It’s early morning and for whatever reason, you’re in Manchester – and what’s more, you have a day to play in the city. What do you do, where do you go, and more importantly, what do you eat or drink?
I’ve put together some of my recommendations, and some favourite eateries, places, and views for you, so if that one day in the city happens, you can make the most of it.
It’s a fair walk from the train station, but for something big and meaty, Beastro is the place to go. Big stacks of pancakes, a full English that would satisfy even the most beastly of appetites, and a 35 day aged steak and eggs that is making writing this really hard and I’m now suddenly hungry.
I must admit, I’ve eaten their Royal Breakfast and their Veggie Royal Breakfast here on a number of occasions and still haven’t managed to finish it. Other delightful options include their peaches on toast – served with quark, pistachio granola and honey, and their coconut porridge. You may also wish to find space in your handbag for their in house bakes, cruffins, kronuts, and sourdough specials that shouldn’t be missed.
For something with a little spicy, head to Zouk. Sweet Peshwari Naan for breakfast? Yes please. And their breakfast platter has a little bit of everything, from a selection of cheeses and baked eggs, to mushroom curry and Turkish pastries.
Full? Excellent! Now you can get cultural with Manchester Art Gallery, Whitworth Art Gallery (a personal favourite – and a nice walk from Zouk meaning you can stretch your legs), Manchester Museum where you can meet Stan, our resident T-Rex, or the Museum of Science and Industry, just a little walk away from Beastro.
Tapeo & Wine
Oh I was so tempted to save this for tea time, but no, let’s do it for lunch. Glass of wine and a plate or two or three to keep us going. One of the best tapas spots in the city, with authentic dishes and fabulous service.
1847 - Manchester
This spot creates delicious plant based food, and their lunch and pre-theatre menu is well worth a stop at lunch for a refuel. The tofu laksa in particular draws me back in for another sample, and the tomato ragu is also definitely worth a taster.
Relaxed, replete and ready for more? For the sporty amongst you a visit to Old Trafford – for football or cricket, or the Etihad Stadium is a must – all of which are just a short hop by bus or tram from the city centre. Of course if you’re more of a telly addict, then you might prefer to head to Media City and one of the BBC tours.
For me though, I’m going shopping. There are plenty of big high street names if that’s your bag. For me it’s all about independents, so I’d head to Afflecks Palace and the Manchester Craft and Design Centre to support local artists and creatives, and take a real piece of Manchester home.
Wine and dine in style with one of the best views of the city. It’s still one of the best views of Manchester, and even if you just pop in for a cocktail before dinner, it’s worth it to see the city from a completely different angle.
Randall & Aubin Spinningfields
Seafood on a different level, I can very happily recommend the seafood platters, the Champagne, the steak, even the Martinis. And if you manage to catch one of their event nights, even better.
Tast, Cuina Catalana
I do rather love it here. Elegant food, but not fussy. Attentive service without it feeling overly so. And fine dining without it feeling overwhelming. Along with tapas dishes, there are also more formal dining options, so there’s a little something for everyone.
Done? Maybe not.
Now of course, you may have to catch your train home, so maybe stop by the Piccadilly Tap before you do – lots of local beers, so you can have one for the road.
But if you have a long night ahead, then there are plenty of options.
Bars in the Northern Quarter like Dusk til Pawn and Behind Closed Doors will keep you entertained long into the night – or try something a little different with almost hidden venues like Speak in Code, Arcane and Wood & Company.
And for the morning after? Just head back to the top of this list.