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“A bit of Spain in rainy Manc”
Review of El Rincon de Rafa

El Rincon de Rafa
Ranked #179 of 2,421 Restaurants in Manchester
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $14 - $42
Cuisines: Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Description: El Rincón de Rafa is Manchester's longest-serving independent Spanish restaurant, having been in the city centre for 22 years. A family run establishment, El Rincón is regularly described as a 'hidden gem' and offers a relaxed, authentic experience, brought to Manchester from Málaga by owner Rafael Cabrera-Vargas. El Rincón offers a large range of tapas and main courses (including paellas) and a fully stocked bar with a huge variety of Spanish beers (both bottles and draught) and wines. The off the beaten track but central location of El Rincón (close to the Hilton hotel - turn down St John's St from Deansgate and take the first right) ensures an unbeatable authentic Spanish atmosphere, but with hidden nooks and crannies for a more intimate feel. The restaurant doesn't accept bookings for two, seating couples at a number of tables on a first come, first served basis. Customers are also welcome to visit just the bar for food and/or drinks. Que aproveche!
Reviewed November 16, 2012

Came here on a Friday afternoon in October, for my wife's birthday.

I go into town quite often, but still found this place hard to find. For the clubbers out there it's next door to the old Ampersands, just behind Deansgate.

I've found the La Vina/La Tasca places OK in the past, but none of them are as good as this. Very autentic place with wooden table, and lots of pictures of the owner meeting United & City players.

The waiting staff are all Spanish, and it's great to here the banter between them and the chefs in their language (we're huge fans of Spain and it's islands)

We decided to get 6 tapas dishes between us. One white meat and 1 red, garlic mushrooms, meatballs in sauce, prawns, and a chilli dish. We also got a huge stack of bread (wedgy type).

The food was cooked perfectly,every single plate was finished. My favourite was the chicken thighs that were cooked in a orange sauce - my wife loved the prawns.

For drinks they had a good selection of wines, but as we had a long night ahead of us, we went for a pint of Cruzcampo each. Gorgeous cold beer!

The bill was under £40, which was excellent value for such lovely food.

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1  Thank Young-MostoniansM40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 12, 2012

Despit the hidden location of this restaurant (a cavenous basement down a back alley), this restaurant is always busy with a good atmosphere, it's the most authentic Spanish place in Manchester according to my Spanish boyfriend, although i would prefer Juan Sanchez in Chorlton.
Be warned though, if you're planning on taking your vegetarian girlfriend out for a treat then this is a selfish option, she'll go home with a stomach of chickpeas and wine whilst your gorge yourself and go home shaped like a plum.
Also they don't take bookings for less than 3 people it's normal to wait at the bar for a table to be cleared.

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2  Thank Esme W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2012

The food is excellent and equal to what you would find in Spain. Hard to find if you are not from Manchester. We went there three nights over a four day period.

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1  Thank Travelingduncs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2012

I would never have visited this place if my friend who was visiting me hadn't already been and suggested we go togetherduring her visit. The address says Deansgate but it's actually round the back corner so not the simplest to find from the street. The restaurant is in the cellar and the windows at street level all had bars on, which gave me sense of foreboding, however it wasn't as bad as I thought once inside.

Inside it's certainly not luxurous, just a genuine Spanish tapas bar. The one irksome thing about it was, although they had avoided going down the trashy Ango-Spanish route of salsa music, and had kept it relatively authentic, the TV screen mounted on the wall showing Coronation Street (at the time) didn't sit well with me.
The food was good. Not outstanding, just like regular tapas, and you always order more than you need as the small plates are deceptively filling, so budget wise it wasn't great as our bill came to over £65 just for the two of us. This large bill was owing to the grossly overcharhing of sangria pitchers, at £13.50 a jug! Far too expensive for just a half bottle of wine and orange juice! However we did have a good time, the staff were friendly, and the food pleasant enough, but I won't be in a hurry to go again.

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Thank alicia_taylor86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2012

It's been a good couple of years since my last visit. Still as good as ever. Food is freshly done, not mass manufactured and definitely authentic. Staff were really good offering a good service. Atmosphere was buzzing. Overall a really good time. Sangria was excellent!!

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1  Thank Sue E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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