Whether you are looking for a small roadside café or a top Michelin-starred restaurant, chefs are usually full of recommendations. Launched this week, Phaidon publishers have fully updated and revised their best-selling and critically acclaimed restaurant guide, Where Chefs Eat, edited by critic Joe Warwick.
The new edition features over 660 international chefs who have shared 7043 recommendations to provide the definitive guide to 4,528 restaurants around the world.
Spanning more than 570 cities in 70 countries across six continents, the guide features names such as Elena Arzak, Nathan Outlaw, Jason Atherton, Hélène Darroze, Stephen Harris, Yotam Ottolenghi and hundreds more sharing their tips for places to eat breakfast, have a late night snack, a bargain meal or a once-in-a-lifetime menu.
And thanks to contributions by chefs Adam Reid of The French and Emily Hahn of Warehouse Bar & Kitchen in Charleston, eleven Manchester destinations make the epic 1,184-page culinary bible.
El Gato Negro
Since opening its doors on King Street, award-winning tapas restaurant El Gato Negro has won over fans with its simple, bold and confident tapas by chef patron Simon Shaw. With dishes such as Basque-inspired cod pil-pil with piperrada vegetables and ajillo, braised pig cheeks with minestrone vegetables, and chargrilled chicken thighs with mojo picón and crispy shallots, it’s not surprising to see it make the list. El Gato is “modern, trendy and stylish,” says Adam Reid in the new guide. “A northerner cooking tapas – sums up the multicultural, diverse nature of Manchester.”
Hispi in Didsbury is Gary Usher’s third restaurant, following his critically acclaimed Burnt Truffle in Merseyside and Sticky Walnut in Chester. With dishes such as chargrilled duck hearts with green sauce and duck fat brioche, braised featherblade with kale, caramelised cauliflower puree and truffle and parmesan chips, and a now legendary custard tart with the perfect wobble, the restaurant has received glowing reviews from critics and diners alike. Adam picks it as a regular neighbourhood favourite in the guide.
Since taking the reins as head chef at Manchester House from Aiden Byrne, chef Nathaniel Tofan has been busy developing his own dishes and putting his stamp on the fine dining philosophy for which the Spinningfields restaurant has become renowned. Dining options include a lavish tasting menu or a set lunch, and the guide recommends leaving time for a drink in the twelfth floor bar with its stunning views across the city. “Adventurous cooking in a modern environment,” says Adam.
Mughli Charcoal Pit
This Wilmslow Road favourite serves Indian soul food from the roadside cafes and family kitchens of Mughal India as well as inventive cocktails. Snacks, small plates and charcoal pit dishes include masala fried chicken, Goab fish curry with coconut cream, tamarind and curry leaves, and charred lamb chops with toasted sesame, coriander and lemon. “Good atmosphere with street-food style offering,” says Adam. “Perfect for late-night dining.”
The Rabbit In The Moon
The Rabbit In The Moon, Michael O’Hare’s ‘Space Age Asian’ restaurant in a modernist room on top of the Urbis building, offers a trailblazing menu of Asisan-fusion dishes. The restaurant will reopen on 29 March with the self-styled ‘hair metal chef’ himself at the helm. It’s “a fine, and subversive, addition to the Manchester restaurant scene,” says the guide, and Adam recommends the restaurant for high-end dining.
The dining experience at no-frills Thai café and supermarket Siam Smiles is low-key, but the inexpensive, home cooked dishes pack a thrillingly powerful punch of flavours from rich and salty, sharp and sour to aromatic and fiery. “Good food with absolutely no fuss,” says Adam, who recommends it for a bargain meal.
Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza
Rudy’s provides an authentic slice of Naples in the heart of Ancoats, Manchester’s former Little Italy, and news that they are soon opening a new branch on Peter Street is most welcome. Fourteen-inch pizzas made from dough prepared on-site daily are cooked for just 60 seconds in the wood-fired oven, giving them a light, chewy base. Pizzas on the concise menu are available either ‘white’ or with a San Marzano tomato sauce, and toppings include Tuscan sausage and friarielli (Italian wild broccoli) or Napoli salami. Adam recommends Rudy’s for great value.
This tiny Japanese restaurant nestled in the railway arch by Victoria station offers excellent sashimi and sushi. The constantly changing menu might also feature hot dishes such as Taiwanese pork rice and Japanese wagyu beef, and their drinks list includes Japanese Koshu wines. Adam recommends it as a local favourite.
Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Cuisine
It’s worth venturing to Ashton-under-Lyne for Lily’s, which specialises in authentic vegetarian Indian cooking with specialities from Gujarat, Punjab and southern India. With dishes ranging from curries to biriyanis and dumplings, as well as handmade sweet treats, there is plenty of choice for vegans, too. Adam recommends Lily’s as a local favourite.
The Waggon Inn
A 19th Century coaching inn with a comfortable lounge, bar and dining area, The Waggon Inn in Uppermill offers homemade dishes using local ingredients. Classic dishes include beer and treacle glazed ham with triple cooked chips, Olde English sausages with bacon colcannon, and three cheese and onion pie, while an a la carte menu might include slow cooked Gressingham duck thigh with Jerusalem artichoke or hay baked rump of lamb with crispy heritage potato. “Informal and cosy, with good honest food and welcoming service,” says Adam.
Pot Kettle Black
PKB in the Barton Arcade offers a vibrant, internationally inspired breakfast and lunch menu with a wide range of vegan and gluten-free options alongside some classic breakfast and lunch dishes remodelled. All-day breakfast dishes include coconut porridge, harissa eggs or eggs benedict with paprika-cured pork loin, and there’s a huge range of speciality teas, smoothies, wines, beers and bespoke cocktails as well as great coffee. Chef Emily Hahn picked PKB for the guide as one of her favourite spots for breakfast.