I lived in Manchester for a year when I got my first job in fashion/lifestyle PR soon after graduating and I fell in love with the city. Even though I’m having a great time in London, there are times when I do miss good old MCR! There are so many fantastic restaurants in the city so I thought it only appropriate to do a little roundup of what I think are the best restaurants for a Valentine’s Day date…
The Alchemist was one of our regular haunts when I lived in Manchester because it was the perfect mix of tasty, affordable food, yummy cocktails and a chilled ambience. (Oh and because one of my friend’s boyfriends worked there too)! As well as the one in Spinningfields, there is now a fabulous one open on New York Street too. In my mind, it is an ideal choice if you want a fairly romantic meal out without being too fancy/expensive. The menu has a wide range of options, from British to Mexican to Chinese to Asian; I can definitely recommend the fajitas!
Grill on New York Street
Speaking of New York Street, just down the way from the Alchemist is a fabulous restaurant called the Grill On New York Street. It was fairly new when I arrived in Manchester back in 2011 and sometimes ran a half-price weekday offer, so it might be worth having a research online or signing up to their newsletter to see if they still do this! It is a restaurant that serves good, locally sourced food without being crazy expensive – I always went for the scrummy corn fed chicken breast. The inside décor is simple with low-lighting, which also makes it a great place to take the parents. There is also Grill on the Alley which came before the New York Street branch but I have not been inside myself.
Australasia is a very stylish restaurant in Deansgate which you access by going through a glass pyramid and down the stairs – very Louvre-esque! The food is a mix of Indonesian and Southeast Asian cuisine, with plenty of sushi, sashimi and tempura dishes to tempt your fancy. This tends to be more ‘glamorous’ and there are often local celebrities to be found in there, so a great place to go if you fancy making a bit of effort.
Another stylish restaurant where celebs can often be found is Vermillion, a Thai/Indian Asian restaurant near to the Ethidad stadium and not too far from the main Piccadilly train station. There are two large floors; the Asian-designed restaurant can be found on the downstairs floor whilst a fabulous bar area can be found upstairs. We went here for my work’s Christmas party and the food was absolutely fantastic, though it would still be a good place to go just for a drink as the bar area is super snazzy! There are big multi-coloured light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, big clam-style seats and a stylish – if slightly WAG- ambience.
If drinks are more your thing for Valentine’s Day then I would definitely recommend Epernay, a champagne bar found near the upmarket area of Deansgate. The inside is sophisticated, with glass walls overlooking the city, a brick bar and golden fairylights all over, with plenty of wine and champagne offers to tempt your taste buds. I only got the chance to go in once for a Lucille Lingerie event – you can read more about that here.