10 best restaurants and pop-ups in Manchester

Tony Naylor

10 Tib Lane

Oldham Street’s self-explanatory Cocktail Beer Ramen + Bun is a buzzy, Northern Quarter hang-out where gangs of mates wolf karaage chicken and slurp tonkotsu until late. The same team are co-instigators of 10 Tib Lane, but this is a far more grown-up affair – a candle-lit, date-night joint which, with its distressed walls and natural wine list, has the feel of a Parisian neo bistro. Its menu of sharing plates is an idiosyncratic global journey. Expertly cooked hake topped, tandoori-style, with spiced yoghurt, served with a cucumber mint salad, sits alongside a Korean-inspired soy pork chop or a southern European dish of chicory, sherry, almonds and chanterelles.
Plates £6-£20, 10 Tib Lane, 10tiblane.com


Flawd Wine with tables outside and people eating and drinking

At this New Islington marina natural wine bar, chefs Joseph Otway and Chris Ditch are working with some unusual restrictions. In the kitchen, they only have a toaster, electric pressure-cooker and sandwich press to heat things in. Despite this, their ingenuous, daily changing menu ranks among the city’s very best. The duo’s dishes can sound a little worthy or simplistic: a whipped split pea dip; yellow beans, goat’s curd, new season garlic and crumbs; potato salad with tropea onions and summer herbs, but exceptional ingredients (many from partner farm Cinderwood Market Garden) help them create flavours of real clarity and resonance. Flawd emerged from pop-up restaurant Higher Ground (@highergroundmcr), which will open in a permanent location in spring 2023.
Dishes around £4.50-£9, 9 Keepers Quay, flawdwine.co

Another Hand

In this hip Deansgate Mews bolthole (natural wines on the shelves, purring minimal house on the stereo), chefs Julian Pizer and Max Yorke are creating something special. Expect novel ingredients deployed in unexpected combinations: for example, mushrooms grown at an Altrincham urban farm, with a young pine cone and sherry vinaigrette, hazelnuts and horseradish. A trout tartare mined with cider-pickled apple and smoked turnip, sat in a shallow pool of dashi stock, is both visually arresting in its painstaking tweezer-work and clever in its layering of exhilarating flavours. That dashi, bolstered by the addition of burnt apple and turnip, is a caramelised depth-charge of sweet, meaty complexity. Note: Another Hand’s daytime menu is a more casual, brunchy affair.
Evening plates around £8-£19, Unit F, Deansgate Mews, anotherhandmcr.com

Asmara Bella

Asmara Bella Bar and Restaurant, Manchester, with people eating and drinking outside
Photograph: Robert Lazenby/Alamy

Samrawit Tekle’s small Eritrean and Ethiopian restaurant serves many meat dishes, such as hot pepper lamb (awaze tibsi) or dulot, a combo of spicy fried tripe, ground beef and green chillies. But this cosy, chilled Northern Quarter spot will be of particular interest to vegans and vegetarians, given how vibrant Eritrean and Ethiopian meat-free cooking is (this, partly, a legacy of Orthodox Christian rules around fasting in both countries). The Asmara Bella kitchen coaxes incredible depth of flavour from dishes such as hamli (spinach, garlic and chillies cooked down in a luxurious glug of olive oil), split peas and turmeric, or spiced timtimo lentils. These are all served on huge injera, a fermented, spongy flatbread with a compelling light, lemony sourness.
Mains £10.50-£14, 37 Port Street, asmarabella.co.uk

New Century

Someone holding a bao bun at New Century, Manchester

A Grade II-listed slice of 60s modernism, this former conference centre and dance hall (part of an office complex built for the Co-operative Group) recently reopened as a music venue and food hall. Highlights include British Street Food Awards winner BaoBros23 and its knockout braised pork shoulder bao. At the Butty Shop, Adam Reid, chef at Midland Hotel fine-dining restaurant, the French, is giving trad sandwiches a gourmet makeover. Try the hot smoked salmon on Butty Shop’s next-level, oven-bottom muffin and Reid’s inspired northern English take on nachos – crisps dressed with onions and lancashire cheese sauce. Fans of the food hall format may also want to check out Society and its vast Vocation Brewery bar or the east Asian-focused Hello Oriental.
Mains around £8-£15, Mayes Street, newcenturymcr.com

Sugo Pasta

Exterior of Sugo Pasta Kitchen, Manchester, with two young men walking past

At this bustling corner restaurant in Ancoats, high-quality fresh pasta imported from Puglia is given the respect it deserves. Sugo’s polished-rustic southern Italian dishes boast the kind of fathoms-deep flavours that only arise from hours and hours of patient prep. The orecchiette with its punchy ragu of pork shoulder, n’duja and melting beef shin is a must. If visiting south Manchester, there are further Sugo branches in suburban Sale and Altrincham.


A dish by Maray, Manchester
Photograph: AllThePeople

Despite their civic and footballing rivalries, Liverpool and Manchester enjoy a fraternal relationship when it comes to music and, increasingly, food. There is a regular exchange of talent along the M62. For example, Bold Street Coffee recently brought its banging breakfast sandwiches to Manchester, and Albert Dock taco ace Madre will open a Manchester restaurant in November. Currently somewhat hidden by the town hall renovation work around Albert Square, Maray – whose modish, Levantine food is the pride of Merseyside – has also landed in Manchester, opening an attractive restaurant and terrace by the Hidden Gem church. Expect good falafel, fattoush salad, lamb kofta and Maray’s famed “disco cauliflower”, roasted and dressed with chermoula, harissa, tahini, yoghurt, pomegranates and almonds.
Plates £4-£12, Brazennose Street, maray.co.uk

Lily’s Deli

A waitress carrying two dishes at Lily’s Deli, Ancoats

The Sachdev family has been creating some of Greater Manchester’s best vegan and vegetarian Indian food since the 1970s. Their flagship restaurant, Lily’s in Ashton-under-Lyne, is cult-famous for its chaats and Gujarati farsan snacks. Opened this year, Lily’s city-centre deli sells groceries and hot food to eat in or take away (limited seating). A daily selection of three curries or dhals are served with roti or rice, alongside snacks, such as a chilli cheese toastie, vada pav or bhel puri. From crisp, subtly spiced vegetable samosas (80p each) to a soul-stirring tarka dal, the cooking displays all the deft control of vibrant flavours you would expect.
Meals around £4.50-£6, Unit 2C, Henry Street, lilysdeli.co.uk

The Jane Eyre

This stylishly designed “neighbourhood bar” is operating at the top end in its cocktails, craft beer and food. You have to, to draw a crowd in Ancoats. Simple snacks (croquettes, Padron peppers) open a menu of quietly ambitious small plates: crab salad with fennel and chilli; charred hispi cabbage with a pistachio sauce and crumb; yuzu kosho seasoned cod. With its crunchy, chewable ridge of crackling and spiced apple compote, Jane Eyre’s pork chop – perched on an insanely good bed of mustard-licked mash – is a pretty unbeatable way to spend £12.
Plates £6-£17, 14 Hood Street, thejaneeyre.co.uk


A pizza with hands diving in to share it at Nell’s Kampus, Manchester

A residential development neighbouring the Gay Village, Kampus is growing – thanks to the indie businesses occupying units around its urban gardens – into a notable food and booze hub. Bakery-cafe Pollen is one of Manchester’s best brunch-lunch spots with A1 coffee and breakfasts of spreadable sobrasada sausage, wilted greens and fried eggs on stellar sourdough (dishes £4-£11, pollenbakery.com). Similarly top-rank, Common bar spin-off Nell’s Pizza (slice from £2.25, nellspizza.co.uk) delivers creative NY-style slices as big as your head, full pizzas in 14- and 22-inch format, good craft beer and ice-cream cookie sandwiches. There is more to come, too. In October, the exceptional Great North Pie Co will open serving lancashire cheese and onion, and 14-hour-braised beef and ale, pies with pints of Manchester Union lager.
Meals around £10, Aytoun Street, kampus-mcr.co.uk

Courtesy: theguardian