Manchester has plenty of Spanish connections, with the Viva! Film Festival and Spanish Cultural Centre two prominent examples. A signifiant community of ex-pats have relocated here from Southern Europe, too, presumably not in pursuit of the weather but our hometown’s heritage, sports, arts, and music scenes. As a result, the city punches high when it comes to tapas restaurants, and La Bandera, a stone’s throw from Deansgate and King Street, ranks among the best. As you’ll discover after tracking down this back street eatery — a game of hide and seek worth every effort.
Opening in 2014, around the time Manchester’s food and drink scene was stepping up a gear, La Bandera has firmly established itself in the top tier of dining options in the area. A strong, loyal customer base proves this, some of who travel across the UK just to indulge in the small plates on offer. That’s no surprise, given there are many options you don’t find in bog standard kitchens serving this cuisine. For example the iconic Pollo Al Salmorejo, or sautéed chicken breast in a red pepper sauce, a favourite on the Canary Islands, and the Albóndigas De La Abuela, AKA Grandma’s Meatballs.
The full menu is relatively expansive without overwhelming, and packed with highlights One of which is the paella, and the team consider theirs to be the finest in town. The Mar Y Montaña interpretation, combining fruits of the sea and land, is one of the best sellers, and has been for well-over a decade now. More adventurous diners, meanwhile, might want to punt for paella with rabbit and snails, which gives some idea as to how authentic this spot is. Bottomless brunches, a seasonal tasting menu, three dishes for £15 lunchtimes, an amazing pre-theatre offer (two people eat for £38, including wine), and a cellar packed with amazing bottles from Iberia and beyond all seal the deal.