Rapper Big Zuu has upset everyone with his list of the best restaurants in Manchester

'Is this a joke?'

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 1st February 2024

Rapper Big Zuu has grown quite a reputation as a foodie personality, receiving rave reviews with his new ITV series Big Zuu’s 12 Dishes in 12 Hours.

So when he teamed up with the prestigious Conde Nast Traveller to share a list of the best restaurants in Manchester, expectations were high.

Most of us expected him to dig out some authentic little local gems – and he did almost exactly the opposite.

Big Zuu’s favourite restaurants have been labelled by fans as, quite bluntly, ‘bulls**t’.

So where did he think was worthy of a place on his top five restaurants? Was it the Michelin-approved independents like The Sparrows or the newly-Bib-Gourmand Higher Ground, or cosy local favourites like Erst or Bar San Juan? Yeah, not exactly.


Instead, Big Zuu has chosen a selection of mostly chain restaurants, with a couple of actual Manchester businesses chucked in for good measure. Though he calls the city ‘Mani’ the whole way through which is a little controversial. 

At the top of his list comes San Carlo, the Italian restaurant group that you can find in several major UK cities at this point. 


Big Zuu said it’s his favourite place to go before a night out, stating that it’s ‘big and extravant but not very expensive’. 

The grime star and TV personality also said that his favourite dish to order at San Carlo is the half-and-half pizza. 

Next up? Jimmy’s Killer Prawns, which to be fair is a fun place to eat if you don’t mind wearing latex gloves and a plastic bib – but doesn’t exactly scream authentic Manchester to us. 


Big Zuu said he hasn’t actually visited the Liverpool Road restaurant, and prefers to order his mountains of prawns for delivery, and said ‘it’s great value – you just can’t go wrong’. 

He also listed Dishoom, an Indian group that started down in London but has indeed become of Manchester’s most popular restaurants since opening on Bridge Street in 2018. 

Our site of Dishoom its ‘own flavour’ apparently, and Big Zuu raved about the daal and naan bread. 

He said: “I’ve got a real soft spot for the Manchester one. It’s big and a little bit easier to get into. I love the décor: it’s in a beautiful building, with beautiful architecture” – and no one could argue with him about that. 

Big Zuu gave a shout-out to Chorlton’s The Drop Bar Cafe, a Caribbean restaurant famed for its ‘Hench Boxes’. 


He said: “Most places people go to in Manchester are in the city centre, but this is out near Old Trafford, so this is a bit out there.”

Big Zuu continued: “They do a Caribbean Sunday roast and it’s just so good. You can get everything you want – lamb, chicken and all the usual sides like coconut rice with peas and fried plantain. And there is an epic ‘reggae roast,’ which is jerk chicken with things like mac ‘n’ cheese and the ‘veggie rasta roast,’ which is toasted pumpkin.”

And his final pick went to Chai Latte Cafe on Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter, which he said ‘may not be the best in the universe’ but is good after a night out when you’re ‘starving’. 

Siri, show me a bigger back-handed compliment. 

Since sharing Big Zuu’s insights on social media, Conde Nast Traveller has received a fair few comments questioning his choices. 


One person asked on Instagram: “Is this a joke?”

Another said: “When you have chain restaurants in a guide to the BEST a city can offer… I think we know its a bulls**t guide! Thank you, next.”

Someone else posted: “I doubt that in the city with one of the coolest food scenes the top 5 restaurants are almost all chain restaurants…”

And another wrote: “This is a wack list and nobody calls it ‘Mani’”

And one final cynic shared: “This looks like the restaurants w the biggest PR budget.”

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Featured image: ITV