Five places that prove that salads don’t have to be boring

Sometimes you just want a really good salad

Salad has come a long way since the days when your mum would serve you up a piece of lettuce, a tomato, a couple of slices of cucumber, a boiled egg and a dollop of salad cream. Say goodbye boring salads and say hello to bowls bursting with vibrant veggies, piled high protein, great grains and some seriously good sauces packed full of flavour. Perfect for summer eating and even a treat to eat out. Don’t believe us? Try these for size.

Go for Goi at Pho

Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness

This Vietnamese restaurant have an entire section of their menu dedicated to salad or Goi as they are traditionally known with at least 5 options available and some of the most exciting we’ve seen. Try the traditional Gỏi gà which is shredded chicken salad with Asian herbs, peppers & a chilli ginger dressing, whilst vegetarians can enjoy this without the chicken – Gỏi chay. Their dressing delivers a perfect punch of chilli, almost like a nutritious broth you can drink from the bowl afterwards. For something even more inventive, how about a combination of banana blossom, beef, peanut and starfruit – that’s the Gỏi bắp chuối. A truly stellar salad.

Power bowls and punchy flavour at Banyan

Banyan powerbowl

Salad meets comfort food in a bowl bursting with nutrients. This is the reality at Banyan, the contemporary bar and kitchen in the Corn Exchange. The new powerbowls bring a combination of textures, flavours and temperatures together – so say goodbye to cold lettuce leaves and hello to excitement! If you like fruit salad the All Day Breakfast Bowl combines quinoa and chia seeds with yoghurt, blueberries, banana and almonds. For something savoury, the Middle Eastern Bowl is a salad with a twist, featuring grilled halloumi and falafel, spiced roasted vegetables, puy lentils, cauliflower rice and tahini dressing. A duck ramen option is also available.

Surf and turf meets salad at Vapiano

vapiano reef and beef

Express Italian restaurant Vapiano are serving up the much loved duo of surf and turf as you have never seen it before – and it still rhymes. Introducing  Reef’n’Beef with fresh fillet, king prawns, grilled vegetables and salad. It’s ideal for carb avoiders, packed with protein and massive portions are available. For something lighter, why not try a sweet twist on the traditional Greek salad? There’s the Strawberry Spinach option with raspberry maple dressing.  Delicious with goats cheese, red onion and pine nuts.

Try Thai with Thaikun


Fresh herbs and spices with immune boosting properties are combined with vegetables for a vibrant taste of Thailand. Ideal for summer is their chicken salad with lemon roasted rice and kefir lime leaf – a great citrus zing!  It’s also available for vegetarians with mushrooms instead of the meat. This vibrant Spinningfields  restaurant offers some of the most inventive salads we’ve seen. How about their Som Tum, shredded raw papaya tossed with roasted peanuts lime, chilli, tomato, fine beans and dried shrimp? Or to really impress you can opt for crispy sea bass served on mixed salad with roasted cashews.

A series of salads at Cosy Club

Cosy Club Manchester prawn salad

Whether you think meat makes a meal or you’re a veggie, there will be a salad to suit you at Cosy Club. These are substantial salads which are meals in themselves, served in a popular Corn Exchange location.  The Thai-beef salad is packed with flavour, whilst the feta option is like a pumped-up Greek salad and certainly generous, piled high with the cheese, olives, mixed leaf, tomato and dressing. Chicken and chorizo is also a winning combination.

Pick and mix at Oak Street Cafe NQ

Oak St Cafe

Located in the Craft and Design Centre, this cafe always has three homemade salads to choose from. Two of them are  always vegan and gluten free and substantial too,  accompanied by a chunk of Norlander bread baked at Barbican in Chorlton. These are out-of-the-ordinary flavour combinations, which have included  soya, sesame broccoli and tofu and Thai 7-spice potatoes. Options change regularly so you’ll never be bored – and you can tuck in whilst surrounded by inspirational art!

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