In celebration of Cinco de Mayo and the fact that I’ve been looking at pictures of burritos all morning on Instagram, I’ve decided to do a round-up of all the best Mexican places in the city. Before any smarty pants out there come back to me with some snarky comment – yes I understand that this is mostly Tex-Mex – but I’m pretty sure most people won’t care when they’ve got a burrito the size of Pauline Quirke in front of them.
I must admit that despite myself (and the company I was keeping) I managed to thoroughly enjoy my meal in Wahaca when I ate there last year down in London and now one has opened in the best city in the world – you should probably give it a try. Specialising in Mexican Street Food, it’s the kind of place where you should have 10 little plates all dotted about and come out with your fingers drenched in spicy sauce and cheese. It’s not just burritos and tacos here which makes a nice change – they also have Taquitos (a sort of Mexican sausage roll), empanadas and quesadillas. Oh and enchiladas. Mmm…enchiladas. I want some bloody enchiladas now.
Wahaca, The Corn Exchange, Exchange St, Manchester M4 3TR
0161 413 7493
Chango’s Burrito Bar
With daily lunch time queues longer than Trump’s proposed Mexican border wall, Chango’s is definitely one of the best Mexican options in the city. Don’t let the mention of queues put you off though – as long as you stay away from the estate agent infested 12-1pm time slot you’ll be in for a treat of Montezuma sized proportions. Choose a burrito, salad or nachos and the staff will then stuff as much chicken, pork, beef or veggies in there as they can, adding any spicy extras in there as you please. Brave the queues and you can also take advantage of their excellent lunch offer of a burrito, soda and nachos for £4.95.
Changos Burrito Bar, St James Bldg, 91-93 Oxford St, Manchester M1 6ET
0161 228 2182
Lust, Liquor & Burn
Housed in the old Socio Rehab space in the Northern Quarter, I was a little bit annoyed when they took that massive picture of Twiggy down off the wall and replaced it with Mexican and Californian orientated tat. My bad mood quickly dissipated however, when I went for some food; I managed to eat my own body weight in Mexican grub and still wanted some more. It’s the Almost Famous lot so you can expect massive plates stacked high with tacos, burritos and nachos and enough cheese to give you some mental, weird nightmares when you get home to bed.
Lust, Liquor & Burn, 100-102 High St, Manchester M4 1HP
0161 244 9422
Out of all of the places on this list I must confess a particular soft spot for Pancho’s. With two locations, one in the Arndale market and the other on Chester St just off Oxford Road, Pancho’s manages to create probably the most credible Mexican cuisine in the city – at least in my own humble opinion. Sitting there eating 3 of their fiery tacos while drinking a lovely ice cold Jarritos instantly manages to whisk me away back to Mexico City – except with less bullets whizzing through the air. Their brilliantly authentic menu offers a fantastic range of dishes and I would happily bathe in their spicy salsa for the rest of my life.
Arndale Food Market, 49 High St, Manchester M4 3AH
1, The Quadrangle, Chester St, Manchester M1 5QS
A relative new addition to the Oxford Road Mexican corridor, Chilango’s have been making a name for themselves down south in The Big Smoke and so decided to move up here and try to convince us Mancunians that they know what they’re doing. They’ve got off to a good start with their selection of burritos, nachos and salads as well as them protein boxes that blokes with vests always seem to buy while glistening with sweat. My colleague here in the office proclaims Chilango’s Habanero Hot Sauce to be one of the best he’s ever tasted – so if you want to go with that recommendation – be my guest.
Chilango, 50 Oxford St, Manchester M1 5EJ
0161 393 3922
I’ve often wondered to myself, while drunk and dancing in El Capo on a Friday night, exactly what it’s like to be here eating food and being civil. Luckily enough I no longer have to worry about this, because I’ve very recently found out when I went to their amazing £1 Taco Tuesday and stuffed myself silly. Not only do they do Tacos though – oh no. They have a wonderful selection of Mexican treats including the brilliant Tortas – a Mexican sandwich served on a brioche bun and stuffed with meat and sauce. If you can have their Poya Tortas (£9) a hot and spicy chicken sandwich with a sweet potato slaw and not fall in love then you’re a robot. Or a vegetarian.
El Capo, 12 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF
0161 237 3154
Yes, yes I know – this is a pizza place. Stick with me for a second though as I describe how this is a pretty Mexican-esque place despite the fact that they mainly serve an Italian-American dish. First of all, Pedro sounds very much like a Mexican name. If I was to design a Spanish/Mexican character for a 1970s BBC sitcom he would be called Pedro. Secondly, they serve a proper nice pizza called ‘The Gringo’ which contains spicy pulled pork, jalapenos, tortilla chips, sour cream and mezcal infused salsa. Talking of mezcal, they also sell loads of this mental Mexican tipple, as well as a bloody brilliant Frozen Margarita. Next up, they also sell Nachos which are very Mexican and finally – they’re in the list because it’s my list and I want them in. Nothing you can do about it.
Crazy Pedro’s Pizza Parlour,
55-57 Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 3BQ
1 Short Street, Manchester, M4 1AA
0161 359 3000
With two locations in the city centre, and one over at the Trafford Centre, Barburritos is perfectly placed to provide the people of this fair city with all their Mexican needs. As you’d expect you can get involved in Burritos, Tacos and Nachos while adding each ingredient like you would if you were making a cake. Choose a dish, choose and filling and choose any extras and that’s it – you’re all set. I must admit that when eating in I feel that the interior is a little bit clinical and sometimes struggle to relax while scoffing my food, but the food itself is always excellent and is perfect for a mid-range weekday lunch.
Barburrito, Picadilly Gardens, 1, Manchester M1 1RG
Barburrito, 65 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BW
The regeneration of Ancoats from run-down ghost town to trendy, NQ beating neighbourhood continues with Mexica, obviously a Mexican restaurant right down the road from Rudy’s Pizza, Seven Brothers and Cutting Room. Offering your typical fare of burritos, tacos and nachos – there’s a great choice of meats as well as a couple of decent veggie options including everyone’s favourite – halloumi. Who cares if it’s not Mexican eh!? There’s an incredible Día de Muertos inspired graffiti interior and a nice little terrace outside for when the weather gets less rainy, cold and windy.
Mexica, 39 Blossom St, Manchester M4 6AP
0161 228 7217
Even though they specialise in Craft Beers and it comes across as a typical English bar/restaurant, the food at The Beagle has a decidedly Mexican slant and it’s all the better for it. As well as the ales, there’s also gin, cocktails and wine with a packed menu featuring tacos, burritos and nachos as well as burgers and fried chicken. As someone who has been to Mexico many times, I can tell you that probably the most Mexican thing on the menu is the fried chicken – it’s pretty much all anyone eats over there – and the Buttermilk Chicken at The Beagle is divine. The rest of the menu is great too including their mental Chicken Tinga Burrito.
The Beagle, 456-458 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 0BQ
0161 881 8596