Goodbye hearty winter meals, we’re leaving you behind for our one true love: tapas. Nothing nods to better, warmer days more than a table full of tasty small plates shared over wine and good ol’ conversation – and we’re so ready for evenings getting sloshed on Sangria while wolfing down bowl after bowl of Patatas Bravas. Check out Secret Manchester’s ultimate guide to the best tapas restaurants in Costa Del Manchester.
With two tapas restaurants across the city of Manchester on Deansgate and in the Northern Quarter, Evuna has been around for quite some time now, and it’s a true, local favourite. Understated on the outside, inside, it’s a traditional Spanish paradise, with an authentic Spanish family vibe with solid wood furnishings and a warm atmosphere. The food is mouth-wateringly tasty, with the restaurant even dubbing themselves “the only tapas bar in the area bringing you an authentic fresh tapas menu”. The cosy spot is perfect for date night, with dishes such as roasted pork belly, red wine chorizo, and fried squid rings just some of the menu highlights. The restaurant also imports fine Spanish wines, so you’ll want to give them a taste to compliment your meal! Evuna, 79 Thomas St, Manchester, M4 1LQ | 277-279 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4EW.
A real hidden gem tucked away in uber-cool neighbourhood Ancoats, Canto is well worth a try for tapas fans. Served with a Portuguese twist, the place was actually the first Portuguese restaurant in the city. Think Piri-Piri dishes and Pastel De Natas to finish. The service is brilliant, with a casual but pretty décor that feels both rustic and modern for a real homely atmosphere. The menu draws on influences from the Med, with chorizo, Octopus, and baby squid, as well as a wide range of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes to choose from. The dessert menu is not to be overlooked, with traditional Portuguese tarts, a seriously yummy carrot cake and a range of sorbets on offer to cleanse your palate with. Canto, Cutting Room Square, Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 5DH.
3. La Bandera
In the heart of the city, La Bandera serves classic Spanish cuisine in its light and contemporary restaurant that has a modern, Mediterranean feel. This one’s not to be sniffed at, with a number of awards under its belt, as well as the honour of being named one of the top three tapas restaurants in the UK by The Sunday Times – who probably eat at way more fancy restaurants than I do, so its a very big honour indeed! Dishes are extremely well presented, with indulgent plates available to order such as King Prawns, tenderloin steak and scallops pan-fried to perfection. While everything feels really special when it arrives at your table, you can rest assured that the bill won’t give you a shock at the end. La Bandera, 2 Ridgefield, Manchester, M2 6EQ.
4. El Gato Negro
Founded by Harvey Nichol’s former executive chef (very fancy indeed!), chef Simon Shaw opened El Gato Negro after being inspired by a trip to Catalonia. Interestingly, Shaw also owns Canto too, a testament to how much he loves creating delicious tapas. At El Gato Negro, guests will find vibrant yet decadent décor, with soft red seating and cosy warm lighting – with an open kitchen providing a real neighbourhood kitchen experience for diners. Combining both modern and traditional Spanish flavours, guests can enjoy 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. El Gato Negro, 52 King St, Manchester, M2 4LY.
5. Bar San Juan
Widely known as the best place for tapas in Manchester, this little Chorlton gem is much-loved by all who walk through the quirky yellow door. Even the vibrant yellow and red front screams “olé!”, and that’s before you’ve even stepped inside. Bar San Juan doesn’t take life too seriously, and they encourage guests to take a load off and kick back with a pint, just as the Spanish would. The restaurant takes inspiration from every corner of Spain, with their own, personal touches making it all the more special. While the spot may be in the Suburbs of gloomy Manchester, you’d be forgiven for accidentally thinking you’d teleported to an old town in Catalonia. From Swordfish to beef cheek and classic chorizo dishes, you’ll probably want to order everything on the menu. Bar San Juan, 56 Beech Road, Manchester, M21 9EG.
6. Abeja Tapas Bar
Described as the ‘smallest tapas bar in Manchester’, Abeja is one of the NQ’s fantastic dining spots housed within Alvarium, offering a seriously good tapas and Spanish wine menu to enjoy at the open-air space (which as a concept naturally feels Mediterranian as it is!). It’s not just its tasty food that has us in love with this tiny spot, however, but it’s way of paying homage to Manchester with its beautiful name. Translating to ‘bee’ in English, Abeja represents the connection the tapas bar wants to create between Manchester and Spain – not only bringing the flavours of Grenada to our home but pairing it with Manchester’s eclectic art and dining scene, too. Enjoy classic dishes such as Padron peppers and croquetas, as well as meatier plates such as squid in garlic and chorizo in wine sauce. Abeja Tapas Bar, Alvarium, 8 Dorsey St, M4 1LU.
7. La Vina
Featuring a warm and inviting atmosphere, La Vina is a great place to unwind after a long day of shopping. Conveniently located on Deansgate, the decor has warm colours and wooden furnishings running throughout, giving a homely vibe while you sit back and relax with a glass of fine Spanish wine. The menu is large, with Paella and charcuterie dishes, as well as traditional tapas options. Guests can also enjoy a small menu of Spanish cheeses, perfect when combined with a nice glass of Rioja. Doesn’t the saying go… “When in Spain”? La Vina, 105/107 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 2BQ.
8. Tast Catala
Residing on Manchester’s upmarket King Street, Tast Catala brings a slice of Barcelona to Manchester, focusing on a traditional Catalonian experience with simple, elegant decor. The food is just as beautifully presented as the interiors, too, with casual dishes such as calamari, Iberian pork, Catalan sausages and even ‘Duck’in Donuts’. For the drinks, you’ll be able to wash down plate after plate with a selection of summery cocktails, sangria, beer and more, with Charcuterie boards and cheeses also on the menu for those who love a good nibble. Tast Catala, 20-22 King St, M2 6AG.