From croissants to Korean, pints to Palestinian - Manchester’s most covetable suburb is bursting with great spots
Ah, Didsbury, Manchester’s most covetable suburb with a burgeoning cafe culture, decent schools, and leafy, tree-lined streets. Once a largely rural area, it is now highly desirable for all of the above, as well as its village-like community vibe that retains something of an independent spirit.
On top of that, it boasts a clutch of lung-cleansing green spaces that city-dwellers are wheezily deprived of. No wonder it’s so expensive to buy property there these days. It also seems to have everything a foodie’s heart could desire: good quality butchers, bakeries and even a cheese shop. Trumpton, eat your heart out.
We gave ourselves the unenviable task of putting together a list of the best cafes, restaurants and bars in the area. A multi-cultural melange of Korean, Palestinian, Spanish, and of course modern British eateries. Breakfast, brunch and coffees spots for days. Plus classy wine bars and craft ale snugs that offer such a variety of weekly events that one wonders how on earth the locals find time to do any work to pay off those eye-watering mortgages. Not that we’re jealous or anything.
Read on for a run down of the key eating and drinking spots in Didsbury.
Service with a smile in A Taste of Honey on Burton Road thanks to the warmth and hospitality of Penny and her staff. A fresh, vibrant spread of sandwiches and salad items awaits those coming for their lunch with a curated selection of deli items also available. A handy spot for for stocking up the pantry or picking up a foodie gift. Plenty of filling savoury pastries too. A neighbourhood gem.
Baity, meaning "home" in Arabic, has quickly become a stalwart of the Didsbury scene with its wholesome Palestinian food. The decor is understated and chic with a gorgeous nonagenarian olive tree in the corner and some unique pieces of artwork that blend the Mancunian with the Middle Eastern. Standout dishes include baked fish dishes like Gazan Bream (Samak Ghazawi) and of course Musakhan, a baked chicken dish with onions, sumac and allspice.
The Didsbury outpost of Folk has had a much-needed refurb and it’s looking all the better for it. Airy, light interiors with plenty of wood and a mixture of booth and standard table seating not to mention that outdoor terrace. Inside there’s plenty to get stuck into throughout the day. Brunch from 10am, great coffee and then on to small plates and beers in the evening.
Founded in 1986 The Great Kathmandu is another Didsbury institution that the locals rave about. Not only the locals though, as it has been showered with awards too, notably the UK's best Nepalese restaurant 2019-20. It’s not unusual to spot Corrie stars tucking into the restaurant's authentic Nepalese cuisine too, if you needed a further badge of quality. Tandoori meats, seekh kebabs, chula and the award-winning Makan chara await.
A stalwart of the Didsbury scene, Greens was way ahead of the game when it opened in 1990 when neither Simon Rimmer nor his partner Simon Connolly had worked in a kitchen before. Unfazed, they set about conjuring up a vegetarian menu and have been "terrifying carnivores" ever since. Fast forward 30 years and Rimmer is now a well-established household name and a second restaurant is set for Sale.
Hispi is, quite simply, a great bistro. Fifth in a growing chain of restaurants conceived under the Gary Usher-helmed Elite Bistros umbrella, Hispi is a neighbourhood operation which like other Usher spots, has made its name off the back of great, simple food, quaffable wine and excellent quality produce. Expect chunky British dishes - such as chicken liver pate and braised featherblade - made with fresh ingredients and great results.
Cue size matters jokes. The appropriately named Kiosk is a tiny, bright pink coffee kiosk with some outdoor seating that is tucked into a cupboard-like space to the side of Wine and Wallop on Lapwing Lane. The whole enterprise gives whoever is working in it a sort of millennial pink Punch and Judy stand aesthetic which is fun. The kiosk also serves wine and pastries and is a nice way to break up a walk.
Put it this way: people will happily queue, in varying severities of weather, for the chance to eat the baked goods being delicately formed at La Chouquette in Didsbury village. The quaint artisan French bakery can only take a few customers at a time inside due to its cosy location, but the goods are worth the wait. Croissants to die for and a whole host of other fanciable French-inspired treats.
The restaurant business is a fickle beast, so the fact that The Lime Tree has been going strong now for 30 odd years indicates that they must be doing something right. Their secret seems to be quietly and consistently providing the local community with a reliable go-to quality dinner spot without paying too much attention to chasing trends, there isn’t a lot to please vegans on the menu for example. Carnivores will rejoice though – The Lime Tree have their own farm on the edge of the Peak District.
Proove is Didsbury’s answer to the kind of proper Neopolitan pizza served up successfully by the likes of Rudy’s or Honest Crust. Giant woodburning pizza oven? Check. San Marzano tomatoes, Fior Di Latte mozzarella and Nduja? Check. Neon orange Aperol spritz on the side? Check. All the classics are there, with options for vegan cheese and gluten-free bases too.
OKitchen is a stylish and quirky little eatery serving up a mixture of Japanese and Korean dishes. Aficionados of Japanese food will recognise the usual nigiri, hosomaki and sashimi, as well as miso soup, gyoza and teriyaki. But it’s the Korean dishes that really grab the attention.
Long-standing Nepalese and Indian restaurant & takeaway serving up familiar favourites as well as some Nepalese specialities you might not have heard of. Ask the locals where to go for a decent Ruby Murray and Third Eye will invariably come up. Offering a variety of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free as well as halal options, it's the sort of place where there's something for everyone. Chef specials include Makhan Chara, Makhan mixed tandoori and Shai lamb kurma badami. The website also says that Eva Mendes went there once, which is fun.
If you can walk past Reserve Wines without going in, you’ve got stronger self-restraint than us. A purple fronted library of wine, the Burton Road shop also deal in spirits, snacks and non-alcoholic options. Staff are extremely knowledgeable and happy to talk you through the selection and there are on-tap refill options at the back of the shop too.
A cosy bar offering a wide range of craft beer, there are sixteen taps and 40 odd bottles on offer. There’s plenty to lose yourself in for the evening. To soak up all that booze, there is a seasonally changing menu of creative small plates like beer braised leeks with parmesan truffle and oatmeal crumb, or monkfish in juniper branches with tarragon brown butter.
A stalwart of the Didsbury brunch scene, Thyme Out has been going strong since 2006. Locals rave about the brunch menu which, despite fierce competition from the wealth of other independent cafes in the area, manages to stand out. Highlights include beef brisket burgers and purple haze, a homecured gin, juniper and beetroot-cured salmon bagel with scrambled egg, lemon and dill.
A thrilling take on the neighbourhood restaurant format. Volta is owned by Luke ‘Unabomber’ Cowdrey and Justin Crawford. The DJ/restaurateurs are masters of putting creative energy behind a project and their second neighbourhood venture is a grown-up affair. Small plates inspired by international travels (think padron peppers, whipped salt cod, iberico pork) are served alongside a short, diverse wine offering as well as craft beer and both signature and classic cocktails. There’s a mean roast on Sundays too.
Same location on Burton Road, two separate entities. In the morning, it’s Another Heart To Feed time. The Melbourne-inspired coffeeshop do Antipodean-standard coffee an brunch to match with all of the sourdough bread and poached egg combinations your heart desires as well as acai bowls and the likes of spiced courgette fritters. By the evening it’s West Village time. Cocktails, craft beer and dancing.
Conveniently located opposite West Didsbury Metrolink station, Wine and Wallop is a cosy retreat where you can sample an interesting selection of wine, micro-brewed ales and cask ciders, accompanied by a light lunch or a few nibbles. Naturally, they have a good selection of cheese and bits of charcuterie on offer, but it’s not the food that’s the point. The bar offers themed ‘Wine Flights’ featuring five small glasses of wine. It’s a good opportunity to be adventurous and if you find one you like, you can buy a bottle (or two) to take home.
This writer has a soft spot for Zeugma. Banqueting suite vibes mixed with a hearty Turkish with staff so effortless assured and friendly. Fresh naan baked in-house daily, lots of robust meaty dishes and an affordable but also extremely filling lunch deal. Zeugma only serves large glasses of wine too, which is endearing. If you’re looking for a fun and wholesome restaurant to take a large group, look no further.
(First published in 2019 and updated in Feb 2022)
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