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, 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 faves.
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.
16 Best Northern Quarter Restaurants, Manchester 2023
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 start from £10.50 and there are vegan options available. They also have a £10 lunch deal where you can get a burger and fries for £10 on weekdays.
You can find Almost Famous NQ at 100-102 High St, M4 1HP.
2. Cottonopolis Food & Liquor
When it comes to 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.
When it comes to drinks, the Japanese theme continues, with original cocktails, Japanese beers, Japanese whisky and Japanese gin.
Prices range from £4 to £16 per dish and they have a separate plant-based menu.
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 £33.
You can find Bundobust at 61 Piccadilly, M1 2AG.
4. BAB NQ
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 recently 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.
BABs range from £12 – £15. There are 2 vegan BABs and one veggie BAB, as well as various vegan-friendly meze dishes.
You can find BAB NQ at 14 Little Lever Street, M1 1HR.
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.
There is only one vegetarian option in the ‘Mains’ section (a halloumi burger), and no vegan options (aside from a couple of starters).
Main courses range from £10 to £22.50.
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 £20.75 at lunchtime during the week and £25.75 at lunchtime at the weekend. Dinner is priced at £34.75 every night. Children under 9 eat free and vegetarians pay £14.50 at lunch and £2575 at dinner.
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.
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.
22-inch pizzas cost between £18 – £30 and there are plenty of vegan and veggie options.
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.
Their food kinda reminds me of Cosy Club, which is definitely not a bad thing.
Main courses range from £11 – 15.
You can find Trof at 8 Thomas Street, M1 4AU.
PLY is a Neapolitan pizza restaurant whose sourdough pizzas are a twist on the traditional Italian style.
Toppings include shredded duck with Hoi Sin sauce, truffle oil, and fajita crispy chicken.
They are constantly working on making more vegan options, and examples of their vegan ingredients include vegan feta, vegan mozzarella, and jackfruit ‘pepperoni.’
Pizzas are from £10 – £13.50.
You can find PLY at 26 Lever Street, M1 1DW.
10. Black Dog Ballroom
Black Dog Ballroom is one of those Northern Quarter restaurants that’s a 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 Kong’s Cantina to offer Mexican delights including barbacoa beef shin with birria quesadillas, pulled chipotle chicken tacos, and queso fries.
Black Dog Ballroom also has a private room for group dining and events which you can rent out.
Prices start at £4.50 for one taco, with various offers. Several dishes can be made veggie or vegan on demand.
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.
I visited just a couple of weeks ago (February 2023), and thoroughly enjoyed my jerk chicken plate.
Main courses cost £12.50 on average. There are tonnes of vegetarian and vegan choices.
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 £11-£15, with sides starting at £4.
You can find Cane & Grain at 49-51 Thomas Street, M4 1NA.
13. 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 (guess who came third, wink wink), and a varied menu.
I’ve only ever tried the truffle and parmesan fries (which were soo good), but my two friends ordered mains and loved them.
Offerings from the eclectic menu include Korean style burgers, Tandoori chicken flatbread, and steak frites.
Main dishes are between £9.50 and £17.50. Vegan options include vegan arancini, sweetcorn ribs, Thai green curry, and Kimchi fried rice.
You can find The Smithfield Social at 53-55 Thomas Street, M4 1NA.
14. Yard & Coop
Of all the Northern Quarter restaurants on this list, Yard & Coop is a Manchester institution.
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.
Mains are between £12-15. They also have a £10 lunch deal where you can get a main, side, and soda for £10 (Sunday-Thursday between 12-4). Vegan options include ‘not chicken nugz,’ and seitan fried ‘chicken.’
You can find Yard & Coop at 37 Edge St, M4 1HW.
I’m including this one because my friend loved it, but I walked away feeling pretty ‘meh.’
I visited because I’d booked with The Fork and got a 20% discount, and ur girl loves a discount.
Gyroland@Cargo is in the Cargo bar in The Printworks, right next to Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Their menu includes a bunch of Greek gyros (I got a donner meat gyros), pizzas, and Berlin donner sandwiches.
The gyros itself was alright, but I’m not a fan of crinkle-cut fries (although my friend loves them), and it arrived lukewarm.
With that said, it was cheap, it was filling, and the wine was good.
16. Crazy Pedros Pizza Parlour
Crazy Pedros 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.
Crazy Pedros 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 10pm (even on a Friday!), so you can save pennies while you’re there.
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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