London gets a lot of credit as England's best city for food, but Manchester comes in a close second. The northern city has a vibrant, expansive food scene with many different global cuisines packed into its many neighborhoods. Alongside the fine dining options are small family-owned eateries, making Manchester a great place to learn about British cuisine in all its different forms. From pizza to pub fare, here are 15 of Manchester's best restaurants.
Head to South Manchester to discover Hispi, a casual bistro serving some of the most delicious dishes in the city. The menu is equal parts upscale and familiar, with selections like smoked lamb rump and miso-glazed squash. There's a special Sunday lunch menu served as two or three courses, and families are welcome thanks to a chic kid's menu. Hispi is part of a popular group of restaurants, including Burnt Truffle and Sticky Walnut, so you know you're in good hands. Book in advance, if possible.
Mana is Manchester's first Michelin-starred restaurant since 1977, and for a good reason. The upscale spot, which is by reservation only, is owned and run by Chef Simon Martin, who previously worked for the famed Noma in Copenhagen. Expect British ingredients and picture-perfect dishes at both lunch and dinner. Everything is presented as a set menu with an optional wine pairing, but you get to make a few choices along the way. Go for the shorter lunch menu if you want to get the experience on a budget.
In the heart of Manchester's Chinatown, Yuzu is your best bet for good Japanese food in the city. It's a Japanese tapas bar, which means Yuzu serves up everything from sashimi to tempura to gyoza in a way that allows the guest to try it all. It's open for lunch and dinner, and reservations are recommended. It's a great spot to go with friends or on a date, especially since the small plates lend themselves well to sharing. Plus, there's a strong selection of sake.
If you like a good steak, immediately book a table at Hawksmoor, a beloved British steakhouse with a few outposts throughout the country. The menu has many options, including for vegetarians, but the rib-eye is the way to go (especially if you add the bone marrow gravy). Hawksmoor is also known for its massive Sunday roast, available from lunchtime on Sundays, and it's the sort of spot where you can pop in for a burger at the bar or go all out for a special occasion. Ask your server about the Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew, a shandy cocktail that is iconic at Hawksmoor.
The Bull & Bear
Tom Kerridge is one of Britain's most famous chefs, and his restaurant The Bull & Bear showcases his signature high-end pub fare. Billed as serving "refined British classics," the restaurant can be found in the chic Stock Exchange Hotel (hence the name) and feels like a super elegant sports bar inside. It serves lunch, dinner, and Sunday lunch, and there are many delicious dishes to pick from on each menu. Look for the decant dessert selection, including classics like treacle tart and an indulgent beef suet sticky toffee pudding.
Trap Kitchen Manchester
Trap Kitchen Manchester may not look like much, but the unassuming restaurant has gathered a massive Instagram following thanks to its outrageous Southern dishes. Think piles of snow crab and lobster, gooey mac and cheese, and Cajun-spiced shrimp. The Manchester edition of Trap Kitchen is an extension of the original, located in London, which chef Prince Cofie Owusu originally started in his mom's apartment in 2016. It's indulgent and delicious and available for take-out and delivery. If you're feeling crazy, get one of the Oreo-topped waffles.
England's beloved Indian eatery Dishoom has an outpost in Manchester, and it's a must for anyone who wants to try a modern take on dishes from Bombay. Go for breakfast to try the famed bacon naan roll, or stop by for lunch or dinner for a selection of shared plates, including the fan-favorite chicken ruby. You'll definitely need a reservation, especially if you're going in a group, as Dishoom is known for its massively long waits. The cocktails are also top-notch, so consider stopping by the bar for a drink before your meal.
Where The Light Gets In
Located in an old coffee warehouse Stockport's Old Town, Where The Light Gets In is one of Manchester's most innovative restaurants. The intimate spot seats only 30 guests, which means your experience will be super personal, and there's no real divide between the dining room and kitchen. The shifting menu focuses on local produce and meats, with creative, homespun dishes that go great with their wine list. Book as far in advance as possible, as this place is pretty popular. Note that they don't cater to dietary restrictions, although a vegetarian menu is available.
Adam Reid at The French
Head to The Midland Hotel to discover Adam Reid at The French, an award-winning upscale restaurant serving modern cuisine by chef Adam Reid. The restaurant uses only seasonal produce, and the menu offers a choice of four, six, or nine courses, all of which showcase classic British food with a contemporary twist. This is where you want to go for a special occasion or a fancy night out, and it's essential to book in advance. The menu changes frequently, so check online ahead of your visit if you want to try a particular dish.
Mr. Thomas’s Chop House
Set in a former Victorian pub in central Manchester, Mr. Thomas’s Chop House is one of the city's oldest eateries. It was first established in 1867 and has served the locals ever since. The historic atmosphere is a draw on its own, but the food itself is also worth visiting. The menu has a lot to offer, but skip the decision making and order one of the steaks, which are grilled to order with chop house chips on the side. There's also a special Sunday menu for those who want to try a classic roast.
Aladdin is a neighborhood spot that may seem unassuming, but its shawarma and kebabs some of the best around. The restaurant, which has been part of the Manchester landscape since 1988, serves Lebanese and Syrian dishes, including favorites like baba ghannouj, lamb kafteh, and kibbeh belsynieh. There's a lot of variety, and plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, making it perfect for families and groups. Consider making a reservation, especially when dining on a weekend.
No best-of restaurant list is complete without pizza, and luckily Manchester is well-known for its popular pizzeria Rudy's Pizza. Known for its "proper" Neapolitan pizza, Rudy's a casual spot that's ideal for families and groups but is also cool enough for couples and pairs of friends. There are several locations throughout Manchester, and you won't go wrong at any of them. The menu is fairly short, with a few starters, a selection of pizzas, and desserts, but that simplicity really makes the experience.
Greens offers an inventive take on vegetarian food, but you don't have to be meat-free to enjoy the hip restaurant, located in West Didsbury. Open by chef Simon Rimmer, Greens has been around since 1990, and it makes the most of meatless possibilities. Expect creative dishes that emphasize produce, like the jackfruit shawarma and the truffled mushroom Wellington. There's a fixed price dinner menu available on Fridays and Saturdays, and you should consider booking in advance unless you want to take your chances.
For the best burger in Manchester (and maybe the entire Northwest), head to Almost Famous, a low-key restaurant with two locations in Manchester, as well as in Liverpool and Leeds. The burgers are not for the faint of heart, with ingredients pilled high, especially on options like the Crack Shack, which features a double cheeseburger, fried chicken, tater tots, and bacon combined on a bun. There is a vegan option and wings, fries, and a cocktail list that includes a selection called the Bitch Juice. This one is good for take-out as well as dining in, in case you'd rather not have anyone see you attempt to eat your burger gracefully.
Mughli Charcoal Pit
The name Mughli Charcoal Pit alone should get your mouth watering in anticipation of the restaurant's chargrilled meats and Indian street food. The family-owned spot, opened in 1991, is all about sharing, with an extensive menu that encourages trying a bit of everything. There's everything from curry to grilled meat to street chaat, and you'll want to come hungry. Reservations are limited, so opt to come during a less busy time or be prepared to wait.