Manchester Social Student-made

Don’t hate it ‘til you try it: Manchester’s most iconic food & drink venues

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As one of the most multi-cultural cities in the UK, Manchester is known for some great food and drink venues. And that’s not to mention the reputation of the city as a home for a multitude of independent traders too.

Although I’ve only been a student here for just over a year, I’ve quickly learnt there’s a lot of places which are effectively Manchester institutions. Some might even argue that it’s almost a crime not to visit them at least once. By no means is this a definitive list, but here’s my roundup of the ones worth a try. 


Ask anyone where to go for pizza in Manchester and nine times out of ten they will probably mention Rudy’s. First hitting the streets of Manchester back in 2015, they now boast 5 sites across the city. You might be wondering, what’s so special about a pizzeria? I’ll tell you – the dough. Rudy’s do a soft, thin base with a fluffy crust: heaven on a plate. I admit it’s hard to get a margarita pizza wrong, but even the classics are top tier. Rotating specials keep the menu fresh, a perfect excuse to keep visiting. 

The Hip Hop Chip Shop

Back in May, it was named as the second-best chip shop in the UK. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, with bright posters littering the walls. The chip shop also doubles as a music venue, so don’t be alarmed if your meal is accompanied by a DJ set. 

There’s plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, so can be a crowd-pleasing option for your next meal out. The chippy supports plenty of local charities and has been able to donate over 5,000 meals to those in need. 

Seven Bro7hers

Like many other eateries and bars on this list, Seven Bro7hers was founded right here in Manchester. A family-owned brewery (by, funnily enough, seven brothers) serving locally made craft beer. Expect to try IPAs flavoured with watermelon, honeycomb, or pineapple, alongside the classics. 

Northern Soul Grilled Cheese

According to the eatery, Northern Soul Grilled Cheese is the UK’s first grilled cheese restaurant. Dishing out tasty upgrades to the classic comfort food, this is the place to go if you’re craving a filling lunch option. And pickle lovers unite – all of their toasties are served with a giant pickle on top.


It is simply impossible to narrow down Chinatown to one restaurant. Whilst the Manchester Chinatown cannot envy London’s in size, think of Manchester’s Chinatown as the London Chinatown’s baby cousin.

Two of my recommendations would be WAZUZHI and YUZU. Serving up ramen, sushi, teppanyaki, rice and noodle dishes, WAZUZHI does a great evening and weekend set menu at £12.50 per person. And for something a little more upmarket, check out YUZU. Described by Jay Rayner as like eating inside “an elegant, well-lit wardrobe,” the restaurant specialises in Japanese tapas. Think understated yet well executed classics. 

The Curry Mile 

Like Chinatown, it would be practically offensive to narrow down to just one place on The Curry Mile as an iconic eatery. Home to the largest concentration of South Asian restaurants in the UK, most students will walk or take the bus past it daily. Some honourable mentions are Jaffa for Lebanese mezze and Chit n Chaat for great veggie options, with Ziyas and Al Madina being solid choices for a good curry and Mughli Charcoal Pit for a unique take on Indian cuisine.

The Washroom

A fun speakeasy-type bar to take your pals as a chance to show off a ‘cool’ venue. Maybe a tad pricey for a student budget but a good one to take the parents. 

Science & Industry in the Northern Quarter is also a shout for the same vibe, serving up cocktails which push the boundaries of mixology. 

Mackie Mayor

This is the first place I ever ate at in Manchester: a very reliable food court with options ranging from pizzas and burgers to thai green curry, ramen and tacos. Mackie Mayor sits at the edge of the Northern Quarter and is the only remaining fully intact building from the former Smithfield market. 

Worth visiting Escape to Freight Island, Society, Arndale Food Market and the food hall at New Century for a similar experience! 


With three sites, including one on Oxford Road, Federal is infamous for its brunch. More likely than not you’ve seen the queues and it’s for good reason. With breakfast, all-day brunch and lunch options too, you’ve got no excuse but to brave the wait. 

In Manchester, there’s always somewhere new opening as well as long-established eateries and bars, so don’t be afraid to get stuck into what the city has to offer as a place for foodies!