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What’s Manchester’s favourite restaurant and most loved dish? We asked – and you told us


With the eagerly-awaited Michelin announcement on Monday, everyone’s talking about the city’s best restaurants.

But which restaurants are REALLY our favourites? Do Mancunians want fancy fine dining, or a more casual experience? Where do we return to again and again?

We wanted to know. So we asked you, our readers, to tell us your favourite restaurants as well as your most loved dish.

The open poll on I Love MCR® invited our community audience of over a million Mancunians to vote for their favourite place to eat out – be that a restaurant, casual cafe or a take-away. Those voting could submit anywhere they love in a bid to generate a truly representative picture of the region’s dining scene.

The poll saw 319 establishments across Greater Manchester make the list, with the top votes going to homegrown Wood, contemporary Chinese restaurant Tattu, steak house Hawksmoor, luxury Italian restaurant Rosso, and Simon Shaw’s award-winning Spanish-influenced El Gato Negro.

While a number of high-end establishments do feature in the top choices, it’s clear that Manchester does not simply favour those gunning for a Michelin star today. It’s more about variety and diversity, with more casual dining spots including Rudy’s and Dishoom ranking high in the popularity stakes.

But we do love a classic steak, too, with one in 10 voters choosing Hawksmoor, Gaucho, Grill on New York Street or Fazenda.

Manchester’s favourite restaurants:

  1. Wood – 18%
  2. Tattu – 13.8%
  3. Hawksmoor – 13.6%
  4. Rosso – 9%
  5. El Gato Negro – 8.6%
  6. The Ivy – 8.6%
  7. Australasia – 7.6% 
  8. San Carlo – 7.6%
  9. Rudy’s – 6.1%
  10. Dishoom – 5%

Simon Wood, the MasterChef champion from Oldham, topped the poll with his First Street restaurant Wood Manchester being crowned Manchester’s favourite.

The local chef, who won the BBC show in 2015, secured the majority of votes with his first restaurant, where Simon describes his food as un-intimidating fine dining with playful authenticity.

Simon is famed for his simple yet fun twists on old classics, with his own unique take on dishes like Black Forest gateau and cottage pie.

Looking at the full spread of restaurants chosen, the statistics show that it’s still modern British, Italian and Indian menus that get diners going. 

As well as asking for your favourite restaurants, we also also asked voters to reveal the ‘go to’ dish that you love to eat time and time again.

While there are more and more brilliant vegetarian and vegan offerings in the city, meat still comes top of the menu for Mancs. The top five dishes include Simon Wood’s cottage pie and tomahawk steaks, ribeye steak at Hawksmoor Manchester, salame pizza from Rudy’s, and the Chop Houses’ corned beef hash.  

But it’s not all about splashing the cash.

Other local independent success stories to make the list include the Neapolitan pizzeria Rudy’s (recently voted 10th best in the world), and dirty burgers from cult joint Almost Famous, as well as the addictive black daal from newcomer Dishoom

Manchester’s favourite dishes:

  1. Cottage pie at Wood
  2. Ribeye steak at Hawksmoor
  3. Tomahawk steak at Wood
  4. Salami pizza at Rudy’s
  5. Corned beef hash at the Chop Houses
  6. Caramel soy beef fillet at Tattu
  7. Triple nom burger at Almost Famous
  8. Black daal at Dishoom
  9. Cheshire beef at Wood
  10. Sunday roast fondue at Bock Biere

“As Mancunians we are fiercely proud of the talent within the region, so it is no surprise to see that Simon Wood’s Wood has topped the poll of the city’s favourite restaurants,” says Chris Greenhalgh, CEO of I Love MCR®. 

“His restaurant delivers really good honest food with a great atmosphere. Other local success stories are Tattu, Rosso, San Carlo, and of course Rudy’s. If you haven’t tried their pizza, you should – now.

“We are slightly obsessed with accolades and lists here in Manchester when it comes to our restaurants and those in the know have been discussing the will they/won’t they Michelin debate for months, so we wanted to take it to the real people and find out what they really think. 

“What’s more, with over 300 favourite restaurants in the poll we hope that the list will provide something of a window into the diverse dining scene in the city.”

Did we miss something? Let us know: [email protected]

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