At weekends when you’ve been exploring the city centre, shopping with friends or showing your visiting parents around the time is bound to come when you’re ready for a bite to eat. When I first moved to Manchester 3 years ago it was trickier than you would think to find somewhere to eat close to the shops – the Deansgate restaurants were numbered (though there are a lot more these days!), the Spinningfield restaurants were just a bit too far away and Harvey Nichols/Selfridges both usually require a booking (but definitely worth a visit for a special occasion!). Safe to say however that finding somewhere to dine in the city centre is no longer an issue due to the recently revamped and reopened Corn Exchange.
Situated across from Selfridges and the Arndale Shopping Centre, the Corn Exchange is a listed building which used to house a pitiful number of shops and a solitary Pizza Express, however it has recently reopened as a restaurant hub and with a huge range of restaurants you can always find something you fancy (and a table!). Each restaurant has an outward-facing door and their own styling yet as you go through to the back of the restaurants they open out into the heart of the Corn Exchange. With a large glass ceiling even on a rainy day the place seems bright and airy. Most restaurants have tables in the central terrace which are great for people watching and many also have a balcony bar area which looks out over all the other restaurants around the plaza so there is always a buzzing atmosphere. The range of restaurant styles is also huge so you can try something different every time! So what’s good?
The Cosy Club Image: manchesterconfidential.co.uk
The Cosy Club is decked out as a vintage haven which has an extensive brunch menu as well as a retro lounge area complete with board games and homemade cakes. If you’re after a Latin American flavour there is Wahaca for authentic Mexican cuisine (try the tacos!) or Cabana Brazilian BBQ which also does great cocktails to enjoy in their hammock bar on the balcony. For a taste of Asia try Pho Vietnamese for excellent noodle soup or Mowgli for gorgeous Indian curries.
Vapiano balcany bar Image:MEN
Sometimes you can’t go wrong with an Italian: there is Vapiano which has an unusual self-service feature and a large balcony bar which serves Aperol Spritz perfect for a post-shopping cocktail; next door Gino da Campo recently moved his restaurant chain in which is very stylish as you might imagine and would definitely be one to take the parents to. My recommendation for Italian however would be Salvi’s, an independent Italian restaurant and deli which is usually full of people dining and drinking al fresco in the summer watching the world go by. Perfect for Italian coffee or an authentic plate of pasta, bring your largest Sofia Loren sunglasses for the full Italian experience 😉
Day or night, whatever the weather you’re sure to find a restaurant to make the occasion, whether it be lunch with friends or a special celebration. Be sure to call in when you’re exploring the city!