Places to dine solo in Manchester

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor

Sometimes, eating out should be about just that. Eating. And if you want to focus entirely on the food, there’s no better option than unaccompanied dining. Whether you’re visiting Manchester for work, or simply fancy some me-time, this city has plenty of options for the solo diner. Plus, this way you’ll get through a meal without an annoying companion pestering for a bite (we’ve all been there). Here’s our guide to the best places in Manchester to eat and drink by yourself.

Our top picks

Pot Kettle Black

Pot Kettle Black, Unit 14, Barton Arcade Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 2BW - Visit now

For breakfast, brunch and lunch, there are few better places than Pot Kettle Black. One of the highlights of Manchester’s recently-revitalised Barton Arcade, this bright breezy space serves up traditional daytime fare with a twist (the eggs benedict with paprika-cured pork loin is a must-try). And as the name suggests, they have a wide range of high-quality coffees and teas. Perfect for a few hours catching up with work, or simply watching the world go by.

Pot Kettle Black cafe in Manchester.
Pot Kettle Black - courtesy of venue

Burgess Cafe Bar at IABF

Burgess Cafe Bar at IABF, International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Engine House, Chorlton Mill, 3 Cambridge Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 5BY - Visit now

If you have a more literary bent, head over to the small but perfectly-formed café at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation. Refreshingly free of distractions (background music is a no-no), this is the ideal place to sit and read a book amongst like-minded people. The menu changes daily but the homemade soups are reliably excellent – hearty, filling and freshly-made.

Image courtesy of IABF

Trof Northern Quarter

Trof Northern Quarter, 8 Thomas St, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1EU - Visit now

One of the original Northern Quarter bars and diners, Trof has remained popular over the years for good reason. No matter the time of day, you’ll find a reliably friendly atmosphere, along with high-quality food served til late, covering everything from snacks to hefty feasts. Our advice? Go for the breakfast. Then stick around until the sun goes down and enjoy a drink or three.

Manchester Pubs
Trof

Cottonopolis

Cottonopolis, 16 Newton Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 2AE - Visit now

The Northern Quarter long had a reputation for being somewhat lacking in the quality cuisine department. The recent arrival of Japanese-themed Cottonopolis has changed all that. These artfully-designed dishes deserve your full attention, much more than any pesky companion.

Ian Jones

Yuzu

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

Japanese restaurant Yuzu in Manchester is the kind of place that beckons you to return, the counter makes the ideal spot for the solo diner.

Yuzu Manchester

Eighth Day

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

Eighth Day is a veggie and vegan superstore that’s less of a shop-cum-cafe and more of a Manchester institution. The downstairs dining area is a great place to grab a quiet bite.

Eighth Day.

The Northern Quarter Restaurant (TNQ)

The Northern Quarter Restaurant (TNQ), 108 High Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1HQ - Visit now

For dependable, modern British dining, the simply-named Northern Quarter Restaurant is worth a punt.

Image of the TNQ Restaurant and Bar in Manchester's Northern Quarter
Ben Williams

The Refuge

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

Looking something a little more upmarket? You need the raved-about Refuge by Volta at The Principal Manchester (formerly known as the Palace Hotel) on Oxford Road. Led by local DJs The Unabombers, along with head chef Alex Worrall, here you’ll find a range of eye-opening small plates, influenced by the DJ duo’s trips around the world. This awe-inspiring venue has a menu to match the decor, no matter what time you decide to drop by.

Ian Jones

Where to go in Manchester

Manchester
Restaurant
Fenix

Modern Greek Mediterranean cuisine from the team behind Tattu.

Universally Manchester Festival 6-9 June 2024
Manchester
The University of Manchester

Celebrating its 200th year in 2024, The University of Manchester is the largest single-site university in the UK, and boasts come incredible cultural institutions, found on campus, across Manchester and…

Alborz
Levenshulme
Restaurant
Alborz

Much-loved Persian restaurant on Stockport in Levenshulme, reopened after a lengthy lockdown-related hiatus.

Manchester
Restaurant
Jaan

New food concept from the team behind Another Hand, based at Exhibition and serving up exceptional Persian cuisine.

The Rose & Monkey Hotel
Manchester
Restaurant
The Rose & Monkey Hotel

The Rose & Monkey Hotel is one of the Northern Quarter’s best music-led bars, with a truly impressive beer garden. Our new favourite Manchester pub.

Skof by Tom Barnes
Manchester
Restaurant
Skof by Tom Barnes

One of the year’s biggest restaurant launches, Skof comes to Manchester’s Noma district, headed up by star of Simon Rogan’s restaurants, chef Tom Barnes.

Maya
Manchester
Restaurant
MAYA Manchester

MAYA is a stylish new restaurant and bar on the corner of Canal Street and Chorlton in central Manchester.

Manchester Visitor Guides

Photo of the Halle orchestra at Bridgewater
Music Venues in Manchester

Manchester is still a great place to watch new and innovative music – so here’s a guide to where to watch the best live music in the city.

Sunday Roasts in Manchester

Looking for the finest roast dinners in Manchester? Look no further. We've picked out the very best Sunday dinners in the city.

Federal Cafe Bar
Breakfast in Manchester

Manchester is strong with the breakfast force, and has some impressive form where brunch is concerned. Here’s our pick of the city’s morning glories.

Blossom on trees in Manchester
Parks and Gardens in Manchester

There are more green spaces in Manchester than you might think. We've picked out some of the best parks and gardens in and around the city.

Bars in Manchester

The best new bars in Manchester, plus some old favourites for good measure.

Stately Homes in the North

The North of England is blessed with countless stunning stately homes, many dating back decades and even centuries. Here are some of the very best.

UNITOM bookshop
Bookshops in Manchester

Manchester is a UNESCO City of Literature, so of course there are a few go-tos for books. Read our guide to discover the best places to pick them up.

Pillock at Contact
Spotlight on

Fringe Theatre in Manchester and the North

Check out our top picks of shows previewing in the North West before heading to Edinburgh Fringe Festival later in the summer.

Take me there

Culture Guides