We love Levenshulme for food and drink and here's why
An area of Greater Manchester that has been described as "up-and-coming for at least the past decade, Levenshulme is an artsy, multicultural, community-focused former township equidistant between Stockport and Manchester city centre. In the past decade, the region has become home to an ever more hip faction of independent bars and cafes sidling up next to its myriad chicken shops and bookies. The juxtaposition of painfully modern and proudly unpretentious is all part of the charm.
In 2013, Levy Market launched and has arguably been the glue that has brought the whole community together, becoming more and more popular and lively over the years. If you’re looking for truly community-driven events, a world of flavours and that all-important craft ale or natural wine to lubricate proceedings, look no further than Levy.
Here's our pick of the best places to eat and drink in lovely Levenshulme.
This relative newcomer sits alongside Levenshulme’s wealth of old school restaurants from the Indian Subcontinent without upsetting any apple carts. With a South Asian focus, Auntie Ji’s has a modern look not too dissimilar to the trendy “street food” chic of places like Bundobust but with a far more extensive menu. The menu has a substantial vegan and veggie selection but does also serve meat dishes. Auntie Ji’s big breakfast menu features thalis, a spiced up full English and thrilling dishes like savoury buttermilk pancakes with spiced chicken mince, coriander and mint, fresh chillies and pomegranate. Platters, small plates, South Indian dosas and “naanwiches” make up the rest of the crew. If you’re looking for a change from the home office, you can bring your laptop and work from Auntie Ji’s for £7 a day.
987 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 2SY
Team Confidentials are big fans of Cibus and its regional Italian menu. What started as a pop up at neighbouring Fred’s Ale House and Levenshulme Market became a proper grown-up restaurant in 2021. Owner Giorgio and his head chef Marco made their name as pizzaiolos, getting word-of-mouth famous very quickly. The new place continues with the pizzas but has added pasta and small plates to the mix. You might find the odd ragu, lasagne and arancini but you will find dishes that aren’t on your average Italian restaurant menu too. Think red prawns with asparagus and brandy sauce, bavette steak with truffle potatoes, anchovies and gem salad, or whipped salt cod with bread to pile it onto. Decent, inexpensive Italian wines and beers here too.
847 - 849 Stockport Rd, Levenshulme, Manchester M19 3PW
Fred's Ale House
Launched in 2015, Fred’s Ale House is a CAMRA award-winning, beer lovers’ haven with numerous extra benefits. There are six real ales as well as a wide range of craft beers, lagers and on Thirsty Thursdays, it’s £2.50 a pint on selected cask ales and ciders.
The bar has a busy events calendar with regular spoken word and poetry nights from Verbose, live football and even ukulele jam nights but there’s more. There’s an exhibition space in the basement hosting work from local artists which is about to be relaunched with an exciting new purpose. Watch this space.
843 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 3PW
Gaijin Dumpling House
Every food culture has a dumpling and frankly, who doesn’t like one? They’re surely the perfect food. Comforting, compact and with endless possibilities. The dumplings at Gaijin - which is named after the Japanese word for “foreigner” - are largely Chinese ones, think steamed Ha Kow, mantou or chicken and prawn wontons. There are other dishes on the menu too, which attempts to span the culinary breadth of SEA. You’ll find Hong Kong’s poetically named typhoon shelter squid, the omnipresent Taiwanese bao and Japanese katsu, and the evocative “lamb on crack” which has an Indian feel. What you won’t find on the menu though, are any pork products, this place is all halal.
948 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 3NN
Launched by big-hearted local Jamie Whittaker amid the chaos that was the lockdown years, Levenshulme's Gherkin is no skyscraper. Rather, it's a homely veggie and vegan cafe with the main modus operandi of kindness and community. The cafe’s got old school MCR hippy vibes, think Corn Exchange in its heyday: primary coloured walls, vintage bric-a-brac and artwork heavy on the Vimto stanning. A place you can relax and kick back without any need for airs and graces. The menu is largely plant-based although eggs are available on some dishes to encourage inclusivity. If you want something a bit more exclusive, they sell a gherkin flavoured sorbet. Breakfasts and vegan Sunday roasts are popular with locals and there is a “kindness kabinet” out the front where people can leave tins of food and other provisions for anybody who needs them to help themselves and they sometimes do pay what you feel dinners so that everybody has access to the option of a decent dinner outside their own home.
312 Slade Ln, Levenshulme, Manchester M19 2BY
Inspire is a gem of a community cafe in a former church serving breakfasts and light lunches – think tomato, red pepper & Wensleydale soup or smoked pork and butternut goulash - as well as tea, coffee and cake during the day and occasional pop-ups from local street food traders (with local beers) in the evening. But it is also a multi-purpose community hub with a, well, inspiring calendar of events.
Events are fantastically eclectic as everybody is welcome to use the space, so there might be free ESOL classes from Heart and Parcel, theatre from the Levenshulme players, kundalini yoga, dancercise for OAPs, a drop-in advice service for the homeless, a free repair cafe, children’s taekwondo or a regular pay-as-you-feel community dinner made by volunteers, with live music from local artists – world whistling champions have been known to perform, yes really.
747 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 3AR
From Caroline Dubois – sommelier at Where The Light Gets In since its inception – and Isobel Jenkins of the critically acclaimed Seasons Eatings supper clubs comes this natural wine bar a mere stumble away from Levenshulme station. The wine, of course, is the star and it’s all curated by Dubois from her vast experience with natural, low intervention and biodynamic producers.
The food offering comes in the form of cakes and light, seasonally changing lunch dishes as well as regular supper clubs from locals like Rise Pizza. The focus is on sustainable and ethical practices with an aim to be zero waste and single-use-plastic-free. You can drink tea or wine in the venue or pick up a couple of interesting bottles to take home.
825 Stockport Road, Manchester M19 3PN
Kitsch and colourful Lebanese restaurant and baklava bakery Jandol is well-loved by locals. The glass counter is piled high with jars of pastel-coloured sugared almonds, date sweets and rainbow-swirled lolly pops while within are trays upon trays of sugar-dusted Turkish delight and, of course, their famous crisp and honeyed baklava in so many shapes and sizes that the choice can be bewildering.
The restaurant is often packed with happy diners tucking into Middle Eastern staples like baba ganoush, hummus, shawarma, falafel or grilled halloumi all served with salads, freshly made flatbreads or neon-bright house pickles. The white plastic chairs are juxtaposed with chandeliers, golden ornaments and the copious amounts of dried and artificial flowers make for a uniquely eccentric dining experience.
861 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 3PW
No round-up of Levenshulme’s social spaces could exclude The Klondyke aka The Levenshulme Bowling and Social club. This century-old social club was originally a bowling alley and, oddly, the name comes from the news of the influx of gold-rush migrators from America to northern Canada’s Klondike region. In 2019 The Committee Room reopened as a speakeasy-style bar.
As is the norm in social clubs there are snooker and pool tables and darts boards to while away an afternoon but it isn’t stuck in the past. There is a community allotment on-site to encourage locals to get involved in growing fresh fruit and veg. The venue hosts regular live music events and art exhibitions and its function room can be booked for hatchings, matchings and dispatchings with in-house catering. It’s the Klondyke club that people look to for seasonal firework displays and there are numerous things to get involved in like Irish dancing classes, supper clubs and Samba drumming groups. They also do a Sunday roast and can deliver it to your door.
1 Burnage Range, Manchester M19 2HQ
Another Leve institution, Levenshulme Bakery, on the corner of Belvoir Avenue and Stockport Road, has been knocking up wallet-friendly but super fresh Turkish bread, kebabs and other light lunches for the local community for years. A popular speciality is lahmajun, a crispy Levantine flatbread often topped with minced meat, vegetables and herbs to make the street food favourite "Turkish pizza."
Another speciality is Lebanese fatayer which are folded, open-topped pies with a variety of meat or vegetarian fillings. Locals also rave about the freshly made shawarma kebabs, falafel sandwiches and wide range of authentic, sticky Turkish sweets. Get there early to get the bread fresh from the morning’s bake.
842 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 3AW
A bustling community market that runs every weekend from March to December with a pop-up lunchtime food market at Manchester Uni on Tuesdays during term time. The market was established in 2013 with the aim of supporting the Levenshulme community by providing employment and helping to breathe new life into the high street.
Shortlisted for Best Shop/Market in the BBC Food Awards 2019, locals rave about the market which brings together some really exciting producers with its lovely community atmosphere and ethos. With a different bunch of traders every week, you can taste flavours from Korean to Kenyan and snack on everything from samosas to sushi. As well as the wealth of foodie delights on offer, there are all kinds of wares from local independent traders and makers - think pottery, perfume, candles, clothes and more.
Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 3AB
Long Bois Bakehouse
Oh boi! This is an iced gem of a bakery that could feasibly be named after a type of doughnut but its sausage dog logo implies another type of long boi inspired it. Whatever its name origin, it’s seriously cute with a grab and go counter heaving with cakes and bakes that look like emojis. While many places to eat and drink in Levenshulme can be found on or near Stockport Rd, this one involves a small, meandering diversion as it’s housed in an end-terrace on a residential street slightly off the beaten track. All we can do is side-eye those residents with an envy that’s far from sweet. The daily bakes at this women-owned and women-run bakehouse change too fast to keep up with so your best bet is to take a look at Long Boi’s socials to see what delights have emerged from the bakery that day.
40 Forest Range, Manchester M19 2HP
Nordie is a dog-friendly neighbourhood bar with a focus on coffee, craft beer and cocktails. Cocktails might include an Umeshu Sour with plum sake and saffron spiced Escubac or a Negroni Fumo with Lapsang Souchong added to the usual Campari/gin mix. Wine covers both conventional and natural bases and there are eight rotating beer lines.
There’s also a food offering with shareable nibbles like freshly made dips, labneh and flatbread alongside brekkies, open sarnies and salads and daily specials. Cakes, muffins and freshly made bread feature too. Nordie has also recently launched an evening menu of small plates. Aside from just popping in and going with the flow, your best bet is to keep an eye on social media channels for what’s on that day.
1044 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 3WX
Overdraught MCR opened its doors in October 2019 with a name that’s a cheeky nod to the previous incarnation of the venue as a TSB bank. It’s owned by pint pundit Martha Winder, who also runs the popular First Draught in Prestwich. With over 30 rotating beers and ciders on tap, there’s plenty for craft ale lovers to get stuck into with everything from Brooklyn lager to Beavertown’s blood orange IPA.
Cans might include Tiny Rebel’s quirky Stay Puft marshmallow stout or Jam Doughnut IPA. During the day there’s ice cream, coffee and cake on offer and the programme of events includes a popular fortnightly quiz night and regular DJ and band slots.
855 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 3PW
If you only eat in places with tablecloths and cut glassware, move along, please. But if you like hearty, authentic Pakistani food and are up for eating it in the slightly unusual setting of a car wash forecourt, you have found your perfect match, my friend. Tucked away behind the Waterworx car wash, Paratha Hut has been around for 11 years and its owner, curry mile veteran, Nadeem has been making parathas for over 20. Parathas are made from fresh dough stuffed with keema, chicken and cheese, or even chocolate and the slapped on the hot plate. There is a daily desi handi which keeps things interesting for repeat visits as well as kebabs and burgers. You can grab a substantial feed here for a fiver or less but make sure you stop at one of those old-fangled cash machines, it’s proper money only here - no card payments.
691 Stockport Rd, Levenshulme, Manchester M12 4QN
The Royal Nawaab
Ask a local for directions in Levy and there’s a high chance they will use the Nawaab as a reference point. This Pakistani restaurant is housed in a vast, three-storey venue that hosts a continuous stream of ostentatious weddings upstairs and has an immense public dining room downstairs which is often packed to the rafters. Apparently, this well-lubricated machine can comfortably feed more than a thousand people in one evening.
The food is served buffet-style at a set price – less than £20 a head. It’s a bit like eating on a fancy cruise ship with rows of metal cloches filled with steaming hot lamb karahi, chicken jalfrezi and chana masala. There are appetisers too - think chicken wings, samosas, pakoras, masala fish and poppadoms - as well as a fresh salad and chutney bar. For dessert, there are Teletubby-coloured ice creams or temple-achingly sweet cakes and halwa. The bar is alcohol-free but suitably extensive and there is also a takeaway menu.
1008 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 3WN
Another CAMRA award-winning boozer on Stockport Road to add to Levenshulme’s enviable drinking scene. Station Hop is a gorgeous, colourful little bar stocked full of interesting cask and keg ales, cans and more. You mind find yourself sipping on a stroopwaffel porter from Blackjack, a CBRB/Northern Monk collab yuzu IPA or maybe a rhubarb and oolong saison from By The River Brew Co.
Regularly hosted events include a pub quiz, a monthly cheese club and pop up street food kitchens have previously come from the likes of Pastrami Now, Mama Sue's, Wholesome Junkies, Nyama Choma and Vegan Ray. There’s also a bottle shop if you want to take some goodies home with you. Oh, and it’s very dog-friendly too.
815 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 3BS
The newest bike on Levenshulme’s heaving rack (behave) is Station South, a converted railway station building with adjacent bike shop that also does repairs - can it get any more Levenshulme than that? The place is as airy and light as you feel after a morning yoga class and its delightful staff can’t do enough for you. Here you’ll find all of Levenshulme catching up over coffee, complete with copious freshly podded babies and miscellaneous dogs. It’s just so wholesome. Menu items focus around brekkie staples and bakes - don’t miss the filled croissants with things like pistachio or Kinder Bueno if you have a sweet tooth. We also enjoyed Coco Pops French toast and a mango and coconut smoothie bowl while ogling somebody else’s huevos rancheros over cornbread. A postprandial stroll around the antique market down the road afterwards is well worth factoring into your plans.
975-977 Stockport Rd, Levenshulme, Manchester M19 3NP
Open since summer 2018, The Talleyrand (a former name for the area of East Levenshulme which was originally given in honour of French diplomat Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord) is an arty and eccentric little bar with a packed programme of live music, DJs, poetry, comedy, theatre film and art exhibitions held in the back room.
Whether it’s wonky indie, folk or soul that gets your feet tapping, there’s probably something for you on the gig calendar and the art and arts on display are equally as diverse and exciting. The bar area itself is understated with exposed floorboards and mismatched wooden furniture. The bar boasts a wide range of beers and ales, from Camden to Tiny Rebel, as well as spirits, wines and softs.
1030 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 3WX
Trove Cafe in Levenshulme has been going strong since 2011 and its younger sibling in Ancoats followed in 2018. The main draw is their fantastic bread, which forms the basis for their breakfast menu. Alongside the usual benedicts and belly busters, you can find some less obvious fare like a Korean rice bowl with kimchi, tofu and kale or a North African inspired plate with Merguez sausage, pickled turnip, labneh (yoghurt cheese) and zhoug – a hot chilli sauce.
The Levenshulme caff originally centred around one large table to encourage making friends with others in the community over brunch or breakfast. A list of daily specials is inscribed on a roll of brown paper with a dish, salad, soup and jam of the day to be enjoyed with a glass of wine or local beer if you like. Their bakery counter groans with characterful homemade sourdough, sweet and savoury pastries, tarts and cakes, to eat in or take away. There are other lovely things you can take home too, like Trove's famous jams and preserves, granola, bags and locally made crafty goodies.
1032 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 3WX
Read next: The fresh parathas and curries being served out of a car wash in Levenshulme
Read again: Our picks from Manchester's gig calendar for June 2022
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