Food & Drink

Culinary Manchester: An Insider’s Guide

Manchester has come a long way from the party scene of the 80s and 90s – to which Madchester groups such as The Smiths, The Stone Roses, The Fall and New Order were the backdrop.

Today’s Manchester is oozing culture with its newly invigorated art scene, its UNESCO-respected literary heritage, and its never-waning music scene.

The city’s post-industrial architecture, mostly consisting of mills and warehouses, lends itself well to today’s burgeoning cultural scene.

At the forefront of all this, is Manchester’s diverse gastronomy industry.

With an abundance of street food events, unique restaurant concepts, and talented chefs and mixologists, the changing face of the northern city’s food and drinks scene is about to garner attention in the coming years.

The talent and creativity is there, and there is a hungry market awaiting what’s to come.

Street food

The opportunities that street food options afford local food creatives, are boundless. Whether due to a lack of funds for setting up a fixed space, or trialling your newest culinary endeavour in public, street food affords people with passion and talent the chances that traditional establishments may not.

Manchester’s street food scene not only pops up in exciting venues, but also offers some of the best international culinary delights around.

Aside from the classics like burgers, toasties and pizza, the scene boasts chaat thalis, seafood fusions, gyoza, bao, Middle Eastern mezzes and not to mention the barbecues and smokers.

Explore your options at Piccadilly Gardens, the Urban Food Fest or the Grub Food Fair.

For those interested in pursuing their own street food venture, Manchester can be kind to those with that kick-starter attitude.

As soon as you have a niche idea and the resources to get started, make sure you promote heavily, both online and offline – and don’t forget the traditional method of flyer and brochure printing from providers like print24.

Fine dining

Although the city’s fine dining fare is perhaps the weakest link in Manchester’s gastronomy scene, it is indeed the one with a lot of room for creativity and freedom. Manchester has famously not yet received a Michelin star, despite many chefs coming close, but it has started to take a different attitude to the ever sought after star, and that is, not seeking it.

While The French and Manchester House continue to plate up some of the city’s finest grub, other younger ventures like The Refuge with an adventurous menu that they pull off, or Umezushi with its brave twists on sushi, are redefining the meaning of fine dining.


For the thirsty, Manchester certainly does not disappoint.

With bars to suit just about all tastes, there are also some excellent cocktail joints to really challenge your taste buds, and your stamina.

With Club Brass’ adventurous cocktails and rooftop location, it is far too easy to wile a night away leaning over the bronze-panelled bar top for your next order.

If you’re lucky enough to jump in on one of The Seven Oaks’ late night bar sessions, supposedly just serving the local bar staff from midnight to 8am, you’ll be surprised to find less of an emphasis on mixology, but more focus on quick and easy drinks for those who have been mixing all night.

Additionally, Apotheca, in the Northern Quarter, offers a menu with both classic and experimental concoctions, home-distilled tinctures, and a moody, brickwork setting to match.

Image courtesy of GRUB, with thanks.

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