Lunch in Manchester

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Lunch in Manchester is a joy with our guide to the best places to enjoy your afternoon feed. Whether it’s a light bite, a blow-out meal or a generous hunk of local, artisan sourdough bread you’re after (accompanied by a respectable flat white); like coffee shops, good lunch places are one thing Manchester is not short on. Leaving no excuse for any sneaky Subways (not that we’re judging).

Our top picks

Mackie Mayor

Mackie Mayor, 1 Eagle Street, Manchester, M4 5BU

A ‘Time Out Food Hall’ style venue packed with an impressive array of local artisan food and drink businesses, in a stunning Grade II listed market building in the Northern Quarter.

Mackie Mayor

GRUB Manchester

GRUB Manchester, 50 Red Bank, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, M4 4HF - Visit now

Manchester’s legendary street food festival GRUB has set up camp just behind Piccadilly Station, where independent businesses and grassroots traders are serving up an incredible array of freshly prepared food and drink every weekend. (The Plant Powered Sundays are not to be missed!)

V Revolution

V Revolution, 20-26 Edge Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1HN - Visit now

Fast food meets tofu; V-Revolution’s 100% vegan menu delivers hangover curing, carb-heavy delights in an all-American diner style setting.

V Revolution.


Nibble, 36 Oldham St, Manchester, M1 1JN - Visit now

A great independent café in Manchester’s bustling Northern Quarter. Perfect if you’re looking for high-quality homemade produce.

Nibble NQ

The Refuge

The Refuge, Oxford Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M60 7HA - Visit now

Big news for those who think lunch is the most important meal of the day. The Refuge has relaunched The People’s Lunch – hearty bowls of soul food for just £7.50. You can choose from meat, fish or vegan options, each week, available Monday to Friday from 12 til 3 pm. Expect dishes such a homemade parpadelle, grilled brassicas, torched mackerel and sweet potato curry. Every week features a ramen dish, from ultra-traditional pork tonkotsu to a vegan mushroom-based ‘shoyu’.

Ian Jones

LEAF on Portland Street

LEAF on Portland Street, 113–115 Portland St, Manchester, M1 6DW - Visit now

Housed in the former CUBE Gallery and RIBA building on Portland Street, the long-awaited Manchester outpost of Liverpool’s legendary LEAF is finally here.

LEAF on Portland Street
Courtesy of LEAF on Portland Street

Federal Cafe

Federal Cafe, Basil Chambers, 9 Nicholas Croft, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1EY - Visit now

A New Zealand and Australian style café with incredible coffee, brunch, drinks and lunch options (plus: nice interior design).

Image courtesy of Marketing Manchester


Yuzu, 39 Faulkner Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 4EE - Visit now

A tiny Japanese restaurant on the edge of China Town in Manchester; Yuzu is simple, refined and exquisite.

Yuzu Manchester

North Tea Power

North Tea Power, 36 Tib Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1LA - Visit now

The mighty North Tea Power is a Northern Quarter favourite thanks to its addictive grilled cheese sandwiches, serious good selection of teas and coffees and captivating playlist.

Image courtesy of North Tea Power

The Whitworth

The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6ER - Visit now

Alfresco dining without stepping outside. Overlooking the park and with floor-to-ceiling windows, the Whitworth gallery’s ‘Café in the Trees’ serves up some spectacular views alongside its deliciously seasonal, locally sourced menu. Run by award winning chef Peter Booth.

The Whitworth
The Whitworth, Photo: Alan Williams

Fig and Sparrow

Fig and Sparrow, 20 Oldham Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1JN - Visit now

Not only a beautiful lifestyle store, Fig and Sparrow in the Northern Quarter also boasts a coffee bar, complete with a tantalising selection of loose leaf teas, seasonal food and homemade cakes.

Fig and Sparrow © Jan Dixon

Common Bar

Common Bar, 39-47 Edge Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1HW - Visit now

Head to Northern Quarter stalwart Common Bar for cocktails, BOGOF burgers, smashed avo and popcorn cockles.

Common Bar in Manchester's Northern Quarter
Ben Williams

Trove Levenshulme

Trove Levenshulme, 1032 Stockport Road, Levenshulme, Greater Manchester, M19 3WX - Visit now

Formed by a passionate group of local food and drink vigilantes who believe in making things from scratch and by hand, this small Levenshulme café places a big emphasis on organic ingredients and locally sourced produce. And you can taste it.


Soup, 31-33 Spear Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, Manchester, M1 1DF - Visit now

Bubbling vats of soup are the order of the day here, with flavours erring towards the unusual, alongside old favourites. Stop in and perch on one of the long wooden benches, or take-away.

Image of Soup Kitchen in Manchester's Northern Quarter
Ben Williams

Eighth Day

Eighth Day, 111 Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 7DU - Visit now

Not only a great place to pick up your hemp milk and agave syrup, but also a deliciously hearty, fairly priced vegetarian/vegan lunch in the laid-back downstairs café.

Eighth Day.


TAKK, 6 Tariff Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 2FF - Visit now

You may know Takk as a coffee hang-out, but this Icelandic-inspired spot is also a great place to enjoy a working lunch. Check out the satisfying range of Mediterranean sandwiches, flaky pastries and chunks of cake on offer throughout the day.

Takk cafe in Manchester.


Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth Street West, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 5WW - Visit now

A bar, kitchen and music venue from the people who brought you Trof.

Gorilla, Whitworth street Manchester

Gaucho Manchester

Gaucho Manchester, 2a St Mary’s Street, Manchester, M3 2LB - Visit now

Based in a converted Methodist church, Gaucho is one of the best-looking restaurants in Manchester. If you fancy pushing the boat out for lunch, get your teeth into this steak-heavy menu.

Gaucho Manchester
Gaucho Manchester

Real Junk Food Project Manchester

Real Junk Food Project Manchester, 85 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 6EQ - Visit now

Enjoy a gourmet lunch for whatever price you feel and help fight food waste. Overseen by acclaimed chef Mary-Ellen McTague, the Real Junk Food Project Manchester has finally found a permanent home, ideally located along Oxford Road. And business is booming.

Courtesy of Real Junk Food Project Manchester

Where to go in Manchester

Stretford Foodhall
Café or Coffee Shop
Stretford Foodhall

A one-stop-shop, Stretford Foodhall is a place for those who like to eat, drink and shop with a guilt-free conscience. Whether you fancy visiting to sample some delicious street food or to top up your refillable containers, Stretford Foodhall is well worth a visit.

Haunt MCR
Bar or Pub
Haunt MCR

Haunt MCR is a speciality coffee shop and wine bar located on Manchester’s bustling Peter Street.

HOME Manchester
HOME Manchester

Now back open with a packed schedule of events and things to do, HOME Manchester is one of the city’s leading hubs for arts and culture.

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Popup Bikes
Café or Coffee Shop
Popup Bikes

Independently-run coffee shop and bike repair shop on the edge of the Green Quarter in Manchester.

Gran T's Coffee House
Café or Coffee Shop
Gran T’s Coffee House

Named after owner Chris’s much-loved and sadly-missed grandmother, Gran T’s Coffee House is independent through and through

Green & Co
Green & Co

Located in the heart of Altrincham, Green & Co is a salad and juice bar serving seasonal, simple and delicious healthy food. Enjoy salads, grain bowls, juices, smoothies, and coffee all prepared with the freshest ingredients.

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