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These are the places Manchester’s top chefs eat when they’re off duty


They spend long hours slaving away in restaurants to give us the best possible culinary experience. But where do Manchester’s chefs and restaurateurs eat when they’re not working?

From city centre favourites to suburban gems, these are the restaurants they frequent in their free time.

Adam Reid – The French

“Hawksmoor is always great for steaks. I love Gary Usher’s group. Hispi in Didsbury is producing great food in a really relaxed and personal setting. And Umezushi is a go-to for simple and quality Japanese cuisine which is very well priced.”

Nathaniel Tofan – Manchester House

Pic Carl Sukonik

“Firstly, El Gato Negro. I love this place, great food, great atmosphere, love this style of eating. A unique find on a place like King Street, artsy, cultured and sophisticated. Secondly, Umezushi. What a little gem this is. Fantastic food, creative, super fresh, and I love the fact it’s so small and they haven’t changed it since opening the doors. It always lives up to expectations.

“Thirdly, Double Zero is epic. Seriously good pizza, and you can bring your own booze. Love this place, and so affordable.

“Finally, there is a brunch spot that was just down the road from where I live, though they’ve just relocated to Didsbury. Another Heart to Feed, which has the best coffee, eggs and avo. I love what they do, really honest and ingredient-led brunching. The owners Alex and Nicola are really cool people. I hope to see them smash it out in the suburbs.”

Luke Cowdrey – The Refuge and Volta

Luke Cowdrey (L) and Justin Crawford

“My favourite places are Hispi, Levanter, Kurdistan and Mi & Pho. Hispi has got better and better and is guaranteed quality fine dining done causally, avoiding the stiffness of other more antiquated establishments. Levanter is a blood, sweat and tears outfit that oozes authenticity and amazing, proper no-nonsense food full of chatter and life. Kurdistan and Mi & Pho are both quality simple cooking done right. No bullshit or frills. They are both the real deal.”

Lyndon Higginson – The Liars Club Group

“TNQ Restaurant for classic British. It’s really relaxed, has a great wine list and holds monthly gourmet nights that are always a good excuse to eat and drink to excess. Almost Famous for your burger fix. Mental stuff on burgers and amazing cocktails. What’s not to love? Hawksmoor for your meat fix. Melt-in-your-mouth steaks and award-winning cocktails in one of the best fitted-out restaurants in Manchester.”

Ed Baines – Randall & Aubin

“There are some fantastic restaurants in Manchester, and one that’s a little left field but was one of the most enjoyable meals I’ve had in the city centre is Seoul Kimchi on Upper Brook Street.  The food there represents perfectly what they have set out to do, tasty and simple, fresh ingredients with friendly service. It is also reasonably priced – exactly what you imagine straightforward Asian food to cost.

“I’m also a massive fan of the market in Altrincham and can happily nip onto the tram any day to hang out there. Every vendor is committed and passionate about their products and the food they sell.  I was very impressed by Altrincham Market and I believe the founders have opened one in the Northern Quarter now too, so can’t wait to try that one out when I next have some free time in the city.”

David Fox – Tampopo

“TNQ Restaurant. A classic local independent restaurant that consistently serves good food with friendly, efficient service.”

Simon Shaw – El Gato Negro

“My favourite restaurant in Manchester has got to be Umezushi. It’s a hidden gem. The environment is relaxed yet intimate and the food is so fresh, it’s delicious. I find a real synergy between Japanese and Spanish food and you gain a real sense of culture when dining with them. You also can’t go wrong with some of the bigger names on our doorstep.

“Albert’s Schloss is always a great evening out, with Manchester House and The French offering some incredible dishes and first-class service. We’re very lucky to have such variety in Manchester.”

Maurizio Cecco – Salvi’s

“In terms of eating out, it’s independents all the way for me – not that we get any time to eat out! But when we do, La Bandera is lovely.”

Sax Arshad – Zanna Group (Evelyn’s, The Daisy) 

“I love Rudy’s for their hospitality and being a great pizza joint. Kabana hits the spot for me when I’m around the Northern Quarter and need an ‘Indian’ fix.

“Albert’s Schloss has a great atmosphere, as does Mackie Mayor with the unreal fish sandwich by the guys at Fin. The Restaurant Bar and Grill for me is a classic, too.”

Richard Sharples – Elite Bistros, including Hispi


“Myself and my wife Ash love Umezushi. Always brilliant service, great wines, lovely sushi and such a nice vibe. We also love The Marble Arch pub on Rochdale Road with its traditional pub feel. They serve a great selection of ales and you can get a lovely British cheeseboard to go with your pint.”

Stuart Fox – Store Street Exchange

“Currently my favourite place to dine is Hispi in Didsbury. I like the layout of the restaurant and the relaxed yet professional approach from the front of house team. This restaurant is a great example of using fresh local produce and respecting it. Cooking with confidence and letting the flavours do the talking. Staff have great knowledge and they clearly buy into Gary’s vision for his restaurants and are proud to be part of it.

“The current menu has a few stand out dishes for me, like the salt pickles, a great small plate to share. The feather blade of beef too, which features on most menus throughout the group, and the custard tart is a winner.”

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