The Ultimate Manchester Foodie Bucket List - 50 Dishes You Have To Try Before You Die
To tick off over the year
Consider yourself a bit of a foodie? Is your Instagram full of your latest meals? From low-end local delicacies and greasy takeaways to trendy street food and luxury dining, there are thousands of things to eat in Manchester so why not cut through the noise and arm yourself with our ultimate foodie bucket list of 50 Manchester dishes you have to try before you die and see how many you can check off as you embark on a culinary quest for an authentic taste of the city.
1. Bratwurst, Manchester Christmas Markets
Bratwurst are thoroughly abundant at this time of year with the arrival of the city’s iconic German Christmas Markets but the traditional German pork sausage isn't just a seasonal treat thanks to Albert's Schloss, the Bavarian and Bohemian beer hall located on the ground floor of Albert Hall.
2. The Big Manc, Solita Bar and Grill
Borrowing obvious inspiration from an infamous hamburger, The Big Manc consists of two 7” chuck steak patties, iceberg lettuce, home pickles, Monterey Jack cheese and Big Manc sauce and is the headline act of the Solita which briefly dabbled in deep-fried lasagne.
4 years on and still selling 'well'. The Solita Big Manc. pic.twitter.com/eWluyULkGg— Solita Restaurants (@SolitaNQ) August 16, 2016
3. Cheese Board, The Marble Arch
An award winning pub brimming with history and character that serves countless guest ales as well as their own brewed beers, The Marble Arch isn’t perhaps known so much for its food menu. Their extensive artisan cheese board, however, is a cheese snob’s dream.
4. Cereal, Black Milk Cereal Dive
Everyone always go out for cereal, right? Keeping up with trend just weeks after a cereal café opened in London’s hipster hotspot Shoreditch in 2015, Black Milk opened up shop inside Afflecks. Offering 50 cereals including international varieties, customers can pick any combination of cereals and toppings to tailor make their own edible chocolate bowl.
5. Sticky Beef, Fallow Café
A well-established gig venue as much as a café, just because Fallow Café is a comfy and cheap student hang out doesn’t mean the food is poor. Any dish from their somewhat scatty menu will likely be great value for money but the sticky beef is especially worth trying.
6. The Dessert Pizza, Dogs ‘n’ Dough
Combining Nutella and marshmallows with pizza may seem like a chocoholic’s Frankenstein fantasy but it actually exists in gut-busting proportions at city centre diner Dogs N Dough. With a choice of sauces and topping including mini eggs, chocolate buttons and honeycomb, I don’t understand why you’re still sat here reading this and not already heading out the door.
7. Pho, Mi and Pho
If you want Vietnamese than Manchester is home to a 200-seater franchise of Pho and for all intents and purposes it is pretty good. However, Mi & Pho in Northenden is a hidden gem whispered about by Manchester’s most discerning foodies and comes highly recommended by all those with a hankering for Vietnam’s national noodle soup dish.
8. Chicken Wings, Almost Famous
It seems almost blasphemous to go to trendy pop-up turned permanent fixture Almost Famous and not get a burger but their chicken wings are just as good with four marinades to choose from: Pho-king, Redneck, True Love and Suicide.
9. Prawn Sambal, Nasi Lemak Street Food
Sambal is sweet chilli dish popular in Malaysia typically served with steamed rice and some of the best can be found at Nasi Lemak who are based in Salford but pop up stalls can be found at various food markets around Manchester so they’re always one to look out for and try if you get the chance.
10. Stephen Fry, Common
A national treasure, an institution loved by the masses – a description applicable to both the Full English fry up and Stephen Fry so it’s rather appropriate that Common, nationally recognised as being pretty darn cool, should name its most complete fry up after him. Expect sausage, bacon, egg, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, hash browns and toast.
11. Cajun Crickets, Favelas
Mancunians wishing to do their own bush tucker trial can now do so in the city’s first bug restaurant Favelas. The South American bar and cantina will serve crickets, mealworms and tarantulas, which are eaten across the world as an abundant low fat, high protein snack, as a novelty next to their regular bug-free menu.
12. Peanut Butter Jelly Pie Sundae, Milkjam
A shrine to all things dessert, taking in Milkjam’s menu alone is enough to give you a brain aneurysm and/or diabetes. There’s a plethora of indulgent neon cakes, cookies, brownies and shakes on offer like the particularly scrumptious peanut butter jelly pie sundae.
Today..... peanut butter jelly pie sundae pic.twitter.com/ZbWQqxURNa— MilkJam (@MilkJamMCR) November 18, 2016
13. Ped Phad Prik Pao, Thaikhun
Inspired by Thailand’s lively and informal street food industry, Thaikhun first opened its doors in Manchester in 2014 and is now in 8 UK cities. With many tourists returning from the so-called Land of Smiles left unimpressed by Britain’s Thai imitations, Thaikhun prides itself on authenticity and flavour like in their roasted duck with wok-fried rice or noodles, chilli paste, oyster sauce, mushrooms, peppers and onions.
14. Tapas, Bar San Juan
Manchester city centre has seen a number of tapas bars open in the last couple of years but Bar San Juan out in Chorlton still ranks as Manchester’s best. Its modest size means it is usually pretty busy but to say it is a taste sensation is an understatement so worth the wait.
15. 10oz Wagyu Sirloin, James Martin
One of Manchester’s most high profile ‘celebrity chef’ establishments, James Martin’s namesake restaurant offers wagyu beef, taken from traditionally Japanese breeds of cattle although there are several wagyu farms globally. Known for its intense flavour because of the high marbling, it is a definitely a culinary luxury!
16. Pedro’s World Famous Hotdog Pizza, Crazy Pedro’s Part Time Pizza Parlour
Crazy Pedro’s is exactly what it sounds like. Their crazy, calorie-laden concoctions can be bought by the slice or you can order the full 16”. Whether their hotdog pizza has quite become a global hit is questionable but it is definitely a Manchester must.
Pizza makes people dead happy. 🍕🍕🍕🍕 pic.twitter.com/a69C14eO5s— Crazy Pedro (@CrazyPedros) November 13, 2016
17. Full Vegan, Fuel Café
A favourite haunt of the Manchester’s vegetarian and vegan population, especially being a stone’s throw away from the student-heavy Fallowfield, Fuel Café continues to grow as an institution in our increasingly eco-conscious society. The Full Vegan is like a Full English but substituting the best parts for vegan or veggie alternatives.
Breakfast at fuel with my family who drove up to eat it with me #vegan #vegetarian #veganfood #vegansofig #veganuk #vegangirl #veganfoodporn #coffee #veganfoodshare #whatveganseat #whatfatveganseat #healthy #hclf #highcarb #carbup #fruit #wholefoods #plantbased #manchester #manchestervegan #student #studentfood #fitness #veganfitness #crueltyfree #fortheplanet #fortheanimals #food #breakfast
18. Sushi, Australasia
As is often the case with sushi, you get what you pay for. The stylish subterranean Pacific Rim pan-Asian themed Australasia subtly situated underneath the Emporio Armani store in Spinningfields creates standout gourmet sushi.
19. Jerk Chicken, Dougy’s Caribbean Takeaway
Dougy’s Caribbean Takeaway, although a takeaway by name, asserts itself not as a fast food joint but as Manchester’s premiere destination for home style Caribbean cooking. Who knew that some of the best jerk chicken outside of the Caribbean was in Hulme?
20. Cantonese, Little Yang Sing
Gordon Ramsay paid Little Yang Sing, rather appropriately situated in China Town, a visit a few years back having shortlisted it as one of the best Chinese restaurants in the country. Offering a wide menu of traditional Cantonese dishes at a more than reasonable price, it’s a step above the numerous Chinese buffets dotted around town.
21. Steak Bake, Greggs
I did say it wasn’t all fine dining. Presumably most people have ticked Greggs off their list already but if you haven’t, where have you been living? Alongside Newcastle and Glasgow, Manchester has one of the highest concentrations of Greggs in the country which is the third most numerous shopfront in Britain behind Costa Coffee and Subway.
No stress (but some mess) pic.twitter.com/T4hoWaFxCH— Greggs (@GreggsOfficial) November 25, 2016
22. Burrito, Pancho’s Burritos
Widely regarded as the most authentic if not the best burrito in Manchester, Pancho’s even featured on BBC One series "Len and Ainsley's Food Adventure" last year. Who am I to disagree if it got a ten from Len?
23. Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup, Soup Kitchen
There’s nothing cosier than a belly-warming rustic soup in winter and Northern Quarter canteen and gig venue Soup Kitchen rather unsurprisingly prides itself on just that. Cheese and croutons included, soup-perb!
24. Chilli Con Carnage Pie, Pieminister
If you don’t like pie, are you really a Northerner? Pieminister is now in its twelfth year and with three pubs in and around Manchester proudly serving their pies, it is easy to get your pastry fix. The chilli con carnage is a stand out, filled with venison, bacon, ale, kidney beans and chilli and can also be served with mash and peas.
25. Indian, Mughli Restaurant
Situated on Rusholme’s infamous Curry Mile, Mughli has made a name for itself thanks to their signature charcoal pit. If Gavin and Stacey taught us anything it’s that you don’t mess with someone’s Indian order so I’m not going to recommend a specific dish but with The Telegraph calling it “one of Manchester’s best restaurants,” Mughli is a must.
Throwback to one of our favourite table snaps.. 😍 @nicolecola123 #Mughli #Manchester #Mcr #CurryMile #WilmslowRoad #Indian #StreetFood #SmallPlates #Tasty #Delicious #InstaFood #SaturdayNight #Feast #IndianSoulFood #FoodPics #Regram #Foodie #InstaGood #Feast #Restaurant #Throwback #ThrowbackThursday #NearlyTheWeekend
26. Volcano Nachos, Lust Luck Liquor and Burn
California-style Mexican food basically means its good Mexican food and there’s loads of it. Lust Luck Liquor and Burn’s Volacano Nachos are piled high and covered in melted cheese, beef chilli with chorizo, taco sauce, chipotle sour cream, guac mayo, jalapenos and pico.
NACHO NACHO MAN!— LuckLustLiquor&Burn (@LiquorAndBurn) November 25, 2016
I've got to be, a nacho man... pic.twitter.com/xcj2031GQ5
27. Kettlebox, Kettlebell Kitchen
Not just one for your protein obsessed gym buddy on leg day, Kettlebell Kitchen is a natural and nutritious fast food outlet riding high on the current clean eating trend. Their tasty Kettleboxes allows you to custom build your meal from the protein to the base, sauce and salads and toppings.
28. Poached Eggs, Takk Coffee House
Known primarily for artisan coffee, Scandi-inspired Takk has now become as much a brunch hotspot as it has a renowned coffee house. To go with your mid-morning coffee why not try the poached eggs on rye with wild mushrooms and nduja?
Still time to grab some brunch, kitchen is open until 4pm. Did we mention the Corn fritters? pic.twitter.com/Fe1gbNR3Wf— TAKK (@takkmcr) June 5, 2016
29. Black Pudding, Bury Market
Lancashire is historically synonymous with black pudding dating back centuries and Bury’s open-air market in Greater Manchester, just a few miles north-west of the city centre, is one of the best known places in the world to get hold of the real deal.
30. Phaal, Scene Indian Street Kitchen
For those of you brave or stupid enough to go off-menu, ask the staff at Scene in Spinningfields to cook you up a phaal, one of the hottest curries in the world. With variations known to induce hallucinations and even hospitalise people, Scene do at least make it palatable for those with a taste for chilli.
31. Fish and Chips, Leo’s Fish Bar
Looking for a no frills chippy tea? Leo’s has been consistently voted as one of the best by the great and good of Greater Manchester so definitely one to cross off your list. It’s up to you what else you plump for out of gravy, curry sauce, mushy peas and beans.
32. Breakfast Waffles, Home Sweet Home
Homemade waffles at Home Sweet Home, what could sound more, well, homely? Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, these indulgent waffles come topped with scrambled egg, bacon, blueberries and maple syrup.
33. Sunday Roast, The Wharf
What’s more quintessentially Sunday, a lazy stroll along the canal or a hearty Sunday roast? The Wharf offers the best of both worlds with up to four different meats on offer complete and all the usual trimmings. Plus a generous choice of cask ales can’t be a bad thing.
34. Tabakh Rawhou, Aladdin
Aladdin has become somewhat of a Mancunian institution having opened in the late 80s and building a strong reputation for its quality Middle Eastern cuisine. With a good number of mazza starters on offer (including the classic hommus), make sure you save room for Tabakh Rawhou, a mixed vegetable and lamb stew.
Took a trip to an old favourite last night - Aladdin in Withington. Here's the part of our middle eastern feast that could fit in the pic! Their kebabs, dips and salads are 👌🏽👌🏽👌🏽 #meat #protein #dip #salad #middleeasternfood #kebab #hummus #hummusaddict #homemade #instafood #foodie #whatweatemcr #manchester
35. Afternoon Tea, Richmond Tea Rooms
There’s plenty of afternoon tea on offer in Manchester but Richmond Tea Rooms is one of the standouts thanks to its magical Alice in Wonderland themed décor and menu whilst still remaining classy.
36. Pig On The Lead, Northern Soul Grilled Cheese
The grilled cheese sandwich capital of the city, Northern Soul popped up on Church Street in the Northern Quarter last year and has become a hot spot. Pig On The Lead is a personal favourite, adding mac n cheese and BBQ pulled pork to their standard gooey three cheese blend.
37. Pita, Pita Pit
First opened in Ontario, Canada in 1995, Pita Pit are famed for offering healthy Mediterranean-inspired pitas. Manchester was the first UK city to play host to the outlet that offer a Subway-style custom build menu.
38. Manchester Tart, Robinsons of Failsworth
The Manchester tart we’re talking about is the shortcrust pastry variety, not the one staggering around The Locks at 2am. Filled with custard and raspberry jam, and topped with coconut, the Robinson family are in their sixth generation of bakers having started in 1864 and produce the signature tart as featured on a Japanese travel series no less.
39. Avocado and Smoked Feta, Gorilla
With over 4 million tags, avocado has rapidly become one of the most featured food items on Instagram in the world. You can find the bloggers’ versatile favourite in various guises throughout the city but I’d personally head between the railway arches to chic bar and kitchen Gorilla for their sliced avocado and smoked feta served with poached eggs on toast.
40. The Donut Burger, Red’s True Barbecue
This America-style barbecue restaurant markets itself as a church for all those who worship meat and a glance at their menu (or as they call it, ‘the good book’) all but confirms that. Red's is most well known for the donut burger – exactly what you’d expect from a filthy burger but sandwiched between two sweet glazed donuts.
41. Pizza, Honest Crust Wood Fired Pizza
"Where To Eat Pizza" is the self-explanatory expert guide to the world’s best pizza places as compiled by Daniel Young with the help of over 1000 chefs, critics, industry experts and global pizza fans. While the top 20 is predictably dominated by Italy and America, Honest Crust in Altrincham’s upmarket food hall features in the UK section.
42. British Steak, Hawksmoor
Deansgate's Hawksmoor restaurant is a prime advocate of British bred beef which they dry age for 35 days to give it the most incredible flavour and tender texture. The larger cuts tend to start at 500g so make sure you’re either hungry or accompanied by a friend.
It's only Monday but we're already fired up for a BIG week of steak eating. pic.twitter.com/hPKRmkrjN3— Hawksmoor Manchester (@HawksmoorMCR) November 7, 2016
43. Feastie Boys, Hip Hop Chip Shop
A non-traditional fish and chip shop inspired by hip-hop culture, Hip Hop Chip Shop was most recently shortlisted for best mobile chippy at this year’s national fish and chip awards but has found a more stactic home moving from Spinningfields’ The Kitchens to Kosmonaut in the Northern Quarter. The Feastie Boys meal consists of Golden Era Beer battered sustainable fish biters, triple cooked skin-on Maris Piper chips, chilli batter onion blings and minty mushy peas.
44. Great British Lunch, The French
Controversially overlooked for a Michelin star once again having last earned the award in 1974, The French sits in The Midland Hotel and is now headed up by Great British Menu finalist Adam Reid. Fans of the BBC show wishing they were sat in the judges chairs can now sample Reid’s full four course menu for themselves until December 17th.
45. Eccles Cake, The Real Lancashire Eccles Cakes
These round flaky pastries with butter full of currants and sprinkled with sugar have been made in the family-run Real Lancashire Eccles Cakes bakery in Ardwick since the 1930s but date back three centuries. With 70 staff hand making 750,000 per week, you can pick up a proper Lancashire Eccles Cake in most supermarkets now.
46. 21 Pancake Challenge, Infamous Diner
Infamous Diner’s classic American pancakes come in stacks of three. However, for £25 you can take on seven stacks of three in their 21 pancake challenge. With toppings including banana and toffee, whipped maple butter, candy bacon and blueberry compote, every individual that completes it within half an hour will be refunded and also receive a tshirt, pin badge and their name of the wall of fame.
47. Teriyaki Kingfish, Yuzu
There’s more to Japanese food than California rolls and a good start is in… China Town. Yuzu’s lunch menu offers a range of Western-friendly lunch dishes including kingfish cooked in their own teriyaki sauce complete with Japanese rice and miso soup.
48. Goulash, Bouncing Czech
Goulash is a traditionally Hungarian paprika-flavoured stew used to feed the herdsmen of Central Europe. The Czech variation which is typically served with onions and steamed bread dumplings can be found at Bouncing Czech, the new Northern Quarter venture between Solitas and famous Czech beer brewers Kozel, and is perfectly washed down with an authentic Pilsner.
Menu testing on our builders. Czech,Polish and German sausage with goulash and Czech dumplings. pic.twitter.com/cwt9ZT90WM— The Bouncing Czech (@BouncingCzechs) November 1, 2016
49. Pea and Potato Gnocchi, Greens
Whether it’s Sunday Brunch or Tuesday Teatime, vegetarian restaurant Greens in Didsbury is a good shout for a far from boring Morrissey-approved Manchester meal. Owned and run by television chef Simon Rimmer, his pea and potato gnocchi comes complete with goat cheese, mange tout and pea cream.
50. Cuisse de Volaille Farçie 63 Degrés, 63 Degrees
I’ve seen Ratatouille three times so I’m so pretty au fait avec French cuisine. This restaurant takes its name from the temperature Parisian chef Eric Moreau poaches his signature cuisse de volaille farçie 63 degrés at – that’s stuffed chicken leg to you and I. The temperature means the meat develops a unique flavour as well as being extremely tender.
Add on a signature stratospheric cocktail from Cloud 23, and you've got Manchester in the bag...