Manchester’s Northern Quarter is full to the brim with must eat places and it can be tricky to decide where to eat in this foodie paradise. The restaurants in Northern Quarter span a wide range of cuisine; from your dirty burgers (can’t just call them burgers nowadays) to traditional British pies and Hawaiian street food. I love eating out in the Northern Quarter and can’t wait to share some of the food gems in this neighbourhood. I’m going to keep adding to this list, so make sure you check it out the next time you’re headed to Manchester city centre for a meal out. Anyway, down to the dirty burgers.
Location: Turner Street, Manchester M4 1DW
If you’re after a dirty burger, then look no further. Solita has become a bit of an institution with their unique hamburgers and inka grill specialties. For the ultimate hamburger challenge, you should try their Once in a Lifetime burger. This monster creation consists of burger patties, chicken strips, pulled pork, bacon and so on, resulting in a hamburger tower. For the more modest among us, try one of their other amazing burgers, served pink, with one of their signature cocktails. I recommend the Dr Pepper cocktail, especially if you love Amaretto as much as I do.
Location: Eagle Street, Manchester M4
Hot of the press is a new food market opened by the people behind Altrincham Market. The market opened mid-October this year and is situated in the stunning Grade II listed Mackie Mayor building. There are a number of food and drink options on offer at Mackie Mayor, ranging from steak to cake to wine. The concept is simple; place your order at one of the outlets, give your name and seat at one of the massive communal tables and wait for a waiter to bring your food. I tried Honest Crust, a Neapolitan style pizza place and also Wolfhouse Coffee for dessert. My mushroom pizza was lush (although Ply is probably my favorite, see below). Based on the number of people munching on pizzas Honest Crust seemed like a popular choice. My cheesecake brownie from Wolfhouse Coffee was lovely and chocolatey, recommend. Prices are on the steep side (pizza £10, brownie £3.65) but try it at least once for the atmosphere.
Location: 62 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE
One of the newest additions to the Northern Quarter food scene is Fress Restaurant. With a unique interior design that feels like you’re on a date with Gatsby this place stands out from the rest of the Northern Quarter restaurants. I went for the brunch menu on my visit and had a Croque Monsieur, which sort of did what it said on the tin. Cheese on a sandwich, although there were some nice touches such as brie cheese. One of the biggest draws for me, however, were the cakes showcased on the restaurant’s Instagram feed, which look incredible. I can definitely vouch for the very lush Sachertorte. The dinner menu looks really tempting and I definitely need to make a return visit for the pork belly.
Location: 59 Church Street, Manchester M4 1PD
Oké Poké is one of my favourites amongst the new crop of restaurants in Northern Quarter. Specialising in Hawaiian street food, they have plenty of healthy ingredients. The menu is simple, with a choice between a Poké bowl or a Pokérito. I’ve only tried the bowl so far but it is soooo tasty. You basically select a base e.g. sushi rice and top it with meats and vegetables. They then finish it with your choice of sauce. A Pokérito is basically the same concept but all wrapped up into a burrito shape. A must try if you like sushi! You can choose to take away or sit down at one of the few tables inside.
Location: 53 Church Street, Manchester M4 1PD
A hop and a skip from Oké Poké you’ll find an assortment of traditional (and not so traditional) British pies. I’ve grown to love savoury pies since moving to the UK 6 years ago and this is the place to get them. Originally started in Bristol, they now have a small outlet in Northern Quarter and you can find some great deals here. How about a pie, mash, gravy, peas, cheddar and crispy shallots (aka Mothership) for £8.00?! Perfect for budget travellers that also want a slice (lol) of British culture. You can’t go wrong with a traditional Moo pie (steak and ale).
This and That
Location: 3 Soap Street, Manchester M4 1EW
You would never just stumble upon this place. Down a back street that looks like it belongs to the unsavoury underworld of Manchester lies this hidden curry gem. This place has been going since 1984 and you are unlikely to get a better deal on excellent curry anywhere else in Manchester. The interior is no-frills, you are here for the food which is served cafeteria style before you sit at big communal tables. The menu changes daily but the idea is the same; you get a choice of rice and 3-5 curries for a price between £3.90 to £6.50 depending on type of curry. Yes, £3.90 for a full meal. If that doesn’t satisfy a budget traveller, I honestly don’t know what will.
Location: 26 Lever Street, Manchester M1 1DW
Do you sometimes wonder what would happen if a Scandinavian had a love affair with a Neapolitan pizza master? The answer is Ply. With sleek Scandinavian interior, this place serves up amazing Neapolitan style pizzas. If you’re looking for budget eats, go for their lunch deal of a small pizza and side salad for £6.50. I also highly recommend this place for evening drinks; order some wine and chat away whilst you share pizza. My favourite is the Portobello pizza with truffle oil but you can’t really go wrong here. The tomato sauce is the star of the show here, it’s so sweet and I don’t even like tomatoes…
Location: 60 Tib Street, Manchester M4 1LG
For a sweet afternoon treat, you need to try Sugar Junction’s afternoon tea. If you like floral wallpapers and all things vintage, you’ll love Sugar Junction. They have a really impressive cake counter and you get different options every day. The afternoon tea is glorious, the sandwiches are gorgeous and if you can’t decide what cake you want, you should try the cake platter. I tried this once and essentially got 3 slices of cake (they say they’re half slices, I call them full slices). For reference, yes, you can ask for a doggy bag.
Manchester Design & Craft Centre
Location: 17 Oak Street, Manchester M4 5JD
The café in Manchester Design & Craft Centre is a bit of a hidden gem. Whilst tiny, it serves some lovely options for a lighter lunch such as soup and sandwiches.The carrot and split pea soup is lovely and served with a chunk of very tasty bread. The café is situated in the middle of the centre so you can admire the architecture of the place whilst you enjoy your lunch. The building used to be an old fish market and now houses independent artists and crafters.
Ezra & Gil
Location: 20 Hilton Street, M1 1FR
Ezra & Gil is part communal space, part vegetable grocers and part hipster. You come here because you want great sandwiches and a buzzing environment to meet with friends or catch up on work. Try the incredible portobello mushroom and avocado sandwich on Italian flatbread, one of the nicest meals I’ve had in a while! They focus a lot on coffee, which I don’t drink, but if you do, make sure you give that a go too. The only thing I’d give a miss are the smoothies as they are a bit too watery for me.
Location: 23 Edge Street, Manchester M4 1HW
Whilst technically not a restaurant I don’t know what other category this wonderful place would fall into. In Ziferblat you don’t pay for anything except the time spent there at 8p a minute, capped at 4 hours. The place is decorated like an eccentric living room and they offer snacks, cake, drinks and board games. The really chilled vibe is perfect if you want a break from shopping, do location independent work or just want to have a nice catch up with your mates.
Northern Quarter is only a small (albeit great) part of the Manchester food scene, to find out more about other areas of Manchester check out my neighbourhood guide!