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Top 5 restaurants

Food writer and restaurant critic Ray King compiles his Top 5 restaurants to visit in Manchester.

1.

Manchester House

The youngest British chef ever to win a Michelin star, Aiden Byrne, demonstrates his consummate and audacious culinary skills in the gallery kitchen in the midst of the city's most eye-poppingly extravagant rendezvous, where naked gastronomic aspiration burns exceedingly bright. Living Ventures' 12th floor lounge and 2nd floor dining room purposefully wow the clientele with spectacular design as do Byrne's adventurous menus. From fixed-priced lunch and varied à la carte options to his 13-course taster, the dishes feature daring flavour combinations and astonishingly dextrous technique.

Like this? Try Simon Rogan at The French or Australasia.

2.

Aumbry

On the Metro route in Prestwich, this tiny and intimate neighbourhood restaurant with open galley kitchen is regularly and deservedly showered with local and national accolades and in 2013 maintained its place in the National Top 100 Restaurants for the third successive year. Offering a small à la carte or a six course tasting menu, Heston Blumenthal alumni, chefs Mary-Ellen McTague and Laurence Tottingham, produce ultra-modern dishes based on the finest local and seasonal ingredients with exceptional flavour combinations and outstanding presentation.

Like this? Try Michael Caines @ Abode, Room or 2nd Floor Harvey Nichols.

3.

Damson MediaCityUK

The name's familiar; the location changed - for Damson has spread its wings and the award-winning neighbourhood restaurant in Heaton Moor now has a cracking big sister act in MediaCityUK with a splendid first-floor panorama over the dockland's remarkable transition. The bar is reason enough for BBC types to head north! Steve Pilling and chef-partner Simon Stanley made their mark at Manchester’s two hugely popular chop houses but at Damson the cooking emphasis is on skilful modernism rather than meaty tradition, backed by superb use of fantastic ingredients.

Like this? Try Damson Heaton Moor, Cicchetti or San Carlo.

4.

Grenache

Four successive entries in the Good Food Guide, including 2013's entry as "Best North West Restaurant", makes Grenache one of the most talked about restaurants in Manchester despite its out of town location in Walkden, Salford. Michelin trained chef Mike Jennings' weekly changing menu combines first class locally-sourced ingredients with assured classic technique to produce dishes that are always exciting and innovative without indulging in experimental flights of foodie fancy. Front of house service is highly praised and prices very reasonable at this level.

Like this? Try Jem & I or The Lime Tree

5.

James Martin

Sumptuous interior design meets stark industrial functionality at James Martin's restaurant within the mammoth cast iron and brick Victorian railway goods warehouse that's home to the Manchester 235 Casino. The location can divide opinion, but the signature dishes on the celebrity chef's accomplished menu of modern British classics have won widespread praise. The seasonal ingredients - especially the meat and fish - are all impeccably sourced and the "Meat Market" display is a clear statement of commitment to the finest quality.

Like this? Try Room, Mark Addy or the Albert Square Chop House