It’s Not Grim Up North: Food, Glorious Food. A Gluttons Guide to Eating Your Way Across Manchester


“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

There are so many great places to eat in Manchester that it’s often hard to make a decision as to where to go. Italian, Chinese, Turkish, Malaysian, ribs the size of a small country, enormous burgers with the works plus Oreos (yes, really) – we’ve got them all.

And then some.

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to grabbing a quick bite in this city.

I love my food, a little too much at times but, ah well; its winter and we’ve got to get a few extra layers to keep warm. With the wonderfully festive Christmas markets (blog post to follow soon **squeals with excitement**) upon us, it often means we forget about restaurants in the run up to Christmas, rather we head to the stalls to neck a tonne of gluwein and eat our body weight in macaroons (I can’t WAIT for my first warm coconut macaroon) and bratwurst **dribbles on keyboard slightly.**

But with the popularity and awesomeness of the markets, sometimes we just want to avoid the hustle and bustle – and jabby elbows – of the large crowds it tends to attract, and head inside for a bit of a reprieve. And let’s face it. The weather is pretty wet and shocking right now, sometimes it’s nice to be somewhere toasty with nice plate of hot food and a glass of red wine.

So I thought I’d help you guys out with a list of wonderful places to shelter from the cold, grab a decent dinner and have a great time.

I recently headed to Ply (26 Lever Street) to check out The Art of the Pizza Box exhibition and try out their pizza menu. Ply are famed for the pizzas, in fact, it’s pretty much all they have on the menu bar a few tasty looking salads and some antipasti treats.

The Art of The Pizza Box exhibition is pretty quirky. New Yorker, Scott Wiener, has brought his 1000+ strong – world record breaking – pizza box collection to Ply. Check out my pictures below for some of the designs. It features landscapes, portraits, fake TV characters and a host of other interesting designs. But go quickly, the exhibit ends on the 20th December 2015. Interested? Read more about it here. But if you want to take pictures like me, you have to be prepared for the strange looks flashed your way by diners who think you’re snapping them scoffing their dinner.



I love the simplicity of this and the uncomplicatedness of their pizzas. They are thin, baked to perfection and have such tasty fresh ingredients. I opted for the salami pizza which was absolutely delicious! They have a “salami of the week” (according to their Instagram this week was Chorizo) which is a great idea and a wonderful way to keep their menu up to date and fresh.

I’d long been a fan of Ply’s atmosphere long before heading there to eat. Their selection of ales if great and the wine choice is pretty good. The only thing that let them down was that there were only two ciders to choose from and, as a cider girl, I would have preferred a nice cloudy pint! I love the layout of the place and, if you’re a book lover like me, it’s a haven away from the bright bars of the Northern Quarter. Not only are their comfy sofas, there is a book swap in the corner and a monthly book group hosted by Ply itself. It’s one of those places you feel OK going to alone. Somewhere you can grab a drink and read a book, or get out your laptop, and not feel self-conscious.

A tasty burger more your thing? Head to Almost Famous. There are two restaurants, but head to the one on Deansgate as I think it’s bigger and often easier to get a seat. I am not really a red meat lover but now and again can be persuaded to try one. Housemate suggested I try the burgers and I would have food envy if I picked anything else (after all, this place is all-about the burger). When our food order arrived, I was amazed. My burger was huge, complete with deep fried macaroni ball (yes, you heard me correctly). Housemate and I also shared an order of chips with baconaise and bacon-rain. Needless to say, we both needed the long walk back to the train station. So if burgers are your bag, check out this quirky restaurant or hit Solita (Northern Quarter) or Byron Burger (Piccadilly Gardens) for something a little more traditional.

Not a burger fan? What about heading to our very own China Town for some tasty hot pot – and not the kind Betty from Corrie was talking about (although, that sounds pretty great right now). It’s not all Chinese buffets – although if you really want that, head to the huge one on Portland Street, its pretty good for the price and right next to Fab Café if you want a drink while you’re sat next to a Darlick – and there are some excellent hidden restaurants. My personal favourite? Red Hot, secreted above a bakery on the main strip in China Town. It is excellent and very affordable.

Fancy a curry? Then look no further than the legendary curry mile. A never-ending road lined with takeaways, restaurants and shisha cafes, this is the best place to head to for a Balti, Korma or a veggie delight. A little further out of town, it’s only a bus journey away in nearby Rusholme and well worth the trip. Be careful though – the restaurants flank Oxford Road, one of the busiest bus routes in Europe. Have your wits about you when you’ve had a few Cobra beers and you want to cross the road.

Want something traditional? A lover of the good Sunday roast? I am OBSSESSED with Yorkshire puddings. I could eat nothing but A HUGE plate of them with gravy. I am salivating at the thought of this right now. There are so many good places to go for traditional pub grub in Manchester but I will keep it city centre based for all you visitors out there. Head to the Northern Quarter for sandwiches and chips and great beer at Trof (the breakfasts, Sunday lunch and milkshakes are pretty great her too) or to The Blue Pig for an immense Sunday lunch feast. If you fancy a little walk through the city centre, head down to Mr Thomas’ Chop House on Cross Street (off St Ann’s Square) and feast on lamb cutlets, corned beef hash and other goodies. A place as quirky as its name – a thin building which stretches back pretty far situated in an grade II listed building – its has an atmosphere as great as its menu – the décor is excellent – and the wine isn’t too bad either!

There are also cafes galore for all those who fancy a cup of tea, slice of cake, quick bite to eat or a decadent cream tea for two. My personal favourite is Sugar Junction where I was taken for my birthday breakfast. Just check out the huge stack of mouth-watering pancakes below, complete with bacon, maple syrup and blueberries. Delicious.

So if you’re heading up North soon, or just fancy somewhere new to eat, I hope my recommendations helped and I am sorry if it left you hungry.

Thanks for reading this post and welcome back to my new #itsnotgrimupnorth series! Expect photos, tips and tales!

I’d really love to know what you think about the city and my posts, and if you’ve got any recommendations for excellent eateries in Manchester

Remember you can get in touch Twitter @EmmaYatesBadley, Facebook, or drop me an email ( Just look right for details.


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