Outside of England’s capital city, you’d be hard-pressed to find a city containing a better range of restaurants than Manchester. From the repurposed cotton mills of the Northern Quarter to fine dining restaurants in the city’s new cultural district, we’ve got the lot – and all within walking distance of each other (or a £6 Uber, for the lazy).
These are just some of the highlights of Manchester’s ever-growing food scene, boasting everything from hearty British cuisine, to fiery Indian food to delicately prepared sushi. Try them all, Pokemon-style.
Here are our picks
Erst, 9 Murray St, Manchester, M4 5BN - Visit now
Erst utilise locally-sourced ingredients in such a way that the end result is effortlessly cutting edge, without resorting to gimmicks and elaborate laboratory equipment. While many up-and-coming restaurants are a mish-mash of ideas from all over the world, Erst is a truly Northern restaurant – full of dazzling ideas and the finest quality ingredients.
Peru Perdu, The Cotton Factory, 74 Princess St, Manchester, M1 6JD, Manchester, M1 6JD - Visit now
Peru Perdu has always been something special, and whether you opt for their new private dining experience or a table in the beautiful main restaurant space, you’re guaranteed an endlessly fascinating and always-delicious evening at one of Manchester’s most magnificent venues.
The Edinburgh Castle Pub, Henry St &, Blossom St, Manchester, M4 5AW - Visit now
One of our favourite destinations in Ancoats, The Edinburgh Castle is everything this area needs. A modern pub with an authentic feel, it eschews the chrome and whistles of many of its near neighbours, offering a welcoming and traditional drinking area downstairs and a timeless, elegant dining space upstairs.
Nam Manchester, Unit 2, 33 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 6AJ - Visit now
Whether you’re interested in grabbing a satisfying bite to eat or experiencing some pitch-perfect sounds curated by Manchester’s best DJs in the forward-thinking downstairs space, Nam does the lot, and does it very, very well.
Wood Manchester, Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester, M15 4RA - Visit now
Wood claim to be ‘unintimidating high end dining’ and this is precisely what you get – from location to decor, right down to the menu. With Masterchef winner Simon Wood at the helm, the food is exciting, forward-thinking but never over-complicated. Despite only opening a few months back, it already feels like part of the city’s furniture, with a steely-eyed focus on dishing out exciting plates that look and taste exquisite, all thanks to a team that are constantly coming up with fresh exciting ideas.
Scene Manchester, 4a Left Bank, Manchester, M3 3AN - Visit now
Not only is Scene easily one of the best-looking restaurants in Spinningfields, full of elegant light fixtures and exotic trinkets inspired by the Indian sub-continent, but long-term residents of Manchester should note they have the head chef of the much-missed Shimla Pinks, one of the city’s all-time greats when it comes to Indian food. Thankfully, the food at Scene is just as good, if not better. All the dishes are delicious and wonderfully uncomplicated. And that could be said about practically everything on the menu – each dish has been finessed into the best version of itself, never overpowered by spices, only enhanced. This is Indian food at its best.
Randall & Aubin Manchester, 64 Bridge St, Manchester, M3 3BN - Visit now
Enjoy some of their finest dishes at a bargain price (just £12.50 for a meal and drink from 12 noon to 7 pm). The courses on offer change on a daily basis, taking in everything from roast pork belly to chicken kiev, with a marvellous fish stew available on Fridays. It’s hard to think of a better deal in the city when it comes to quality and price.
Bundobust Manchester, 61 Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 2AG - Visit now
Since opening their restaurant on the edge of Piccadilly, the team behind Bundobust have built one hell of a buzz around Manchester. For the unaware, this underground restaurant serves up tapas-style small plates of vegetarian and vegan Indian food, along with an exhaustive – and somewhat exhausting – list of beers and craft ales. The food is exceptional, and pushes boundaries all over the place – expect to find mushy peas in there somewhere, alongside an Indo-Chinese sticky sauce you’ve always dreamed of.
Cottonopolis, 16 Newton Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 2AE - Visit now
The Northern Quarter has long had a reputation as the go-to place for late-night quick and trashy food, but things are changing. The whole area is developing at high-speed suggesting its restaurant scene will follow suit. Cottonopolis provides the first shot across the boughs, with its classy decor and high-quality Japanese food. The menu is divided into four different elements based on the cooking method for each item: ice, fire, steam and oil. It’s a gimmick but an inventive one, catering for a variety of palates whether they be healthy eaters, grazers or plain old gluttons.