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 (RIP) to spending every weekend in Affleck’s Palace as a 14 year old emo kid in search of neon eyeshadow and fishnet tights, 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 and casual eateries, there are a few that never fail to disappoint, and so I decided to round up a few of my faves (this list only contains places I’ve personally been to).
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 Manchester Northern Quarter restaurants.
12 Manchester Northern Quarter Restaurants and Cheap Eats
1. 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 range from £9.50 to £13. There is a vegan burger available.
You can find Almost Famous NQ at 100-102 High St, M4 1HP.
2. Cottonopolis Food & Liquor
When it comes to Manchester Northern Quarter restaurants, Cottonopolis Food & Liquor is undoubtedly one of the best.
Cottonopolis is a contemporary Japanese-inspired restaurant in a Grade II listed building that takes its name from the nickname given to Manchester in the 19th century.
With exposed brick, wooden floors and an open kitchen, it’s both industrial and chic, and weekends at Cottonopolis see guest DJs and live music.
Its menu is designed to be consumed tapas-style and boasts gastronomical delights such as Waygu beef and wasabi crispy wontons, miso lamb chops with mint pesto and salt and pepper squid with black garlic aioli, as well as various sushi offerings and bao buns.
There is also an entirely plant-based menu featuring aubergine katsu with katsu curry, teriyaki robata asparagus with truffle mayo and Napa cabbage and shiitake gyoza.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, they also have a 7 course set menu called the Taste of Cotton for £25.
When it comes to drinks, the Japanese theme continues, with original cocktails, Japanese beers, Japanese whisky and Japanese gin.
Prices range from £3 to £14 per dish.
You can find Cottonopolis at Newton Street, Manchester, M1 2AE.
3. 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 4 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).
Dishes range from £2.75 to £7.25 each and it is recommended that you order 2 or 3 PP.
A combo menu for 2 costs £31.
You can find Bundobust at 61 Piccadilly, M1 2AG.
4. V-Rev Vegan Diner
If you thought veganism was all chick pea salads and wilting kale, you were SO wrong.
V-Rev Vegan Diner is fried and greasy goodness that is guaranteed to have you bursting out of your jeans and admitting defeat before you’ve cleared your plate and it is without doubt one of the best vegan restaurants in Manchester.
Sides include breaded jalapenos, mac and cheese, kebab fries and hot wings, and their burgers are insane.
My fave is the Barbecute is What We Aim For (which gets extra point for the emo throwback name), with fried ‘chicken,’ ‘bacon,’ onion rings, rainbow slaw, pickles and BBQ sauce, but the Pizza My Heart burger with a ‘beef’ patty, smoked gouda, mac & cheese, marinara and ranch sauce sounds incredible as well.
Burger prices range from £8.95 to £10.95 and sides are from £3 to £8.95.
You can find V-Rev Vegan Diner at 20-26 Edge Street, M4 1HN.
5. Dive Bar & Grill
Dive Bar & Grill was designed for socialising.
Housed in a large, open space where your casual bite to eat can turn into a night of partying until 4am.
They have a huge outdoor terrace with a canopy and heating for the colder nights, huge TV screens that always show sports games, and a menu that has something for everyone including lobster tail, buffalo chicken wings and 21 day aged steaks.
Dive Bar also has a great selection of vegetarian options such as a halloumi burger, vegetable skewers, barley chick pea salad, goat cheese tortellini and a veggie hotdog with truffle and onions.
Main courses range from £9 to £28.50.
You can find Dive Bar & Grill on Tib Street Manchester, M4 1SH.
6. 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.
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.
Bem Brasil costs £18.50 at lunchtime during the week and £22.50 at lunchtime at the weekend. Dinner is priced at £31.50. Children under 9 eat free.
You can find Bem Brasil at 58 Lever Street, M1 1FJ.
Common is a quirky bar serving great cocktails and huge 22-inch NYC inspired pizzas, which you can buy whole or by the slice.
The ingredients are simple but delicious (I personally have my eye on the cheese & onion pie pizza with burnt onions, mozzarella, Lancashire cheese, chives and parmesan), and you can order them as half and half pizzas if you can’t make up your mind which one to choose!
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.
You can also enjoy the Sunday Pizza Social every Sunday, where you can feast on unlimited pizza slices and alcohol for 90 minutes. Drinks include pale ale, Prosecco, Bloody Marys and Mimosas, as well as soft drinks and lager.
22-inch pizzas cost between £18 – £32.
The Sunday Pizza Social costs £30 per person.
You can find Common at 39-41 Edge Street, M4 1HW.
Trof is a good old English pub with open mic nights, weekly pub quizzes and a menu packed full of good old-fashioned comfort foods.
Each week there is a different pie of the week, and you can also get a Yorkshire pork chop, fish and chips, chicken and chips, and of course a huge Full English.
If you want something not quite so quintessentially English, Trof also offer spiced lamb kofta, a tofu katsu curry and a roast squash and charred broccoli salad with quinoa, pomegranate, pumpkin seeds, avocado and lime dressing.
Main courses range from £9 – £17.
You can find Trof at 8 Thomas Street, M1 4AU.
PLY is a traditional Italian restaurant with proper Neapolitan pizzas on sourdough bread and deliciously simple fresh pasta dishes including braised beef pappardelle and cherry tomato penne.
They are constantly working on making more vegan options, and examples of this include a vegan carbonara and vegan Florentine pizza.
PLY is actually one of my favourite Italian restaurants in Manchester, and I’ve spent over 6 months in Italy!
Pastas cost between £8 and £12 and pizzas are from £8 – £11.
You can find PLY at 26 Lever Street, M1 1DW.
10. Black Dog Ballroom
Black Dog Ballroom is another great shout if you’re with friends and want somewhere you can grab a casual bite to eat and end up dancing the night away.
Black Dog Ballroom is a large NYC-style basement bar that stays open until 4am every night (and 5am on a Saturday!) and has a pool hall with 4 American pool tables.
They’ve paired up with Salt & Pepper from the Arndale Market when it comes to food, so you can treat yourself to huge plates packed with all your favourites including salt and pepper wings, calamari, chips, tofu and king prawns.
Black Dog Ballroom also has a private room for group dining and events which you can rent out.
Big plates are priced between £7.50 and £10.
Black Dog Ballroom is located underneath Affleck’s Palace, at 52 Church Street, M4 1PW.
11. Turtle Bay
Okay, so it may be a chain and it may not be the most authentic Caribbean food in the world, but it’s still a decent place in my humble opinion.
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. They also have a bottomless brunch, if you’re keen to get on the sesh.
Main courses are priced between £8 (burgers) to £17 (jerk sirloin).
You can find Turtle Bay NQ at 46-50 Oldham Street, M1 4LE.
12. 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.
Most of the main dishes are priced between £10-£15, with sides starting at just £3.
You can find Cane & Grain at 49-51 Thomas Street, M4 1NA.
Manchester Northern Quarter Restaurants | Final Thoughts
I hope that this little guide to Manchester Northern Quarter restaurants has helped you narrow down where you want to go for a bite to eat and a tipple or two in Manchester’s bohemian 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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