Hi Mancunian hounds,
I'm traveling with a group of my university students, and I'm looking for a place for our first dinner together. The last time I did a trip like this, we found a relatively inexpensive gastropub near our hotel in London, which was perfect. If possible, I'd like to show the students good British cooking--clean flavors and local ingredients. If not possible, I'll settle for good.
I need a place that can seat 14 people, that is relatively disability accessible (one group member uses a walker; he can do a few stairs, but not a whole flight), and that has decent fish and veg options (1 veg and 3 pescatarians in the group).
We're on a fairly tight budget. I'd like to come in at under 20GBP per person without alcohol.
I realize this is a tall order. Anything you can think of that will come close would be great. If we need to, I don't mind moving off the idea of British food. We're staying in Chinatown, so I could always take them for a thai or Indian feast. But since it's their first night and they'll be jetlagged, I was hoping for something more familiar to some of them.
I've looked at the chophouse family; their prix fix meals should work. I also noticed Cafe Istanbul (clearly not British, but seemed to be in budged and well-liked) as a possibility.
As a bonus, the other faculty and I will be dining on our own the second night, so I'm open to any suggestions you have. If you were going to have one reasonable dinner in Manchester, where would it be?
Thanks in advance. I'm exciting to be introducing more of my students to your fine city. We were treated exceedingly well last time.
Harters is your man on this one. However, I would back one of the chop houses - they can buy real English beer to go with their meals as well, and it's a short walk from where you're staying. Feels very northern. I'd go close by on their first night otherwise it can make a long evening.
Food in Chinatown is a sad pastiche of its once glorious past. With the exception of a couple of regional specialists, it's very disappointing.
The chophouses would be a very good bet for "British" and will certainly be happy to take a group. However, as with quite a number of city centre restaurants, both Sam's and the Albert Square places are in basements. Sam's certainly doesnt have a lift so access for your disabled student may well be a problem (say about 10 steps down). It would be worth you making contact with the Albert Square one as I'm not sure if that has a lift or not.
As for ground level places, Cafe Istanbul is certainly fine. Akbars would be good for Indian but they do not usually take reservations but may well do so for a large party. Nings on Oldham Street is a decent Malaysian. The Northern Quarter Restaurant is one of my favourites in the city centre for Modern British food but is likely to be mid to upper twenties for three courses (and is good for folk with limited diets)
For your second night "reasonable dinner", I would certainly suggest the Northern Quarter Restaurant. Or you could be a Chowhound pioneer and opt for Mr Cooper's House and Garden - at the Midland Hotel. Recently opened as the second restaurant at the hotel run by Michelin 2* chef, Simon Rogan, I havnt managed to get there yet nor has anyone else posted a review to the board. Again, "Modern British" cuisine.
Certainly agree with mr_gimlet about the disappointment of Chinatown. It ain't what it used to be back in the 70s and 80s