When the sun is out it can be hard to find a space amongst the hordes of keen visitors flocking to the city’s many terraces and beer gardens. Here’s the inside scoop on the very best secluded gardens and terraces where you can dine under the sun or stars in style. Manchester’s al-fresco restaurants boast every cuisine style, from resolutely British grilled dishes to flavourful Italian specialities.
The River Bar & Grill
Perched on the banks of the Irwell within the exclusive Lowry Hotel, The River Bar & Grill boasts serene waterside dining at its sweeping, glass-surround terrace. The restaurant’s monthly wine dinners are not to be missed. Some of the world’s most renowned winemakers, including representatives from Dom Perignon and Billecart-Salmon, attend the evening and give diners the opportunity to sample their fine wines and learn about their provenance. A four-course dinner follows, with dishes created to perfectly compliment the evening’s featured wines. On the a la carte menu, look out for intriguing choices such as North Sea lemon sole, and Anglesey sea bass, prepared on the charcoal grill.
Great John Street HotelBook Great John Street Hotel
Great John Street Hotel’s roof garden “playground” extends the venue’s eclectic, designer theme with spherical rattan loungers and sculpted topiary. Obelisk patio heaters and sturdy umbrellas provide a little flexibility for outdoor dining when the weather isn’t otherwise ideal. Afternoon tea is the order of the day at Great John Street Hotel – the kitchen treats this meal as a work of art with both sweet and savoury options boasting an intricate selection of finger-sized treats. Perrier-Jouet champagne is available to add fizz to that special celebration tea-time, and of course fresh loose-leaf teas and coffees are integral to the experience.
Zizzi – Didsbury
Housed within the historic former Clock Tower pub, Zizzi – Didsbury boasts a capacious terrace with room for up to 60 diners. During warm weather this could be one of the few places locally to find an outdoor seat – just by sheer virtue of its capacity. Make no mistake, though, Zizzi is a popular destination – its creative interpretation of traditional Italian cuisine means that diners return again and again. Irresistible menu options include Chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto ham and sage with a white wine sauce, Tuscan potatoes and green beans. A rich dessert selection includes a creamy chocolate and toffee nut sundae.
The Restaurant Bar and Grill
Eager aficionados flock to the terrace at the Restaurant Bar and Grill for its award-winning outdoor cocktail bar. A choice of formal tables and comfy, cafe-style arrangements gives you the option to enjoy a couple drinks with tapas, or a full delicious dinner. Dishes from the charcoal-burning grill and clay oven are stars of the menu – choose between options like 35-day aged cote de boeuf steak, and crispy dick with spiced plums, honey, and red wine. A creative fish and seafood selection includes tandoor monkfish with rice and spiced tomato sauce, and smoked haddock risotto with leeks and poached egg.
A favourite destination in Manchester’s arty Northern Quarter, Rosy Lee offers a taste of continental café culture with its dedicated street terrace area. Indulge in a bit of people-watching while you enjoy the restaurant’s expertly-prepared modern British cuisine. Don’t miss Rosy Lee’s Star Deal available only in conjunction with Bookatable – with 2 courses at £12.95pp, or 3 courses at £14.95pp. Enticing mains include hot-smoked mackerel fillet with baby leaf spinach, crispy onion and blue cheese. For dessert, don’t miss the Bourneville dark chocolate tart with warm Benedictine custard. Fans of savoury flavours will appreciate the intriguing cheese board- a selection of local farmhouse-style cheeses with all the tracklements.
Café Rouge – Manchester Deansgate
Savour a truly continental experience at Café Rouge, where French dishes are served on the street-side terrace area. It’s the ideal place to watch the world go by while enjoying a café au lait and artisan baguette or croque-monsieur. For dinner, choose between Gallic classics like Loup de Mer – a fillet of seabass and sauce vierge with baby plum tomatoes, torn basil, rosemary & black olive potatoes and green beans, and moules marinieres, served in a velvety white wine, garlic and cream sauce. Desserts are satisfyingly rich, with options like fondant au chocolate and tarte tatin.