Thom Hetherington, CEO of Northern Restaurant and Bar, the North's largest hospitality trade exhibition, compiles his top 5 tapas restaurants in Manchester.

  1. El Gato Negro Tapas

Unrecognizable from its previous home in a Ripponden pub this three story townhouse on King Street shimmers with Iberican hustle and bustle from noon until night. Chef-patron Simon Shaw sources top class produce for dishes of authenticity and integrity, whilst the third floor bar can peel back its roof should Manchester be blessed with Spanish sun. More info.

  1. Levanter

Tucked away in the foodie hotspot of Ramsbottom, Levanter serves up glorious Spanish cooking of deceptive simplicity. Most diners come for the ever-changing tapas dishes, but the Sunday special of beef from aged Galician dairy cows, an animal prized by Spain’s most exhaulted restaurants, received rapturous reviews from the Observer critic Jay Rayner. More info.

  1. Lunya

With perfect timing the original Liverpool Lunya was picked by Guardian critic Marina O’loughlin as one of her favourite UK restaurants just as the second site in Manchester prepared to open. The restaurant has hit the ground running with its traditional tapas, whilst the attached deli sells superb produce to a discerning audience of local Spaniards and Mancs alike. More info.

  1. Iberica

Iberica’s thoughtful menu is shaped by Spanish Exec Chef Nacho Manzano, whose Spanish restaurants hold three Michelin stars. The dining space has enough glitz to match its Spinningfields surroundings, and the kitchen sources outstanding ingredients to produce dishes which balance finesse with a sense of humility reflective of Nacho’s home region of Asturias. More info.

  1. La Bandera

A hidden gem, tucked away on a back alley off King Street, La Bandera offers an authentic Spanish experience courtesy of owners who hail from the Canary Islands. Chef Josetxo Arrieta, who has worked at several of Spain’s three Michelin star menus, has shaped a smart yet homely menu which keeps Manchester’s Spanish footballers coming back for more. More info.