Here’s our list of the top five romantic Manchester restaurants. Whether you want to treat your long term Valentine or make an impression on a first date, you’ll find the magic ingredient here.
1. Cloud 23 Book Cloud 23
Literally the top restaurant in Manchester, Cloud 23 floats above the city on the 23rd floor of the Beetham Tower. Sweep your partner off their feet with a ride in the express lift, and settle into one of Cloud 23’s exclusive zones named after the gods of ancient Greece. Sleek décor sets off the floor to ceiling windows, framing day time views stretching from the Pennines to the mountains of Snowdonia and night time views taking in the bright lights of the city after dark.
Featuring an attractive selection of sharing plates, the Cloud 23 menu is perfect for a couple. The long list of small plates on offer includes spiced chicken satay with sweet chilli jam and Asian salad (£6.50), and warm continental-style cured sausages with hot mustard and pickle (£7.50).
Large sharing plates include locally reared rare roast beef with potato and spring onion salad, horseradish cream and roasted balsamic onions (£16.50), and poached lobster in shell tiger prawns with Russian salad and Marie Rose sauce (£19.50). Even the desserts come as sharing plates, the choice featuring treats such freshly made macaroons (£7.50) and mini sugar cones with home-made ice cream (£8.50).
2. The River Restaurant Book The River Restaurant
Tucked away inside the five-star Lowry Hotel on the banks of the River Irwell, cosmopolitan favourite the River Restaurant offers an elegant alternative for a romantic rendezvous. Green leather chairs, stunning architectural flower arrangements and perfectly-positioned white linen table cloths set the scene for a sophisticated menu of British classics crafted with premium ingredients.
The team have put together a special Valentines lovers’ menu (£55), which includes a sharing starter featuring well-known aphrodisiacs. The selection includes Loch Fyne oysters, smoked duck and love spice, and mushroom and truffle cappuccino served with a selection of breads.
For the main course, there’s a choice of pan fried fillet and braised featherblade of beef with dauphinoise potatoes, confit shallots, wilted spinach and red wine sauce or grilled Anglesey sea bass with crisp crab bon bon, Mediterranean vegetables, Savoyarde potatoes and saffron sauce.
The dessert is a mouth-watering chocolate, strawberry and passion fruit fondue, a fitting finale for a romantic meal.
If you’d rather go à la carte, you’ll find a range of gourmet classics and new creations ranging from dressed Cornish crab (£18) to Beluga caviar (market price); and from loin of venison with chicory marmalade, maple carrots and Muscovite sauce (£24) to lobster Thermidor (£18).
The River Restaurant
3. Malmaison Book Malmaison
The magnificent Malmaison is one of Manchester’s most prestigious boutique hotels, and its Smoak restaurant attracts celebrity hotel guests and the city’s own beautiful people alike. There’s a spectacular open kitchen, plus a theatre-style bar where mixologists conjure up a fantastic range of classic cocktails and house specials.
Malmaison’s à la carte menu offers a range of intensely flavoured dishes which include lighter options such as pan-fried sea bass fillet with chorizo, new potatoes, tomato and mussel dressing (£15.95) as well as steaks from the unique high temperature Josper grill (from £19.95). There’s also a special Valentine’s offer (£49 pp for three courses and a cocktail). The Valentine’s menu starters include baked Camembert, garlic and rosemary with sourdough baguette, apple and endive salad, and Carlingford Bay oysters “Rockefeller” – gratinated with spinach, garlic and herb butter.
For the main course, you can choose from a varied selection of dishes such as porcini risotto, parmesan and truffle mascarpone with green salad, and coriander-crusted 6 bone rack of lamb with Bombay potatoes, sautée courgettes and masala sauce.
Dessert options include a luxurious chocolate pudding made with the finest Valrhona chocolate and served with mint choc chip ice cream, and a light and refreshing pineapple carpaccio, with coconut sorbet and chilli and mint syrup. Coffee and amaretto truffles provide a perfect finishing touch.
4. Michael Caines at ABode Book Michael Caines at ABode
Piccadilly landmark the Manchester ABode is sleek, sophisticated, and home to a restaurant known for some of the finest dining in the city. Set in the atmospheric lower level dining room, the restaurant produces modern, accessible and delicious food, courtesy of Michael Caines, one of the UK’s best known chefs and holder of two Michelin stars. Book dinner for two from the a la carte menu, and you can be sure of a sumptuous and memorable meal.
For starters, you can choose from delicacies such as warm salad of mallard duck, celeriac, glazed onions and game hollandaise (£14), or terrine of vegetables with truffle mayonnaise, candied hazelnuts and shitake à la grèque (£10).
The main course is all about creative combinations of good, honest, natural flavours. Amongst other dishes, you’ll find pork fillet with butternut squash, boulangère potato and smoked paprika (£18), roasted hake with chicken skin, parsnip and chicken broth (£21), and Jerusalem artichoke and truffle risotto with wild mushrooms and artichoke crisp. For dessert, there’s a selection of indulgent delights sure to round off the evening to perfection.
Michael Caines at ABode
5. Opus One Book Opus One
One of Manchester’s liveliest restaurants, Opus One at the Radisson Blu Edwardian offers innovative modern British food in an opulent and theatrical setting. Soaring ceilings, velvet red walls and black crocodile skin furniture provide a romantic backdrop for a meal to remember.
Starters on offer include hand-dived scallops, Stornaway black pudding, parsnip and balsamic (£10.95), and confit duck, pak choi, hoi sin and coriander (£8.25). Moving on to mains, you can explore fantastic flavour combinations such as Cheshire fillet of beef, Bert’s blue cheese, truffle, red onion, peppered pancetta and quail’s egg (£25.95) or pan-fried saddle of venison with marrow, truffle, pancetta and celeriac (£22.95). Delectable desserts include coffee panna cotta with raspberry and cinnamon and pecan pie with honey ice cream and pecan tuille (both £5.25).
Note that menus are based on the availability of fresh ingredients and restaurants do occasionally therefore substitute alternative dishes.