Looking for a place to refuel after class, the best brunch in Manchester or where to find a typical Sunday roast? We’ve put together a foodie’s guide to Manchester to help you taste your way through the city’s best cafes, restaurants, bars and markets like a local.
1. Altrincham Market
Known by locals as the ‘Alty Market’, this indoor food hall has a fabulous selection of food, from pizzas to tacos to Rubens, all under the one roof. Find a spot at one of the communal tables then place your order through the market app. With live music on weekends and craft beer on tap, you could easily spend a few hours here soaking up the good vibes.
The locals know that Kabana is one of the best hidden gems in Manchester, serving up delicious curries at rock bottom prices. In the Northern Quarter, this popular curry house is known for its authentic, homemade Indian food such as the chicken biryani, kebabs, and nihari served exclusively on Sundays.
3. Richmond Tea Rooms
If you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day in Manchester, indulge in the English tradition of an afternoon high tea in the cosy Richmond Tea Rooms. The decor is Alice in Wonderland themed, so you’ll be transported to another world as you sip on a sampling of their huge variety of speciality teas. Try the heavenly scones with jam and cream, freshly cut sandwiches, tarts and rocky road from the Mad Hatter’s high tea. It really is the perfect way to treat yourself and keep warm on a cold and wet afternoon.
Pollen, named after Manchester’s symbolic worker bee, is a popular new cafe that has set up shop in the old Railway arches just around the corner from Piccadilly train station. While their sourdough, patisseries and coffee are all delicious, it’s the signature cruffin – a cross between a croissant and a muffin that has people lining up on Saturday mornings.
Wash your spicy Indian street food down with a craft beer at Bundobust, one of the coolest hangouts in the city. Set up in the basement, the long communal benches and large combo trays are geared around having a great night with friends. The menu is entirely vegetarian, with plenty of vegan options too. The bundo chat, a crispy samosa with tamarind sauce, is a popular choice, as is the paneer and mushroom tikka skewers. Now brewing their own beers, alongside a rotating selection of local craft beers, you’re guaranteed a great night out.
6. Rudy’s Pizza
Manchester is definitely not short on good pizza joints, but it’s hard to miss Rudy’s. Recently named the fifth best pizzeria in all of Europe, Rudy’s is a must-visit for pizza lovers. Made in the traditional Naples style, each pizza is handmade with love. Dough is made fresh twice-daily, and the piping hot oven fires out pizzas in less than a minute. Best of all, Rudy’s hasn’t let the fame go to its head and prices are still budget friendly.
7. Idle Hands
Brunch is a big deal for foodies in Manchester, and Idle Hands gets a big tick. From their signature Idle Hands fry up to the slightly healthier Turkish eggs – using local sourdough from Pollen (number four on our list) – the menu has plenty of crowd-pleasers. Brewing speciality coffee and a wide selection of teas, Idle Hands offers up a perfect Sunday brunch spot.
8. Escape to Freight Island
Some of the UK’s finest restaurants and chefs come together under one roof at Escape to Freight Island, a funky market hall brought to life in a disused freight depot. Much like the way Manchester has enjoyed a revival since its industrial past, this cultural space has been repurposed as a cool place to hang, eat, sip, listen to music and catch up with friends. Kebabs, fancy hot dogs, authentic Basque tapas, tacos, pho, burgers and dessert – you will find plenty to fill up on here.
9. Northern Soul Grilled Cheese
A staple in households in Manchester, the humble grilled cheese sandwich gets elevated at Northern Soul. The house blend three-cheese is enough, but you can add extras like beef patties, bacon, slow cooked pulled pork or house pickles. The serves are huge and the prices are low, so you will not leave hungry or broke! Once you’ve finished, take a wander through the Arndale Food Market, just across the road.
Refuge makes our list thanks to its famous all-day Sunday roasts. Take a hungry friend and order the 39 roast platter for two, or take your pick between chicken, lamb, beef or vegetarian served alongside roast potatoes, vegetables, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. They even serve up bloody marys and mimosas! So just turn up, kick back and tuck in. You’ll feel like a real Mancunian in no time.