But seriously, Manchester is getting expensive, and going out for a nice meal isn’t as easy as it used to be back in the day, when restaurants were cheap and pints were £2.
If you’re like me and love eating out but don’t have an obliging bank balance, knowing where to eat on the cheap is essential- and when I say cheap, I mean less than 5 bob. Winner, winner, 5 quid dinner!
You can always rely on Bunny Jackson’s to provide you with 3 things. One is a bloody good time. The other is plenty of strong cocktails in which to add a bit of Dutch courage to your endeavours. And the last one is quite possibly the best – 10p wings. So if you’ve got a five (which this article postulates) then you’re about to get 50 fucking chicken wings. 50! If you manage to get through that lot and still not either be ridden with gout or want to go to bed, get under the covers and die – you’re a magnificent specimen of a human.
Bunny Jacksons, 1 Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester M15 4RA
If you’re yet to experience the wonders of Earth Café on Turner Street, then you’re mad because they serve some of the freshest, cheapest food in the whole of Manchester. Whilst catering primarily for Vegans and Veggies, they offer main dishes and a side for just £4 (how mental?), which range from spicy chillies and curries to stuffed peppers and Beetroot cannolo; to name a few. Lunch? Dinner? Who bloody cares, you’re never too skint to get fed here.
Earth Café, 16-20 Turner St, Manchester M4 1DZ
A normal curry is sooo last year, Indian street food is the new ‘thing’ in Manchester, and it also happens to be mega cheap at one of the city’s coolest joints, Bundobust. There is a variety of dishes for under a fiver that can be enjoyed as a meal, or shared with friends as Indian tapas, so it really is the perfect place to go for a mate date or to take the fam. Whilst their menu is predominately Gujurat-inspired, I’m a particular fan of their English-Indian hybrid, Radhda Pethis, which consists of spicy mushy peas and a potato cake, topped with turmeric noodles, tomato, onion and tamarind chutney. Mushy peas on a curry? Count me in!
Bundobust, 61 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2AG
One of the best places for some proper Indian grub in the city centre, Cafe Marharba also wins brownie points for being a brisk 2.43 minute walk from the Finest office. Tucked away down Back Piccadilly, you’d be forgiven by me for missing this tiny gem, but I doubt you’ll be able to forgive yourself once you see the delights they serve up. A firm favourite amongst the Finest crew is their Chicken Kebab, cooked in their firey tandoori oven in seconds and it’s cheaper than a single bus ride to Oldham. Perfect.
Cafe Marhaba, 47 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2AP
0161 236 7526
Most pizza places stick to traditional tastes and flavours and whilst that’s great, it can get a little bit boring if you’re in search for something extraordinary. In that case, Reader, allow me to introduce you to, Crazy Pedros, the most inventive and experimental pizza joint in Manchester. And I’m not just talking Pineapple on a pizza (Satan itself), I’m talking turkey dinosaurs, mushy peas and even real life crickets! So if you’re hungry for Pizza with-a-twist but only have a fiver to spare, head to Peds at lunchtime where you can enjoy 2 massive slices and a drink for a couple of quid. Or if you can’t make it for lunch, slices are only £2 during Happy Hour, 5pm-9pm Sunday to Friday, so you can get your fix then.
Crazy Pedro’s NQ, Short St, Manchester M1 1JG
Crazy Pedro’s Peter Street, 55-57 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BQ
Barbakan is an award-winning continental bakery that takes making sandwiches very seriously. They don’t take the easy route by picking up a loaf of ASDA SmartPrice bread and throwing some pre-made egg-mayo inside; they serve only the best and most delicious ingredients between handmade, freshly baked bread. YUM. Despite making everything from scratch, Barbakan keep their prices low and affordable, meaning you can dig in to a sensational butty of your choice from as little as £3.40. Choose from many ingredients including smoked salmon, Milano salami, pesto mayo, feta, olives and home- made hummus to create the sarnie of your dreams. But FYI on Saturdays they serve a trio of sausages including, Slaska, De Pari, Bratwurst, Spicy Chorizo, Lamb burger, Lamb sausage and Starapolska for just £3.50!
Barbakan Deli, 67-71 Manchester Rd, Manchester M21 9PW
Viet Shack is probably the most popular stall in the Arndale Market- and for good reason. Their Vietnamese Street Food is so iconic in Manchester now, they’ve had to expand their goodies to a different part of Manchester- Ancoats- which just so happens to be around the corner from me… Holla! But the best thing about Viet Shack is their ridiculously low-priced menu which includes delicious meals made from the finest ingredients and spices. Dig into their Saignon Salad, Summer Rolls, ‘Banh-Mi’ baguette, Lemongrass Chicken Burger, Cow Burger, Viet Dog, Viet wrap and many more delicious plates for less than a fiver, something which is pretty rare these days, wouldn’t you agree? Their menu is both award-winning and ‘inspired by mammas good cooking’, so if you can’t trust your mum’s cooking, who’s can you trust? Unless it’s my mum, in which case, run for the hills. Sorry mam!
Viet Shack, Arndale Market, 49 High St, Manchester M4 3AH
Northern Soul Grilled Cheese
Always busy on a dinner time, even more so just after pay day, Northern Soul now has two sites in the city – each one bashing out some rather impressive grilled cheese sandwiches. There are a ton of fillings to choose from but if you’ve only got yourself a fiver then you’re going to have to stick to the classics. The Soul (£4.50) is their ‘standard’ grilled cheese with their secret 3 cheese blend between two wedges of bread. It’s by no means a bad thing though – these things are massive and very, very tasty.
Northern Soul Grilled Cheese, 10 Church St, Manchester M4 1PN
This & That
There are loads of Curry houses in Manchester both in and outside of the city centre. I actually opted for one a few weeks back and literally couldn’t decide where to g because sometimes, too much choice can be a problem. But what set Northern Quarters’, This & That, out from the rest, was their very small price tags; most food amounting to less than, or a little over a fiver. For a couple of quid, you can have rice and your choice of 3 vegetables or rice, some meat and 2 types of veg; specials and main dishes varying on a day-to-day basis. It may come with a little price tag, but the satisfaction you’ll experience after you’ve emptied your plate will be pretty big- trust me.
This & That, 3 Soap St, Manchester M4 1EW
A proper chippy tucked about halfway up Tib Street in the NQ, Kingfisher has been knocking about for a fair few years now and is the perfect place for a slap-up chippy tea and a tin of Tizer. Fish and Chips is just a little over a fiver (£5.30), but there are still plenty of amazing chippy classics to get down you for less than 5 notes. Chips and Gravy? £2.60. Chips & Curry? £2.90. Meat & Potato Pie with Chips, Peas & Gravy? £5. There you go – you’ve sorted it.
Kingfisher Chippy, 43 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LX
If you were a student at one of Manchester’s uni’s, you’ll have undoubtedly made a weekly trip to Umami on Oxford Road for some tasty hangover food, when you should have been at a lecture. But why is it a popular hot-spot for students? Obviously cos it’s cheap as fuck! Their small dishes- which are the perfect size for a light bite- start from as little as £3.50, and include many Japanese favourites such as Gyozas, King Prawn Katsu, Spring Rolls and crunchy prawn toast. If food like this doesn’t make you right as rain, nothing will.
Umami, 149-153 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7EE
A couple of years back, I went to Malia with the girls for a boozy holiday with some sun. However, the best part about it was discovering their version of a Donner Kebab- the Gyros- which happens to be the.best.drunk.food.ever. Basically, it’s a pitta bread filled with tender, spiced chicken, salad, cheese, fresh tzatziki and chips and it truly is as glorious as it sounds. And thankfully for us, Zorbas in the Arndale Market make them for less than £5. As well as their various pitta meals, they also make loads of authentic Greek stews, curries and meatballs dishes which can be paired with rice, chips and veg. I’ve been numerous times and I can honestly say, it’s an absolute bargain for what it is – you’d be daft not to give it a go.
Zorbas, Arndale Market, 49 High St, Manchester M4 3AH