How is it August already? Somehow, this summer has felt like the shortest one yet. Perhaps it’s all that miserable rain we’ve been having, perhaps the allure of ‘freedom’ post-Covid lockdowns is finally wearing off.
No matter, though. Even if you’re feeling a bit meh (as I evidently am) about this wonderful British summertime we’re, there’s always food to turn to – and that, as we know, makes everything better. Failing that, there’s always a drink. Or a few.
So, on that note, keep reading to discover the best new bars and restaurants opening in Greater Manchester this August – because there are some really good ones to look forward to.
New Zealand cafe and barista school Allpress Espresso opens in Manchester city centre this month, taking up a unit in NOMA’s Redfern Building.
The specialty coffee roasters already supplies the likes of Manchester’s Trove, Erst, Carhartt, Patagonia, and Campanio, but now fans of its coffee will be able to go straight to the source.
This new cocktail bar in Sale comes from the brains behind the excellent Riddles in Altrincham, aka Beth Ellison, and Paul Rooney of the market town’s famous football bar, Libero.
Natural wine and locally-sourced craft beers will be plentiful in number, as well as cocktails embracing the more Italian, bitter end of the spectrum like negronis, spritzes and aperitivos.
Gooey Counter at Selfridges Trafford
Manchester’s favourite sugar dealers return to Selfridges Trafford this month with another cookie and donut counter, featuring classics like red velvet cookies and Kinderella donuts alongside a host of rotating specials including the newly-returned giant Rolo cookie.
Shoppers will be able to pick a single treat or take home a mixed box of six or eight cookies, donuts and cinnamon buns.
Part of a new £3.5m development at Salford Quays, this new food hall comes from Liverpool operator Blend Family, also behind the Cutlery Works in Sheffield (British Street Food Awards 2022 ‘Food Hall of the Year) and The GPO in Liverpool.
Set to be one of the biggest foodie openings of the year, food traders announced so far include Ad Maiora, Tang’s Hot Pot, Rio Mex, Baity, Nori, What’s Your Beef, Leopard Pie, Vnam, Boba Cha, Bab K, Nila’s Burmese Kitchen.
Maki and Ramen
First opened by chef founder Teddy Lee in 2015, May sees Scottish-born sushi and noodle restaurant Maki and Ramen open its doors in Manchester.
Set to open just off Piccadilly Gardens on York Street later this month, it will be the chain’s first north west site.
Diners can expect to find various tonkotsu-based ramens, an array of nigiri and maki rolls, and large sushi sharing platters on the menu, plus the likes of gyoza, teriyaki, pumpkin croquettes and karaage chicken.
Slice Culture, Track Brewing Co Taproom
Slinging out Neapolitan pies from Track Brewing Co’s Taproom on Back Piccadilly, find classic pizza 12″ combos like pepperoni and hot honey, nduja and margherita on the menu here alongside some more surprising additions.
The romesco marinara makes an interesting alternative for vegans, whilst the herbed honey pesto four cheese pizza also sounds well worth a try.
This cute little health store on Stockport’s Underbanks has just had a refresh, and owners have added a new menu of healthy snacks, fresh juices, health shots and tea.
Think protein balls, chocolate shards and dates stuffed with sweet treats, plus fresh juices like the Uplifter (orange, ginger, carrots and lemon), Sneaky Greens (apple, spinach, kale, pear, cucumber) and Revitalise (fennel, coriander, lime, apple and cucumber).
The Northern Quarter’s original gaming bar is getting a glow-up this month as it moves from its old home into a new, bigger space next door.
NQ64 takes over the old Dive bar unit, transforming its outdoor terrace with the addition of new arcade games. Inside, meanwhile, specially-designed booths and banquette seating will make room for more customers and even more games.
Having first made their name in Swinton, the local lads behind That Burger Place hae opened a test kitchen at The Height in Salford.
Those heading down will find plenty of new stuff on the menu to try, as well as old favourites like pizza fries and smashed burgers. The team has also collaborated with Bury baker LIttle Blonde Bakes to create some special New York deli cookies.
Insomnia Cookies, City Centre
Famed in the States for its warm, gooey-centred cookie delivery, which runs until 3am every day, cult American bakery Insomnia Cookies is making its way to Manchester.
The chain is opening two new sites in Manchester this month, marking its arrival in the UK. Soon enough, you’ll be able to get your fix of chunky ice cream sandwiches, cookies, pancakes and more on both Cross Street in the city centre and University Green on Oxford Road.
Must Be Micky’s, Ply NQ
Formerly known as Mira and famed for its saucy butties, these popular Manchester sandwich makers have returned to the city following a rebrand.
Serving out of the kitchen at Ply in the Northern Quarter from 11.30am-4pm Tuesday to Sunday, find posh crisp butties, homemade cream sodas and crispy roast potato sides in abundance.
This cool little wine shop and bar has already made a name for itself up on Burton Road, now it’s making its way into town with a second site.
Taking over the former Neon Tiger on Bridge Street, find top-quality wines to drink in or take away plus ‘fancy snacks’ in the form of caviar-loaded crisps, charcuterie, pickles, Gordal olives and more.
This authentic Ethiopian and Eritrean favourite has recently landed at Hatch on Oxford Road serving up its flavourful East African curries on spongy, fermented injera bread.
With a huge range of tasty vegan curries on offer, you’ll also find street food-style burgers and loaded fries topped with the likes of fried lamb, cheese and grilled chicken.
Things to do and try in August
Wingfest at Love Factory, 12 & 13 August – The UK’s biggest chicken wing festival returns to Manchester this year, showcasing the best traders from home and across the country as well as hosting fiery food challenges.
Maker’s Market in Prestwich, 13 August – Prestwich gets its first ever Maker’s Market this month, bringing together foodie traders like upcoming Masa Bakery with arts and craft stalls. Head down and grab a sourdough.
Perilla x Higher Ground, 13 August – Higher Ground welcome friends Ben Marks and Matthew Emmerson to Manchester for a special collaborative lunch. Ben, one of the finest cooks in London, opened Perilla with Matthew in 2016. It has quickly become a mainstay in London for its level of cooking and hospitality. Joseph Otway and Ben Mark will be cooking a set sharing menu for £58 per person celebrating the finest summer bounty from Cinderwood Market Garden and Jane’s Farm Shop.
10 Tib Lane & Friends, 17 August – 10 Tib Lane celebrates their 2nd birthday with an all-star night, with contributions from friends across the city. Each special will be available from 6pm.
On the bar, with contributions from Speak in Code, Hawksmoor, Blinker and Red Light: – Lavender & Lovage / Matt Morgan / Speak in CodeSipsmith Gin, Dolin Dry Vermouth, Lavender Liqueur, Blueberry, Lovage –Fig Leaf Daisy / Rory Carrodus / Blinker Plymouth Gin, Tio Pepe, Lemon, Fig & Bay Leaf Cordial – Calyptra / Manjari Kesavan / Red Light Dolin Dry, Cocchi Torino, Wild Turkey Rye, Benedictine, Bitters – Champagne Cocktail / David Cole / Hawksmoor Seven Tails XO, Pineau Des Charentes, Champagne, JasmineFrom the Kitchen;Sardines, Holy Grain Birthday bread, Tomato & Piquillo Pepper Concasse Pear Tarte Tatin, Pevensey Blue from Crafty Cheeseman, Watercress Salad Ex Dairy Dry Aged Ribeye, Bone Marrow Butter from Littlewoods Birthday Cake Ice Cream, Raspberry Jelly
A natural wine tasting at Plattfields Market Garden, 21 August – Does what it says on the tin. Sample quality low-intervention wines from across Europe from 6.30-8.30pm and enjoy some paired canapes from Manchester Urban Diggers’ chef Emily Witts.
Festa Italiana at Cathedral Gardens, 25-27 August – Festa Italiana, the UK’s biggest Italian food festival hosted annually in Manchester, will return for its sixth season this August bank holiday weekend. Find street food traders, cooking demos, a banquet feast and plenty more at this free-to-attend event.
Whenever it gets cold and rainy (which is at least 75% of the time here in Manchester), there is nothing we like more than slurping on a steaming hot bowl of noodles and broth, so it’s a good job we’ve got some of the best ramen places in the country.Yeah, we said it.
For many people, ramen still conjures up images of Pot Noodles and packet food you simply ping in the microwave or stick the kettle on for, but the truth is that the Japanese comfort dish with roots in China, Korea, Indonesia and all over the world is a deeply rich cuisine has decades of culture behind it.
It isn’t just a case of dumping any old carbs in a bowl of soup and sprinkling a few bits and bobs on top: the very best ramen chefs in the world pride themselves on the expert craft of slaving over broths for days, perfecting homemade noods and fine-tuning the dish into something more gourmet and special.
Fortunately, there are plenty of people who take ramen seriously here in Manchester and serve up bowls made with just as much finesse as love — here are some of the best:
Starting off with a noodle bar that has been duking it out for the top spot on Manchester city centre’s ramen scene for years now, Tokyo Ramen is and always will be one of our absolute favourites.
Being the first place responsible for introducing us to fried chicken in our ramen and experts at tweaking their broths with various types of tare, there’s a reason this place is walk-in only because not only does it pride itself on its informal setting but it would be booked out all year-round otherwise.
Known not only for a small but superb menu of four different bowls of broth, noodles and toppings but popular Japanese sodas, twists on classic cocktails and an absolutely banging playlist (we couldn’t not shout it out), for many people Tokyo will always be one of if not the best ramen place in Manchester.
2. Maki and Ramen – Central
Next up is a relatively new addition to 0161: Maki and Ramen. Starting out with one restaurant in Edinburgh before going on several more and then sister sites in Glasgow, Leeds and now Manchester, we have literally no complaints about their start to life in our city. Even their takeaway containers are ace.
From founder Teddy Lee‘s time studying the art of both ramen and sushi making in the heart of Tokyo to being welcomed through the doors with the banging of a drum as all the staff shout a traditional Japanese greeting, you get that feeling of authenticity right from the off.
The sushi, side plates and other mains are all genuinely delicious too but we all know what you’re here for and while the classic tonkotsu never misses, the steak tataki is lovely and creamy and the salmon miso one is a nice light take on things, we’ve never had anything quite like their black garlic ramen. Wow.
The 2.0 site has all the charm of its parent pop-up and is still ordering in the freshest and most sustainable Japanese ingredients available. You can get your standard miso and shoyu ramen, but specials like the chicken and meatball are so lip-smackingly umami we can never get enough, and the spicy lamb Tantanmen is just unreal.
We won’t lie, it helps that the new place is literally right around the corner from The Manc office but we’ve been enjoying their hearty bowls for a hot minute and now they’ve even got ex-CBRB chefs working in the kitchen for all you former ‘Girl Gang’ members (guilty as charged).
Formerly known as Wasabi, which itself was already a popular and budget-friendly little city centre spot for a good while, this Faulkner Street gem is basically the same ramen and sushi restaurant just levelled up, open six days a week and, once again, walk-in only.
Offering some of the more unique concoctions we’ve stumbled across in Manchester, including the likes of roast duck tonkotsu, ramen filled with nothing but broth and gyozas and the Chef Special packed with all the best proteins, this place unsurprisingly gets a lot of Chinatown footfall.
In at number five is Lucky Ramen which is based out of the Mule coffee shop over in Ancoats and only comes out when the intimate little spot tucked away into the side of a building on Blossom Street turns into a cult favourite ramen and sushi bar in the evenings.
Chiming perfectly with the immaculate and stylish design of the interior, this place promises clean and complex flavours served in colourful bowls topped with the freshest ingredients. We’ll say one thing, though, don’t expect ladles upon ladles of broth here: it’s all about savouring things — and you can always fill up on sushi.
6. Samsi – Central
As we cross the halfway mark, we’re going aiming for smack bang in the middle of the ramen experiences here in Manchester and one of the longest-standing places on this list: Samsi.
Situated near the Gay Village and not far from Piccadilly Station and Oxford Road, Samsi has been sitting as a go-to food spot for all things ramen and Japanese cooking not only thanks to its central location but because of its reputation for delivering no-nonsense but traditional and incredibly tasty food.
It might look somewhat unassuming from the outside but the second you step inside to see the cherry blossoms and red accents, you’re already transported. All that being said, their beef and Jagoki chicken ramen are the stuff of legend and the ‘Kinoko’ might be one of the best veggie ramen we’ve ever had.
Stepping out of the city centre and into the reaches of Chorlton, we’re heading to another ramen place that prides not only on its authenticity but being one of the best when it comes to price point.
Boasting queues that went all down the road and around the corner after Sacha Lord chose to pay for everyone’s billin August 2023, Shogun Ramen went from feeling like one of our best-kept secrets and instant recommendations to friends out-of-town to one on everyone’s list of must-try food spots.
We can’t speak highly enough of this place but we have tried in the past, and if we can tell you one thing is that more people should make and eat chicken teriyaki ramen. They even do kid-sized portions — though we assure you they’ll be asking for more.
8. Mr Su’s – Oxford Road Corridor
Ok, getting to the business end of things now and if you’ve not jumped on the Mr Su‘s hype train yet, what are you playing at?
Joining the ever-growing list of food and drink units at Circle Square, Mr Su’s is flying the flag for the Chinese side of the dish and while it might be simply listed as ‘noodle soup’ on the menu, there can be no mistakes as to the rich tradition you’re enjoying here.
With over 20 different types of noodles, five different broths and 30 different fresh and authentic ingredients to choose from, you can essentially build a different and potentially perfect ramen, noodle soup, hot pot or whatever you want to call it every time you visit. A real interactive experience.
From one Leeds fave to another, House of Fu is our penultimate pick and another newbie here in Manchester, but it inserted itself into the top 10 places to go for ramen the second almost immediately.
It might have started out in Yorkshire but we couldn’t give these lot a warmer welcome as the noodle bar serves up some of the nicest scran you could ask for when the weather’s a bit crap. If their trademark ‘Spicy Fu’ or incredible kimchi and cheese ramen doesn’t sort you out, nothing will. Their broths are also thicker and creamier than most and that can only be a good thing.
This place also has the bonus of not only a wide selection of other non-noodle-based items, as well as some pretty banging cocktails, but it also has private rooms and a karaoke bar downstairs after you’ve finished fuelling up. Ramen, booze and a sing-song — what’s not to like?
Last but not least, this list of the top 10 ramen spots in Manchester wouldn’t feel like we’d done it right without adding in another relative newcomer which has quickly become one of the most popular in The Manc office, and that’s Suki Suki.
Chuckle at the name all you like, these lot know what they’re doing and after trying virtually everything on the menu at their Great Northern site, we can confirm the ramen is up there with some of the very best stuff they do — and they do a lot really well.
From soft-shell crab, prawns, karaage chicken, char sui pork and more to choose from as your toppings as well as four different broths — miso, shoyu, tonkotsu and their take on a curry ramen — we promise each bowl is the umami bomb you’re hoping for and you’ll neck every last drop.
And that’s it, that’s your list of the top 10 ramen places in Manchester — or at least what we believe is the best we’ve had from the region’s budding scene.
Thankfully, this is just a drop in the MSG-infused ocean of noodle spots across the various cuisines in the city overall and there are literally too many of them to mention, so we’ll all have to go away, do our research and reconvene when it comes to the best Chinese hot pots, bowls of pho, laksa and so on.
Inside Piccolino Grande, the £2m Wilmslow eatery set to transport you straight to the streets of Tuscany
The highly anticipated new Piccolino Grande opened its doors this week, showcasing the very best of Italian hospitality.
The Piccolino brand is well-known for its decadent food, opulent interiors and outstanding service, and their newest venture in Wilmslow is no exception.
Following a £2m transformation, Piccolino Grande on Swan Street is a real feast for all the senses.
Elegant marble and brass interiors, a show stopping traditional copper clad pizza oven taking centre stage and a beautiful Winterised Tuscan terrace complete with terracotta flooring – this is Piccolino’s most stylish dining experience to date.
And it doesn’t stop at the interiors, guests at Piccolino Grande in Wilmslow can dine on an exclusive menu created especially for the restaurant.
We were lucky enough to sample dishes from their bespoke menu, and it certainly did not disappoint.
From wafer thin Carpaccio Di Salmon topped with a zingy apple salsa to perfectly pink Bistecca Alla Fiorentina (steak to you and I), this is fresh Italian cooking at its finest.
A standout dish was the Tortellini Di Manzo, an indulgent slow cooked beef shin filled pasta, tossed in savoury sage butter and topped with lashings of parmesan of course.
Paired with a glass of Italian red wine from their specialist wine cabinet, this truly was a match made in heaven.
But what sets this restaurant apart from the rest is the proper Italian hospitality, from the minute you walk through the door to the moment your last glass of wine is poured you’ll be treated to faultless service.
So if you fancy escaping the city centre for an evening to experience the Italian way of dining, then Piccolino Grande is the place for you.
Whether it be to enjoy a cocktail at their elegant bar or to enjoy a meal with friends, you can rest assured you will be welcomed with open arms. To find out more and to book your table, take a look at Piccolino’s website.