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Manchester UK [Moved from International board]

  • m

We'll be moving to Manchester from Los Angeles in the next few months, and are looking for some recommendations (both restaurants and specialty shops would be helpful). Any info will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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  1. My cousins live in Manchester, and when I visited them I enjoyed shopping in Didsbury (one of many villages absorbed into Manchester). There's a great cheese shop there called the Cheese Hamlet, and some very good speciality purveyors for fresh fish, game, etc. as well.

    Link: http://www.cheesehamlet.com/

    1. Shere Khan on Wilmslow Road is a terrific Indian restaurant. Other places on that "Curry Mile" are also supposed to be great, but I haven't tried them.

      There is a well-known and well-regarded Chinese restaurant in the center of town as well. Joe H. posted about it perhaps 2 years ago - you might do a search for his post.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jeremy M

        There's a small Chinatown in the center of Manchester where you can get "real" Chinese food (mostly Cantonese -- presumably by way of Hong Kong) if you read the restaurant menus carefully. I think there may be some bakeries and markets there as well.

        "Curry Mile" is quite impressive -- you could spend a lot of time eating there.

        Manchester isn't as expensive as London, but with the exchange rate, be prepared for some sticker shock.

      2. Try the Cedar Tree on St Thomas's St (I think) off Oldham St near Piccadilly Gardens. It is a Lebanese restaurant serving excellent and good value food. It's bring your own booze too. Sometimes they have ben closed at odd times - so it's worth checking in advance if you're planning on going.

        1. I was there last month to see family; had dinner at Malmaison, a hotel restaurant opposite Piccadilly station. Great food; I had Eggs Benedict followed by Ox Cheeks (with a red wine sauce so good I could drink the stuff!).

          Chinatown was a bit of a disappointment in terms of size, but I am sure that others could recommend a good place to eat.

          1. Being a Mancunian who is fortunate enough to spend a good deal of time in London, it strikes me that Manchester isn't the centre of the universe food wise, but there's some good stuff. I'm guessing the Chinese in the centre of town referred to is the Yang Sing on Princess Street. It's a bit schizophrenic in that it does some (i'm told) very authentic Cantonese stuff, and I must confess I have had some really good meals there over the years, partic dim sum and casseroles; but then it has some pretty poor formulaic stuff on the menu too (indifferent "seaweed" and spring rolls etc, not to mention the dreadful stuff they serve up at Christmas office parties from October -December) so you need to order carefully.

            Take the trouble and get the tram to Altrincham (South Manchestrer) and go to Juniper on "The Downs" - they've got a website. It's a cut above evrything else in the region - a deserved Michelin star etc. SImilarly just out of town in Didsbury, Greens is a v respectable vegetarian restaurant (I'm as carniverous as they come but I love the place).

            Other than that there is a lot of places that do OK modern bistro food (Albert's Shed, Resaturant Bar and Grill and others) but I must confess while they all do a respectable chargrilled asparagus with baldsamic dressing, thai crab cakes, chargrilled rib eye steak etc etc etc, it all gets quite tedious quite quickly.

            Some new town centre openings are supposed to be OK eg Establishment albeit I haven't tried them yet.

            Some good pubs though!

            1 Reply
            1. re: DarD

              N.B. Establishment went the way of all Mancester posh eateries and folded some time ago

              Juniper's chef went to Glasgow to open Angela's and I guess they will lose their star

              Go to Wings instead of the Yang Sing. It's a bit celebrity conscious..........though not as bad as San Carlos which many people seem to think is the best place in town despite the mafioso style rude waiters.

            2. As already mentioned, for restaurant's Juniper's worth checking out. In the city centre, Piccolino's is good, reasonable and authentic Italian, Red Chilli's a great Chinese and prob my fave in town is the Market Restaurant (http://www.market-restaurant.com/). There's plenty of good bars and boozers, imo mostly congregated around what some estate agent had the wisdom to call "the northern quarter" (tib street, oldham street). Food shopping in the centre is a bit limited but there's a decent greek deli on deansgate, harvey nichols and selfridges food halls are ok and also very regular farmers markets in the city centre (there's an OK wholefood vegan co-operative on lever street if that's your bag). welcome to the rainy city...

              1. Well did you find anywhere good?

                I live in Manchester and go to LA , well Newport Beach most months and I'm a little ashamed about the North Wst's food

                I end up at Piccolino a couple of times a week but it's ambience not food that draws me there

                Koh Samui is ok for Thai

                ERm...Stock is great when the Chef is in. Problem is it sits in the old trading floor of the Manchester STock Exchange so it goes ...empty, empty, empty, empty...full and it's a little intimidating as a space

                Sam's Chop House is a pretty good English restaurant. Yes Steak and Kidney Pudding, Fish and Chips, good beer and wines.

                Restaurant Bar and Grill for people watching and the Chilli Squid

                The French in the Midland has good food but is so 80's

                Market Restaurant is a good find, but a bit tired

                Gaucho Grill has the best steaks in town'

                El Rincon has great atmosphere and OK Spanish food. Hard to get a table on weekends

                Harvey Nichols is actually pretty good

                Juniper isn't really Manchester and doesn't deserve a Michelin star....he tries to disguise a mushroom as a pineapple type of cokng. Clever but contrived.

                White Hart in Oldham is excellent.

                Heathcotes in Manchester is again a bit fancy. Always seems to have abot 9 different flavours in each dish.

                Three Fishes at Mitton, Northcote Manor, Nutters, You and Yu, Cassis at Stanley House all to North of Manchester beat Manchester City Centre hands down.

                Let me know?

                1. Ah. At last a good "home turf" thread.

                  Indian - Dilli in Altrincham; Akbar's in the city. The "curry mile" in Rusholme for cheap and cheerful. The little cafes around Tib Street in the city for amazing value lunch. Nawaab in Levenshulme for an OK all-you-can-stuff-yourself-with buffet (no alcohol these days)

                  Chinese - Most places in Chinatown are pretty good. Don’t forget Manchester is one of only three "dragon cities" of importance to the Chinese community which are in the west (the others being San Francisco and Vancouver). The Yang Sing is still “the best”. New Hong Kong is pretty good. Pacific is great – with Chinese on one floor, Thai on another – separate kitchens. The Woo Sang has been a favourite for 20 years or more. And try Glamourous (next to the Wing Yip supermarket on Oldham Road) – hard to beat for over-the-top decoration and that food ain’t bad either.

                  French – Francs in Altrincham for well priced bistro favourites. Or Juniper if you have just won the lottery – very clever cooking but micro-portions.

                  Italian – Olive Press (the Italian arm of the growing Paul Heathcote empire). Palmiro in Whalley Range (fab – not your “standard” Italian menu).

                  Japanese – Teppanyaki in Chinatown – for the showmanship as much as the food.

                  Middle Eastern (broadly) – Armenian Taverna (a city institution). Cedar Tree in the city. Petra just to the south of the centre on Upper Brook Street (love it). Aladdin in Withington.

                  “Modern” British (and traditional) – Jem & I in Didsbury. Isinglass in Urmston (many local and organic ingredients). Lime Tree in West Didsbury. Market Restaurant ( still OK but resting on its laurels). That Café in Levenshulme. Sam’s Chop House (love it) (and it’s more pub-like cousin Mr Thomas’ Chop House). Earle in Hale (owned by Simon Rimmer – TV chef & owner of Greens, see below). Bay Tree in Cheadle (OK neighbourhood place). Ox Hotel in the city (good gastro-pub). Simply Heathcotes in the city (disappointed last time I was there which was a shame - the building has great personal memories – it’s where I started work in 1966 and also where I got married)

                  The rest – Greens in West Didsbury (vegetarian). Tampopo on Albert Square or at the Trafford Centre (great value noodle dishes and other pan-Asian stuff). Gaucho Grill for steaks. Gurkha Grill in West Didsbury for Nepalese.

                  Food buying opportunities – Arndale Market in the city (excellent since it was refurbished and went upmarket). Selfridges at the Trafford Centre. Barbakan Deli in Chorlton (good general deli, excellent for bread), Unicorn Grocey in Chorlton (rock bottom priced wholefoods and good variety of organic veg). Cheese Hamlet in Didsbury (the area’s best cheese shop – but not a patch on the Cheese Shop in Chester), Ho’s Chinese Bakery in Chinatown (get the honey buns), Cheshire Smokehouse at Morley Green, Wilmslow (absolutely fab deli food and stuff smoked on the premises – their haddock is a joy), Katsouris Deli at Bury market and in the city, Ashton-under-Lyne Farmers’ Market (last Sunday of the month – meat, cheese, veg, etc – straight from the farm or producer – no need to go to London’s Borough Market to buy Bourne’s Cheshire).

                  17 Replies
                  1. re: Brit on a Trip

                    Wow, Brit on a Trip, what a great list of the city's foodie destinations. I only have a couple of things to add to that.

                    Koreana over near Deansgate has good Korean food, something I really missed when I moved here from NYC a few years back. Sadly, we're still waiting for a good vietnamese or mexican place, and good sushi is hard to find. There's a little sushi place on Princess Street called Mai Bai that's decent, not great. The best sushi I've had so far has been at Sapporo teppanyaki in Castlefield, which is one of those big showy teppanyaki places and very expensive (as is Teppanyaki in chinatown, where I haven't saved up enough to eat yet), but their fish was good.

                    If you're looking for a good place to get coffee and a sandwich for lunch, check out Love Saves The Day underneath Deansgate station for great coffee, wine, and gourmet groceries, or Oklahoma on Thomas Street for coffee, toasties and cakes in an eccentric, arty atmosphere. There's also a pretty good soup place called Soup Kitchen just off stevenson square, but the best soup is at Schulrp off Deansgate (not much seating.)

                    1. re: Yankunian

                      Although, of course, no-one need stray further than Chowhound for good honest reviews, there may be the odd time that a north western town is not in our collective experience. May I give a brief mention for the usually reliable

                      At the same, may I comprehensively diss the regional review "market leader" - sugarvine - which has a declared policy of NOT publishing negative reader reviews - stating that they believe it more worthwhile to raise the issues privately with the restaurants. As if we were born yesterday. As if!


                      (PS Does "Love Saves the Day" still have its original caff on Thomas Street?)

                      1. re: Brit on a Trip

                        No John, sadly the original Love Saves The Day on Tib Street has gone. They moved to larger quarters on Oldham Street a year or so ago and had to close it in short order because of financial problems. Currently they do have a small coffee and cakes outpost at Vox Pop records on Thomas Street, but I don't know how long that'll be there for. I also heard they were opening another place near Piccadilly Station.

                        And may I also say, Sugarvine is indeed pants.

                        1. re: Yankunian

                          As I guess you might know, there's Sugarvine the review site......and there's its commercial arm which includes catering supply, marketing and website design for rthe restaurant trade. Needless to say, I am not suggesting that they might not be keen on reviewers dissing restaurants which are their commercial customers. As if I would suggest such a thing that there might be teensy conflict of interest. As if :-)

                          1. re: Brit on a Trip

                            I shall now have to start to diss Onionring as well - as it has also recently adopted a policy which, effectively, means it will not publish negative reviews. They cite threats of legal action from restaurants, false reviews being submitted by folk with an axe to grind, etc. They are considering completely removing the review section from their site. I have some sympathy but...............


                            1. re: Brit on a Trip

                              Ugh! Why are all of those websites so bad? I have never found a decent online source for Manchester restaurant reviews - they're all obsessed with not upsetting restaurants, because they're all trying to make money off them for advertising or websites or mailshots (Manchester Confidential is just as bad as Sugarvine in this respect.) I wish more people from Manchester knew about Chowhound.

                              1. re: Yankunian

                                Perhaps we need to encourage local folk we know to use Chowhound. The more we post, the more it will bounce Chowhound up the search engine listings.

                                On a brighter note, since my last post, I've had some email exchanges with a director of Onionring. He fully accepts the need for an "honest" review site for the region and nis "hoping to work something out". I've given him my real name and offered to comment on any plans they might have as an "ordinary punter", if he'd find that helpful.

                                BTW, I have found some wonderfully scathing reviews of "curry mile" restaurants at http://www.rusholmecurry.co.uk/ - so it can be done if one has the will

                                1. re: Brit on a Trip

                                  And I have just this minute received a call from the editor of Manchester Confidential (hello Jonathan!) who read my above comment and took issue with it. He says that since he came on as editor the website has a new policy of paying for their own meals and writing honest reviews, and are more than willing to piss off advertisers if a restaurant is bad. I'll be reading with great interest.

                                  I've also put in a plug for this board on my blog, The Manchizzle (http://manchizzle.blogspot.com ). If we can spread the word, maybe we can get a few more Mancunian posts in there among the slew of Londoncentric ones.

                                  1. re: Yankunian

                                    I love Manchester: I have travelled to this city once a year for almost twenty and have done my best to eat my way through it. Shere Khan, mentioned above, is now gone from Rusholme although it has been more than adequately replaced by the extremely popular Akbar's, a block or two down from the 47 story (tallest in northern UK) Hilton hotel. (which just happened to have a fire on the night I was there and was evacuated: "you must EVACUATE the building immediately!") Akbar's is noted for their nan which is "hung" from hooks on an 18" high stand that is placed in the middle of the table. The garlic nan which literally drips garlic is their signature. Of all Akbar's dishes perhaps the single best is the simply named "lamb chops" which are small, 1/2" thick heavily marinated and extremely flavorful lamb chops cooked over charcoal. They are a Great dish and worth seeking out. EasteEast is a second outstanding Indian restaurant which along with Akbar's are generally considered the two best in the Manchester area. In the countryside Shezan is outstanding also.

                                    1. re: Joe H

                                      Thanks for the rec on Akbar's. It's been on my list of places to go for ages. I must move it up.

                                      Are you sure that the Shere Khan has gone from Rusholme? I drove along Wilmslow Road this week (stopping for a shawarma at the excellent Jaffa) and I've no recollection that the lights were out so to speak. Although not rated by many, it's been a local institution for years. Has it just moved or has the whole group (the branch at the Trafford Centre, the retail sauces, etc) gone bust?


                                      1. re: Brit on a Trip

                                        Answering my own question - certainly the branch at the Trafford Centre has gone.

                                        1. re: Brit on a Trip

                                          When I was in Manchester several weeks ago I had looked forward to returning to Shere Khan. Both the concierge at the Hilton as well as a good friend who lives just outside the city told me that the Rusholme original had closed. On a more postive note Akbar's was, at the least, it's equal.

                                          1. re: Joe H

                                            Mrs Brit promises me a trip to Akbar's next week. I'm looking forward to it.

                                            And she's booked us in at Stock as a pre-Christmas treat.

                                            1. re: Brit on a Trip

                                              Stock is excellent also; of course in a totally different way. When you go to Akbar's you really should order their "lamb chops." This is the actual name for this rather nondescript first course. Along with their garlic nan this may be their single best dish.

                                              I am jealous!

                            2. re: Yankunian

                              Drove past a few nights ago and Shere Khan in Rusholme seems to be open again.

                              Not that you should take that as a recc to visit, of course. Place will still be overpriced and under-quality.

                        2. re: Brit on a Trip

                          A quick review of the recently opened Cheadle Hulme branch of Olive Press (mentioned above).

                          A basket of mixed breads – olive bread, foccacia, flat bread & grissini – came with fab olive oil and a nice balsamic. A great “something” to pick at while we waited for the real food.

                          I had arancini with chicken & blue cheese which came with pizziola sauce. Nice sauce – blue cheese seemed non-existant. Then I had veal with wild mushrooms and sauté spuds. This was very good.

                          Mrs Brit had the minestrone and lasagne. Soup was excellent - tasty & chunky. Lasagne was robust with enough sauce (but not swimming in it if you know what I mean).

                          Yes, of course, it’s a mini-chain but this was a nice meal and a very welcome addition to the locality. Nice modern room. Place has only been open two weeks and they still need to do a bit of work to sharpen the service. There’s a glitch somewhere in the drinks side of things – food service is spot on. Total bill, including a bellini before, wine/water with and coffee after, came to just over £60. And it beat cooking on a Monday night.

                          1. re: Brit on a Trip

                            An Olive Press update, which withdraws the previous recommendation (I have changed my username since November).

                            Mrs H recently went with her sister and confirms that there continue to be serious service problems here.

                            They arrived early and their table wasnt ready. No problem, they were asked to wait in the bar for a few minutes. That's when it went downhill.

                            No-one came to take a drinks order. No-one presented menus. Eventually Mrs H went to the bar to order two gins and tonic. And I kid you not, the staff did not know how to make a G & T and had to go get a supervisor to give instructions.

                            Still menus didnt come, nor did anyone to take them to their table - until Mrs H grabbed (literally) a member of staff and asked if it was ready.

                            As previous, food quality and service was fine but drinks orders continued to be a problem with long delays and "chase-ups" being required.

                            Afferwards, she emailed the restaurant and the Heathcotes Head Office to complain about both visits. No response came from the Head Office. She did get an email back from the restaurant manager asking to ring him as he was "very concerned". She did. Twice. He was never in (allegedly). Both times, she left her home, office and mobile number and asked for him to ring her. He didnt!

                            There's nice Italian just round the corner that we used to go to. We'll be going back there.