Founder Jim Ramsbottom named the restaurant after his great uncle Albert, who worked as a labourer during the 1990s redevelopment of the Castlefield area where the restaurant is sited. This earthy, family spirit extends to the food, which is Italian with a little no-nonsense British thrown in for good measure. The restaurant opened in 2004.
Insider Tip: Ask for a table out on the terrace, where you can look out at the canal and get a feel for this area that is so evocative of the city’s industrial past.
Tim Bacon’s Living Ventures company is behind some of Manchester’s most successful recent venues. There’s cocktail hub The Alchemist and late-2013’s Manchester House (manchesterhouse.uk.com), still finding its feet as it strives to win Bacon a Michelin star. The most solid choice for now is Australasia. With its driftwood decor, pale walls and pyramid entrance, this underground restaurant is the iconic Living Ventures venue.
Insider Tip: Go for the signature black cod roasted in hoba leaf. The kingfish sashimi – which hails from Tasmania, Bacon’s place of birth – also comes recommended.
The French was one of the first UK restaurants to win a Michelin star back in 1974. But after those early days, it long languished in faded glory – until Simon Rogan stepped in. This British chef made his name with Cumbria’s two Michelin-star L’Enclume, renowned for exciting flavour combinations using impeccably fresh local and seasonal produce. That’s the ethos here, too.
Insider Tip: Opt for the 10-course tasting menu, where you’ll get an insight into every twist and turn of Rogan’s culinary genius.
This marvellous pub has the traditional feel of a place long comfortable in its own skin. Indeed, this mosaic-rich venue celebrated its 125th birthday in 2013 by offering the same number of different bottled beers. What makes Marble Arch really stand out is that the eating’s as good as the drinking. And don’t worry, that floor really is sloping – it’s not you.
Insider Tip: The wide range of cheese boards are especially good matches for the ale, while the fish and chips are pretty good too.
With the red banquettes, The Koffee Pot feels a bit like an American diner – until you notice the bottles of very English condiments on the tables. This being the artsy Northern Quarter, there are street art-style designs on the wall, the crockery doesn’t match and you might well spot the odd celebrity Mancunian musician. Come for classic British grub, from homemade pasties to desserts served with custard.
Insider Tip: The smoked haddock rarebit (a classic Welsh-style dish) is a real breakfast treat. Enjoy it as the morning light streams through the big windows.