1. The French
A restaurant in a state of flux, with Simon Rogan’s stewardship at an end, I would equally argue that the grand old dame of Mancunian dining could not be in safer hands. Locally born Head Chef Adam Reid, flushed from his successful primetime run to the Great British Menu final, has delivered a brilliant interpretation of Rogan’s signature naturalistic and foraged cuisine over the last few years. Now, free to find his own voice and style, the city’s foodies wait with bated palates for him to spread his culinary wings.
Manchester’s first Michelin Star restaurant since 1977 can be found in the effortlessly cool Ancoats neighborhood. A creative British restaurant, mana uses the highest quality produce from across the UK to create a menu that perfectly encapsulates our lands and waters. The menu is ever changing to reflect what’s in season but flavours will always be striking and bold complemented by delicate textures. Chef Simon Martin describes the restaurant as alive, evolving and he creates truly artistic gastronomy that will inspire all of your senses.
The steak is superb, as are the chips, but don’t think Hawksmoor’s offer ends there. A clever pastry chef means desserts are spot on, the fish and seafood, bought direct from the quayside, is spankingly fresh, the bar is one of the best hideaways in town, the thoughtful on-trend wine list repays careful attention, the décor has a burnished grown-up elegance which shames blingier upstarts, and the service effortlessly balances warmth and individuality with consistent professionalism. Effortless, yet still eager to please.
4. Where the Light Gets In
Described by the Guardian’s Marina O’Loughlin as 'The most exciting food I’ve eaten in years' and a popular hotspot with the stars where pop superstar Dua Lipa was spotted recently, Where The Light Gets In is Stockport’s best culinary secret. Hidden away on the first floor of an old coffee warehouse this restaurant only seats 30 people and so creates a truly intimate dining experience. There is no menu, the chefs serve whatever they feel will be most fresh and appetising that day but with ingredients from their own farm and trusted farmers and fishermen, you know it’s always going to be incredible quality.
5. Dakota Bar and Grill
Feel-good food with a fabulously fine twist. Dakota Bar and Grill specalises in prime cut steaks and top quality seasonal produce. In the heart of Manchester’s luxury Dakota Hotel and just on the edge of the bustling Northern Quarter this contemporary restaurant oozes with decadence. The grill menu is inspired by the seasons and ranges from seafood classics to classic meat dishes, there is also a carefully considered vegetarian menu. With to die for desserts and a wine list as impressive as the interiors, once you settle into Dakota Bar and Grill you won’t want to leave.
6. Peter Street Kitchen
Japanese and Mexican food may not be a food pairing that instantly springs to mind but in the case of Peter Street Kitchen, this fusion seriously works. Winner of Best Luxury Restaurant in the UK at the British Restaurant Awards 2019, Peter Street Kitchen offers a selection of contemporary Japanese dishes complimented by the heat and zing of Mexican plates. Its menu is described as from the heart and the food is made with care and consideration. There are a range of different menus to choose from, from the a la carte with vegan options to a six-course tasting menu and special Hibachi experience. Whichever you go for your tastebuds are in for a treat with this multi-cultural combination.
7. El Gato Negro
Flushed from a recent run of award successes, including a place in Restaurant Magazine’s Top 100, the city centre’s only Michelin Bib Gourmand, Lancashire Life’s Restaurant of the Year, and Manchester Food and Drink Festival’s Newcomer of the Year, there is no stopping Simon Shaw’s King Street Restaurant. At El Gato Negro the food is as good as ever, but it is the setting, the location and that delightful al fresco rooftop bar that make this a place to return to. Luckily an expanded dining space means it is now easier to snag a table.
8. Tast Cuina Catalana
Bringing a taste of Barcelona to King Street, Tast offers the best in Catalan cuisine led by Head Chef Julià Castello and Executive Chef Paco Pérez. With the promise of bringing unique and unexpected flavours their unique take on tapas, tastets are small tastes of food with complex flavours to treat your tastebuds. This casual dining experience combines the freshest ingredients with a unique charcoal oven. Get ready to be transported to the streets of Barcelona.
9. The Black Friar
A pub meal may seem like a rogue choice for a round up of high-end restaurants but trust us, this is no ordinary pub grub. Salford’s The Black Friar was described by Jay Rayner as ‘an ambitious pub that’s evolving quickly’ and with just one look at the menu, you can see why. It’s menu changes with the seasons but always promises to offer warmth and hospitality, just like the Benedictine Monk that the restaurant takes its name form. Starters include Beetroot Tarte Tatin, Creedy Carver Cured Duck and Native Lobster Agnolotti while mains include Lake District Himalayan Salt Aged Beef and Wild Mushroom & Nettle Pomme Anna. With a superb Sunday roast offering and delicious list of desserts, The Black Friar will have you rethinking all you know about pub food
10. Wood Manchester
Wood offers a relaxed and stylish dining experience on First Street, Manchester. MasterChef winner Simon Wood opened the restaurant in 2017 with the concept of fine dining made simple. Bringing together a passion for food and creativity, Simon plays with powerful flavours to create a unique dining experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously. There is a playful authenticity to Wood’s food and the menu perfectly reflects the chefs character. This Hardens Rated has a variety of multi course tasting menus offering a unique take on classic dishes and some combinations you’d never have dreamt of.