The Best Cheap Eats in Manchester

Northern Soul grilled cheese street food on Church Street in The Northern Quarter
Northern Soul grilled cheese street food on Church Street in The Northern Quarter | © Scott Hortop Travel / Alamy Stock Photo
Simon Bland

Manchester offers something to tickle any type of taste bud, with its thriving street-food scene serving locally sourced delicacies from food trucks and emerging, usually well hidden, eateries scattered across the city. The out-of-the-way independents and bustling food halls are favoured by locals and offer the best value for money. You’ve got to know where to look to find them – so here are a few picks to whet your appetite.

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Sample award-winning pizza at Rudy’s

Serving slice of ham and mushroom pizza with close up on stringy melted mozzarella cheese

It didn’t take long for word to spread about Rudy’s appetising Neapolitan pizzas. Debuting on Ancoats’ Cotton Street in 2015 and named after founders Jim Morgan and Kate Wilson’s little dog, the venue’s fast-and-easy style became a quick hit with locals, who’d queue for hours to get a pizza cooked inside their wood-burning stove. Shortly after they were featured in the prestigious Where To Eat Pizzas world guide, a second, larger space was unveiled in the centre of town on Peter Street. At around £9 a pizza, they’re great value for money but expect a wait. On average, it takes about 40 minutes to bag a seat. But there are plenty of bars to visit nearby to kill the time.

The Hatch, a food and drink outlet built from shipping containers, under the Mancunian Way flyover, Oxford Road, Manchester, England, UK

Taking inspiration from London’s Boxpark pop-up, Hatch is a series of colourful shipping-containers housing street food vendors, bars and independent shops. Located right in the middle of Manchester’s student-focused Oxford Road, you’ll often find undergrads enjoying one of Parmageddon’s locally famous chicken-parm sandwiches or devouring Herbivorous’ range of vegan burgers and loaded fries, dripping with barbecue jackfruit. Its ever-changing selection of traders, combined with a price point that’s around the tenner mark, makes this hugely popular hang-out the perfect place to grab a bite to eat without breaking the bank.

Indulge in a cheesy treat at Northern Soul Grilled Cheese

Think a grilled cheese sandwich isn’t worthy of a sit-down meal? You clearly haven’t experienced Northern Soul Grilled Cheese. With a number of venues across the city centre (Piccadilly Approach, Tib Street and Church Street), their cheesy treats offer an indulgent twist on the traditional snack. Dripping with cheddar and packed with fillings such as mac and cheese, spiced sausage and barbecue pulled pork, these sandwiches are a local favourite. It even appeared on an episode of Adam Richman’s TV series Man Vs Food. Mac pots, loaded fries and nachos are also available, each costing less than £8. Simply put, it’s a must-visit.

Fill your boots at Bunny Jacksons

Bunny Jacksons Manchester

How many chicken wings do you reckon you could eat in one sitting? Head to Bunny Jacksons and you might just find out. Located in an up-and-coming area just by Oxford Road, this First Street dive bar made waves when it announced it was offering all-you-can eat 10p wings. Manchester foodies ate the deal up – quite literally – and the venue quickly adapted by offering a range of glaze options and upping the price, but only by 10p. To take advantage of this deal all you have to do is order a drink at the bar after their kitchen opens at 5pm and you can sink your teeth into as many 20p wings as your stomach can handle. After a little variety? Hotdogs for 50p are also available for those who really want to splash out.

Make it Mexican with Pancho’s Burritos

Hearty Chorizo Breakfast Burrito with Eggs, Cheese, and Hashbrowns

Manchester has a pretty strong burrito game but if you’re after authentic Mexican flavours and a real foodie bargain then it’s got to be Pancho’s Burritos. When it comes to cheap eats in Manchester, this tiny restaurant packs a punch. They’re located in the Arndale Market, the independently populated food hall near the back of the city’s primary shopping centre, and offer a range of burritos tightly packed with chipotle-glazed beef, pork in lime, chicken or even tofu fajita. The medium chico burrito is enough to fill you up at around £7. The grande is only 80p more.

Enjoy a light lunch at Katsouris Deli

Katsouris Deli Cafe in Deansgate, Manchester, England, UK.

If you’re after something light to set you up for a day of sightseeing, visit Katsouris Deli. For over a decade they’ve been serving up sandwiches and salads to hungry city-centre workers and visitors alike, all from their ornate building located right in the heart of Deansgate. Half a sandwich will set you back around £4, while going the whole hog and ordering a full one will only cost about £3.50 more. Generously loaded and served in a toasted ciabatta, Katsouris sandwiches probably offer the best-value lunch deal in town. Meanwhile, their carvery features a hot meal alternative for those feeling extra hungry.

Enter small-plate heaven at Bundobust

Indian street food and craft beer bar Bundobust is a shining gem amongst the restaurant chains of Piccadilly Gardens. Venture down its wooden stairway and you’ll be met with a sprawling food hall, complete with casual canteen-style benches and a glorious glass skylight. Don’t expect a typical Indian menu though. Bundobust specialises in small plates with modern takes on traditional dishes, designed to be enjoyed with friends. Start with the Okra Fries at £4.50 before moving onto the £6 Vada Pav with its deep-fried mash potato ball in a brioche bun. Feeling adventurous? You can order every single thing on the menu for just £78.

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