot of things right, and it’s no surprise they’re still a top drawer after years in the Northern Quarter. Vegan or not, this understated Mexican restaurant is well worth a visit.

  • 7. The Cranleigh Boutique

    Ian Jones

    The Cranleigh Boutique, Kendal Rd, Bowness-on-Windermere, LA23 3EW - Visit now

    If you’re looking to impress a date, or try something different, look no further than the award-winning Cranleigh Boutique. It’s a truly unique hotel, in the heart of the most exciting part of the Lake District.

  • 8. Bryson’s Of Keswick Craft Bakery & Traditional Tea Rooms

    Ian Jones

    Bryson’s Of Keswick Craft Bakery & Traditional Tea Rooms, Royal Square, Bowness-on-Windermere, LA23 3ED - Visit now

    Bryson’s feels like the kind of place where you could pop in every day, offering up that old-school friendliness and high-quality fare that’s often difficult to find. It’s straight out of an Enid Blyton book, and wonderful for it.

  • 9. Dakota Bar & Grill Manchester

    Dakota Bar & Grill Manchester, 29 Ducie St, Manchester, M1 2JL - Visit now

    Everything about Dakota screams ‘high class’ without feeling gaudy and overdone. Their generous prix fixe menu means that the perfect night can be achieved without breaking the bank.

More in Food and Drink

Activity Until 19 December 2020, from £55

Local Leeds Food Tour

Fresh local produce is always on the menu of the Local Leeds food tour. Visit six pubs and restaurants serving up some of Yorkshire’s finest cuisine.

Leeds Street Food Tour
Activity Until 19 December 2020, from £55

Leeds Street Food Tour

Eat your way through some of the best street food Leeds has to offer, with insights into the people and stories behind each bite. Try something new with the Leeds Street Food tour.

Runaway Brewery Tour
Activity Until 11 May 2020, from £15.70

The Runaway Brewery Tour & Tasting

One of Manchester’s up and coming breweries welcome you into their space to learn about the beer making process and, of course, sample the end products.

Activity Until 6 June 2020, from £40

Northern Quarter Taster Walk with Manchester Food Walks

We are lucky to be spoilt for choice when it comes to fresh, delicious and independent food choices in the centre of Manchester. Nowhere is this presence felt more than in the Northern Quarter. Join John Ryan on this taster walk as you eat your way through the back streets learning about the local history and culture as you go. 

Activity 9 April 2020 2:00 pm, FREE

Patch NOMA at Home – Online with Old Bank Residency

Get online and learn how to propagate at home. Recycle commonly found household waste, and to give your seeds the best start in life.

Families 6–7 June 2020, FREE

King Street Festival

Manchester’s most fashionable summer event, the King Street Festival, returns with a celebration of the past, present and future of Manchester’s iconic, historic street.

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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


Cinemas might be closed but independent venues and distributors need any help they can get. We look at some films you can stream and places to donate.

Phoebe Davies: Points of Rupture at Site Gallery in Sheffield


Art and women’s wrestling, Ancient Akkadian gravesites and invented artefacts – check out this month’s pick of exhibitions from across the north.

The elves and the shoemaker. Two green puppets with a male and female actor either side of them.


Need some inspiration for fun and creative family days out? Look no further than our top picks for families across Manchester and the north.

Carcanet exhibition: Carcanet poets Michael Schmidt and Michael Symmons Roberts.


News of books just out and books worth revisiting, even if you can’t get to the events yourself. Plus a fabulous new exhibition about independent publisher Carcanet, on for the next six months…


Discover the best live music coming up in Manchester and the north this spring and, dare we say it, summer!

Theatre in Manchester


Bringing opera, dance, fierce experimental performance and new writing, there’s much to enjoy in our guide to the best theatre in Manchester and the North.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester.

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

Expect thrills, informative discussion, politically charged tours and wobbly towns in this month’s guide of Tours and Activities.

Things to do right now

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Runaway Brewery Tour
Activity Until 11 May 2020, from £15.70

The Runaway Brewery Tour & Tasting

Leeds Street Food Tour
Activity Until 19 December 2020, from £55

Leeds Street Food Tour

Activity Until 19 December 2020, from £55

Local Leeds Food Tour

Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.

Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.

Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.