My Favourite Northern Quarter Restaurants (2024 Update)

Although I was born in Bury, I feel as though I grew up on the cobbled streets of Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

From drinking pints of lager and watching live music in Night & Day and sipping hot chocolate in Nexus Art Café, to spending every weekend in Affleck’s Palace as a 14 year old emo kid in search of neon eyeshadow, pretty much every corner of Manchester’s bohemian district holds a different memory for me.

As a result of spending more than half my life eating, drinking and shopping in Manchester NQ, when it comes to Manchester Northern Quarter restaurants, there are a few that never fail to disappoint, and so I decided to round up a few of my favourites.

Just like Manchester as a whole, the Manchester food scene is hugely multicultural, with restaurants serving up Indian street food, greasy burgers, Brazilian barbecues and everything in between.

Here are my personal picks for the best Northern Quarter restaurants, so if you’re famished and wondering where to eat in the Northern Quarter, look no further.

Best Northern Quarter Restaurants, Manchester 2024

The Pen and Pencil

I’ve only recently discovered The Pen and Pencil (I took my boyfriend there for his birthday), but we enjoyed it so much that we have plans to visit again, just a few weeks later!

Ethan ordered the New York Stack Burger, and I opted for the the salmon fillet, and we ordered some chicken wings and brisket loaded fries to share.

Everything was great, but we especially loved the brisket fries with sour cream and melted mozzarella!

The Pen and Pencil also serve really good cocktails.

brisket fries
Brisket loaded fries – mmm!

Good to know

Main dishes start at £13.

If you visit Mon – Fri between 4 and 7pm, you can get three small plates for £15, or six for £25.

Vegan-friendly? Yes, vegans can choose from a vegan burger, harissa roasted cauliflower with couscous, tomato and spinach potato cakes, or several of their lunch sandwiches.

You can find The Pen and Pencil at Fourways House, 57 Hilton St, Manchester M1 2EJ.

salmon at the pen and pencil manchester
My salmon with parmesan and herbs


Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the food I had here, but I visited MyThai for my friend’s birthday, and it was so good.

Both of us lived in Asia for a number of years and agreed that the food was super authentic, and really tasty.

I opted for the Chiang Mai Kow Soi and it was really good, while my friend loved the Bangkok Pad Thai.

They also had a nice range of Asian beers, which I appreciated, and the lady who served us was really sweet.

Good to know

Starters cost as little as £4 here, with mains coming in at £11 – £15.

Vegan-friendly? Yes, vegans can enjoy crispy tofu with sweet chilli, Tom Yum or Tom Kha soup with veg and tofu, various main dishes.

You can find MyThai at G19, Smithfield Buildings, 42 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LA.

Almost Famous NQ

Although the team behind Almost Famous have expanded to Leeds and Liverpool (as well as other locations in Manchester), the Almost Famous NQ was the first ever Almost Famous burger joint, and despite a fire in 2013 threatening to destroy AF before it even had a chance to take off, they have since proceeded to thrive, and their burgers are considered by many to be the best burgers in Manchester.

Born from a need for ‘a super juicy dripping down your arms no nonsense burger,’ Almost Famous deliver exactly that to the people of Manchester, and their creations are greasy, calorific and about as OTT as you can get.

Highlights include the Butter, Blood & Bleu, which is a ‘double cheeseburger with wonderbuttered 4oz steak, chorizo, peppercorn sauce, creamy bleu cheese sauce, wonderdusted waffle fries and magic mayo,’ and the Blame It On The Whiskey, which is a ‘double cheeseburger with wonderdusted waffle fries, chipotle hot honey, BBQ pork, crispy pepperoni, jalapeno & onion, bacon bacon mayo and redneck BBQ Cholula.’

Almost Famous definitely isn’t the place to go if you’re on a diet or a first date (there is no attractive way to eat these burgers), but if you’re hungover, hungry and craving something bad, Almost Famous NQ will hit the spot.

Burger prices start from £11.50.

Good to know

Almost Famous offer a BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH. For just £37.50pp, you can choose a burger from the menu, enjoy unlimited bacon bacon fries, and unlimited cocktails (as well as other drinks).

Almost Famous NQ have various deals, including 20% student and NHS discount, plus a 24/7 happy hour where you can get two cocktails for £14.

Vegan-friendly? Yes, several of their dishes can be made vegan.

You can find Almost Famous NQ at 100-102 High St, M4 1HP.

almost famous nq manchester
IMG: Instagram @almostfamous

Bundobust Piccadilly

How does Indian street food and craft beer sound to you?

If you think it sounds like a winning combo then vegetarian and vegan restaurant Bundobust, located at the bottom of a long set of stairs opposite Piccadilly Gardens is just the thing for you.

Not only is the beer brewed at Bundobust Brewery only available at Bundobust (we love a bit of exclusivity), but the Gujarati street food menu is tapas style (2 to 3 dishes per person), so you get to try a bit of everything!

There are only 5 Bundobust’s in the UK and this one on the outskirts of Manchester’s Northern Quarter was the second.

There are more traditional Gujarati dishes such as paneer kadai and chole saag, as well as contemporary twists like okra fries and even a ‘bhaji butty’ (how Northern can you get?!).

If you find yourself spoilt for choice, then take advantage of their combo menus to share (vegan combo menu available).

Good to know

Dishes range from £3 to £7.25 each and it is recommended that you order 2 or 3 per person.

A combo menu for 2 costs £35. A vegan version is available.

Bundobust has plenty of vegan options.

You can find Bundobust at 61 Piccadilly, M1 2AG.

bundobust manchester nq
IMG: Instagram @bundobust


BAB is a relatively new addition to the Northern Quarter restaurant scene, and boy is it a welcome one!

BAB specialises in ‘kebabs worth sitting down for,’ and trust me when I say that they really are.

I visited for lunch and opted for a jerk chicken BAB with rice n’ peas, and slaw – it was UNREAL.

My friend went for a chicken katsu BAB with sticky rice (also delicious), and we got some Greek fries to share (fries topped with feta cheese, tzatziki, garlic sauce, chilli sauce, and olives).

Also on offer are small plates such as chickpea fritters, roasted tiger prawns, and Greek style meatballs.

We both agreed that the food was incredible, and the service was awesome as well.

Good to know

BABs start from £14.50.

Vegan-friendly? There are 2 vegan BABs and one veggie BAB, as well as various vegan-friendly meze dishes.

BAB has a lunch special between 12-3pm Monday to Friday, where you can get a BAB with fries for £10.

You can find BAB NQ at 14 Little Lever Street, M1 1HR.

jerk chicken kebab
My jerk chicken BAB

Bem Brasil

Although Bem Brasil is a chain with 3 restaurants in the North West, it’s Manchester Northern Quarter restaurant was the very first.

Bem Brasil brings a whole new meaning to the ‘all you can eat’ experience, bringing the traditional churrascaria to the UK.

Diners pay a fixed price and waiters will come round and carve juicy strips of meat from skewers directly onto your plate. They keep coming with various types of meat, and you simply eat until you can’t eat anymore.

My boyfriend took me here recently (prior to that, I hadn’t been in years) and it was even better than I remembered.

Meats include black angus sirloin steak, chicken drumsticks with lemon, rump steak with chilli, chicken hearts, sausage, smoked gammon and pork loin with parmesan.

You can also order as many side dishes as you like, including deep fried polenta, black bean and pork stew, garlic mushrooms, caprese salad, couscous salad and much more.

Good to know

Bem Brasil costs £20.75 at lunchtime during the week and £25.75 at lunchtime at the weekend.

Dinner is priced at £34.75 every night.

If you visit on a Monday after 4pm, or Tuesday – Thursday between 4:00pm and 6:00pm, you’ll only pay £25.75.

Children under 9 eat free and vegetarians pay £14.50 at lunch and £25.75 at dinner (though offerings are very limited).

You can find Bem Brasil at 58 Lever Street, M1 1FJ.


Common is a quirky bar serving great cocktails and is also home to Nell’s Pizza, which serves up 22-inch NYC inspired pizzas, which you can buy whole or by the slice (or 14″ whole pizzas if you prefer).

The ingredients are simple but delicious, and you can order them as half and half pizzas if you can’t make up your mind which one to choose!

I’ve been here a few times, the most recent being my birthday, and I’ve been impressed each time.

My favourite pizzas at Nell’s are the cheese and onion pie pizza, and the ‘whimsy’ (mozzarella, smoked Lancashire cheese, mushroom, artichoke, and red onion).

If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth then don’t forget to try one of their ice cream sandwiches. Choices include salted caramel, cookies & cream and red velvet.

Good to know

Single slices of the 22-inch pizzas cost between £3 – £4.75, with the huge 22-inchers being between £22 – £36.

14″ pizzas are priced between £9.50 – £16.

Vegan-friendly? Yes, there are plenty of vegan and veggie options.

You can find Common at 39-41 Edge Street, M4 1HW.

pizza at nell's pizza
My birthday pizza at Nell’s


Trof is an old favourite of mine.

It’s an old English pub with open mic nights, weekly pub quizzes and a menu packed full of good old-fashioned comfort foods.

Choose from beef shin and ale pie, fish and chips with curry sauce, bangers and mash, and of course a huge Full English.

If you want something not quite so quintessentially English, Trof also offer potato and spinach curry and small plates including broccoli fritters, onion bhajis, and burrata cheese.

Their food reminds me of Cosy Club, which is definitely not a bad thing.

Good to know

Main courses begin at £13, with brunch and lunch options starting at £6.

Vegan-friendly? There are two vegan mains available on the dinner menu, plus a couple of vegan small plates, and a full vegan breakfast on the brunch menu.

You can find Trof at 8 Thomas Street, M1 4AU.

Turtle Bay

Okay, so it may be a chain and it may not be the most authentic Caribbean food in the world, but I really like Turtle Bay, especially their jerk chicken!

Turtle Bay are just as well-known for their Happy Hour as they are for their food – it’s 241 cocktails every single day for pretty much the entire day (there’s a pause between 7pm and 9:30pm and then it resumes).

They have a quirky and cool interior and highlights from the menu include curry goat hash, coconut fried chicken, jerk chicken alfredo and baby back ribs.

I’ve been to Turtle Bay countless times over the years, and I’ve never had a bad meal there.

Good to know

Main courses cost from £13.

Vegan-friendly? Yes, there are tonnes of vegetarian and vegan choices.

You can find Turtle Bay NQ at 46-50 Oldham Street, M1 4LE.

jerk chicken
Jerk chicken at Turtle Bay

Cane & Grain Rib Joint & Tap Room

Cane & Grain actually houses 3 bars within its walls and each one is totally different.

The Rib Joint & Tap Room is on the ground floor and has an 80s skate scene theme, with skate posters and skate deck tiles adorning the walls.

Drinks are heavily focused on US craft beer and bourbon and the menu includes Cajun fried chicken, spare ribs, chilli fries and truffle poutine.

When you’ve finished in the Tap Room, head upstairs to the Science & Industry secret bar for some sophisticated cocktails, or go up another floor to the Liars Lounge, a tiki bar with tonnes of rum-based cocktails.

Good to know

Burgers cost around £13, with sides starting at £4. Meat platters cost from £13 (half rack of baby back ribs).

Vegan-friendly? Vegans can enjoy a Beyond Burger, as well as sides including cauliflower fries, truffle poutine (vegan on request), and pit bean fries.

You can find Cane & Grain at 49-51 Thomas Street, M4 1NA.

manchester northern quarter restaurants
IMG: Instagram @caneandgrain

The Smithfield Social

Another new (ish) kid on the block in the Northern Quarter restaurant scene, The Smithfield Social has a great pub quiz every Monday from 7pm (my team won a bottle of wine!), and a varied menu.

I’ve only ever tried the truffle and parmesan fries (which were soo good), but the friends I was with loved their main dishes (Northern Quarter Pounder and beef shin rigatoni).

Other offerings from the eclectic menu include lobster mac and cheese, Korean fried chicken burger with kimchi, nduja king prawns.

Good to know

Main dishes start at £13.50.

Vegan-friendly? Yes! Vegan options include wild mushroom arancini, smokey sweetcorn ribs, Thai green curry, and kimchi fried rice.

You can find The Smithfield Social at 53-55 Thomas Street, M4 1NA.

truffle fries
My truffle and parmesan fries

Yard & Coop

Of all the Northern Quarter restaurants on this list, Yard & Coop is a Manchester institution, and both my boyfriend and I love the food here.

The ‘home of buttermilk fried chicken,’ you can expect chicken, chicken, and more chicken on offer here.

Choose from wings, tenders, nuggets, burgers, and more. Sauces include buffalo, garlic ranch, Dr Pepper BBQ, hot honey, and blue cheese.

Good to know

Mains cost around £15.

Yard & Coop have a great lunch deal where you can get a main and soda for £8 (Sunday-Thursday between 12-4). Vegan options include ‘not chicken nugz,’ and seitan fried ‘chicken.’

Vegan-friendly? Sure, just switch out the chicken for seitan and choose from Dr Pepper BBQ or vegan Sriracha mayo sauce for dipping.

You can find Yard & Coop at 37 Edge St, M4 1HW.

Crazy Pedro’s NQ

Crazy Pedro’s is a dive bar that you can find in both Spinningfields and the Northern Quarter.

It serves up ginormous pizzas, either whole or by the slice, with their unusual toppings including mini hamburgers, maple syrup and waffle, hot dogs, tortilla chips and guac, buffalo chicken, and more interesting indulgences.

Personally, I love the KFC pizza with Sriracha fried chicken, kimchi slaw, red onion, and red chillies.

Crazy Pedro’s is also home to Manchester’s largest Mezcal and Tequila collection and serves up frozen margheritas in a range of different flavours.

The best bit?

Their happy hour lasts all the way until 9pm (even on a Friday!), so you can save pennies while you’re there.

Good to know

Whole pizzas cost £18-19.

Crazy Pedro’s happy hour is between 5 – 9pm Sunday to Thursday. It includes pizza slices for £2.50, whole pizzas for £12, two cocktails for £12, and £12.50 bottles of wine. They also have a Monday to Friday lunch deal (12 – 3pm) where you can grab two slices of pizza and a soft drink for £6.

Vegan-friendly? Yes, there are three vegan pizza options available.

You can find Crazy Pedros NQ at 1 Short Street, M4 1AA.

Manchester Northern Quarter Restaurants | Final Thoughts

I hope that this little guide to Manchester Northern Quarter restaurants has helped you narrow down some of the best places to eat in the Northern Quarter.

There are dozens more, but these are the ones that I personally really enjoy, and I wouldn’t like to recommend somewhere that I hadn’t personally been to myself!

Let me know if you end up visiting any of the restaurants on this list!

Until next time,


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