For the first time ever on my blog I thought I'd do a review of something. I have recently moved back to Manchester after 2 years of living back in Lancashire. As a vegan, I have been delighted by the choice of vegan friendly shops, cafes and restaurants there are in Manchester. I thought I'd do a review of my top 10 places to go in Manchester for vegans. Since I've been asked why places in Greater Manchester are not on this list, I will clarify that this list is for the City of Manchester only. I might end up doing a Greater Manchester (excluding the city) list at some point when I've tried more places. This list will probably change order, and 2 or 3 of them will not even make my top 10 on another day. Plus the fact that new places pop up every now and again will mean the list will change even more. There are even some places I have yet to check out. Here's Happy Cow's list of veggie-friendly places in Manchester: http://www.happycow.net/europe/england/manchester/
- Dough Pizza Kitchen, City Centre
- YeoPans, Chorlton
- Hunters, City Centre
- Go Falafel, City Centre & Fallowfield
- Bistro 1847, City Centre & Chorlton
- On The Corner, Chorlton
- Falafel, Rusholme/Curry Mile
- Odd/Odder/Oddest, City Centre/Oxford Road/Chorlton
10. This & That, City Centre
This & That is the best place in Manchester to buy rice and 3. Haven't ever heard of rice and 3? Well it's simple, you get a portion of rice and then you get to pick 3 different curries from a range of curries. It's usually less than a fiver and there are 3 or 4 places around the Northern Quarter and the Green Quarter that do this.
9. Safad, Gay Village
Plain and simple, the best falafel and houmous wrap in Manchester. Quite cheap as well. Otherwise Safad is just your average kebab house. Situated on the street behind Canal Street, it is a perfect place to eat after a night out at Satan's Hollow.
8. Mod's Veggie Cafe @ The Thirsty Scholar, City Centre (near Oxford Road Train Station)
Mod's cafe has changed venues over the years and was best when it's was Mod Pop Cafe on Oldham Street at a shop called Pop, however it has since moved back to Thirsty Scholar. A great place for a quick burger and chips at a cheap price in a central location. The beer's not bad either. Run by ska and northern soul DJ Mod, whose partner runs Manchester Vegan Society. Not entirely vegan, but entirely vegetarian.
Thirsty Scholar website: http://www.thirstyscholar.co.uk/
7. Earth Cafe, City Centre
Earth Cafe is 100% vegan, except for the fact they offer cow's milk with tea/coffee. Based in the Northern Quarter, Earth offers lots of rich, filling and healthy vegan meals. Really wholesome food. It's a shame this place isn't open late because I would love to eat out here before doing something in the city centre.
6. Fuel Cafe Bar, Withington
This cafe was the first place I ever tried sweet potato wedges, and along with sweet chilli sauce it is amazing. This is probably the most southern entry to this list. One of the best places for a vegan breakfast, or a vegan falafel burger. The room upstairs is free hire and lots of people put bands on there as well as artsy sort of events. The bar is excellent, and has lots of organic choice (although I don't drink alcohol so what do I know?). By public transport you just need to get any bus from city centre to Didsbury and get off at Withington and it's on the main high street, Wilmslow Road. A really nice treat.
5. Anand's Vegetarian Deli & Pan Centre, Rusholme/Curry Mile
Sitting on Manchester's curry mile, Anand's is a great cheap place to get some Asian cuisine, particularly assortment of various deep fried deli delights. They also have a large range of fresh curries, but not the usual ones you get in Indian restaurants. You can even take things home with you cold as if it's a shop. Really good value for money and well worth the visit. 100% vegetarian, but not 100% vegan, but they are very helpful if you tell them you're vegan. Please request soya milk with your tea/coffee so they stock it more often if the demand is high enough for them.
Facebook (I can't seem to find a website): https://www.facebook.com/AnandsDeli
4. The 8th Day Supermarket & Cafe, City Centre/University area
This was one of the first veggie places I ever discovered in Manchester. Sitting right next to the student's union of the university I went to, Manchester Metropolitan University on Oxford Road, I went to this place for my lunch on an almost daily basis. I first started going here on the way to seeing bands at the Manchester Academies. Run as a workers co-op with lots of ethical principles. Upstairs is a vegetarian supermarket full of all sorts of ethical brands, downstairs is a vegetarian cafe. The cafe has quite a varied menu and range of cakes, nearly half of them vegan. 8th Day cafe is my favourite place in Manchester to have a vegan breakfast, without a doubt. As well as various groceries the upstairs has a deli counter where you can get lots of vegan cake or pasties heated to take out if you just want something quick and cheap on your lunch. It is towards the more expensive end of places that are vegan friendly however, but not too extortionate.
3. Teatime Collective, Hulme
Originally just a way of someone sharing food with friends, later progressed to catering at fairs and festivals and protest camps and as of September a new cafe & vegan ice cream parlour based in St Wilfred's Centre in Hulme. The latest edition to Manchester's vegan family. This cafe is really cheap and very good quality. At the moment the menu changes every day, as does different the flavours of the ice creams. They do a lot of pies, sandwiches and stews, etc. Very cheap food, but quite a small cafe if the weather is bad outside. Takeaway is available.
2. V Revolution, City Centre
One of the latest entirely vegan cafes in Manchester, opened around a year and a half ago. Based on Oldham Street not far from Aflecks Palace. Set up as a place for punk and vegan lifestyle, selling punk and hardcore records as well as lots of vegan junk food. Yes foodwise, this place in Manchester's answer to Vx in London. If you ever wanted to try a vegan Mars bar or a vegan Reeses peanut butter chocolate cupcakes, you can get them here. They also do lots of ace vegan burger bar style food. Burgers, hot dogs, bacon, cheese toasties (they have Vegusto and Veganic brands!), soft drinks and cakes. Their prices are fairly reasonable. Oh and they also sell some cool zines. This is a place you can take a non-vegan and they probably wouldn't complain much.
Website/Facebook (they fail at having a real website): https://www.facebook.com/vrevolutionuk
1. Unicorn Grocery, Chorlton
Unicorn Grocery in Chorlton is a co-operative grocery supermarket which happens to be 100% entirely vegan. This month Unicorn celebrates it's 17 birthday. Founded in 1996, Unicorn is owned and managed entirely by it's permanent members of staff who all get an equal say in how the business is run and an equal pay and share of the profits. Unicorn has a strict set of principles which involves ethical sourcing of products; healthy, sugar free and animal product free products; sustainable employment for their members; as low an environmental impact as possible (no items are ever flown in by plane) and supporting the local communities. 1% of their wage bill goes to local projects which fit their principles and 4% of their wage bill goes to helping poor people in the economic south of the world set up their own businesses.
The model Unicorn apply involves buying as much raw ingredients as possible in bulk (by the pallet) and packaging it themselves. This way they manage to keep their products at prices competitive with supermarkets. They offer almost every type of food you could want in a vegan kitchen, and also alcohol, children's clothes, toiletries, gardening supplies, a vast range of teas/coffees, etc etc etc. They support lots of local and regional small organic growers and food suppliers. Their annual turnover is more than £4 million. All in all, excellent ethically sourced vegan wholefoods at really cheap prices. I believe this to be the single best supermarket in the entire of the UK. If your town or city would like one of these, Unicorn have produced a guide to setting one up and would also be happy to speak to you and give you advice.