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Annual Trip to Manchester..NFMac?

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Annual Trip to Manchester..NFMac?

Hi NFMac and anyone else interested in replying !!

I address this to NFMac by name because he (you) (and Thomofthenorth also) gave me some very good pointers last year for my annual December trip to Manchester....

Well, it's nearly that time of year again so I am back looking for some advice for our (a couple) 4 day break...

Firstly and very disappointing I must say is that unlike previous years, we will not be able to stay in the Midland as it is fully booked out for our trip dates.

Whilst this is bad news, I have gone ahead and booked the Arora so hopefully this is an ok hotel ?? I know it's fairly central but would appreciate any feedback on the area it's in etc..

Also, whilst staying in the Arora, I decided to treat myself and herself to a Saturday evening meal in Obsidian. What are the views on this choice. Is it a good restaurant?

I know it's probably expensive but hopefully it's worth it?

Having tried EastzEast, Koreana, Red Chilli and Market Restaurant last year, the plan is to try some different restaurants this year whilst still getting a few different types of taste in!

The rough plan is EastzEast again (we really liked this place last year) for Indian, Yang Sing for Chinatown on the Sunday night and something like either the Gaucho Grill or Grill on the Alley for another night. What does that sound like?

Has anyone any feedback on either the Gaucho Grill or Grill on the Alley and what would be the thoughts on the better one to book (if either)?

That leaves one night unaccounted for, so recommendations please on the basis of the above decisions for the other nights!!

Any other recommendations re things to do (besides the shopping, Christmas Mkts etc) would also be appreciated.

thanks

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1. Re: Annual Trip to Manchester..NFMac?

Nice to be remembered...and I'm still bored at work so chipping in on items like this every now and again.

I have to say that now I've got a kid, I don't eat out half as much as I used to but I'll still offer advice!

The Arora is supposed to be superb and is practically next door to the Yang Sing. Great location.

I've never eaten at Obsidian...it's supposed to be very expensive and quite fancy which is never my thing. It gets a lot less press nowadays than when it opened...Panacea tends to get all the foootballers going there so Obsidian's not in the papers half as much. But, when it did open it got great reviews.

The Grill on the Alley has had very mixed reviews. Again, not been, so can't really comment. When it was featured in the Evening News it was slated but it always looks busy and the menu on the website looks great.

East-Z-East is still superb (I'm going tomorrow!). And there's a new Indian called Akbar's which is good but not, in my opinion, as good as E-Z-E.

The new Hilton bar (Cloud 23) is very swanky but there are often queues. It's quite small and the fire restrictions limit it to 200 people so there is often a queue. If you can got at unpopular times it's well worth a visit. Fantastic views and a glass floor to look down on.

Near your hotel is a Thai place called Koh Samui (two doors away going the other way from Yang Sing) which is great. There's also a cheap Chinese place called Fu's cafe (opposite Arora, up one of the side streets) which is very good indeed even though it doesn't look like much from the outside.

The City Art Gallery opposite Arora is excellent and the cafe and coffee shop is much better than any of the Starbucks that are everywhere in the city.

There's a new casino (235) that's trying to attract a lot of night-time business and a new (and good) restaurant in the circus casino just round the corner from your hotel.

Have you tried the Craft Centre in the Northern Quarter? Great for quirky presents. Plus...it has the advantage of being in a great area for the best (and cheapest) lunchtime curry cafes (no menu, just about half-a-dozen curries bubbling away) and also some of the trendiest bars and pubs. Just by the Market Restaurant.

Other than that, there's a new Portuguese place that's getting great reviews and a new Italian place (Pesto) by the guy who started the La Tasca chain that's getting mixed reviews.

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2. Re: Annual Trip to Manchester..NFMac?

Hi NFMac,

Thanks for the reply and the updated info. I will read through it and maybe revert with some questions if that's ok (might relieve the work boredom?)

How did EastZEast go? I have to say I was really impressed with it last year and have no real interest in trying any other Indian this year if it is still anywhere near as good as last year.

cheers

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EastZeast
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3. Re: Annual Trip to Manchester..NFMac?

It was excellent...the food was superb and the naan breads particularly good, coming on big hooks. My only complaint with that is that they go cold very quickly.

But, there were four of us and we had plenty to eat and a few beers and pints of coke and stuff and the bill was £20.00 per head. I think that's really good value for one of the most expensive Indians in Manchester. It also recently won the restaurant of the year for Manchester...the first Indian to do so.

There's a great pub just by the restaurant. The Lass o'Gowrie is just down Charles Street. You can probably see it from the front door or E-Z-e. It brews its own beer and is easily one of the best places in town.

I have to say that whilst E-Z-E is excellent I'm still not sure that it's the best in Manchester. It's certainly nicer (as in decor and service) than most places in Rusholme but I'm not convinced that the food is necessarily better. Rusholme is a tourist destination in its own right and I think that the Sangam or Lal Haweli are better. You'd have to get a taxi there and there's only one decent pub (the Whitworth) but I think it might be worth it.

There's also Akbar's. Brand new and a sister restaurant from a renowned place in Bradford. My pal who I was with last night says that it's great. That's in the city centre with a few bood bars (Cask) and pubs (White Lion, Ox) just nearby. Drove past it last night and there was a large Indian family leaving...always a good indication.

Happy to answer any other queries...!

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4. Re: Annual Trip to Manchester..NFMac?

Hi NFMac,

Good to hear you enjoyed EastZEast and it certainly sounds like it is still very good and also reasonably priced..

I have been down to Rusholme before and it wouldn't be much of a hassle to get out there (taxi as you say). So given that I have seen the area (from the tourist perspective!), do you still think there is a better Indian to be had out there? Or will I stick with EastZEast (I can check out that Lass O’Gowrie pub you mention as well then)

I want to get cracking on booking some of these places as I know that they will be busy with Christmas parties etc so it’s decision time really…. I see an Italian mentioned in other posts (San Rocca?) that attracts the stars (I think it’s the one you said they wouldn’t let you into!!! ) Is this worth booking or would you go with the Grill on the Alley or Gaucho Grill option I already mentioned?

Decisions, decisions!!

Basically, we just want nice restaurants to spoil ourselves on!!

Any other suggestions greatly appreciated!!

thanks

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5. Re: Annual Trip to Manchester..NFMac?

I've had very good reports on both Gaucho and the Grill on the Alley.

I believe that Grill on the Alley does the famous Kobe steaks. If you want to spoil yourself that might be something to try. £50 for the steak I believe or £25 for a Kobe Steak burger!!!!! If you can afford that, let me know how they are!

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The Grill On The Alley
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2,087 Reviews
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6. Re: Annual Trip to Manchester..NFMac?

Stick with East-Z-East...it's superb and whilst other places *might* be better, they also might be worse! It's also dead easy to get to from your hotel. Turn right, cross a few busy roads, and walk for five minutes and you're there. You can see the Ibis sign on the roof of the building pretty easily. Immediately before E-Z-E there's Charles Street (A bar called SOFA - it changes its name regularly...not recommended - is on the corner) and the Lass-o-Gowrie is there on your right.

I don't know about that San Rocco place as I didn't get in! It looks good and certainly glamorous but I've heard reviews that they rush you in and out. After I saw Ronaldo and others in there a friend told me that he's seen a few of the City players in there...he was annoyed because he's a season ticket holder and these players were drinking plenty of beers a night or two before a match.

The night I tried to go (a wet Saturday in October) it was packed and there were loads at the bar waiting. I'm sure it would be a good experience but I guess you'd have to book beforehand. Just next(ish) to Koreana and also to the best Irish pub (Mulligan's) in town. Also, Stock is superb for modern Italian food. It's in the old stock exchange...not too far from your hotel but not much else near it in the way of other bars or pubs.

One other recommendation...Katsouri's deli on Deansgate (just by Kendal's) is superb during the day for sandwiches and coffees.

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Koreana
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202 Reviews
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7. Re: Annual Trip to Manchester..NFMac?

Have booked the following line up:

EastZEast, Gril On the Alley, Obsidian & Yang Sing.....Hopefully that will keep us fed!!

thanks for the tips.....not sure about trying the Kobe steak!!...50 for a steak ? Is is gold plated?..will let you know if I try it...you only live once I suppose...

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8. Re: Annual Trip to Manchester..NFMac?

Hi MG21 - those four are a great line-up. When you get back you must post another reply with your comments on each of them.

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9. Re: Annual Trip to Manchester..NFMac?

I will do...cant wait now...if anyone has a few good pubs/bars to recommend let me know....nothiung too trendy or overly noisy, just nice comfortable surroundings where you have a hope of siting down to enjoy a few pints !!

tks

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10. Re: Annual Trip to Manchester..NFMac?

Hi MG

Don't know Grill on the Alley but Gaucho Grill is excellent and they have some cracking wines at ok prices too if you're into that.

Also to consider: Room, Establishment (although far far more expensive than any other restaurant - worth it!), Linen (new restaurant in 235 Casino which had v. good reviews this week, but as I understand you need to register (with a c/c!) for the casino to dine there. Which I am sure will change as soon as the dining croud will refuse to do it) and Cocoa Rooms

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The Grill On The Alley
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