News publications from London to San Francisco are naming Ancoats one of the hippest neighbourhoods in the world right now, taking over the Northern Quarter as Manchester’s coolest neighbourhood. As the Northern Quarter became more and more gentrified and prices rocketed, creatives and entrepreneurs headed to the other side of Great Ancoats Street to set up studios, cafes and bars in an area of the city which had previously been neglected. Ancoats is now a flourishing and vibrant area, regenerating the old cotton mills that line its streets as the perfect venues for a new wave of eateries. Here are some of the best.
It would be impossible to pull together a list of the best places to eat in Ancoats without mentioning Rudy’s, the cheap and cheerful pizzeria that has helped to put the neighbourhood on the map. Frequently touted as producing the best pizza in Manchester, Rudy’s is always busy but well worth the wait to taste its delightfully light pizzas. Toppings are traditional rather than eccentric, and options without cheese or a tomato base are also on offer. With prices starting at just over £5, this is one of the most affordable options for your first eating experience in Ancoats.
Squid Ink offers a set four-course menu that utilises organic produce, some of which is grown themselves. The interior is sleek and modern with a slight Scandinavian aesthetic, and bookings are essential for a seat at one of their large wooden tables. Dishes are inspired by cuisines from all around the world, with the current offering hinting at Caribbean flavours, featuring the likes of jerk chicken, curried beef and charred pineapple served with ginger sponge and rum toffee.
Mexica focuses on traditional Mexican street food with burritos, nachos and tacos the order of the day alongside a variety of beers and cocktails that add to the aesthetic. Set up for casual dining, the vibrant hues and bold murals of the interior help to create an inspiring environment in which to eat. A variety of both meat and vegetarian options are available, alongside small plates to fill up on and huge plates of loaded nachos.
Located alongside the canal with a waterside terrace perfect for al fresco dining in the summer, Vivid Lounge is a laid back café serving authentic Thai cuisine along with cups of coffee and the obligatory full English breakfast. Serving traditional breakfast dishes with a contemporary spin until 11.30 (2.30 at weekends) and tasty sandwiches for lunch, the menu then flips on its head to reveal a delectable array of Thai dishes in the evening. A true hidden gem, this is surprisingly one of the best places to order Thai food in the city.
Tapping into the American cliché of a hipster general store, this hidden gem is the perfect place to head if you’re seeking something more independent than your typical corner shop. Supporting local independent businesses, you’ll find locally sourced produce, bottled beer from local breweries and locally baked bread in amongst the toiletries, tinned food and everyday essentials. Although they don’t currently offer hot food, there is a seating area at the front of the store where you can sit and enjoy a coffee and a cake or, if you’re lucky, encounter one of the weekly street food pop-ups that set up residence every Thursday.