You know what? There’s healthy eating, and then there’s just plain joyless eating. And as far as we’re concerned, life’s too short to be eating food that doesn’t fill your soul with the dulcet notes of umami, even (and especially) if you’re on a diet. Eating well should never feel like a relentless initiation test. If you’re eating out and want to fill your stomach with revitalising goodness, then let this guide to the best healthy eateries in Manchester nudge you in the right direction. From salad boxes Yotam Ottolenghi would be proud of, wholesome small plates and groaning vegetarian sharing boards, treat yourself right with this healthy fare.
Here are our picks
Oak Street Café at Manchester Craft and Design Centre is a gem with a calm and quiet atmosphere; just right for a solo visit with a book. During the week it’s a perfect place to nip for a slab of frittata and a plate of fresh, colourful salad, or a tummy-warming soup or stew. The menu changes daily, and vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are always available.
It’s a myth that all vegetarians are healthy lovers of celeriac; some are just lazy and eat crisp sandwiches in lieu of imaginative cooking. But Bistro 1847, arguably Manchester city centre’s top vegetarian restaurant, is in fact one of those healthy meat-free spots. Portions are conservative, but enough. Think salads of ricotta and root vegetables, mushroom pate with pickled quince and ‘beet’ bourguignon.
An institution for students and academics along the Oxford Road corridor since the 1970s, the café at 8th Day Co-operative serves wholesome vegetarian sandwiches, salads, and curries and stews served with organic rice, potatoes or vegetables. Their fresh juices are delicious and packed with superfoods and Echinacea for a healthy pick-me-up.
Levenshulme eatery Trove remains a firm favourite with weekend breakfast crowds and weekday café hawks alike, and with good reason; their food is simple, and wonderful. Importantly, it fills but doesn’t impregnate you with a debilitating food baby, like some other breakfast stops. Hot tip: the vegetarian breakfast comes with delicious polenta pancakes, and you must try the cured salmon breakfast with a runny poached egg, samphire and pink peppercorns.
Thai salads are infamously spicy, so if you’re a fan of blowing the cobwebs away via the power of chilli, Try Thai’s modest selection is for you. There’s the spicy Papaya Salad (especially good with Soft Shell Crab) and the Vermicelli Minced Pork and Prawn, among others, which are refreshing alternatives to a night off the trance-inducing goodness of curry ladled onto sticky rice.