The third in a series bringing you Manchester's most popular neighbourhood restaurants from the suburbs and the satellites
Good food and drink stories are not all to be found in the city centre in the form of chain restaurants, or outposts of shiny London venues backed by venture capitalists. The suburbs, backstreets and neighbourhoods of Greater Manchester (and a little beyond, because why not?) are teeming with pockets of great places you really, really need to visit.
The region is home to a number of excellent neighbourhood restaurants, local treasures and word-of-mouth boltholes with great cooking and friendly, no nonsense service. These places keep their heads down and get on with the business of looking after their guests and making sure they get a good feed.
So we've had a bit of a think and have come up with another list (to go with this one and this one) of independent places across the region that you really should go and try - even if the locals would rather you didn't.
Oystercatcher – Chorlton
If one of our writers goes to this newish independent seafood restaurant in Chorlton, you can pretty much guarantee that something they ate there will turn up in that month’s best dishes round-up. Fish restaurants have struggled traditionally in Manchester city centre, but Oystercatcher has been an immediate hit with the locals since it opened last year. Owners are Recep Canliisik, once of the Lead Station and a Turk with a passion for grilling, and Duncan Ranyard whose CV includes Hispi. Here you’ll find super fresh fish and seafood complemented by Asian spices, paired with well thought out sauces, or simply given a decent char on the grill. 123 Manchester Road, Chorlton, M21 9PG. Tel: 0161 637 5890
Baekdu – Stockport
This Korean charcoal BBQ restaurant has moved about a bit, relocating from Shudehill in Manchester to Stockport in 2017. The food is a no frills, hands-on affair with chargrilled meats or fish cooked at the table (or rather in/on the table) accompanied by fresh vegetables and the Korean staple, kimchi, along with steaming bowls of warming soup, enough chilli to tickle your tonsils and some excellent Korean beer. 28-30 Lord St, Stockport SK1 3NA
Blue Nile – Stretford
Great food, good vibes and value for money is what you can expect at Stretford’s Ethiopian restaurant. It’s also BYOB so what you save on food, you can splash out on the booze. Dig in to various sharing stews (wat/we̠t’/wot) scooped alongside vegetable and lentil dishes served on a large savoury pancake-like flatbread known as injera. Don’t miss the traditional way of ending an Ethiopian meal – the coffee ceremony, where the owner, Tiggy, roasts the beans while the whole restaurant filled with the aroma of coffee, which are then ground, brewed and served strong and sweet in small cups along with a huge basket of freshly popped popcorn. 287A Talbot Rd, Stretford, Manchester M32 0YA
Hyssop at The Bull’s Head – Glossop
Walkers and locals love the relatively new food offering at the oldest pub in the area. The Bull’s Head kitchen was recently taken over by head chef Paul Sykes who has worked in esteemed kitchens headed by the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Michael Caines and Simon Rogan. He’s now settled down after the success of a number of Hyssop supper clubs and pop-up events, run with his partner Jess. The cooking is ambitious and contemporary with locally aged beef, seasonal vegetables and the odd wobbly or rib-sticking pudding. 102 Church St, Glossop SK13 7RN
Osechi – Sale
Sale’s Japanese ‘healthy food restaurant’ and takeaway offers a range of freshly made sushi, noodles, bento boxes and tempura in a tidy but basic setting. You can expect great value and even decent portions – which you don’t often hear in regard to Japanese food. There’s also a branch in Swinton if you’re more that side of town and Osechi also do outside catering if you’re planning on hosting a sushi soiree. The Square Shopping Centre, 23 School Rd, Sale M33 7XX
Kurdistan - Rusholme
Hidden away just off the famous Curry Mile, you’ll find this Middle Eastern kebab shop specialising in Kurdish cuisine. The interior is eclectic and basic, more shabby than chic, but the food is the main draw.... we're talking real deal kebabs: strips of minced beef, spice, seasoned, skewered on metal, charbroiled over wood flame. We're talking onion, chilli, turmeric cabbage, grilled tomatoes, breads from the tandoor... for little more than a fiver, it doesn't get much better. Grandale St, Manchester M14 5NS
Puccini’s – Swinton
There’s something special about this long-running, buzzing, family-run restaurant, with its enormous menu of classic Britalian dishes. Everybody seems to know about this place, and we don’t just mean loyal locals. Framed photos line the walls showing Puccini’s owner with his arm round various slebs – even Sylvester Stallone stopped by when he was in the area filming that Warburton’s commercial a few years ago. (Not sure whether the photo of David Cameron’s visit is still there though.) Yes, this is the place to come for plate sized pizzas, bubbling lasagne, belting Bolognaise and cracking carbonara. Make room for the classic sweet menu stuffed with nostaligic favourites like chocolate profiteroles, crème caramel and tiramisu, all garnished with a sprig of mint. Swinton Square, Chorley Rd, Swinton, Manchester M27 4AE
Jandol – Levenshulme
This neighbourhood Lebanese restaurant is trying to keep its cards close to its chest by banning all photography. Its interior is somewhat eccentric, decked out with chandeliers, artificial grass and plastic horses. The business started out as a Lebanese sweet wholesaler before they opened on Stockport Road and there are trays of the stuff everywhere alongside éclairs, ‘luxury fruit scones’, date pastries (maamoul) and fruit tarts wrapped in lashings of golden cellophane. The starters and sweets are the stars here. Flatbreads are warm and bountiful for scooping up masses of mezze, pickles, salads and dips followed by Turkish delight, baklawa and cardamom or mint tea. 861 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 3PW
The White Hart - Sabden
Yes, it’s a bit further out this one, but it keeps cropping up on our radar. Don’t mistake it for the ‘other’ White Hart doing great things up in Saddleworth. This White Hart is nearer to Clitheroe – somewhere that seems to be morphing into a kind of golden gastronomic triangle for excellent eating places, with no less than three locals having made the recent Estrella Damm top 50 gastropubs in the UK, plus a food hall and a cracking wine emporium not too far away. This beautiful pub restaurant in the heart of the Ribble Valley is dog friendly and has a big beer garden and a real wood fire. Inside you’ll find fresh home cooked food, a great drink selection and arguably the best custard tart in the north. 36 Padiham Rd, Sabden, Clitheroe BB7 9EW
Rad's Caribbean - Ancoats
Opened in 2013, Rad's has been feeding Ancoats long before the artisan bakers and fine dining fussers moved in. And this hidden away Caribbean/English takeaway has steadily built a strong reputation for authentic food, friendly staff and homemade ginger beer. Locals drop in for the saltfish fritters and the jerk chicken – some say 'the best in the city' (plenty of competition there, mind). You can even ask for tasters if you’re not sure what you fancy. 62 Jersey St, Manchester M4 6AD