That’s one May Bank Holiday down and if you’re like us, you’re no doubt twiddling your thumbs waiting for the next one. In the meantime, why not work your way through this month’s edition of our Food And Drink in Manchester and The North. The weather might be changing in the blink of an eye, but the restaurants below are all reliably high-quality and well worth a visit, or two, or five, over the next few weeks.
This month, we have Portuguese food in Ancoats, fine dining in York (a hefty journey, but oh so worth it), pizza in the Northern Quarter, perfectly-formed lunch at one of Manchester’s highest restaurants, a sneak preview of the new venture from the enfant terrible of the North-West restaurant scene (the one and only Gary Usher), plus new menus and revamps from a host of other worthy inclusions.
So take a deep breath, check your bank balance and join us on a trip through the best places to eat across the North this month. The list covers everything from independent and fiercely authentic pizzerias to high-end and near-experimental Chinese cuisine. Unbuckle your belt and prepare to gorge like never before.
Here are our picks
Canto, Fairbairn Unit A, Fairbairn Building, Henry Street, Manchester, M4 5DH - Visit now
Ancoats has become one of Manchester’s leading food destinations and Canto has a well-deserved place in the line-up. The food has been adapted and refined since its launch, bringing the quality up several notches. It’s something of a bargain too – the portions are generally huge and the prices low.
Arras, The Old Coach House, Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PW - Visit now
Arras might be named after a French city, but the cooking isn’t especially Gallic. Rather it’s a combination of truly out-there ideas applied to largely-British ingredients, to make something far beyond the average meal out but never to the detriment of flavour. Arras is something very special indeed, and if you want to keep your tastebuds ahead of the curve this is worth a visit – but make it soon before the rest of the North catches on.
Kala Bistro, 55 King St, Manchester, M2 4LQ - Visit now
The most eagerly-anticipated restaurant launch in Manchester for months, if not years, Kala is the latest restaurant from acclaimed chef-restaurateur Gary Usher, who also owns Sticky Walnut and Hispi, among others. It’s a welcome addition to the ever-growing and improving King Street food scene.
Shoryu Ramen Manchester, 1 Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 1RG - Visit now
Japanese food joint Shoryu sits on the Far East of Piccadilly Gardens, serving up high-quality ramen. The latest menu is called the ‘Eggstraordinary Easter Ramen Set’ and serves up a bun, a ramen dish, some dessert, a drink and some posh chocolate for £24… a far-out Easter banquet from the Far East.
Noi Quattro, 120 High St, Manchester, M4 1HQ - Visit now
Noi Quattro is a stylish, modern Italian pizzeria in the Northern Quarter. Very convenient for tram and bus transport, it is also nicely set off around a corner, making for a relaxing and intimate spot ideal for dates and well-earned lunch-breaks.
20 Stories, No. 1 Spinningfields, 1 Hardman Square, Manchester, M3 3EB - Visit now
20 Stories had teething problems in its early days but thanks to new chef Hugson, the restaurant’s menu is becoming worthy of its views – fantastic British cooking, made with fresh ingredients and an eye on innovation without ever spilling over into gimmickry.
Tattu, Gartside Street, 3 Hardman Square, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3EB - Visit now
Tattu is one of the city’s best restaurants for a reason. The chefs are constantly pushing the envelope, the staff are polite and friendly – not to mention incredibly knowledgable about the dishes – and the whole experience is something incredibly special. You won’t hear any well-worn cliches about authenticity and history (although there’s plenty of that if you scratch the surface), this is food that only looks forward and all the better for it.
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.
Add a more personal twist to a meal out by cooking your own three course restaurant standard meal from scratch. Food Sorcery’s cooking together evenings are all about making cookery fun and sociable whilst still producing high quality dishes.
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.
Discover this Victorian neo-Gothic gem just outside the city centre in Gorton. Taste the Monastery is a guided tour followed by lunch in the Victorian Pantry.
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.
Get your body Tudor ready with some foodie activities. Have a go at churning butter and making cheese – it’s not as easy as you think!
Join The Whiskey Jar as they welcome Woodford Reserve into their cellar, for an evening of flavour exploration.