If you’re familiar with eating out and experimenting then you’ll know that the price of food doesn’t always dictate it’s quality nor does it guarantee good taste. We know how easy it is to stick to ordering from that one place that you know is a safe bet, especially as a broke student, you don’t want to take a risk and pay for something that turns out to be disappointing.
If this sounds like you, we’ve got you covered! We’ve done the hard work of trialling and reviewing food and compiled a list of the best food spots in Manchester: from cheap takeaways to fancier restaurants where you can treat yourself (without breaking the bank).
We’ve included a variety of cuisines too (Japanese, Italian and Caribbean - just to name a few) so you can trust that there will definitely be something to suit your palate! And of course, it goes without saying that ALL these places are halal, and many have vegetarian/vegan menu options too!
Curry Mile/Oxford Road
Go Falafel - Falafel & Juice Bar (Vegan)
The perfect place to grab a warm and healthy falafel wrap for lunch whilst on campus. You can customise your wrap with sauces and other options such as hummus, pickles, salad, and seasoned potatoes.
Note: their ‘healthy juices’ are a bit of a misleading name because they’re just smoothies i.e blended fruit, they don’t actually juice anything! Also, be aware that there’s no space to eat in.
Our recommendation is the standard medium falafel wrap - £3.50
Keep an eye out for their freshers student BARGAIN of £1 wraps around September/October!
Today Fresh Shawarama
By far one of the most popular takeaways on the curry mile. Like the name says - fresh, beautifully spiced shawarma at a competitively cheap price is their main selling point and we admit it’s hard to beat these prices and quality (shawarma + naan from £2.50). In particular, we have to give a special mention to our personal favourite: shawarma in their fresh samoon bread. This tasty choice has earned itself quite the reputation - once you’ve tasted it no other shawarma will make the cut (ask for the number 1 meal option). They also do some addictive pizzas and fatayer from just £2.00! The bottom line is that this is the best shout for a tasty meal at the cheapest price.
The one downside to Today restaurant is that it can get quite hectic during peak hours and the chaotic queuing system means you might be in for a long wait.
If you’re starving and in need of mighty portion sizes then look no further.
The service here is fast and your food is usually accompanied by dips and salad. The staff are friendly and helpful and there’s plenty of room to eat-in with nicer seating upstairs.
We recommend their kobeda wrap (£3.85) or their mixed kebab (£6.75). Pay an extra £1 to get it on Qabili rice - trust us, it’s worth it!
Reasonable prices, decently spaced seating on both floors, and a very smiley owner - Pizza co is where to go for a solid pizza with a vast range of topping options. The sheer range of their menu and selection choices is the trump card here.
Located just a few steps down Oxford Road from campus, this is the place to go if you’re craving a bite of pizza in between lectures!
Famous for one dish and one dish only: Qabili Pilau - succulent carrot and sultana rice mixed with gorgeous tender lamb. We declare with full, unwavering confidence that this is the best place for rice in Manchester, bar none. It is no exaggeration to say they’ve got the basics down to a fine art.
New York Krispy
Fried chicken is an unsurpassable takeaway item that always hits the spot. Get a taste of the timeless crispy breading and tender, succulent chicken which New York Krispy does best by simply getting some wings (£2.20) or their Megabox Meal (£6.99) if you want to go all in with a burger, chicken strip, wings, fries and a drink.
Alright, we might’ve lied when we said you wouldn’t break the bank in any of these places because the first thing you’ll see on the menu in Toro’s SteakHouse is £££. But for a steak? We can’t really argue on the price.
With hearty portions of tender, sizzling steak, and a respectable selection of sides (the mash is a different level of creamy) Toro’s is worth every penny spent.
Manchester City Centre
Tampopo (vegan menu options included)
Hands down the champion franchise for southeast Asian food (beats Wagamama by a mile). If you want your east Asian food authentic and done justice then rest assured you’re in safe hands with Tampopo. Our favourites are the katsu curry (£11.25) and pad thai (£11.95). They also do 20% student discount on weekdays so make sure to bring your student card too! We recommend the branch in Exchange Quay for the warm lantern lighting, pleasant atmosphere, and great interior decor.
Vapiano (vegan menu options included)
The home of fresh handmade pasta, pizza, and Mediterranean salads - distinctly italiano. At Vapiano, flexibility is their unofficial forte so it’s quite easy to ask for specific menu changes and even speak to the chef. If you’re craving Italian, think Vapiano.
Jerk Shak (vegan menu options included)
Not many people know that this place is halal so it’s about time we shared the secret. Fried chicken, jerk chicken, mutton curry, oxtail, as well as peas and rice are Caribbean classics that you’ll find are made at an elite level here at Jerk Shak, all served rustically on enamel plates and with big boy portions. It’s hard to miss with its bright Caribbean themed colour scheme and shack-like exterior right next to Market Street tram stop!
Habesha (vegan menu options included)
This little gem is one of the best-kept secrets on the food scene in Manchester. Hidden away on busy Sackville street, it may be hard to notice at first but get past the fact it’s above a takeaway and you’re in for food so authentic you’ll feel transported to Ethiopia itself. With its homely atmosphere yet professional service, Habesha has a loyal crowd of customers and overwhelming popularity that makes it packed on weekend evenings.
Although the menu is small, they’ve certainly perfected the dishes on offer. All food is served alongside a traditional, freshly-made sour flatbread called injera. We recommend the Yebeg Wot (fragrant, tender lamb cubes slow-cooked with onions, garlic, and ginger) but the meat-free dishes on offer taste just as good if not better. The Yetsom Beyaynetu is a mouthwatering, lentil-based stew that packs a punch and will leave you seeing vegan food in a new light!
That’s it for our top picks of places to eat in Manchester, now it’s over to you to get some mates together and head out to try these food spots for yourself!