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Top 5 restaurants
Food writer and restaurant critic Ray King compiles his Top 5 restaurants to visit in Manchester.
This gem of a neighbourhood restaurant in Heaton Moor has had praised heaped upon it ever since restaurateur Steve Pilling and chef-partner Simon Stanley launched the venture. The 2012 Good Food Guide’s accolade: “unfailingly delicious food” is just the latest. The pair made their mark at Manchester’s two hugely popular Victorian chop houses – Sam’s and Mr Thomas’s – but at Damson the cooking emphasis is on skilful modernism rather than meaty tradition, backed by the use of superb ingredients.
Like this? Why not try Jem&I, the Lime Tree or Ramsons
Set on the ground floor of the House of Fraser store across the road from its enduringly popular parent, San Carlo, this classy restaurant oozes not only style but also loads of fun. Taking its name from the Italian for “small dishes”, the restaurant offers a brilliant menu of perfectly executed Venetian-style specialities – seafood hitting particularly high notes – and was deservedly described by critic Jay Rayner as “truly premiership material”. For dedicated celebrity spotters, it’s a veritable paradise.
Like this? Why not try San Carlo, Rosso or Don Giovanni's Ristorante
Like Damson, Aumbry is a suburban star, this time on the Metro route in Prestwich. This tiny and intimate neighbourhood restaurant with an open galley kitchen is regularly and deservedly showered with local and national accolades. Offering a small à la carte or a six course tasting menu, Heston Blumenthal alumni, chefs Mary-Ellen McTague and Laurence Tottingham, produce modern ultra-dishes based on the best local and seasonal ingredients with exceptional flavour combinations and stunning presentation.
Like this? Try Michael Caines @ Abode, Room or 2nd Floor Harvey Nichols
Beautifully appointed, flower-bedecked, light and airy French brasserie and cafe on the upper floor of Selfridge, boasting one of the best panoramas in Manchester city centre, overlooking Exchange Square, Corn Exchange, Urbis and the Mediaeval Quarter through floor to ceiling glass. The menu is modern French, free from stereotype, and the assured and confident cooking with tip-top ingredients demonstrates a lightness of touch and sophistication entirely commensurate with the delightful surroundings.
Like this? Try the River Bar & Restaurant, 63 Degrees, or Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecote
Eye-poppingly extravagant £4.5m restaurant and bar in a surprising location near Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium presents an exciting array of Thai-influenced Asian fusion dishes with exotic seafood a particular strength. The decor in both the upper floor Cinnabar and the restaurant below is rich in reds and gold – contrived by the design house of Miguel Cancio Martins, famous for the creation of Buddha Bar and Man Ray in Paris, Opium in London and the Alain Ducasse Crystal restaurant within Pacha in Marrakech.
Like this? Try Chaophraya, Sapporo Teppanyaki or Australasia