One of the nicest things about Manchester is discovering its hidden gems – there are some really lovely places tucked away and they’re great finds for the people who stumble upon them. After working in the city centre for 3 years I’ve eaten lunch in a lot of places, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite lunchtime spots that you might not know about.
This cute café is my happy little secret. You’d only find it if you were exploring the Manchester Craft and Design Centre, which is pretty quiet most of the time. It’s in a really nice spot with the sun pouring through the glass roof of the Craft centre and there is even a bit of outdoor seating. It’s great if you fancy something a bit different and their fresh and interesting menu (which changes daily) includes homemade soups, interesting salads, quiches, stews and cakes.
Although it’s the most expensive of my lunchtime recommendations, Solita is worth the money if you’re looking for seriously indulgent burgers and tasty fries. It’s tucked away down a side-street so you have to be looking for it to find it, but it’s definitely worth a trip!
There is no way I’d ever have stumbled upon Richmond Tea Rooms tucked away behind Canal Street so it is the very definition of a Hidden Gem. The décor is very “Alice in Wonderland” and the cakes are massive, so what other reason do you need? Read about my first visit.
I’ve mentioned Allotment fairly recently as it’s quite a recent addition to Manchester’s Northern Quarter, and I’ve tried their picnic basket afternoon tea (well worth the money) as well as lunch a couple of times. The food is tasty, the prices are great, plus the garden theme is quirky and makes for pleasant lunchtime surroundings. Read my review here.
Proper Tea is close to the shops but tucked away by Manchester Cathedral. It feels very bright, spacious and relaxed and has lovely surroundings and quirky-yet-stylish décor. They are tea experts so you can expect an extensive selection of teas, and their lunch menu is small but perfectly formed with toasted sandwiches, soups and salads. Plus cake!
You might notice Rosylee if you happen to be passing on a sunny day because of the popular outdoor seating area, but because it’s out of the way at the far end of the Northern Quarter you might never be passing! It has a lovely chic interior and an outdoor space, which is always busy when the weather is good. They have a lunch/early evening menu with 2 courses for £12.95, as well as a selection of sandwiches and salads, grills and homemade chunky chips. Yum! Read about my first visit.
It’s recently reopened in a new location which is slightly further from the main shopping area, so although it is already very popular with the locals and the people who work in the Northern Quarter, I still class it as a Hidden Gem. It’s a bit different to my other recommendations as it’s a no-frills, cheap-and-cheerful café which does a great full English all-day breakfast for just £6.50 including tea or coffee. I’ve never felt the need to try anything else off the menu as the breakfast really hits the spot.
I’ve visited Sugar Junction so many times now that I forget that some people are yet to discover it. It’s a lovely vintage-style teashop and one of my favourite places in the Northern Quarter, complete with mismatched china tea sets and amazing homemade cakes. I always enjoy the food too, from their breakfast options (eggs, waffles or French toast) as well as their sandwiches, salads and lunches. I had an amazing bread and butter pudding there once too! Read my review here.
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