- Food and Cooking
Interesting Places To Eat In Manchester, UK
Under-the-radar Restaurants and Cafes in Manchester
I like food and I avoid eating in chain restaurants unless there's little alternative. Manchester's a thriving city with many places to eat. Fortunately there are enough chains to keep the majority busy, leaving the more interesting places for the rest of us.
I've been vegetarian for a few years now, but I've still got fond memories of some non-veggie eateries. I'll list anything here if it's interesting and good.
This isn't a list of the best, the most upmarket, the most expensive restaurants. If you want that, read the Michelin guide or some other guide. This lens is dedicated to those eateries that don't usually appear in guides.
This and That Cafe
3 curries and rice for Â£3.80. That's April 2009 prices. Cheaper than a big mac meal and way more filling and in my opinion, much nicer!
The menu changes daily, repeating weekly with around 9 curries on offer every day. Out of the 9 curries on offer every day, there are always 3 vegetarian curries.
This and That is on a small - and I mean small side street (Soap Street) - just off Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter of the city centre. Don't think this is out of your way, the Northern Quarter has many great places to chill out and relax.
This and That serves curry in a setting that would seem more like a 1960s greasy spoon cafe, complete with plastic moulded chairs.
Situated underneath the Buddhist centre on Turner Street in the Northern Quarter, this serves strictly vegan fare. This is healthy food, well presented and very fresh. The juices are well worth the wait - my current favourite is the apple and mint.
It's a great, relaxed place to try vegan-fare. The roulades are incredible, the soup's brilliant and I really like the salads. The only downside is that I've yet to find a good cake there, I guess that may have something to do with the lack of egg. That doesn't stop me trying the different cakes to find out though. And if you like cakes, you can always go just across the road to Oklahama (mentioned below) for dessert.
Beware of the Bloodfire juice unless you really like beetroot. The flavour of the ginger, lemon and apple is incredible but I couldn't get used to the after-taste.
Map to Earth
So close to the city centre, on the edge of the Northern Quarter, Manchester Craft Centre is a quiet place to relax and wind down before you head back into the throng of shoppers and tourists. Cafe Aromat is on the ground floor of the Craft Centre.
This is the best place I know in Manchester city centre to sample Frederick's ice-cream. Best thing is they only have the best flavours so you're not tempted to go for any odd combinations. For more places for ice-cream, have a look at my other lens on Best Ice-cream Shops in the world.
Cafe Aromat is on Oak Street.
Funky shop, cafe and art gallery. The shop sells an odd, bizarre range of toys and trinkets. Great for finding odd presents. The cafe is good for cake and baked (sweet) potatoes.
Oklahoma is on the corner of High Street and Turner Street with entrances on both.
An underground venue in the city-centre, just off St Anne's Square. A great menu featuring tortilla pizzas, lemon and herb potatoes and patatas bravas (well, ok, potatoes covered in a spicy tomato sauce - not quite patatas bravas but still nice).
The jukebox alone is worth the visit. Lots of madchester music. Last time I looked, the manager had taken the normal cards out and replaced them with blanks filled with only the tracks he liked.
Corbieres is down some steps on Half Moon Street.
At the opposite end of the spectrum from This and That, Lounge 10 is refined dining with a French theme. A comfortable multi-floor layout with a menu to match the succulent décor.
Lounge 10 is on Tib Lane, just off Cross Street.
Another Northern Quarter curry house with moulded plastic seats. I'd recommend the lamb curry. One of the few open during Saturday day times so perfect for a break from the shops. Al-Faisal is opposite the old Post Office on Thomas Street.
Map to Al-Faisal
On Kings Street West, just north of Cross Street, Bacchanalia serves a quality of food that would usually come with an air of pretentiousness. But it does this in a relaxed environment.
There are two places to eat in the Royal Exchange; the cafe and the restaurant.
The food in the cafe consists of just standard bar snacks and tea room fare. However the location is something spectacular.
The Royal Exchange is situated between Cross Street and St Anne's Square.
Ok, so I've broken my rules about chains. Pesto is the relative newcomer to the La Tasca chain serving Italian tapas. A nice place to sit outside in a fenced off area on Deansgate.
This is a delicatessen run by the same people who run Barbakan, a Polish bakery in Chorlton. The bread is incredible and expect many different tasty desserts. Also expect to be standing unless you're lucky enough to find a seat; it gets busy very quickly.
Situated on Deansgate on the opposite corner from Pesto.
Guides to England
These guides are great if you're visiting England. Due to the density of the country, there's not much coverage per location, but it beats having no guide at all. And the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet do have some of the best entries.
Walrus is another bar in the Northern Quarter, this time featuring cocktails and Japanese-inspired food. Great for a quick lunch or relaxing after work. I recommend the ramen.
Map to Walrus
For a great Chinese restaurant that's actually outside of the Chinese quarter, head to Cross St for Rice Bowl. It has a massive menu, including a few pages for vegetarians.
Found one of these suggestions doesn't exist or got a new suggestion for inclusion on this list?