The very best Caribbean restaurants, takeaways and street food in Manchester and beyond...
Jamaican Jerk, Curried Goat, Ackee & Saltfish – we’ve all got our favourites, and these places do them all exceptionally well indeed.
Easily my most frequented Caribbean joint, I treat myself to a Rita’s usually once a week – engorging myself on their exceptional Jerk Chicken Meal Box whilst sitting at my desk writing stuff like this. Located on the Piccadilly Markets from Wednesday to Sunday, you’ll always find a queue here but it’s quick and always bang-on.
The staff are very friendly, the chicken and goat are truly magnificent, and the jerk gravy is so good that you’ll want to bathe in it. You might catch a glimpse of Rita running around out back too, and if you do say hi and be sure to thank her for giving her skills over to us.
Rita’s Reign, Piccadilly, Manchester M1 1LY
Mama Flo’s in Stockport is not only well-known across the city for the quality of their food, but also for Mama’s tireless efforts in helping out in the local community and providing food for key workers throughout the pandemic. This great little family-run shop has plenty of character and is home to Mama Flo’s famous Jerk Chicken – which she comes in especially early to ‘catch’ the charcoal fire which smokes the meat and chars the skin.
The Curried Goat here is also top-notch, slowly cooked with spices and with proper melt-in-the-mouth meat. This place feels like a proper community hub, it’s not just like going into another shop, more like you’re visiting your mum, auntie or grandma’s place – big smiles, great food and lots of laughs.
Mama Flo’s, 314 Buxton Rd, Stockport SK2 7DD
This might look like a normal, slightly run-down chicken shop from the outside but let me tell you – this is no normal chicken shop. You’ll be first alerted to just how good this place is by the almost continuous queue outside into the street, and it’s all because of their Chicken Split – which is undoubtedly the very best in the entire city.
For those of you that don’t know what a Chicken Split is, let me explain. A Chicken Split is basically a huge ‘Festival’ (a slightly sweet fried Jamaican dumpling) that’s stuffed with fried chicken and topped with salad cream. Very simple and doesn’t sound like much – but take my word for it – it is. Chicken Run also serve up an impressive range of other Caribbean dishes, from Ackee & Saltfish, Oxtail, Curry Goat and even Cookdown Chicken – which many of you will recognise as Brown Stew Chicken, and just about one of the tastiest and heartiest things you’ll ever eat.
Chicken Run, 6 Yarburgh St, Moss Side, Manchester M16 7FJ
A Hulme institution that has graced the pages of national newspapers, the Buzzrocks story is one that involves the owners (Mr & Mrs. Buzzrock) grafting for 30 years, taking their outstanding Caribbean cuisine from a trailer in a car park to their own restaurant with a gaggle of dedicated followers. Buzz has been using the same recipe for his Jerk Chicken from the start, served with rice and peas and the most unbelievable gravy.
The chicken’s marinaded from early hours, and it’s got the most perfect charred skin. They also do an exceptional curried lamb too, all available alongside their new range of bottled Jamaican jerk marinades, spiced rubs and juices.
Buzzrocks, 166 Stretford Rd, Manchester M15 5TL
0161 227 7770
Serving up 100% plant-based Caribbean dishes day-in, day-out, ARMR Store has become a complete community destination for the locals in Ardwick, helped considerably by the tireless efforts of owner Raph and his ethos of ‘giving back’. Since they opened up in March 2019, ARMR has provided a long list of community initiates and support, in what is one of Manchester’s most deprived neighbourhoods.
On top of the changing menu of daily specials, ARMR also offers up health products, stocking only independents with more than 60% being sourced locally in Manchester. There are waves of ARMR adding another location at some point in the Northern Quarter, so keep an eye out for that too.
ARMR Store, 2 Polygon St, Manchester M13 9SG
0161 273 2335
You might not have heard of RAD’s – tucked away down a quiet street in Ancoats, but they’ve been serving up hearty, spicy (and huge) Caribbean dishes to the people of the area for years. Famed for their takeaway meal boxes, their jerk chicken is excellent, as is their Ackee & Saltfish – complete with slaw, salad, rice and peas and chips for just £6. The mutton is great too, as are their homemade patties. Basically, it’s all very, very good and you should go. Like, right now.
Rad’s, 62 Jersey St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6AY
0161 211 9604
Anyone who has walked or cycled or driven with their window open down Chorlton Road will know exactly what Kool Runnings is. It’s a massive food truck serving up some of the best Caribbean cuisine this side of the Atlantic – always fresh, always hot and always super tasty.
The truck is run by father and son, Aval and Dominic, who have been dishing out top-quality jerk chicken, curried goat, rice, and peas for quite some time and they’ve become an institution in the area. The standard order is Jerk Chicken, rice & peas, pattie, and steamed veg, and it has to be fully drenched in jerk gravy. If you’ve never been before, they do all sorts – Curry chicken & goat, pepper steak, plantain, Guinness punch, and it’s all made fresh on the day for queuing punters. They also have a shop in Longsight too which is open every day from 12pm – 10pm.
Chorlton Road next to the Sharon Full Gospel Church.
532 Stockport Rd, Longsight, Manchester M12 4JJ
The Drop Bar Cafe
A Chorlton favourite, The Drop Bar Cafe has a rather extensive menu of Caribbean specialities, and unlike many of the venues on this list, is an actual sit-in restaurant complete with a long list of beers, wines and cocktails to go alongside your jerk chicken. They also do ‘Hench’ boxes huge platters which come with two mains, plantain, dumplings, slaw and coconut rice ‘n’ peas. Oh, and there’s even a Reggae Roast on Sundays – a Caribbean twist on the classic Sunday Dinner.
The Drop Bar Cafe, 356 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester M21 8AZ
One of the best things about Jerk Junction is their massive outside terrace, which is easily one of the best places to head when the sun comes out in the city. The smell of jerk chicken from the BBQ, with a Wray & Ting in your hand – nothing can beat it. There’s been a Jerk Junction here on Manchester Road for nearly 10 years now, but recently they’ve had a spruce up and a change of ownership and it’s better than it ever was. Most dishes are cooked on their custom-made drum BBQ – giving you the ultimate in authentic Jamaican cuisine, cooked to perfection every time.
Jerk Junction, 170 Manchester Rd, Firswood, Manchester M16 0DZ
0161 881 6635
Yeah Man Caribbean Cafe
We were recommended to visit Yeah Man Caribbean Cafe by the lads over at EatMCR. Nestled at the end of seemingly endless terraced houses in Gorse Hill, Yeah Man is now a Stretford institution, run with enthusiasm and supreme grilling skills by Jamie for the last 12 years. The menu features a whole host of Caribbean classics, from Curry Mutton to Oxtail and the classic Jerk Chicken, as well as one of the very best Chicken Splits in the city – a delicacy of flame-grilled chicken thigh in a dumpling topped with salad cream.
Yeah Man Caribbean, 63 Norway St, Stretford, Manchester M32 0JN
0161 864 3259
Pull Up Cafe
This Northern Quarter Caribbean joint serves up some of the city’s best Caribbean dishes, with an absolutely massive menu of mains, specials and sides. Their chicken is definitely something to write home about, marinated for 24 hours in their special Pull Up seasoning to a recipe for which is a very closely guarded secret – not even a crisp tenner rolled up and placed in a top pocket can convince them to tell you what they put in it. There’s also a ‘Reggae Roast’ here on Sundays, and a vegan ‘Rasta Roast’ option too.
Pull Up Bar Cafe, 14-16 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JN
Situated rather randomly on a car wash car park on Kings Road in the middle of Old Trafford, you probably wouldn’t expect to get some of the best Caribbean cuisine from this gaff – but looks can be deceiving. For one they seem to be all set up for serving ice cream and churros, which they do, but they also offer a menu of exceptional Indian-Caribbean fusion – with some of the best BBQ Jerk Chicken in the city. Their wings here are legendary too – and you can get it all as part of a big meal box with a choice of marinades and sides.
Whipp’n’, 222 Kings Rd, Old Trafford, Stretford, Manchester M16 0GR
0161 641 9042
Easily one of the best takeaways in the two cities, Caribbean Flavaz has reached legendary status – especially when it comes to ordering for delivery to your gaff. This place positively thrived during lockdown and managed to get themselves loads more loyal followers – people obsessed with their quality jerk chicken, curried mutton, saltfish fritters and very reasonable prices. It’s no-frills, just amazing Caribbean food.
Caribbean Flavas, 187 Chapel St, Salford M3 5EQ
Eat & Sweet
Located on a prime bit of real estate in the Northern Quarter, Eat & Sweet is tucked away in that Low Rider building on Church Street – so it’s actually quite easy to miss. Once you find it though you’re in for a real treat, with fresh dishes cooked daily by Jamaican chefs who “refuse to cut corners” – seasoning and marinating more than 24 hours in advance. Perfect for a little lunch stop off, they do some tremendous patties in here, and great box meals that are full to the brim and can be taken to Piccadilly Gardens for some grub and a Jamaican Guinness in the sun.
Eat & Sweet – Caribbean Takeaway, 27-29 Church St, Manchester M4 1PE