10 Places for less than a Tenner: Northern Quarter

Manchester is renowned for its eclectic mix of outstanding venues serving all manners of cuisine. However, with quality comes a price, so venturing out for a top-notch meal isn’t always as cheap as we’d like.

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 31 October 2017

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Now that we are counting down the days till Christmas, saving the pennies is even more important than ever. So where can you eat like a king or queen but for a paupers price? Well, the answer is: lots of places!

Jerk Shack
Being able to find a massive plate of Jamaican food, complete with Rice & Peas for less than a tenner is truly one of the reasons Manchester is the best. Jerk Shack on Church Street offers exactly that, with an ever changing menu of jerk specials, as well as the classics all for around £6. Their chicken is to die for, and any vegetarians who hasn’t tried their jackfruit should seriously reconsider their life choices.
Average cost per meal: £6

Jerk Shack, 12 Church St, Manchester M4 1AH


Cane & Grain
Okay so you would probably struggle to get a proper meal in Cain & Grain for less than a tenner, but if you happen to pop in during the week, you can get involved in their lunch menu where you’ll have a choice of some lip-lickingly good ribs for only £5. They come with a mound of fries too – which are also excellent from here. But not as good as the meat – I don’t think anything is as good as the meat.
Average meal cost – £5

Cane & Grain, 49 -51 Thomas Street, Manchester M4 1NA
0161 839 7033



Earth Café
If you’re a vegan/vegetarian, you’ll understand how expensive fresh, delicious meals can be. But not at Earth Café on Turner Street. Every single meal is made from scratch- even down to pastry- and combines traditional dishes with exotic spices and tastes. However, you don’t need to be drowning in cash to enjoy Earth Café’s rich menu. Their platter hot mains are only £6 a plate, and snacks start from as little as £1.50! If you’re able to find anywhere else that serves Thai green curry, Shepherd’s pie or home-made chilli for cheaper, I’ll eat my own arm – vegetarian or not!
Average cost per meal: £6

Earth Cafe, 16-20 Turner St, Manchester M4 1DZ
0161 834 1996


Cafe Marhaba
Hidden down the back of Piccadilly, near Mother Macs, Marhaba is an oasis of stunning Indian food in a rather grotty looking alleyway. Don’t be put off by the walk though, because once inside you’ll find authentic home-cooked curries and Indian dishes, for very little of your English pounds sterling. For only £2.50 you can get your mouth round one of their amazing tandoori Seekh Kebabs, or a few quid more will be get you curry and rice piled higher than the Taj Mahal itself.
Average cost per meal: £5

Cafe Marhaba, 36 Back Piccadilly, Manchester M1 1HP
0161 228 7377


Black Dog Ballroom NQ
Again, usually you wouldn’t think of Black Dog to be somewhere to eat for less than a tenner, but they have a couple of offers throughout the week which makes it a lot cheaper, without scrimping on the quality. On a Monday it’s 50% off all food – which means you can pick up pretty much anything on the menu for no more than £7. On Tuesday it’s 2-4-1 pizzas, so you’re looking at around £6 per pizza, and every day at lunch time they have their £5 lunch deal. Can’t argue with that.
Average meal cost – £6

Black Dog Ballroom, 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW
0161 839 0664



As a true northerner, I love pie more than most of my family. Nothing compares to a mouthful of meaty goodness (steady on) with a crunch of buttery short-cut pastry. But finding a top-notch pie at a reasonable price is pie-ticularly tricky. Well, that was the case until Pieminister on Church Street opened it glorious doors. Their menu of ‘classic pies’, including the beef steak ‘Moo’ pie and the Goats’ cheese and sweet potato ‘Heidi’ for all you veggies are only £6 each! Add a side of mash, peas, spicy garden peas, smoky baked beans, salad or slaw for only £1.50 more or two sides for only £8.50! And it doesn’t end there, Pieminister have loads more deals for you to get excited about it, all but one for less than a tenner.
Average cost per meal: £8.50

Pieminister, 53 Church St, Manchester M4 1PD
0161 819 1279


Northern Soul Grilled Cheese
With a menu packed full of mouth-watering grilled cheese adaptations, Northern Soul serves the ultimate cheesy-comfort food that no one can resist. From just £4.50 per sandwich, a purchase at Northern Soul definitely isn’t going to break the bank. Ever wondered what Mac N Cheese in a sandwich would be like (erm, who hasn’t?), well now is your chance to make your ultimate food fantasy come true.
Average cost per meal: £5.50- £6

Northern Soul Grilled Cheese, 10 Church St, Manchester M4 1PN


Crazy Pedro’s
If you go down to Pedro’s on a weekday, between 5pm and 9pm you can get a full pizza, you know the ones – the size of Jodrell Bank and piled high with ingredients – for only £10. It’s right on the cusp of the amount, but if you consider the fact that these bad boys are typically for sharing – unless you’re a pig – you’re going to be sharing, which means it’s only £5. Maths AND pizza for you there. Their massive slices are only £3 at all time too.
Average meal cost – £5

Crazy Pedro’s NQ, Short St, Manchester M1 1JG
0161 359 3000


This & That Cafe
Ordering a curry in a nice restaurant is normally less than a tenner- but it’s all of the add on’s that send your food bill through the roof. An extra £4 for rice, £3 for a naan bread; £2 for a poppadum. It’s just ludicrous. But thankfully for us all, This & That Café was created for just that reason. The Northern Quarter based hot-spot isn’t pretentious or overly flashy- it has only one purpose in mind, which is to serve good quality Indian food at a crazy low price. Don’t believe me when I say it’s unnaturally cheap? Well try a rice dish with THREE kinds of meat for just £6, or rice and veg for only £3.90 a plate. Now that is what I call quality for money.
Average cost per meal: £5

This & That, 3 Soap St, Manchester M4 1EW
0161 832 4971


Viet Shack
We don’t always have time to sit down and enjoy a relaxed meal, so it’s worthwhile knowing the best street-food joints in Manchester when you’re in a hurry. However, if you want quality fast food that is made fresh to order, there is only one place that spring to mind- Viet Shack in the Arndale Centre market. From tangy lemongrass chicken to sticky honey pork chops, you’ll never pay more than £6 for a main meal at the market’s most popular Vietnamese stall. But don’t get too addicted and go every day, then you really will spend a fortune!
Average cost per meal: £6

Viet Shack, 49 High St, Manchester M4 3AH