10 Great Places to Eat in Manchester

I’ve been doing A LOT of eating in Manchester this year.  Jamie and I made it our mission to eat in as many of the best restaurants, supper clubs and cafes in Manchester as we could.

Here’s a little countdown of some of our faves from 2016 in no particular order:

1. Yazu, Chinatown

This is a tiny, very homely and simple restaurant that sells beautiful honest Japense food. We had stunning sashimi and tempura, and the atmosphere was delightfully low key and pleasant.

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Sashimi and veg tempura

2. Rudy’s Pizzas, Ancoats

Do incredible stonebaked pizzas.   The white pizza below called Ancozzese, with wild broccoli and tuscan sausage, was sensational.  Rudy’s is a gorgeous and effortlessly trendy glass fronted venue in a pretty square in Ancoats.  The staff were lovely and the venue was buzzing.

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Ancozzese pizza on left, and jolly Jim the owner on the right

3. Hawksmoor, Deansgate

This is a glamourous art deco venue and they serve fabulous meat – steaks are the focus although other options are available.  The service is impeccable and it feels like a treat being there.

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Steak and chips!

4. Trove, Levenshulme

I love going to Trove just for a coffee or lunch.  But they also do brilliant supper clubs.  We recently went to the Maple supper club – every dish had maple syrup in it.  It was mouth wateringly good food.  In the photo below, on the left are homemade pittas, falafels, pickles and courgette salad and on the right is lemon almond tart with balsamic strawberries.  I didn’t want the food or the evening to end.

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Falafels, pitta and pickles and the best lemon almond tart

5. The Buttery, Levenshulme

I met Neil Buttery when he was running a pastry class with Cracking Good Food.  As he was such an ace pastry chef I wanted to try his new restaurant, the Buttery.  It’s an intimate venue, with arty vibes and a welcoming atmosphere and just damn good pies, beers and wines and all at very good prices.

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Jamie downing some top notch ale at The Buttery

6. El Gato Negro, King Street

This classy new venue opened at the beginning of the year.  The interior is elegant and stylish and their tapas is equally excellent.  Along with some other wonderful dishes, I ate the best tortilla of my life – moist, rich and herby.

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El Gato Negro – it’s just classy

7. Lunya, Deansgate

We popped in here for a cheeseboard one evening.  Lunya feels so spanish.  Sitting up at the bar (which is next to their deli), Lunya felt alive with hustle and bustle, and the cheeseboard was divine.  We came back a few days later to try their restaurant upstairs, but the atmosphere just wasn’t the same as the buzzy excitement of the bar area.

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More cheese please!

8. The Walled Garden Vegetarian Supper Club, Whalley Range

In May I went to Eddie Shepherd’s supper club for the second time.  He’s a charming host and his 14 courses of experimental and delicious vegetarian food were just as good as the first time.

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Eddie’s experimental vegetarian cooking

9. Brassica Grill, Heaton Moor

On hearing that Brassica Grill had been nominated for a Manchester Food and Drink Festival Award , we were keen to try it out.  Whilst my starter and main were good, they weren’t memorable, what stood out was the delightfully relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the restaurant and the staff were adorable.  AND most importantly my pudding was off the scale: raspberry souffle and lemon thyme ice-cream.

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A raspberry souffle to die for

10. The Allotment Vegan Restaurant, Stockport Old Town

The recently opened Allotment vegan restaurant is one of the best meals I’ve had this year. Taking vegan food to another level.  It’s high end food, I’d say on a parr with the quality of food served at the French.  The shiitake terrine with berries blew my mind, the creamy rich pate complemented by the sweet sharpness of the berries.  And the aubergine chargrilled ‘steak’ was so beautifully seasoned it would give any meat steak a run for it’s money.

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Shiitake terrine and aubergine steak

And ten of the places I still want to eat (I could easily make this a list of 30 if I wanted to – there’s too many good restaurants!)

  1. Grafene, King Street
  2. The Refuge at the Palace Hotel, Oxford Road
  3. The Hearth of the Ram, Ramsbottom
  4. The White Hart, Saddleworth
  5. Where the Light Gets in, Stockport (due to open soon)
  6. Hispi, Didsbury Village
  7. San Juan, Chorlton
  8. Grays Larder, Chorlton
  9. El Rincon, Deansgate
  10. Manchester House, Spinningfields

What are your favourite places to eat in Manchester? Please comment below so I can add them to my wish list!

 

Tasty pie time at the Buttery, at POD, Levenshulme

I recently did a pastry course run by an inspiring chef who is appropriately name Neil Buttery.  Neil was charismatic and had a fascinating knowledge of food history and pies.  I was intrigued to try his newly opened restaurant – The Buttery at POD – out in Levenshulme.  So one Saturday in March Jamie and I went to investigate.

The restaurant is in a delightful old Post Office building near Levenshulme station.  As soon as you walk in you’re welcomed into a lovely, cosy, stylish and atmospheric venue.  It’s a small place with about eight tables and the lighting was wonderfully low and mellow.  The decor was simple and well thought out – a good combination of contemporary with retro touches – like second hand wooden furniture and a wood panelled bar with Victorian style white tiling on the wall with beer pumps on.

We were immediately looked after by the front of house bar man – in fact all the staff were very enthusiastic and attentive in a really pleasant way.  We were shown to our seats and talked through the menu and specials.  It didn’t take us long to decide on the pies: beef and Guinness for Jamie, Lancashire cheese and leek for me – with both of us going for welsh rarebit for starters.

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Zingy Welsh Rarebit

We made good choices.  The rarebit was just the right size and wonderfully zingy and tasty whilst the pies were perfect comfort food for a freezing spring evening.  The rarebit sparked a debate between Jamie and I.  He liked the bread and I was adamant that it was from the excellent local Levenshulme bakery – Trove. Jamie was unconvinced – so I raised the stakes – betting him £1000 that the bread was from Trove.  And damn it! I was wrong. We asked Neil the chef and it turn’s out his business partner’s mum is making all the bread and cakes.  In my defense, Neil is in negotiations with Trove at the moment to see if they can provide bread as she is a little overworked! Jamie is considering my offer of indefinite tea making instead of a cash sum.

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Steak and Guinness Pie with gravy, mash and peas

Anyway back to POD! Jamie and I were blown away by the atmosphere.  Yes the food was delicious and very reasonable (£36 for two mains, two starters, beer and wine) and Jamie tells me the selection of beers was great too.  But above all the place had passion, style and a real sense of community.  There was something very comforting and welcoming about the venue and it felt like a broad mixture of interesting people hanging out.  I felt like if I’d got a bit more tipsy I could happily have shuffled across to another table and just gatecrashed the conversation.  So, give it a go yourselves! We 100% will be back for more pies and chilled evenings.