The 8 Best Restaurants in Manchester's Northern Quarter

Northern Quarter
Northern Quarter | Duncan Hill / Flickr
Emma Lavelle

The Northern Quarter may be known for its late night drinking dens but it is also home to an ever-expanding array of restaurants offering everything from cheap bites to refined dining. Whether you prefer fried chicken, sourdough pizza or Asian finger-food, there’s something for everyone. Here’s our round-up of our 10 favourite Northern Quarter eateries for evening dining.

1. PLY

Pizzeria, Restaurant, British, Gluten-free, Vegan

If you’re in the mood for pizza, there’s several options in the neighbourhood but PLY is the obvious choice if you’re searching for sourdough crusts and a party atmosphere. Gluten-free and vegan options are readily available on a menu that caters for the traditionalists with all of the toppings that you’d expect to see on a Neapolitan menu. The large industrial space fuses bar and restaurant rather than allocating separate areas, creating a buzzing ambiance that’s easy to get swept up in – their classic cocktails make the perfect accompaniment to a pizza and side salad.

2. Cottonopolis

Bar, Diner, Restaurant, Japanese, Sushi, Asian

The most sophisticated eatery in the Northern Quarter, Cottonopolis is located within a Grade II-listed building on the edge of the neighbourhood. Based around four concepts of ice, fire, steam and oil, the restaurant serves small Asian grazing plates that are designed to be shared among groups of diners. The presentation is perfection — you’ll find yourself wanting to Instagram every dish before tasting.

3. El Capo

Restaurant, Mexican, Central American, Vegetarian, Street Food

By far the best Mexican restaurant in the Northern Quarter, El Capo’s cavern-like surroundings in the basement below its bar helps to add to the atmosphere. Grab a table in the intimate space and enjoy a variety of small plates, chicken wings and Mexican street food. The DIY taco boards and chocolate chilli are firm favourites, while the Diablo chicken wings are an intriguing challenge for anyone who claims to love extra spicy cuisine.

5. Tariff & Dale

Restaurant, Bar, Contemporary, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Fast Food

You’ll be spoilt for choice with the menu at the new Tariff & Dale. Their eclectic offering includes an antipasti selection, sourdough pizza, a diverse array of mains and even a selection of speciality sausage rolls. Enter through the bar before descending to the basement to discover a cosy yet elegant eatery that is making itself known thanks to its delicious food and impeccable service.

6. Dough

Pizzeria, Restaurant, Italian, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Seafood

Another option for pizza in the Northern Quarter, Dough is a firm favourite of the locals. Offering a variety of both traditional and eclectic toppings, they cater for anyone with a love of Italian food, with dough-sticks, pasta and salads as alternatives. The dough is made fresh on site using a secret recipe (wholewheat and gluten-free options available) and their delicious tangy tomato sauce is achieved by combining a variety of plum, cherry and sun blushed tomatoes to create a truly unique pizza.

7. The Pen & Pencil

Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, American, British

Taking their name from the infamous New York bar frequented by journalists in the 20th century, Pen & Pencil is a relative newcomer to the Northern Quarter restaurant scene. Offering tried and tested classic such as salads, steaks and sliders, there’s definitely an American aesthetic but it’s not forced upon you. If you’re not feeling particularly peckish, grab a group of friends and share a selection of their tasty small plates.

8. Yard & Coop

Restaurant, Mediterranean, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, American, Vegetarian

Forget Nandos – if you’re serious about your chicken, Yard & Coop is the best chicken joint in the city. Specialising in buttermilk fried chicken, the concept is obvious as soon as you enter the door, barnyard references screaming out wherever you look. The choice is kept simple: select chicken breast, thigh or a vegetarian halloumi alternative then select from a variety of spicy, sticky and sweet sauces before making the difficult decision between fries or salad and adding on sides.

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