Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Manchester
Hardens guides have spent 30 years compiling reviews of the best Manchester restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 70 restaurants in Manchester and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Manchester restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Manchester Restaurants
Pan-Asian restaurant in Manchester
16 Albert Sq - M2
This pan-Asian pleases the crowd with everything from Japanese ramen and Singaporean laksa to Thai red curry and Balinese pork belly. The Albert Square original has spawned five other sites across the city.
Chinese restaurant in Manchester
1 Lincoln Sq - M2
“High-end traditional Chinese cuisine at its best” and “exceptional service” win a chorus of praise for Wing Shing Chu’s smart city-centre Cantonese, which has welcomed millions of pounds-worth of United and City players, their WAGs and other celebs through its doors over the past two decades.
Pizza restaurant in Manchester
1-3 Clarence St - M2
The “always reliable” flagship branch of this small Manchester chain in “an airy city-centre location” is “busy at times so you may have to book”. Fans say it’s “how PizzaExpress would be in a perfect world” (well, it is run by two folks who used to work for PE, and the interior was designed by Enzo Apicella, who created over 80 PizzaExpress outlets in his lifetime).
. Peter Street Kitchen
Fusion restaurant in Manchester
Free Trade Hall, Peter Street - M2
Part of the Radisson occupying Manchester’s iconic Free Trade Hall, this fusion two-year-old occupies a glossily designed space on the ground floor with floor-to-ceiling windows; and is one of the ‘Kitchens’ run by London’s Edwardian group. Its unusual offer presents Japanese and Mexican small plates on separate menus, but – even if the prices are not bargain basement – all feedback is positive: “the food is so fresh, the tastes are clean and vibrant, I love it!”
. Adam Reid at The French
British, Modern restaurant in Manchester
Peter St - M60
“Adam has put his stamp on this place now, and it keeps getting better”. This grade II listed chamber – somewhat funked up, with yellow leather banquettes and massive lights, within what is, in essence, a very traditional space – has had many culinary ups and downs over the decades, but, after three years at the helm, Adam Reid is now settling into a “fabulous” stride here, with his selection of “totally desirable” four, six or nine-course menus. The cuisine is “not so challenging that you don’t want to come!” – “flowing wonderfully and generously, with notably well-executed dishes that simply delight”. And you eat to a “terrific soundtrack too (Buddy Holly to Arctic Monkeys to the Beatles)”. Until Mana triumphed at last year’s Michelin awards, The French was the only Manchester restaurant ever to have held a Michelin star (most recently in 1974) and was a hot tip to be the first to regain the prize for the city. “How other places in the region can have a Michelin star and The French doesn’t is utterly inexplicable (apart from Michelin’s pig-headedness of course)”.
. El Gato Negro
Spanish restaurant in Manchester
52 King Street - M2
“Deservedly Manchester’s top destination” – this “vibrant” operation (which made the move into town from Ripponden three years ago) delivers a superb all-round experience. “It’s the buzzing ambience of this multi-level townhouse and the great cocktails that really seal its appeal” though: “their sherry-tinged takes on an Old Fashioned and Espresso Martini make for a heady evening and the bar operation is slick, further boosting the vibe”. Quibbles? – service under pressure can be “slightly chaotic”. And although many diners say the tapas “is to die for”, one or two reporters feel its repertoire is “classic” rather than utterly inspirational.
. Albert's Schloss
East & Cent. European restaurant in Manchester
27 Peter Street - M2
“Loud, fun… copious plates of tasty food… great beer” – that’s the scene at this “vibrant and friendly” German-themed beer-hall. It’s not subtle, but hits the mark for a big night out with its “tempting options of hearty food” – think “pork cheese croquettes, currywurst, trout with spaetzle…”
British, Modern restaurant in Manchester
King Street - M2
“Usher’s best yet” say fans of Gary Usher’s ambitious crowd-funded opening, which opened in a prominent corner site in the city-centre in May 2019. It beamed down very late for us to receive huge volumes of survey feedback, but such reports as we have say it’s already a hit, with “friendly staff” and cranking out “fantastic” modern bistro fare in the trademark, deft ‘Elite Bistros’ style.
. Tast Cuina Catalana
Spanish restaurant in Manchester
20-22 King Street - M2
“A fantastic addition to Manchester’s burgeoning Spanish scene” – chef Paco Perez opened this Catalonian yearling with a bit of help from Pep Guardiola and other Man City grandees. “It’s a few doors down from El Gato Negro and must be giving it a run for its money, although it could certainly be argued that they’re so different in both style and food that, apart from both being restaurants, they’re hardly direct competitors”. Reports mostly are enthusiastic about its “modern and flavoursome” Catalan small plates (‘Tastets’ – ‘more complex than tapas but smaller than a plate’), but also note that they’re “not cheap”. There’s also an “interesting, if surprisingly brief Catalan wine list, with prices that accelerate nearly as fast as a Manchester City player’s Lamborghini!”
. Katsouris Deli
Sandwiches, cakes, etc restaurant in Manchester
113 Deansgate - M3
“Top breakfast butties” are a good reason to head to this “ever busy” fixture, set in a Gothic-style building; others include filling ciabattas, the carvery and “particularly good value” platters.
Steaks & grills restaurant in Manchester
184-186 Deansgate - M3
“The stuff meaty dreams are made of!” – this “vibrant yet relaxed” outpost of the hipster steakhouse chain (which opened in 2015) is arguably the classiest all-rounder in Manchester. “The bar area may be a bit overwhelmingly clubby, but the main dining area is – at least at lunchtime – light and airy”, occupying an impressively converted Victorian space, and with comfortable seating. Steaks are “amazing”, “all the sides are also faultless” (not least “the best chips in the north west!”), and also “what is surprising is the quality of the seafood in what is a carnivore's delight”. “Service is always top notch and the wine list is a dream”. Sadly, though, the special offer whereby you can buy £4,500 bottles of wine for £300 has now finished!
. Rosa's Thai Cafe
Thai restaurant in Manchester
The Old Courthouse, 184 Deansgate - M3
The “lovely Thai food” at these reliable cafés is “impressively authentic given that they are a chain” – “excellent value” and “fast”, if occasionally let down by “iffy service”. Founded in 2008 by Saiphin and Alex Moore, who inherited the name of their first East End site, the group has 18 branches in London and expanded to Liverpool, Manchester, Reading (delivery only) and Leeds following the sale of a majority stake to US investors. The couple also have two spin-offs, Lao Café in Covent Garden and the new Chinese noodle bar Hoh Sek in St Katharine Docks.
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