If you didn’t know already Manchester is home to some incredible places to eat and drink, meaning you’re unlikely to go hungry or thirsty with so many options. From fine dining to more of a casual affair, city centre hotspots to tucked away eateries in the suburbs, we’ve shared our top picks of the best restaurants in and around Manchester that you need to dine at. Get ready to add these to your feasting bucket list!
Elnecot can be considered a right of passage when in Ancoats. A relaxed but fancy place that’s particularly popular for weekend brunch, Elnecot is a small, industrial spot that serves cocktails, small plates and brunch. The main menu features a number of British dishes, such as Scottish hake and Mutton henry, while the brunch menu takes a more casual approach with highlights such as green eggs and ham and wild mushrooms on sourdough toast. Their Sunday roast is also worth a try, with beef, chicken, pork belly and nut roast all available to order. Elnecot, Cutting Room Square, 41 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 6AJ.
2. El Gato Negro
Former executive chef at Harvey Nichols, Simon Shaw founded El Gato Negro after being inspired by a trip to Catalonia and it’s possibly one of the best tapas restaurants you’ll find in the centre of Manchester. At El Gato Negro, guests can expect a combination of both modern and traditional Spanish flavours with dishes such as truffle salami, salt cod croquetas and braised ox cheek. The restaurant is a real social space, even including a roof terrace, which almost feels like you’ve been transported to the bustling city of Barcelona. Interestingly, Shaw also owns Canto too, a testament to how much he loves creating delicious tapas. El Gato Negro, 52 King St, Manchester, M2 4LY.
3. Wholesome Junkies
Taking fast food and making it completely vegan, Wholesome Junkies has taken Manchester by storm with their bright, plant-based creations, with such popularity the brand opened its very own spot near Manchester Victoria station in 2022. What they’ve achieved is absolutely delicious, and if you’re new to vegan grub (or just been craving a bit of naughtiness that usually consists of meat) then you’re in for a treat. The menu consists of familiar comfort food (but is 100% plant-based), including fried ‘chicken’ burgers, tacos, mac ‘n’ cheese and loaded fries. Be sure to try their tater tots and cauli poppers laced with a sticky Korean glaze. Wholesome Junkies, Unit 4, Mirabel Street, M3 1PJ.
Offering sensational sushi and fine dining all in one, MUSU is a reasonably new kid in town and has already left an impression on Mancs and visitors to the city. The luxury Japanese restaurant on Bridge Street opened in the autumn of 2022 bringing with it an exquisite tasting menu concept designed to deliver a multi-sensory dining experience. Divided into three sections, guests can either choose their dishes from each section of the menu to suit their own personal taste preferences; follow a seven or eleven set seasonal menu; or entrust the chef to create the perfect menu for you. The entire space at MUSU features clean lines and precision plus bespoke Geisha wall designs, leaving Manchester behind and instead transporting you to Japan. MUSU, 64 Bridge Street, M3 3BN.
5. The Alan
The Alan may be a hotel but you needn’t have to have a room booked to sample dishes on the sleek restaurant’s menu. Offering small plates all beautifully presented such as cauliflower tikka, charred lamb breast with kimchi ketchup, aged beef tartare and salt baked celeriac, of which can be enjoyed as part of the hotel restaurants four dishes for £25 offer. Plus, The Alan on Princess Street has quite the sophisticated happy hour, offering Cumbrae oysters for £1 per shuck and Telmont Champagne for £10 per glass from 3.30pm to 6.30pm every day. And the bonus is if you’re absolutely stuffed, you’re not far from a bed to lie down on. The Alan, 18 Princess Street, M1 4LG.
6. Don Tacos
Head out of the city to Rusholme and home of the Curry Mile and you’ll find Don Tacos. Considered a diamond in the rough, it’s one of the best restaurants to try serves some of the most authentic soft tacos in Manchester, some with the amazing Don Tacos signature spice recipe. There’s also a dedicated plant-based menu for the vegans and veggies amongst us. Spice levels are marked on the menu, but be warned, all are pretty spicy! Be prepared to wash the whole lot down with tequila, jerritos or horchata, or whatever tipple you fancy. Don Tacos, 61-63 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester, M14 5TB.
Another Ancoats spot worth a visit is Erst, a natural wine bar and restaurant, boasting stripped-back yet up-market décor. Each wine on their menu is specially selected due to its ‘quality’ and ‘character’, with wines available to try by the glass, or by the bottle if you fancy. Try the new and trendy orange wine, or an array of reds, whites and sparkling alongside a number of small plates that are designed for sharing. The wines at Erst go perfectly with their dishes like their charcuterie selection, pickled mussels, flatbreads and grilled ex dairy sirloin served on the bone. Erst, 9 Murray St, Ancoats, M4 6HS.
8. The Beeswing
Another wine bar and restaurant worth adding to your dining list is The Beeswing within the Kampus garden neighbourhood. If you’re after somewhere to chill for a post-work drink and meal or an al fresco dining spot on a summer’s day, The Beeswing is sure to keep you fed and watered. Offering an exquisite wine selection alongside a wide variety of delicious pinchos, small plates, as well as cheese and charcuterie platters, the Manchester dining spot overlooks the lush gardens and canalside. The Beewsing has taken the classic summer staple of picky bits for tea and elevated this to create a European feel and are made to be the perfect match to your glass of wine. The Beeswing, KAMPUS, 24a Minshull Street, M1 3EF.
Originating in Altrincham, popular pasta kitchen SUD, formerly Sugo Pasta Kitchen, serves a simple menu with some of the best, modern Italian dishes in the city. Their Strascinate is a real highlight, stuffed with incredibly tasty toppings such as Tuscan sausage, beef shin and nduja. The restaurant has a real Italian family feel, with huge portion sizes and heavy hands when it comes to the toppings, while tables are commonly shared with parties as well as your own. SUD, 46 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 6BF | 22 Shaw’s Road, Altrincham, WA14 1QU | 7-8 Stanley Square, Sale, M33 7XZ.
10. Double Zero
Turning heads in Chorlton thanks to its beautifully-puffed Neapolitan pizza dough, Double Zero knows how to do this Italian staple justice. Manchester is home to some of the best pizza restaurants but Double Zero is one that cannot go amiss. This bring your own booze pizzeria prides itself on authenticity. From the dough, which is made on-site daily using only four ingredients, to the wood-fired oven brought in from Naples, and offers freshly made gluten-free pizza and garlic bread. Plus, a Manchester city centre location is on the way. Double Zero, 368 Barlow Moor Rd, Chorlton, M21 8AZ.
11. Where The Light Gets In
More on the pricier side, this Stockport restaurant is a must for diners looking to tick off a Michelin-accredited spot as part of their Manchester foodie bucket list. Awarded a Green Michelin Star for its impressive sustainability ethos, Where The Light Gets In continues to retain this accolade. Known for its ‘no menu’ approach, the Stockport restaurant led by chef Sam Buckley has its very own farm and garden where they grow their own produce, helping them to cook with as many home-grown and sustainably-sourced products as possible. Where The Light Gets In, 7 Rostron Brow, Stockport, SK1 7JY
Chorlton restaurant Brewski certainly doesn’t do comfort food by halves. Known for their huge sharing platters (although who wants to share when you see these?) created with socialising in mind, with multiple options to suit groups of two and over. Sharing platter options vary, with their popular ‘Mate Date’ combo including two burgers, two burritos, chicken tenders in buffalo sauce and a heap of fries. The Brewski team are always experimenting with creations like cheesy garlic bread and beef Wellington burritos appearing on the menu. Putting Canadian heritage at the heart of everything they do, their poutine is a real highlight – and they don’t go lightly with the toppings! Brewski, 537-539 Wilbraham Rd, M21 0UE.
Situated in a former bank building in Didsbury, Hispi provides intimate dining, with each dish as beautifully presented as the next. The restaurant serves posh bistro dishes that are full of flavour, even offering up a sirloin of beef Sunday roast sharer. Think crispy pig’s head croquettes, pan-fried fish, and stuffed pork belly. there are a considerable amount of Sunday lunch choices, which can also be followed by an unreal crumble for the ultimate comfort food experience. Hispi, 1C School Ln, Didsbury, M20 6RD.
If you needed a reason to escape the Manchester city centre, this is one. Tucked away in Ramsbottom, is a neighbourhood eatery that’s definitely worth venturing out of the metropolis for. The contemporary British menu at Colleen’s celebrates local produce, and what makes Colleen’s stand out from other restaurants in and around Manchester is that the à la carte menu changes depending on the availability, serving ingredients at their best. Indulge in a Sunday roast, brunch or small plates such as crunchy, cheesy croquettes that you’ll most likely be fighting over. Colleen’s, 76 Bridge St, Ramsbottom, Bury, BL0 9AG.
15. Dokes Pizzeria
Expanding new concept Dokes Pizzeria – which has so far only been available at the Society food hall – the owners of Ancoats restaurant Elnecot introduced their ‘Anglo-Saxon’ pizzas to Prestwich last summer. You can expect nods to the Old English with their Beowulf pizza topped with pepperoni, ‘nduja, chilli, burrata and pesto; and Roll Right topped with smoked bacon, white onion, Rollright cheese, crème fraîche and new potato (trust us, it works). Dokes in Prestwich is the perfect all-day dining destination – not only serving proper stone-baked pizza topped with the finest British produce (think Welsh chorizo, cured pig’s cheek and English cheeses), but an array of brunch and lunch dishes, too. Expect pasta from Yorkshire, seasonal salads and more – all showcasing the best of British and changing with the seasons. Dokes, 449A Bury New Road, Prestwich, M25 1AF.
16. The Spärrows
Tucked under the railway arches in the Green Quarter, The Spärrows has received rave reviews from both locals and renowned critics for its delicious menu. Famed for its European pasta and dumplings, The Sparrows is a diversely continental offering, with its speciality being Spätzle; fresh egg pasta representing a vast geographical region of South Germany, Switzerland, Alsace, Austria & Sud Tyrol – Trentino & Alto Adige of Northern Italy. Having officially been awarded a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide 2023, this quiet and unassuming restaurant is one to watch. The Spärrows, 16 Red Bank, M4 4HF.
Another Chorlton restaurant that’s full of charm is Zaytoon. One of the best restaurants in Manchester to serve up tasty Lebanese, this family-run gem on Barlow Moor Road is also BYOB. Tuck into an abundance of hummus, freshly baked pitta and falafel as well as an assortment of mezze favourites. Indulge in chicken shawarma, lamb kofte, grilled sea bass cooked in an array of herbs and spices as well as plenty of halloumi. Not sure what to choose? Zaytoon has got you with their generous-sized platters packed with all your Lebanese favourites. Zaytoon, 352 Barlow Moor Rd, Chorlton, M21 8AZ.
18. Suki Suki
One of the latest Manchester restaurants to arrive on the scene for spring 2023, Suki Suki serves some of the best bao buns and ramen in the city. If you’re after a meal before or after some entertainment at Great Northern Warehouse with mates, Suki Suki is great, casual pan-Asian dining spot to resolve those hunger pains. With street nibbles like gyoza, salt and pepper wings, soft shell crab tempura, sui mai and bang bang prawns on the menu as well as substantial mains like steaming bowls of ramen, stir fry dishes and curries (including katsu) it’s a feast for the eyes and belly. Suki Suki, Great Northern Warehouse, 227 Deansgate, M3 4EN.
Head north of Manchester city centre to Prestwich (or also to Exhibition) and you’ll find one of the best Scandi restaurants in the region, OSMA. Four nights a week, OSMA operates as a ‘food-bar’ serving small sharing plates with a frequently-changing menu, accompanied by wines and cocktails. With fish and seafood central to many of OSMA’s dishes, guests can expect a taste of the sea with fresh ingredients that pack a punch right here in Manchester. Choose from the likes of fish croquette with chive mayo; brioche toast topped with sea bream tartare and dill; hamachi tartare with 62c egg yolk, kombu ponzu, radish and nori; as well as mussels with leeks, white wine and crème fraiche. OSMA, 132 Bury New Rd, Prestwich, M25 0AA | Exhibition, St George’s House, 56 Peter Street, M2 3NQ.
20. Ornella’s Kitchen
A former baker at Manchester favourite Pollen, Sicilian-born Ornella Cancila opened the pasta-deli as a love letter to her homeland, and in our humble (English) opinion, we reckon it passes the test with flying colours. The real star of the menu at Ornella’s Kitchen is the range of filled sourdough focaccia, with options including salami, ‘nduja, aubergine, olive pesto and salsa verde. You can also expect Italian classics at this Denton establishment including arancini, bucatini carbonara or aubergine and scamorza ravioli, plus gelato sandwiches in brioche buns and sumptuous Sicilian cannoli to finish. Ornella’s Kitchen, 10 Manchester Rd, Denton, M34 3LE.
21. Stretford Canteen
If you ever find yourself in Stretford, run don’t walk to Stretford Canteen. The French-inspired bistro on Chester Road is a friendly neighbourhood space serving great French dishes full of flair and without all the fuss. After years of pop-ups and supper clubs, Stretford Canteen set up a bricks-and-mortar site in 2022, serving a contemporary dishes that alter with the seasons like braised lamb shoulder with anchovy, pea and mint for spring and squash and crispy sage galette for autumn. The specials board is always brimming with intriguing dishes and drinks to try as well as offering a cracking and oh-so-cheesy Croque Monsieur on a lunchtime. Stretford Canteen, 118 Chester Rd, Stretford, M32 9BH.
One of the best Indian and Pakistani restaurants in Manchester, Zouk Tea Bar & Grill is run by a team of brothers who share a passion for good food. The menu is extensive and all halal-prepared, with an unrivalled offering of vegetarian options available for those looking for meat-free dishes – including a number of veggie curries and tiffin options. On Sundays, the restaurant switches things up a bit, offering a traditional Sunday roast where guests can order a whole roast lamb. Zouk Tea Bar & Grill, 5, The Quadrangle, Chester St, Manchester, M1 5QS.