Great Dinner Date Venues in Manchester


Manchester restaurant

With Manchester now outdoing London for the number of restaurants opening in the city there has never been so much choice of venues for a romantic dinner date. So how do you pick the perfect evening spot? We asked Jo Cooksey, Editor of Taste Today, for her top recommendations…

Over the last twenty years Manchester has transformed itself from a grimy, tired Northern city, which had built its fortune on the cotton industry, in to a vibrant, exciting and creative Northern metropolis. Able to rival any in Europe in terms of hospitality and dining.

The burgeoning bar and restaurant scene offers a myriad of choices. But where should you go on that all important date? Whether you are heading out on a first date or you have known your partner forever the right bar or restaurant makes all the difference and in the end it depends on what your idea of good night is. Manchester and its surrounding suburbs have something for everyone. From dirty burgers to fine dining to cocktails, the choice is huge.

Fine Dining

Michael Caines (copyright Michael Caines)

If you really want to splash out and make a good impression then perhaps a table in a fine dining restaurant is for you. There are plenty of high calibre venues to choose from but in terms of atmosphere and romance Michael Caines Restaurant and Champagne Bar in The Abode Hotel, in Piccadilly, is one of the best. The 2 star Michelin chef is not in residence all the time but works closely with his team to provide a Michelin standard dining experience. The restaurant is below street level and the subdued lighting adds to the romantic atmosphere. A perfect place to hold hands across the table and gaze in to each other’s eyes. The food is exquisite and the service attentive. The city also offers you the celeb hangout Manchester House and within the iconic Midland Hotel you will find The French and also Mr Cooper’s House and Garden. If you would prefer to dine out of town then the beautiful, Art Nouveau Belle Époque in Knutsford or the bright, modern Grenache in Walkden are also highly recommended.

Relaxed Dining

If getting down and dirty with a burger is more your style then the city centre has much to offer. Solita Bar & Grill, in the hip and very beardy Northern Quarter has been recommended by writer and restaurant critic, AA Gill, as one of the three best places in the country for brunch. This busy American style spot boasts charcoal ovens and grills, which give their food that authentic Deep South smokiness. The interior has some great celebrity artwork by Manchester illustrator, Stanley Chow and there is lots of eye-catching neon too, which all add to the bustling atmosphere. Solita is definitely a place to bring your appetite to, the burgers are huge and the extensive menu offers lots of choice. Other notable dirty food venues, also in the Northern Quarter are Luck, Lust, Liquor & Burn and Almost Famous. For the best ribs, Hawaiian beer and a skate park feel then take your date to Cane & Grain.

British Dining

Beef & Pudding (copyright Beef & Pudding)

If your preference is for modern, British dining then Beef & Pudding on Booth Street is somewhere to make a date night reservation for. The interior is relaxed, urban chic with both high stools to perch on and bucket chairs to unwind in. They cover all the British classics on their extensive menus, such as their legendary, huge beef suet puddings, all manner of steaks and everyone’s favourite, beer battered fish and chips. It’s a great place for a long, lazy weekend brunch when you’re getting to know that special someone in your life. The recently opened Hawksmoor on Deansgate also offers the best of British. If Didsbury is more your area then book a table at The Lime Tree. This award winning restaurant has been serving up British classics for nearly thirty years.

Something Exotic?

Tattu (copyright Tattu)

Manchester has the second largest Chinatown in the U.K. but down in Spinningfields you will find the new kid on the block and it is like no Chinese you have ever seen before. Tattu is definitely a place that will impress your date. The interior is breathtakingly chic with a huge cherry tree in full blossom at its heart. It is like walking into a glamourous film set and one almost expects James Bond himself to stroll up to the bar and order a martini. This is definitely a place to see and be seen. The menu is no less impressive and much smaller and manageable than your average Chinese. There is a choice of dim sum, small dishes, mains and desserts, all exquisitely served. Another recent Asian addition to Spinningfields is Scene, a high end Indian eatery with a large street food section on its menu and intimate booth seating areas.

Something A Little Different

Crazy Pedro's (copyright Crazy Pedro's)

Sometimes we all want something a bit out of the ordinary and Crazy Pedro’s on Bridge Street certainly offers that. With its Mexican wrestling and Day of the Dead theme, the interior offers a visual feast. There is only one dish on the menu, pizza but frankly it’s so good that one dish is all you need. The 16” pizzas are cooked fresh from homemade dough right in front of your very eyes and the choice of toppings is somewhat eclectic. There’s the All Day Breakfast with scrambled egg, smoked bacon and HP Sauce or the Fried Chicken and Waffle with Maple Syrup to name but two. The spirit of choice in their cocktails is tequila, of course and during Happy Hour its 2-4-1. Even better. How about 10 pin bowling whilst you dine? All Star Lanes and Dog Bowl offer a guaranteed fun night out with great food.

A Vintage Atmosphere

The 1920’s are an era synonymous with romance. Speakeasies, prohibition, flappers, The Great Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald all added to the heady mix. Why not step back to this era with a visit to The Fitzgerald on Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter. The entrance is virtually hidden away at the side of the building, which adds a frisson of excitement. This cocktail bar positively hums with atmosphere, from its period, twinkly chandeliers to its live jazz. The cocktails are amongst the best in the city and are guaranteed to impress even the most jaded of companions. The bar staff are happy to help you choose the right cocktail for you and the table service is excellent. If vintage is your thing then the First Floor Bar at Cane & Grain is another great retro choice.

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