‘What’s the best restaurant in Manchester?’ We get asked this question all the time. Multiple times a day, in fact.
It’s a pretty silly question that depends on many attributes and, well, personal taste.
Above all, the best restaurant is the one that’s conveniently located. It’s the place that serves your favourite cuisine and your favourite dish consistently – served by people who know your first name. The restaurant that you can count on no matter what. A place you can bring your friends to and they will be blown away. A place where you feel comfortable on your own because the staff are welcoming and can hold a conversation.
This restaurant is hard to find but trust me, they’re out there. It could be a small family owned, local pizzeria or a fine dining establishment in the bustling city centre.
Of course there’s the credential of a Michelin Star for excellence that appeals on an International level. There’s something to be said for polished decor, production and corporate management. But it can get lost in pretence. The brands can’t afford to fail so all the personality can get taken away from it.
It’s about personal taste, character, consistency and a vision reflected onto the plate in a friendly manner. That comes just before the ingredients.
Mentioning no names, there’s a restaurant just off Deansgate which is situated right round the corner from my [our] apartment. Every waiter knows my [our] name and can’t wait to sit me [us] down. They know what I [we] drink and my favourite dish – but still rhetorically ask. Everything is presented with a smile and I get my fill. I can still afford to go again next week.
They bring two glasses of fizz and a small plate of olives over to us the moment we sit down. And that can sometimes be an inconvenience because occasionally we have to drive after dinner.
To me, that’s the best restaurant in the world.