- The creed of a true saint is to make the best of life, and to make the most of it. Edwin Hubbel Chapin
Eat a Meal Cooked by a Celebrity Chef
Simon Rogan at The French
Simon Rogan's beautiful restaurant at The Midland Hotel might have controversially been overlooked for a Michelin star again (despite Rogan securing two for L'Enclume up in the Lake District, at Cartmel), but we reckon it's the city's best chance of scoring one.
Its exquisite dining room, its attentive but unstuffy service, and (of course) its extraordinary menu devised - and sometimes cooked by - Simon Rogan and his head chef Adam Reid are all exceptional.
Simon spends most of his time in the Lakes these days (testament to the growing reputation of Reid) but you may catch him on one of his trips to Manchester.
The original French at the hotel secured a famous star for the city in 1974, in the first ever Michelin guide. It would seem the ultimate acknowledgement of the fine work Rogan is doing to reposition dining culture in Manchester if one came shooting the restaurant's way again.
Aiden Byrne at Manchester House
Aiden Byrne’s Manchester House shot to national attention when it was the focus of BBC documentary Restaurant Wars. Though it furthered the reputation of the restaurant and Byrne's phenomenal, painterly skill with a plate, it rather left Mancunians looking a bit behind the dining times.
While Manchester has been growing exponentially in all areas of food and drink, it's fair to say that Manchester House has led the pack when it comes to contemporary fine dining. And that's probably because Aiden is regularly the man cooking up the masterful dishes that leave its kitchen.
Book the chef's table to get up close and personal.
James Martin Manchester at Manchester235
The face of Saturday Kitchen has, in fact, got a rather large and rather swanky restaurant in the city. Missed it? It's easily done, because Mr Martin's place is tucked away inside casino Manchester235. Don't worry, though: you won't need a win at the poker table to afford the bill. The menu - all based around Martin's love of classic British cuisine - features delicious guinea fowl, cod and pork dishes all well under the £20 mark.
If you feel like splashing out you could try his showcase dish - the Cumbrian sharing beef platter, at £70, complete with braised wagyu ox cheek. And don't forget the dripping chips with caramelised onion salt on the side. Our arteries are hurting just THINKING about it.
Martin's quirky offering here comes in the shape of the meat market, a kind of cold store where customers can pick their cut of meat and order it served in whatever way they want.
Simon Rimmer at Greens
Simon Rimmer's veggie haven Greens has been delighting vegetarians and meat eaters alike in Manchester for 25 years. Yes, opened in 1990 in West Didsbury, on Lapwing Lane, Greens is celebrating a very important birthday this year and yet it continues to innovate as brilliantly as the first day it opened.
Wallasey-born Rimmer has become a very recognisable face, having appeared regularly on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch and The Great British Menu. And as well as being kind to our animals, Rimmer's restaurant is also very philanthropic, supporting the likes of Francis House Hospice, The Christie hospital, and The Wirral Toy Library.
Michael Caines at ABode
You'll have to be quick on this one as this TV celebrity and Michelin-starred chef famed for his delicate flavours and European inspired dishes has announced his intention to leave the ABode group this spring. Currently, Michael has a fine dining restaurant in Manchester set in the basement of a Grade II listed building just a short walk from Piccadilly Station (there's a more casual setting upstairs, too).
Expect to eat local at a Caines place. As Michael says himself: "Every great cuisine is rooted in the local and the regional. I expect all my chefs wherever we are located to create meaningful relationships with farmers, growers, fishermen, food producers and suppliers."