From coffee and croissants to experimental fine dining and late night cocktails - make the most of Manchester's most exciting neighbourhood
Whereas once a trot around Ancoats would have you tripping over sickly urchins and dodging razor-happy street gangs amongst overcrowded slums and thundering warehouses, now you're more likely to trip over a half-eaten cruffin discarded by some digital marketeer outside a Vietnamese street food diner - the one next to the Japanese tea place.
Once the heart of industrial Manchester, Ancoats is now the epicentre of all that is new and hip in the city's food and drink scene. The coming of shiny new apartment blocks and amenities has initiated a rush to feed all of these young, trendy incomers, with their empty bellies, disposable incomes and penchant for artisanal anything.
The last few years have seen a number of the region’s most exciting food and drink businesses open in the area. Here we’ve collected our favourites together in a handy guide with the best spots to eat, drink and be merry. It's a long one because lots of Ancoats spots are noteworthy.
Here are the best places to eat and drink in Ancoats.
Blue Eyed Panda is one of those unassuming spots that looks a bit "meh" from the outside. However, inside it delivers the colours, flavours and culinary offerings from the Szechuan and Cantonese regions of China with a menu full of spicy meats and deep-fried bao desserts. The spicy food of the Szechaun region includes tofu, poached meat dishes and soft shell crab, whilst the Cantonese offerings encompass everything from veggie stir fries to char siu pork.
3 Jersey Street Corner of Jersey Street and, Henry St, Manchester M4 6JA
Like lots of other bars in town, Blossom Street Social has a suntrap outdoor terrace and the vino is always free-flowin'. The kitchen is constantly buzzing with different pop-up chef residents (the current offerings come courtesy of Caroline Martins) and you can buy fine wines by the glass as well as local craft beers, classic cocktails, and coffee from local roasters Grindsmith. If you like some beats with your bevs, Blossom Street also has live DJs and social sessions every Friday and Saturday.
51 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6AJ
If you're lingering around Cutting Room Square looking for some focaccia, then that makes two of us. Café Cotton is the charming little lunch spot attached to the Hallé St Peters, and the menu has hot focaccia sarnies with chicken, mushrooms and tuna and main plates of pancakes and Mexican eggs. The cafe is only open in the daytime, but if you're looking for a brunch spot or somewhere for a quick lunch in the sun, make the most of the airy interiors and the counter full of baked goods. You can get a drink there before performances too until 8pm Thursday - Sunday or before 6pm Monday - Wednesday.
40 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6BF
Canto boasts a modern Portuguese menu from Simon Shaw, the creative director behind the consistently brilliant El Gato Negro on King Street. The food is authentic and simple but with the kind of clever touches one would expect from head chef Carlos Gomes, who has previously brandished his knives at El Gato Negro as well as Michelin-starred Soho tapas restaurant, Barrafina. Inspired by the neighbourhood restaurants in Gomes’ homeland Portugal, expect classic Portuguese flavours with a touch of modern sparkle. We recommend the carrot cake and the croquetas.
Cutting Room Square, Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5DH
One thing we can't call Ancoats is a one-trick pony. It's even got a sensory Japanese tearoom. Specialising in Japanese tea and sweets, Chaology provides a unique experience in Manchester with a strict focus on quiet and relaxation. They discourage large groups, selfies, and even shoes in order to maintain a peaceful atmosphere with as little disturbance for their guests as possible. In fact, to enjoy the full teahouse experience in their airy, minimalist relaxation space, you must make a reservation. If you love a minimalist, neutral aesthetic then it's even worth just giving them a follow on the gram.
Unit 3B Nuovo, Great Ancoats St, Manchester M4 5AB
If you're after a mega-filled sarnie made with proper sourdough and you love that open kitchen vibe, Companio should be your new commute spot. Everything is handmade on the premises daily with a selection of breads, pastries, viennoiserie and savouries, and the spot is open 8am 'til 3pm Tuesday - Thursday and 8am 'til 2pm on a Sunday. Interested in promoting "artisan ways of food production and traditional methods", this bakery is a no-fuss spot with great baked goodies.
35 Radium St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6AD
The Edinburgh Castle has been here since 1811 but stood empty for most of the 00s until it was reimagined in 2019 as a modern version of a proper boozer. A restaurant upstairs and a pub downstairs, the menu includes a bangin' Sunday roast with massive Yorkshire puds, and classic pub grub offerings like fish finger sarnies. With loads of beers and whiskies behind the bar and some slightly-dignified stodge on the agenda, it's all you could wish for from a corner plot pub. Get a duck scotch egg while you're there as well.
19 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5EP
Named after the first recorded name for Ancoats, Elnecot (meaning "lonely cottages") takes its influence from historical cooking methods with lots of fermenting, a little foraging and a few nose-to-tail dishes. Chef/owner and globetrotter Michael Clay’s menu is composed of British small plates with a smidgen of global influence, designed to share. Standout dishes include Devon brown crab crumpets, a Manchester egg with Elnecot picalilli, and, er, leeky boys. Elnecot was one of the first restaurants to stick its flag in Ancoats as a region way before it became somewhere everyone flocked to.
41 Blossom Street, Cutting Room Square, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6AJ
Every neighbourhood needs a craft booze shop, and bizarre beers firmly hold their own in Ancoats thanks to all the Reebok Beatnik wearers searching for a post-dinner tipple. Luckily, The Epicurean stocks everything from rosebud IPAs to hazelnut dreamcake imperial stout. That's right, dreamcake stout. Situated right next to Lily's Deli and packed to the rafters with bottles, cans, crates, and branded glassware, you'll never drink a can of Carling again this side of Great Ancoats Street.
47 Henry St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5AD
Small plates are hardly difficult to come by in Manchester, but Erst's menu changes frequently depending on what's in season, and if you like a good neutral interior with a hint of Scandi, this is the place. The team at Erst is headed by chef Patrick Withington with Anna Søgaard as co-pilot, and the British flavours and ingredients shine through in a menu of meat, fish, and carefully selected greens. Some current offerings include Northern Cure charcuterie and Erst's much lauded grilled flatbread with beef fat and urfa chilli. This Murray Street spot is open from Tuesday - Saturday from 1pm 'til 11pm.
9 Murray St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6HS
This place is technically two separate gaffs, with two separate concepts, and you have to book them separately. However, they share a wall and an address so we're lumping them together and you can choose your fighter. From square-shaped, Detroit-style pizza to £5 margs, Ramona has got it all, including a radio station, and guest DJ sets from Andy Burnham. This spot has also nailed that outside-in vibe with tents and long tables with bench seating. The Firehouse is Ramona's fancy older sibling with a menu of impressive roast chickens and parmesan roast tatties, all served with a side order of catwalk voguing as the evening progresses. If you're struggling to find this cool duo, head for the bass and the festoon lighting.
40 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JG
If Kelly Bishop loves your asparagus then you've made it, so well done Flaw'd. Sat right on the marina next door to Pollen and its cruffins, Flawd is a wine bar and bottle shop with outdoor seating, small-scale suppliers and, you guessed it, even smaller plates. Flaw'd wanted to "make natural wine approachable to anyone and everyone", and with the option to drink in or takeaway, it's a great spot to sit and catch up or stock up for a dinner party. We know you shouldn't judge a wine by its cover, but the labels are just too good.
9 Keepers Quay, Manchester M4 6GL
A National Fish & Chip Award winner, the Manchester street food heroes opened up their first bricks ‘n’ mortar outlet in Ancoats late in 2018, following a hard-fought crowdfunding campaign. A kicked-back dining experience with proper comfort food, cool artwork and a cracking soundtrack, the HHCS collective have reworked the national dish with inventive additions like spiced batters and their chilli battered sausage - they now do pies too. Obviously, the traditional fish ‘n’ chips are bang on too, livened up by their trademark flavoured salts and vinegars. Always way ahead of the chippy curve, The Hip Hop Chip Shop even has plant-based fish alternatives and a selection of seasonal Steep sodas.
44 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6BF
Presided over by Eyre siblings Jonny and Joe, this is not a Gothic homage to the Yorkshire based tragic-heroine but actually named after their late mum. The self-styled "neighbourhood bar" offers classic cocktails, local beers and small seasonal plates like Gochujang King Prawns on sourdough, chicken and chorizo cassoulet and hispi cabbage with pistachios. The interiors are all plants and David Hockney prints, and the lighting is all twinkly and dim if you're looking for a romantic dinner situation. Reader, we love it here.
14 Hood St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6WX
With deep red lighting, neon signs, and a punk-rock playlist, Jimmy's has definitely taken the more is more approach to interior design. The kitchen is now occupied by pizza residents Corner Slice in all of its deep-pan, cheese-pulling glory, but the same dive-bar vibes are still in full swing with loud music and 2 for £12 cocktails. When the sun's out you can sit outside, and it's open til midnight on Fridays and Saturdays if you're out for more than a few.
27 Blossom Street, Manchester M4 6AJ
Another spot for fancy booze, Kerb is a natural wine shop with a couple of intimate tables and an incredible curved display case. From the founders behind Takk Coffee and OL Bar and Brewery, the stock at this spot changes regularly and you can order some of their stuff online if you're not super local. Kerb doesn't just do vino, it has pop-up shops, tastings, and resident artist exhibitions that fill the curvy space from time to time too. Kerb your enthusiasm, we dare you.
04 Henry St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5DD
If you're looking for a snack that you genuinely won't be able to stop eating until the container is squeaky clean and your fingers are stained, buy the Bombay mix from this deli. If you're also after spices, snacks, sweets, or a chai latte with a bit of a kick, then go here too. From the team behind Lily's vegetarian restaurant in Ashton, this deli on Henry Street is truly a one-stop shop for Indian groceries and fresh curry. The samosas are undefeated and you can sit in and watch the world go by whilst you sip your masala chai.
Unit 2C Henry St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5BA
Manchester's only Michelin star restaurant, Chef Patron Simon Martin says he mastered his trade at the renowned Noma in Copenhagen. Everything Mana does is meticulously researched and organised, from the kitchen itself, divided into four sections by temperature (hot, cold, ambient and freezing), to the menu, which is developed and tested with scientific precision. They take food very, very seriously here. The focus is on using the best seasonal British produce available to create unique dishes that celebrate the power of "nature’s elemental forces".
42 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6BF
It's not really a horse and it's not really a donkey, but it is an airy, minimalist cafe that serves cocktails, brunch and currently, late-night ramen from Lucky Ramen. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, you can't book a table at Mule, but you can guarantee that the baked goods are fresh and there are more coffee options than you can shake a spatula at. Lucky Ramen also does dumplings and fried chicken as well as the soupy stuff, and everything is all wrapped up with some neutral interiors and a perfect window to people watch from.
13 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5AF
We've been around the world in 20 or so units in Ancoats, and this one takes us to Vietnam with a menu full of summer rolls, xa xiu pork ribs and roasted sea bream. By night NAM is also a great bar with a load of Asian beers and inventive cocktails like the Eternal Spring with lychee and Japanese vodka. There isn't an Ancoats bar without a weekly DJ set or some pop-up artsy stuff either, and NAM has both of those. If you love a parquet floor, you're in luck.
Unit 2, 33 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6AJ
Just down the road from Ramona and The Firehouse, Pull Up provides Swan Street with Caribbean vibes and flavours thanks to its famous Hench Box and "reggae roast dinner." The best sellers at Pull Up include jerk chicken and curry goat, but if you're a veggie there's halloumi and curried veg on the main menu too. Because there are more strings to the Caribbean's boozey bow than rum and Ting, Pull Up has a full cocktail menu and a programme of events packed with music and poetry.
14-16 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JN
Another Caribbean joint just across the way is Rad's. An unassuming little gem tucked away near Companio, the menu is hearty and the portions are huge. The lunch boxes are only £6 and will have you full til brekkie the next day. Menu highlights include jerk chicken and traditional salt fish. There's no sit-in option at Rad's, but if you're willing to walk with your lunch box to the steps of Cutting Room Square, you can bask in the sun and tuck into your rice, beans, protein and slaw. Ancoats could begin to feel like Antigua.
62 Jersey St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6AY
We can't believe we've gotten this far into an Ancoats guide without talking about the absolute institution that is Rudy's. The dough is made fresh on-site, the crusts are the best in the North West, and if Neapolitan pizza is your gig, Rudy's should be on your to-eat list. Not just about slices and toppings, Rudy's makes a mean Campari soda, and you can sit in the sun outside whilst you fold, tear and munch your way from one cheese pull to the next. Rudy's Ancoats outpost was its very first pizza gaff, who knew their restaurant sites would be in double figures by now when it first popped up as an in-the-know spot in a little-known square in Manchester?
9 Cotton St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5BF
The exposed brick and rough-hewn wood of the brewhouse provide a warm and welcoming hub for a bustling symposium of creative types, after-work drinkers and Ancoats locals. There is a wide range of the brewery’s own fares with which to whet one’s whistle, from good old IPA to a chocolatey stout and even a watermelon wheat beer. Live music on Thursdays sets the vibe nicely, and if you need some stodge to soak up the stout they do posh kebabs and burgers with minted lamb and garlic yoghurt.
The Ice Plant, 39 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5AF
This Puglian-inspired restaurant opened quietly on Altrincham's Shaw Road back in 2015. Their simple and uncompromisingly authentic Southern Italian dishes soon won them fans, as good ole word-of-mouth momentum brought diners piling in from across the region. Accolades and glowing reviews soon followed, as did a second restaurant in Ancoats, which has proved equally popular with local foodies. Sugo doesn’t do pizzas or a great deal of choice, but who needs it when the homemade pasta is this good? If it's on, don't miss out on their Amalfi lemon tart - perhaps the best you’ll find anywhere, and some current Sugo specialities include a Sugo Scoglio with king prawns (shell on), baby squid, mussels, datterini tomatoes and ginger. Lucy Tomlinson loves the Sugo ragu at their new Sale outpost, and that's a big seal of approval.
46 Blossom Street, Ancoats, Manchester, UK
Trove started in Levy and moved on up to Ancoats after building up a serious rep for incredible bread and swoon-worthy interiors. Although it seems like Trove is your classic eggs benny and an oat flat white affair, the menu has some interesting additions including croissant loaf french toast and a house-made kimchi grilled cheese. You can grab and go from the counter too if you're just after a pastry or a loaf, and we challenge you not to post a picture of the pink walls and steel shelves on your Instagram story.
5 Murray St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6HS
After an initial stint tucked away in an archway near Piccadilly, Hannah Calvert and Chris Kelly's airy bakery and cafe overlooking New Islington’s marina opened its doors in summer 2018. Just a few months later they'd bagged "Best Food and Drink Retailer" at the Manchester Food and Drink Awards, and now they've got a Pollen sibling at the uber-cool Kampus neighbourhood. Pollen also made the Sunday Times top 20 UK bakeries. Their characterful sourdough and indulgent pastries have had people queuing up from almost the moment they opened their doors. Top that with fabulous brunch and lunch dishes and great coffee and you can see why they are amassing all those awards. Did we mention they do croissant toast?
New Union Street, Manchester, UK
From humble beginnings in the Arndale Market, Viet Shack's permanent spot is inspired by classic Vietnamese small plates that include oyster mushroom kebabs, aromatic lamb chops and Viet nachos. If sharing food is a point of contention, get yourself a big steaming bowl of Pho all to yourself or a rice dish with steamed sea bass fillet. It's impossible to walk past this spot without being drawn in by the wafting aroma of Asian herbs and spices, and you can get tipsy on cocktails like the Lucky Leo or Vietamin D too.
65 Great Ancoats St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5AB
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