Is Manchester in London’s culinary shadow? Hardly. These days, the northern powerhouse holds its own when it comes to destination-worthy dining. The following five eateries showcase all the diversity and dynamism of Manchester’s current crop of restaurants. From the casual and trendy to the Michelin-calibre, all are well worth your time. Be sure to book in advance, and get ready for a uniquely Mancunian gastronomic adventure.
Adam Reid at The French
Manchester’s fine dining doesn’t get much finer than this. Following a recent renovation and rebranding, The French’s house restaurant has reopened under the auspices of Chef Patron Adam Reid, who previously worked there under Chef Simon Rogan. The new nine-course tasting menu features wide-ranging and adventurous plates — think salt-aged duck with beetroot, mushroom, and pickled cherry juices — while the beautiful, grade II-listed dining room has been refreshed with new decorative accents.
Though Hawksmoor was born in London, it takes on an especially sleek and stylish incarnation up in Manchester. The award-winning steakhouse is perfectly poised: grown-up without being stuffy and cool without being hipster-pandering, it’s far and away one of the city’s most accomplished eateries. Order your rib eye with lobster on the side, and don’t forget to explore Hawksmoor’s cocktail menu, too. One to try? The Full-Fat Old Fashioned, which makes use of wonderfully decadent butter-infused bourbon.
Bundobust may be the most casual restaurant on this list, but if you listen to the Manchester hype machine, you’ll know that it’s currently one of the city’s most buzzing restaurants. What’s sparked the acclaim? Simple: boldly flavoured (and fairly priced) vegetarian Indian street food, a range of delectable craft beers to go with, and stylish interiors. Even restaurant critic Jay Rayner has been won over.
Refuge by Volta
Glamorous interior design, globally influenced small plates, and a location within Manchester’s historic Palace Hotel: what’s not to like? Refuge by Volta has earned plenty of acclaim since opening in 2016 (including from Guardian restaurant critic Marina O’Loughlin, who called it “a jaw-dropping, dazzling tour de force”). Rave reviews don’t get much more effusive than that, which goes to show why this dining room needs to be on your to-eat list. From wild bass ceviche with perfumed fruit and coconut to crispy lamb shawarma with harissa and yogurt, this is seriously exciting cooking.
Written by Claire Bullen
Bundobust © Ben Bentley
Adam Reid at The French © The French
Hawksmoor © Hawksmoor
Refuge by Volta © The Principal