Like the selfless people we are, we have done the arduous investigative work required to put together a list of the best pies in Manchester.
Is there a more comforting self-contained meal than a pie? There is a lot to be said about a good butty but, let’s be real about it, a sandwich doesn’t light up the eyes like a pie does. Few things are not improved by encasing them in buttery pastry. A beef stew can be a bit pedestrian but wrap it up in puff pastry or crumbly shortcrust and it’s suddenly a lot more swoon-worthy. The same can be said for vegetables, a load of roasted root veg becomes much more exciting when it’s flaunting a bit of filo.
Of course, being northerners and obsessed with food, we know a good pie when we see one.
Read on for at A-Z of the best pies in Manchester...
We discovered Baldy’s on an important trip to the pie capital of the UK, Wigan. There are multiple great pies shops there, naturally, but Baldy’s won our hearts. This is another pie shop that has closed its customer facing shop, but you can get Baldy’s pies delivered to your door from their new ‘dark kitchen’. And trust us, you want these pies in your life. Not shy on creativity, pies include a chicken Kiev inspired one with free range chicken, buttered leeks, herb béchamel and a garlic and parsley crumb topping. There’s also one with three types of cheese and truffle, and a Fisherman’s with cod, salmon, smoked sea bass, prawns, lemongrass and capers. Wow.
The Bay Horse Tavern
What’s a proper boozer without a selection of big juicy pies to enjoy with an ice-cold pint? Proper NQ pub The Bay Horse Tavern offers a range of lovely pies all day with a choice of either mash or their brilliant thrice cooked chips (and gravy of course). There’s a choice of steak and ale, chicken, bacon and leek or smoked applewood cheese and onion with a weekly changing special too.
The Black Friar
“Pie purists will agree that if you can’t throw it across a room with one hand, it’s not a pie. This is a pie.” These were the words of national restaurant critic Jay Rayner when he visited Salford’s Black Friar. This proper boozer wearing its Sunday best in Salford has a menu to satisfy the most refined diner but its pies are what people come back for again and again and no list of the best pies in Manchester is complete without it. Regular changing specials might include spinach and wild mushroom, duck and orange or lamb tagine and are served with appropriate garnishes which usually include potatoes in some form or other and lovely seasonal veg.
The Farrars Arms
Located in the historic village of Grasscroft, The Farrars Arms takes hospitality just as seriously as the food and drink it serves up. Which, of course, is all of the highest possible standards. Their steak, Stilton and Camden Ale Pie is impeccable, and the cheese and onion pie one of the finest available in northern England.
Bolton is an old fashioned market town so it’s no surprise it’s hometown to plenty of lovely old fashioned food shops. Pies might be a baker’s territory but with so many classic meaty fillings sometimes it takes a butcher being involved to create something award-winning. Bolton butcher Fraser’s won big at the British Pie Awards in 2022, with its classic pork pie and its cousin The Huntsman (which brings turkey and stuffing to the pork party) both winning silver. Its meat and potato pie won bronze at the awards and is joined on the menu by other pastry pals including cheesy chicken and leek, and that Lancashire classic, minced beef and onion.
Great North Pie Co
Veterans of Altrincham Market and of the pop up artisan market scene all around the North West, Great North Pie Co recently opened its first dedicated Manchester city centre pie cafe at Kampus. The Meryl Streep of pies, this lot have won an impressive amount of awards over the years and it’s easy to see why. Neil and Sarah Broomfield put a lot of love into their pies, sourcing star local ingredients Dewlay’s Lancashire cheese and braising their grass-fed Yorkshire beef in Manchester Union lager. The pie cafe also does a suet pudding – basically a steamed pie.
H.M. Pasties aim to create sustainable employment for people with criminal convictions through their employment programme which provides people with the skills and confidence to find fulfilling work and enjoy a crime-free life. But it’s not just their honourable cause that puts a nice taste in our mouths, the food is really good. Ingredients are sourced where possible from prison farms and veg gardens and then pasties are hand-crimped in Manchester. Pasty and pie fillings include creamy leek and mushroom, jerk chicken, and steak and stout – there’s a Cornish pasty on the menu too , of course. This lot have their own bakery in Bolton but also provide pies to lots of other places around Greater Manchester including 53Two theatre cafe and the recently revamped Manchester Museum Cafe. They deliver nationwide as well.
There’s nothing quite like a slice of plate-sized cheese and onion pie made by someone’s mam. The pie in question at Maypole bakery has been passed down through the family and is shared as a special with lucky locals on Thursdays. Be quick with this one as it sells out fast.
Otto Vegan Empire
Formerly known as the Otto Men, Otto Vegan Empire now has permanent home upstairs at the Crown and Conspirator Stockport. While there are lots of dips and other dishes to love here, the one that wins over even the most hardened of carnivores is the Sexy Pie. Vegan but still one of the best pies in Manchester. If you’re going to encourage people to eat veg, wrapping it in a pastry case is certainly a good shout. This sexiest of pies is loaded with confit spiced vegetables, grains and fruits wrapped in fresh Armenian filo, brushed with molasses and sprinkled with za’atar. Phwoar!
Patel’s Pies was launched during lockdown by Steve Patel of Vaso Kitchen fame. His pies became word of mouth famous when they began flying out of hipster grocery store, Bernie’s. Owner Steve has taken the best bits of his dual heritage, using Indian recipes handed down via his dad and putting them in a very English buttery pie crust. He keeps fillings simple with just six spicy options: lamb keema with peas, chicken vindaloo, desi chicken, beef Madras, aloo matar and chickpea, spinach and paneer. you can pick them up from various places around Manchester including the aforementioned Bernie’s in Altrincham, Kobean Coffee in Heaton Moor and Fog Lane Park cafe. You can also now get them delivered to your door.
Pie and Ale
This place just off Lever Street is the Ronseal of venues. They proudly do pies and ales and not much else and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. We like a restaurant that knows what it does well and sticks to it. Pie fillings change regularly, with seasonal specials like a turkey and cranberry one at Xmas. The current menu features wild boar sausage bean and cheese; three Cheese and red onion marmalade; and Koren-style bulgogi pork. Pie & Ale also does a Sunday dinner pie.