12 Unique Restaurants in Manchester, UK: Persian Feasts, Cheesesteaks, & More

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Manchester, UK
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Ready to explore Manchester’s most unique restaurants? I’m here to guide you through spots where Spanish tapas meet Yemeni tea and South African spices meet Vietnamese flavors. Follow along as we dive into the coolest restaurants in Manchester.

On my trip to the UK last summer, I had the pleasure of visiting Manchester, one of the most beautiful places in the UK. It quickly became one of my favorite cities in England, largely due to its incredible food scene. I found everything here from Armenian cuisine to a hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop serving up the best Philly cheesesteak I’ve tried outside the US.

In this guide, I’m excited to share 12 of the most unique places to eat in Manchester, each one perfect for capturing those Instagram-worthy moments. Picture tucking into a kebab in a spot that feels more Oktoberfest than Northern England, or enjoying Southern comfort food whilst listening to live blues music.

Believe me, Manchester’s food scene is a blast. It’s a mix of the unexpected, the delicious, and the downright quirky. Without further ado, let’s dive into the coolest restaurants in Manchester, UK, making it worth the flight to England.

The top restaurants to visit in Manchester, UK right now

Unusual places to eat in Manchester

Ready to explore Manchester’s best eateries? We’ve got everything from Ethiopian stews to Polish delights. Join me on a tour of the quirkiest places to eat in Manchester.

Ever thought about enjoying flavors in a retro-industrial chic setting or dining with live blues music every night? Manchester’s dining scene has it all, ready for you to discover. Let’s dive into the most unique restaurants in this England gem.

1. Albert’s Schloss

Heading to Albert’s Schloss in Manchester was like teleporting straight to the coolest party in a ski chalet. As soon as you walk in, the energy hits you – it’s electric. The place buzzes with a DJ spinning tracks and live tunes that make you want to dance all night. If you’re visiting in winter, those large, crackling fireplaces add just the right touch of cozy.

Let me talk about the food because it’s something else. I went for the chicken schnitzel, and it was perfection on a plate. My partner tried their new humble pie – a veggie dream in a croissant crust, topped with a crispy potato lid and a decadent Parmesan cream. Just writing this makes me hungry all over again! For dessert, we shared the black forest gateau. It was out of this world.

The drinks lineup is just as impressive. There’s everything from authentic German beers and pilsners to a ‘prosecco on demand’ button (yes, you read that right), schnapps, and creative cocktails. It’s like being in a Munich or Berlin beer hall but with a unique Manchester twist.

Heads up, it’s a hotspot, so booking ahead is a smart move. If you’re looking for fun restaurants in Manchester with a German twist, Albert’s Schloss is your spot. Plus, they’re open daily until 2 am, so there’s plenty of time to drop in.

Albert's Schloss is one of the unique restaurants in Manchester, UK.
Albert’s Schloss in Manchester: A ski chalet party vibe with electric energy, live music, and cozy fireplaces.

2. Habesha Restaurant

Next up on our list of the best places to eat in Manchester is Habesha Restaurant. This spot serves up delicious, home-cooked Ethiopian stews, in a cozy space decked out with art and traditional decor.

I went for the spicy lamb stew paired with traditional injera, and it was a meal I remember to this day. The owner even showed us the traditional way to enjoy our food. I also tried an Ethiopian beer, which was a nice, light lager that’s the perfect companion to the spicy stew.

Now, from the outside, you might walk right past Habesha without a second glance. But that’s the trick – it’s one of those hidden gem restaurants in Manchester that surprise you. The menu is straightforward, but every dish is a hit.

Portions look deceptively manageable, but trust me, you’ll leave more than satisfied. Plus, the prices are easy on the wallet. You’re getting a steal for such genuine flavors. If you’re roaming around Manchester looking for a unique dining experience without emptying your wallet, Habesha’s your spot. Dive in for the food, stay for the culture, and leave with your belly and heart full.

Habesha Restaurant in Manchester offers delicious Ethiopian stews in a cozy, art-filled space.
Habesha Restaurant in Manchester offers delicious Ethiopian stews in a cozy, art-filled space.

3. Australasia

Let me tell you about one of my favorite restaurants in Manchester – Australasia. Picture this: you’re walking down the street, and bam, there’s this epic glass triangle sticking out of the ground. Looks like something from the future, right? Well, it’s the gateway to some of the coolest vibes and eats in the city.

Stepping down into Australasia is like catching a direct flight to somewhere in Oceania. The decor is warm, light, and airy. You instantly forget you’re in Manchester and not chilling on a beach somewhere.

The menu is a brilliant mash-up of Japanese and Australian flavors. I dove into the pork belly curry and was blown away. The sushi & sashimi board was a work of art, too. They’ve got plenty of options, from small bites to heartier dishes. Plus, the cocktails are absolutely killer.

Booking a table at Australasia is a smart move – it’s buzzing for a reason. And once you’re done, Deansgate’s lively scene is right there to keep the night going. If you’re on the hunt for fun places to eat in Manchester, check out Australasia. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Australasia in Manchester boasts futuristic architecture and trendy vibes, offering some of the city's coolest eats.
Australasia in Manchester boasts futuristic architecture and trendy vibes, offering some of the city’s coolest eats.

4. Armenian Taverna & Restaurant

Before my trip to Manchester, I’d never tried Armenian food. I went for dinner at Armenian Tavern & Restaurant and was pleasantly surprised. This place is dripping in charm, with gorgeous Armenian artwork adorning the walls and handmade cushions that make you want to settle in and never leave.

The food here is incredible. We went for lamb chops and lamb skewers, sided with chips. Trust me on this, the skewers are where it’s at – perfectly seasoned, juicy, and just fall-off-the-stick delicious. The portions are generous, leaving you satisfied without feeling stuffed, and every bite is packed with flavor.

They’ve got a wide selection of Armenian and Georgian wines which I highly recommend you try. It’s not every day you come across such gems.

We couldn’t skip dessert and ended up trying the Armenian baklava. It’s a twist on the classic, stuffed with walnuts and topped with cinnamon, and frankly, it’s a revelation.

This gem’s location, a hop away from Albert Square, means you’re never too far from the heart of the action. Whether you’re shopping, sightseeing, or looking for a cozy spot to refuel, it’s perfectly placed for an impromptu visit. One of the best restaurants in Manchester, Armenian Taverna is a must-visit when you’re in town.

Armenian Tavern & Restaurant is one of the unique restaurants in Manchester, UK.
Armenian Tavern & Restaurant offers a charming ambiance adorned with beautiful artwork and handmade cushions.

5. The Blues Kitchen Manchester

The Blues Kitchen Manchester is where it’s at if you’re chasing great food with a side of soulful tunes. This spot’s all about live blues and jazz, kicking off at 8 pm every night. They’ve even got a cozy little area where you can shake a leg if the music moves you. Tip: hit it up on a Wednesday when cocktails are just £6 – talk about a steal!

Do yourself a favor and get the beef brisket sandwich drenched in bacon gravy. The beef is so tender, it practically falls apart. And when you think it can’t get any better, there are the donuts. The Oreo donuts are a dream and were the perfect finish to an epic meal.

The Blues Kitchen offers a combo of awesome eats and live music that’s hard to beat. It’s a fun, buzzing spot perfect for anyone looking to jazz up their dinner routine. I always recommend this place to friends asking where to eat in Manchester.

At The Blues Kitchen Manchester, enjoy great food, live blues and jazz nightly from 8 pm.
At The Blues Kitchen Manchester, enjoy great food, live blues and jazz nightly from 8 pm.

6. Platzki

Platzki takes the cake when you’re in the mood for some authentic Polish food in Manchester. I loved the interior of this place. It’s super cozy with greenery, flowers, and hanging plants everywhere. With Polish tunes setting the mood, you’re in for a real treat.

I tried the roasted pork cheek, and it was delicious. It’s so tender, it practically falls apart the moment it hits your tongue. And those potato dumplings? Absolute perfection. They’ve got brunches too, which I haven’t tried yet, but if the whispers I’ve heard are anything to go by, it’s a must-do.

The vodka selection here is mind-blowing. I tried the pistachio and hazelnut flavors, and they’re now my go-tos. Just a heads up, the kitchen wraps up at 9 pm. Swinging by before 8:30 pm is your best bet to catch the full menu. After 9, it’s dessert territory, which, judging by everything else, is likely just as amazing.

Platzki is a gem for anyone looking to explore the best food in Manchester with a Polish twist. Don’t miss out on this cozy, flavorful experience.

Platzki in Manchester offers authentic Polish cuisine in a cozy, greenery-filled ambiance with Polish tunes.
Platzki in Manchester offers authentic Polish cuisine in a cozy, greenery-filled ambiance with Polish tunes.

7. Bar San Juan

Let me take you on a little trip to Bar San Juan. Imagine stumbling upon the coziest Spanish bar right in the midst of Manchester. This place is a slice of Andalucia with authentic tapas, fantastic wines, and sangria that hits just right.

The whole vibe is boosted by waiters chatting away in Spanish, which makes it feel all the more authentic. We dug into chorizo, goat’s cheese, papas bravas, calamari, and, of course, bread with manchego. Washed down with sangria and Spanish beer, it was perfection.

It’s snug, yes, but that’s part of the charm. It’s like those hidden gems you find wandering the streets of Spain.

I highly recommend booking ahead. It’s always packed, and rightfully so. One of Manchester’s best restaurants, Bar San Juan is the spot for when you’re in the mood for some seriously good eats. It’s a taste of Spain without the plane ride, and trust me, you’ll leave planning your next visit.

Bar San Juan transports you to a cozy slice of Andalucia with authentic tapas, fantastic wines, and perfect sangria.
Bar San Juan transports you to a cozy slice of Andalucia with authentic tapas, fantastic wines, and perfect sangria.

8. Namii Kitchen & Cocktails

Craving Vietnamese food in Manchester? Head straight to Namii Kitchen & Cocktails. This place impressed me with its bright colors, elegant flowers, and stylish furniture. It’s like stepping into a vibrant, chic world. They’ve got outdoor dining too, perfect for those sunny days or warm evenings.

We tried a little bit of everything here – wok dishes, grilled goodies, and noodle bowls. Hard to pick a favorite when every dish was a hit. Ending the meal with their tea was unexpectedly perfect. Oh, and if you’re into whisky, their selection of Japanese whiskies is seriously impressive.

After filling up at Namii, you’re right in Piccadilly, so why not keep the good times rolling? You’re perfectly placed to explore some of the best places to visit in Manchester. A stroll around the area not only helps work off those delicious calories but also leads you straight to Piccadilly Gardens. It’s an ideal spot for a relaxed wander or just to soak in the city vibes.

Namii Kitchen & Cocktails in Manchester is vibrant and chic, perfect for outdoor dining on sunny days or warm evenings.
Namii Kitchen & Cocktails in Manchester is vibrant and chic, perfect for outdoor dining on sunny days or warm evenings.

9. Chakalaka

South African food is a rare find in the UK, but Chakalaka nails it. It’s located in the Northern Quarter, on Oldham Street, and stepping inside is like hitting a jackpot for your taste buds. My first time trying South African cuisine, and what a place to start!

Walking in, I was greeted by a vibe that screamed authentic South Africa – from the vibrant decor to the beats of South African music in the background. We went all in with the biltong mac & cheese, jaffle, lamb bunny chow, and chicken sosatie. Every dish was spectacular. It was my introduction to South African flavors, and I couldn’t have asked for a better one.

They’ve got plenty of South African lagers. They even brew their own beer, called Chakalager, which I highly recommend trying.

For anyone looking to dive into South African cuisine, Chakalaka is a must-visit. It was my first time, but definitely not my last. The flavors, the atmosphere, and the experience were all top-notch. It’s one of those unique Manchester restaurants that you just can’t miss.

Chakalaka is one of the unique restaurants in Manchester, UK.
Chakalaka is a jackpot for South African cuisine, offering a rare find that delights taste buds.

10. Hadramout Restaurant

Hadramout Restaurant totally blew my mind with its Yemeni vibes right here in Manchester. Picture this: lounging on the floor, cozied up with rugs beneath you, and Islamic art catching your eye at every turn. It’s like stepping into a slice of Yemen without leaving the city.

We went all out with the lamb mandi, kabsa, and lamb fahsa. Each dish was a hit, especially the mandi – it’s famous for a reason and totally lives up to the hype. Honestly, I’ve crisscrossed the UK looking for Arabic food that hits the spot, and Hadramout just set a new standard.

Don’t even think about skipping the Yemeni tea. It’s the perfect end to an incredible meal.

For a genuine taste of Arabic cuisine, Hadramout offers an unforgettable experience. Located in Rusholme, it’s conveniently close to the city center. Check it out if you’re looking for cool restaurants in Manchester.

Hadramout Restaurant: Authentic Yemeni vibes with floor seating, rugs, and captivating Islamic art.
Hadramout Restaurant: Authentic Yemeni vibes with floor seating, rugs, and captivating Islamic art.

11. Walnut Persian Restaurant

Walnut Persian Restaurant is a little slice of Iran right here in Manchester. Every visit feels like a mini vacation to Tehran, no passport needed.

Their menu is a masterpiece. My go-to’s are the lamb shank and koobideh kebabs, and they’ve never let me down. Always tender, always bursting with spices. For starters, the mast mosir is always a hit. Think shallot yogurt that’s a perfect match with their freshly baked bread.

Don’t even think about skipping dessert here. The saffron ice cream is a must. It’s like nothing else – a creamy, floral finish to an unforgettable meal.

A little tip from me: Walnut Persian Restaurant is the place everyone talks about once they’ve discovered it. While they might be able to squeeze you in, it’s a good idea to call ahead. This place is one of the most unique places in Manchester to eat that you won’t want to miss.

Walnut Persian Restaurant in Manchester: A taste of Iran, a mini vacation to Tehran without needing a passport.
Walnut Persian Restaurant in Manchester: A taste of Iran, a mini vacation to Tehran without needing a passport.

12. Fat Pat’s

Last up on our list of the best places to eat in Manchester is Fat Pat’s. Tucked away in the city center, it’s this incredible spot where the Philly cheesesteak reigns supreme. Honestly, it’s the best I’ve had outside the States. We’re talking beautiful bread, melt-in-your-mouth meats, and spices that hit just right.

The portions are huge. You definitely get your £14’s worth. They’re also famous for their hot honey-fried chicken sandwiches. I didn’t get the chance to try this one, but I’ve heard it’s delicious. Since there’s no seating, I found a perfect spot near the library with some benches.

Fat Pat’s requires a bit of planning. You’ll need to pre-book, and it might be an hour before your sandwich is ready for pickup. Believe me, it’s worth the wait. Fat Pat’s is a great option if you’re looking for cheap eats in Manchester.

Fat Pat’s serves the ultimate Philly cheesesteak with perfect bread, melt-in-your-mouth meats, and balanced spices.
Fat Pat’s serves the ultimate Philly cheesesteak with perfect bread, melt-in-your-mouth meats, and balanced spices.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the quirkiest restaurants in Manchester

Are you searching for more information about where to eat in Manchester? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Manchester’s most unique restaurants, each offering a blend of European charm.

What food is Manchester known for?

Manchester is known for its hearty British food, like fish and chips. It’s also famous for the Curry Mile, a stretch full of amazing South Asian restaurants, making it a must-stay destination in the UK.

Is Manchester a foodie city?

Absolutely, Manchester is a foodie’s dream in the North of England. You’ve got everything from cozy cafes to fancy restaurants, and the variety of food is incredible.

Restaurants at Burton Place, Manchester, UK
Restaurants at Burton Place, Manchester, UK

Is Manchester cheap or expensive?

In terms of costs, Manchester’s pretty balanced. You can find good meals without spending a lot, but there are also places where you might want to splash out, leaving plenty of budget for things to do in Manchester.

Is Manchester the friendliest city in England?

Many find Manchester to be one of the friendliest cities in England. From my experience, the locals are super welcoming and are always happy to help, making it one of the top places to live and visit in the UK.

The top restaurants in Manchester, UK for all types of travelers
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