In dire need of a quick refuel and definitely not in the mood for a bog-standard meal deal? We don’t blame you. With so many incredible independent food spots in our city, why would anyone voluntarily choose a boring old egg and cress sandwich? Next time you’re in need of a lunch fix, support our locals and bookmark our guide to the best street food vendors in Manchester.
1. Salt & Pepper
Salt & Pepper has been blessing the Arndale with its seriously tasty grub since 2019 – and it’s been a cult fave with city centre workers ever since. Since last year it has been trading from its new permanent location in the Northern Quarter after having to close its original Arndale spot, and subsequently operating out of NQ’s Black Dog Ballroom. Luckily, Salt & Pepper are well underway in their new home, serving up East-meets-West modern Chinese grub. The menu consists of salt and pepper chicken, flatbreads, shredded meats loaded on top of fluffy fries and more. Salt & Pepper, 60-62 High St, Manchester, M4 1EA.
2. What The Pitta
Self-proclaimed home of the vegan doner kebab, What The Pitta arrived at Manchester’s Hatch only late last year, but offers everything you could ever want. 100% vegan and 100% delicious, their menu ranges from their signature doner, to Greek gyros, and mezze boards, ensuring a deeply indulgent, plant-based street food experience. With Hatch being right under the Mancunian Way, many will be able to pop in on a whim, but if not, it’s definitely worth the trip for the amazing food and the mad funky atmosphere! Hatch, 103 Oxford Rd, Manchester, M1 7ED | 42 Back Turner Street, M4 1FR.
Gujarati street food legends Bundobust maintain their stellar reputation having brought their brewery to Manchester’s Oxford Road in 2021, offering their full menu of scrummy mobile meals. From mung chatpata and bhajis, to burgers and dhals, Bundobust has really honed its craft, offering a truly unique array of food perfect for on-the-go. If you’re not in a rush, it’s really worth stopping into the brewery for nibbles like far far and spicy nuts, as well as to sample their amazing range of craft beers brewed on-site, with an adjoining 150-seat taproom. Their beers are exclusively available in Bundobust locations and are perfectly matched to their fantastic street food. Bundobust, St James Building, 61-69 Oxford Street, M1 6EQ | 61 Piccadilly, M1 2AG.
4. Northern Soul
The first grilled cheese restaurant in the UK was born right here in Manchester, and while Northern Soul has expanded rapidly since opening, their original Church Street unit still remains to this day, with some rebranding bringing us the very best deli deals. Otherwise, you can always find Northern Soul at their Tib Street location, as well as in City Square with their grilled cheese van when the blues play! If you’ve got a hankering for a tasty cheese toastie, this is your spot – with gourmet twists on the classic lunch including delicious relishes, meats, mac and cheese, and even onion bhajis. Northern Soul, Unit G20, 21, 44 Tib St, Manchester, M4 1LA.
5. Wright’s Fish & Chip Shop
For us, a good old chippy had to make the list, and it had to be Wright’s Fish & Chips on Cross Street. This chippy has been in town for years, and despite ‘trendier’ street food vendors turning up and making successes of themselves in Manchester, you just can’t beat fish and chips. Wright’s offer all the classics from battered sausages to chip barms, and options of mushy peas and/or a slathering of gravy on your fish and chips, amongst others. Obviously this is an indulgence, but during a long, hard day, you deserve it. 86 Cross St, Greater, Manchester, M2 4LA.
6. Nell’s Pizza
Nell’s Pizza is a bit of a naughty one, but it’s worth every calorie. Serving whopping 22″ pizzas at Common every week, the NYC-inspired pizzeria also serves their ever-changing pizza menu by the slice – which is perfect for a cheeky little lunch (unless you’re game for the entire thing). Pizza can be purchased via click and collect or eaten inside Common (which is also a great spot to camp with your laptop if you have a few work bits you need to do in peace). Nell’s Pizza, Common, 39-41 Edge St, M4 1HW | 20 Minshull St, Kampus M1 3EF.
7. Wholesome Junkies
Taking fast food and making it completely vegan, Wholesome Junkies has switched sites a fair few times now, but has found a permanent Manchester home on Mirabel Street, sandwiched between the River Irwell and Manchester Arena. 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, tater tots and so much more. Wholesome Junkies, Unit 4 Mirabel St, Manchester, M3 1PJ.
8. Chaat Cart
Family-run independent Chaat Cart can be found at Manchester’s hidden food hall and taproom,Society MCR, where they’re serving up some of the best South Indian street food in Manchester that’s packed full of flavour. Expect warming curries, Buddha bowls, flatbreads and more, with succulent meats, tiffin and tasty sides to accompany. Chaat Cart, Basement, 100 Barbirolli Square, M2 3BD.
9. Mira MCR
Residing within the Gas Works in Tony Wilson Square, and catering for Ancoats in the General Store, Mira MCR takes inspiration from the streets of Naples, recreating the beloved Cuzzetiello sandwich that has become an absolute Neapolitan classic. The crusty pieces of bread are filled with hearty fillings such as meatballs, ragu and beef stew, with Mira sticking to tradition with their creations. After all, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. Gas Works Brew Bar, 5 Jack Rosenthal St, Manchester, M15 4RA | 57 Great Ancoats St, Blossom St, Manchester, M4 5AB.
GRUB self-describes as “Manchester’s biggest and friendliest street food venue and events space”, and they certainly have the choice to match. At their Cheetham Hill digs, located at the Red Bank Project, you have the choice of over 30 vendors to choose from, not to mention the dedicated dessert traders catering to your sweet tooth! Whether you’re in the mood for Eat Like A Greek, complete with the biggest gyros you’ve ever seen, Wong Dumplings, or a slice from any of the four dedicated pizza vendors, you’re in for a treat. You can sample this world of convenient deliciousness at their weekly rotating lineup from Wednesday – Sunday, with their GRUB Food Fair market, now infamous in Manchester, every Friday and Saturday, as well as their vegan Plant Powered Sundays! What’s not to love? Red Bank Project, 50 Red Bank, Manchester, M4 4HF.