Best Things We Ate and Drank in 2019

That's right guys, we've spent a good chunk of a day thinking back through everything we've eaten to hand-pick all the BEST bits!

By Manchester's Finest | 3 January 2020

Share this story

Prime Rib
Throughout the year I’ve had the pleasure of going to Hawksmoor quite a few times, and every time I order the same thing. Because it’s just that bloody good. If you go and don’t get steak you’re absolutely mental it’s one of the best places to get a steak in town and you need to go. – Jale Hardy 


Image may contain: food and indoor

Sticky Shredded Chicken
Salt & Pepper 

Salt & Pepper burst on the scene with a simple but bloody good taste of Chinese food. Crispy chicken pieces served with rice and chips and pickled slaw. What more could you possibly want? Well, I’ll tell you. Nothing. You do not and will not get bored of Salt & Pepper. Doesn’t matter how many times you go on your lunch break, you’ll wanna go back the day after, the week after and every day next year. – Charlotte Warrior 


Image may contain: food

this is next level type of pizza, topped with all the good stuff including San Marzano DOP, fior di latte mozzarella, rocket, parma ham, cherry tomatoes, burrata, parmesan and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Easily one of the best thing about pizza is the cheese. Add more on to it and you’ve just created heaven. When the world created stuffed crusts I thought pizza couldn’t get better. That was until Ciaooo put an entire burrata in the middle of a pizza, and made pointy rippable crust to dunk in. – Gabby Ball 


2018 Domaine Sebastien David Cabernet Franc Hurluberlu
Not to be confused with a massive glass bottle of Coke, Sébastien David makes deliciously crunchy Cabernet Franc from his vineyards situated on the limestone-clay and gravels of the Loire. Unusually, this red is served chilled, straight from the wine fridge giving a fresh wine that’s full of flavours. Best wine I’ve had all year. – Ben Brown


Steak Tartare
Dining at Cultureplex truly is a pleasure and that pleasure can only be made better by ordering the Steak Tartare. It’s served exactly how it should be and kept simple but it is seasoned to perfection and that egg was as runny as anything. 
– India Morris


Salt Marsh Lamb Saddle
Edinburgh Castle 
Since starting at Finest earlier this year, I’ve well and truly had the pleasure of eating at some of Manchester’s best restaurants. Within that list, I’m gonna put it out there now, is newbie Edinburgh Castle. It might not have been open for long, but it should definitely be on your radar for the New Year. and more importantly, you need to order that lamb. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water again so I don’t know if I’ll get through describing it… The lamb is served alongside cured melt-in-your-mouth lamb fat. There’s also pickled turnip rings dusted with onion ash and a rich glazed lamb rib on a vibrant courgette purée. Crikey – it’s 10am when I’m writing this and I could eat it now. – Rikki Chan


Beef Massaman
Jub Thai
Jub Thai wasn’t on my radar at all until I started at Finest. And in fact, it was on my fourth day that I went to Jub Thai and oh my god was it good. It honestly blew me away but the top of the list absolutely was the Beef Massaman Curry. Full of cloves, cinnamon and star anise all mixed up in a deliciously deep, dark gravy that had a beautiful glossy sheen. The generous chunks of beef are cooked to perfection and melt in your mouth with ease. – Ciara Martin


Image may contain: people eating and food

This n That

An absolute no brainer to the best thing I’ve ever eaten is quite honestly anything from This n That. It wins the top spot for best thing I’ve eaten this year, every year. It’s down a dodgey back alley but that’s where all the best stories start. It’s also been around since the 80s so they know a thing or two about making seriously good curry. 
– Jamie Roberts


Erdinger Alkoholfrei
The Bay Horse Tavern
Joe Wilson


The Whole Stuffed Lamb
You best believe this is the best (and largest) thing I’ve eaten all year. In fact, it’s probably not just my favourite thing, it may very well be one of the other 15 people who ate this with me too. It’s succulent, juicy and oozing with flavour. Also, a massive shout out to the rice and roasties on this because that special Zouk spicing is absolutely to die for. – Steven Pankhurst 


Nagoya Ramen
Cocktail, Beer, Ramen + Bun
This might come as a surprise from many people that know me but in all honesty, this was probably the best thing I ate all year. I’d pretty much refused to go to either CBRB or Tokyo Ramen right up until around November this year, when I was forced to go to Tokyo Ramen for the Pedro’s collaboration special. I was bowled over (shit pun time) but was ever so slightly more impressed with this Nagoya at CBRB. The deciding factor was the pork belly and crackling. I could genuinely eat this every single fucking day of my life and never get tired of it. – Ben Brown
(Image courtesy of Chris Bergin)


Bread Basket
The Lowry Hotel
It’s mental that a bread basket has made it into the list of the best things we’ve eaten all year but when it’s this good you have to give credit where credit is due. And in fact, sometimes the simpler the dish the tastier it can be and the more you can appreciate a good staple ingredient when it is put in front of you. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know just HOW much we’ve raved about this in this year alone. There are 4 different types of butter including a sun-dried tomato butter that comes served as an optical illusion (as a tomato). Is there an option to eat this every day in 2020? – Damo Stead


BBQ Lamb Skewers
Wolf at the Door
More lamb – we just love lamb, clearly. You’ll be pleased to hear this is the last bit of lamb for this year. Wolf at the Door opened up earlier this year and blew us all away with its well-curated small plate menu. The Lamb Skewers have had me going back and back far too often than I’d care to admit. They’re incredibly succulent and fall off the skewer and there’s plenty of fat to keep everything just the right amount of juicy. Complimented perfectly with the lamb fat yeast flakes to add another texture. If you’ve not tried this already (we talk about them enough) you need to make it top of your things to do in 2020.
James Barker 


Breakfast Naan
An easy decision for me on the best things I’ve eaten all year, top of the list is the Breakfast Naan at Dishoom. I have quite honestly been dreaming about it since I first had it a few months back. The fluffy parcel is full of the crispiest bacon known to man, plenty of chilli jam and fresh cream cheese. No other bacon butty, can or will, compare. – Ellie Edginton


Caramelised Banana
Harvey Nichols
I hope you all appreciate this article because not only was it a slog to think back through 12 months of eating when one of our top few things to do for our job is to eat. But also looking back through the pictures of delicious food and picking just one thing to talk about was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Dramatic. Anyway, in looking through my pictures I was reminded of this truly spectacular dessert I had the pleasure of putting in my mouth back in August. And it’s funny because I actually found myself talking about this dessert the other week and ever since I’ve been craving it. The dish is the perfect balance of textures for a dessert, not too sloppy, not too wet and not too dry either, sitting perfectly in the middle of all three. The caramelised banana chunks are served alongside refreshing coconut ice cream, dark chocolate and biscuit crumb. Mmmm. – Alex Watson


Plats de Fruit de Mer 
Randall & Aubin
The definition of a signature dish, Plats de Fruit de Mer is not only the largest dishes on the menu at Randall & Aubin but it may very well be the most delicious too. On brand with low environmental impact, this net-to-plate dish is piled high with a variety of seafood. Not only that but it’s enough protein to last you the whole of 2020, complete with oysters, whelks, crab, prawns, mussels, clams, and cockles. Fantastic.– Daisy Miles 


Flat White
Lawn Coffee
A list of the best things we’ve eaten and drank all year wouldn’t be complete without coffee. Realistically, there are very few things that are better than waking up in the morning and sipping on a hot milky coffee. – Petr Kaiser