Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor

It’s May and at CT HQ, we’re all about those spring/summer days out. And if that means packing a bright green anorak to account for Manchester’s topsy-turvey weather system, so be it.

There’s no better time to explore the North than right now. Book a train to a nearby city and gaze out of the window at ducklings, lambs-a-leaping and tractors so gorgeous you won’t be able to resist checking them out on your phone while at work.

This month we have some top, top options for you, including a truly exceptional meal at Stuzzi in lovely Leeds and a stunning rooftop garden bar in equally lovely Liverpool.

But let’s not forget about the great places to visit in Manchester, including a new favourite, Rusholme’s The Giving Tree, a cafe which focuses just as much on giving back to the community as it does on creating top-tier baked goods and hot drinks.

And if you’re feeling carnivorous, Escape To Freight Island has come up trumps again, with a mind-blowing feast of earthy, meaty goodness, courtesy of one of the brains behind Hawksmoor.

As ever, eat, drink and be very happy to be out enjoying some of the best food and drink in the whole of the UK.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Carnival at Freight Island

    Carnival at Freight Island
    Ian Jones

    Carnival at Freight Island, Ticket Hall, Freight Island, 11 Baring St, Manchester, M1 2PZ - Visit now

    Escape To Freight Island has so much to offer, it’s almost overwhelming deciding where to start. Thankfully, Carnival has made that decision for all you hungry meat-eaters out there. As far as tasting menus go, this is up there with Manchester’s very best.

  • 2. Stuzzi Leeds

    Stuzzi Leeds
    via Leeds Inspired

    Stuzzi Leeds, 7 Merrion St, Leeds, LS1 6PQ - Visit now

    Stuzzi aims to give diners a taste of ‘what’s on offer beyond the tourist traps’ in Italy and has succeeded magnificently. If you’re looking for authentic Italian cuisine executed with flair and packed with ideas, make Stuzzi your number one choice.

  • 3. The Giving Tree

    The Giving Tree
    The Giving Tree

    The Giving Tree, 508 Moss Lane East, Rusholme, Manchester , M14 4PA - Visit now

    The next time you fancy a double-triple-mocha-chocca-latte-whatnot from a faceless coffee chain, why not make a more ethical choice and head down Oxford Road until you reach this community-focused cafe instead? You’ll sleep easier for it.

  • 4. Luciano


    Luciano, London Rd, Alderley Edge, SK9 7QD - Visit now

    Luciano is a fantastic destination for Italian food lovers, with an emphasis on top-quality ingredients shining through in the simplicity of each dish. Whether you’re a Cheshire local or making a trip out from Manchester, it’s well worth getting to know Luciano.

  • 5. Hop and Hazlewood

    Hop and Hazlewood
    Ian Jones

    Hop and Hazlewood, 126-128 Elliott St, Tyldesley, M29 8FJ - Visit now

    At the Hop and Hazlewood, the friendly locals make it their business to welcome everyone with a few belly laughs. If you’re looking for the kind of pub where the likes of Peter Kaye cut his teeth, pop in here for a beer or three.

  • 6. Goodness Gracious Roof Garden

    Goodness Gracious Roof Garden
    Goodness Gracious

    Goodness Gracious Roof Garden, West Africa House, 25 Water St, Liverpool , L2 0RG - Visit now

    Despite being in the centre of Liverpool, you’re a world away from the noise at this wonderful rooftop bar. With guest DJs and musicians planned, we’d recommend putting this dreamy venue on your To-Do list this summer.

  • 7. Nam Manchester


    Nam Manchester, Unit 2, 33 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 6AJ - Visit now

    If you’re a cocktail-lover you’re guaranteed to find your new favourite drink here, soundtracked by the city’s best soundsystem. If you thought NAM was just about great food, think again – the cocktails are just as wonderful, if not better.

  • 8. Cloudwater & Levanter at Kampus

    Cloudwater & Levanter at Kampus

    Cloudwater & Levanter at Kampus, Aytoun St, Manchester, M1 3DA - Visit now

    The neighbourhood’s accommodation-slash-event space Kampus continues to make waves with its latest guests, Levanter and Cloudwater Brewery. Taking up residency in their event space, the collaboration brings quality beer and a taste of Spain to the city centre.

  • 9. Le Social Wine Bar

    Le Social
    Le Social

    Le Social Wine Bar, Pollar Yard, Contain 88 & 147, 15 Pollard Street East, Manchester, M40 7SL - Visit now

    Le Social is launching a new community-minded series of events known as Le Social & Friends. It kicked off last month, when Le Social’s cosy shipping container became home to Caroline Dowsett and Ben Vulliamy’s debut collaborative exhibition MOTHER – an ode to Mother Earth through a curated series of original pieces and limited edition prints in the form of risographs, print and textiles.

More in Food and Drink

Activity Until 31 August 2022, 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 Until 31 July 2022, from £95.00

Gin School with Manchester Gin

Learn about the different styles of gin and distil your very own bottle with Gin School at the Spirit of Manchester Distillery.

Activity Until 24 September 2022, from £12.00

Nomadic Beers: Brewery Tour

Join gaffa Katie for a tasty venture into Nomadic Beers vegan brewery where you’ll learn about the brewing process as well as sampling the final products.

Activity Until 6 September 2022, FREE

Simple Nutritional Cooking Sessions

Learn a series of healthy, cheap and heart warming dishes in this new series of cooking sessions based in Wakefield.

Activity Until 17 September 2022, from £40.00

Leeds Craft Cider Tour

Sample the best artisanal ciders, (and an intriguing Perry) Leeds has to offer in this new Craft Cider Tour.

Activity 10–11 September 2022, FREE

We Invented The Weekend

Expect everything from community feasts, vintage markets, water sports, live music and performance, right across MediaCity and Salford Quays this September. A new free festival for everyone.

MFDF 2022
Festivals 16–27 September 2022,

Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2022

.The much-loved Manchester Food and Drink Festival is back for 2022 with a host of exciting events this autumn.

Culture Guides


Ennio Morricone, Charlie Chaplin and 80s vampires. There’s something for everybody on the big screen this month.

Hurvin Anderson, Double Grille, 2008 © Hurvin Anderson. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2022


Whatever the weather, we’ve got tonnes of new art for you to enjoy. This month we bring you lots of choice: from large, all-encompassing displays to smaller and equally as interesting shows to suit all tastes.

Families at Bluedot Festival


With summer just around the corner, here are some of the best family-friendly events taking place in Manchester and the North in the coming months, both indoors and outdoors, so you can enjoy a fun trip out with your family come rain or shine!

Poet Malika Booker.


Live literature has plenty for readers and writers alike this spring, with emerging names and established authors taking to a mic near you, along with the opportunity to perform or put pen to paper yourself. There’s lots to listen to in real life and there are still opportunities to join in to events online. Read more here…


From the North’s best festival line-ups to the wildest collaboration you’ll catch on a Manchester stage this year, check out our latest music picks.

Theatre in Manchester


Check out our updated theatre guide for provocative dance shows, prosecco-popping outdoor performances and site-specific Shakespeare.

Manchester Jazz Festival

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Tours and Activities

Discover a new hobby, experience the most deliciously diverse area of Manchester’s city centre and explore the city’s infamous music scene in this month’s Tours and Activities guide.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Activity Until 31 July 2022, from £95.00

Gin School with Manchester Gin

Activity Until 24 September 2022, from £12.00

Nomadic Beers: Brewery Tour

Activity Until 6 September 2022, FREE

Simple Nutritional Cooking Sessions

Activity Until 17 September 2022, from £40.00

Leeds Craft Cider Tour

Activity Until 31 August 2022, from £40

Northern Quarter Taster Walk with Manchester Food Walks