TOP 10 – Places to Eat in Manchester on a Budget

10 places to eat for under £10

Having travelled a lot ourselves we understand that eating out daily can become very expensive and often time consuming, waiting for orders to be taken, etc. Our list here celebrates some of Manchester’s more informal venues offering a quick quality lunch or more affordable evening meal. As we mention in some of our following recommendations certain venues may be more basic with regards to decor but every single one offers amazing, top quality food which is the most important criteria to be included on our list.

We were originally going to call this section of our recommendations ‘cheap eats’ however we felt the word cheap did not do justice to the quality these venues are offering. Yes it is true that they all have a low price point with all enabling you to eat in Manchester for less than £10 but many are producing products much better than some of their more expensive big brand rivals.

Due to the nature of some of the businesses not all of them are open usual restaurant hours, so underneath each we have provided a quick reference of Lunch and Dinner. Lunch is set as being open 12:00 – 15:00 Dinner is 18:00 – 21:00 some of the venues may be classed as just Lunch but be open til 20:00 however to be tagged as Lunch or Dinner on this list they need to be open for the entirety of the specified hours. All venues have links to their website or facebook account which should provide full listings of their opening hours.

Northern Soul Grilled Cheese

Definitely one of our favorites and the perfect comfort food with 2 venues in the city. From the plywood interior to the drum barrel outside tables adorned with spray painted logos, Northern soul grilled cheese embodies the Manchester vibe. There is definitely a focus on the food and taking a relatively simple dish and elevating it to the next level, through great quality ingredients and adding some unique twists.

The focus is on grilled cheese sandwiches, all based around ‘The Soul’ with its secret 3 cheese blend but Mac ’n’ Cheese and Nachos are another option. Service is quick and an ideal place to grab something quick for lunch while discovering the city.



 Arndale Market inc Viet-Shack

Located on the first floor of the Arndale shopping next to the Wintergarden area is the Arndale Market. Much of the food market area is inhabited by small food outlets focusing on street food from around the world with everything from Jamaican and Greek to Chinese and Indian cuisine. This is a great location close to where we finish the tour and in the heart of the shopping area.

A particularly great vendor in the food market is Viet-Shack serving up freshly prepared Vietnamese street food at an amazingly low price. There is a focus on fresh produce and for the more health conscious among us there are some great healthy options.  



Habesha Restaurant

This is a restaurant in Manchester which has stood the test of time and would definitely be considered a hidden gem, it is also the only Ethiopian restaurant in the city . The entrance is via a spiral staircase inside a takeaway in the gay village however once you venture up the stairs you are transported to a different world. 

The menu is not extensive however there is a focus on doing fewer dishes but doing them to the best possible standard. Habesha may not claim the title for the most stylish decor in the city but for great quality at a low price point it definitely is up there for the best substance, possibly why it is still going strong after many years, where others have failed. 



My Thai

There are a number of Thai restaurants in the city with varying price ranges however for us My Thai offers amazing value for money with an adaptable menu, where for many dishes you can choose the meat option in it (Tofu is also an option, so for non-meat eaters there is also plenty of choice). The quality of the dishes does not suffer with the low price point and is probably up there with the best Thai food I have eaten in the city. 

The vibe is relaxed and unpretentious in both locations but also with a great buzz from the many customers coming for a fast bite to eat. On Sundays from 12:00 – 17:00 they also offer a buffet for a set price which is an ideal opportunity to try an array of different dishes.



Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza

With their first restaurant opening in the Ancoats area of the city Rudys celebrated the areas heritage  of being known as ‘Little Italy’. They have since opened another Restaurant on Peter Street but both  follow the traditions of pizza from Naples – the birthplace of the pizza. When it comes to food it is hard to find anyone who doesn’t like pizza so doing it as well as Rudys do they are definitely on to a winner. 

They operate on a walk in basis with no option to book and at peak times there can be a wait for a table however it is definitely worth the wait. As with many other options in this section the menu is not extensive but often less is definitely more. Both of their locations are surrounded by great bars so Rudys is the ideal place to come to have an affordable bite to eat before heading a few meters and enjoying some of Manchester’s nightlife.




We are going to make no apologies for featuring PieMinister twice. Along with being a great example of British Food – we have included PieMinister in our Best British Food in Manchester section – it is also amazing value for money.

A great institution of English cuisine are pies: pastry filled with all kinds of food. Pie Minister offers you a range of 15 different varieties with the prestige of several awards behind them. From El Matador with beef, chorizo and olives to Heidi with sweet potatoes, spinach and goat cheese but there are also Mexican, chicken, kidneys, asparagus…

In the middle of the Northern Quarter, it is another of the best stops to eat something on a budget.

Mon-Sat – Lunch/Dinner

Sun – Lunch


Wrights Fish & Chip Shop

As with our previous suggestion we have cheated slightly and included somewhere from our Best British Food in Manchester section. 

Nothing screams traditional British food more than Fish and Chips and Wrights Chip Shop next to the Town Hall is one of the best in the city.

If you want to sample local cuisine on a budget while still enjoying great quality and taste this is the place. It’s designed more for “Take Away” or to eat something quick rather than a long sit down meal in this small venue with limited indoor seating. It is our favorite choice to make a quick stop to eat while exploring the city.



Changos Burritos

Located on Oxford Rd. Changos Burritos is an amazing option for a quick lunch while discovering the southern side of the city centre. As with many burrito outlets it is basically a build your own model ideal for those who have special dietary requirements or are simply a little more fussy when it comes to food. Unlike some other burrito outlets however, there is a big emphasis on the quality of the ingredients with fresh local produce all cooked on the premises.

If you are vegan this is a great option providing something a bit more interesting than the usual attempt from restaurants which can often feel more like it is done out of necessity rather than passion. They have a daily vegetarian filling and over 70% of the toppings are vegan (100% vegetarian) so it is great for vegans and vegetarians who can then build their own burrito, also the Solo Burrito served in a box without the flour tortilla serves as a great gluten free alternative.



I Am Pho

I Am Pho as the name suggests serves the typical Vietnamese flat noodles in an aromatic broth soup with the addition of your choice of meat, tofu and mushrooms. I Am Pho is in Chinatown and as with some other suggestions on this list the interior is not the most glamorous but sometimes in a restaurant it is best just to let the food do the talking – maybe in I Am Pho’s case you could even say sing. 

The service is friendly and the staff are more than happy to explain dishes to those not so familiar with the items being served. They have various sauces on the table – some made in house – along with fresh items brought with your meal, such as chillies which you can add to your dish to cater to your personal taste. Just be cautious with the chillies however, they have an almighty kick!



This and That

As you may have noticed from our list, dining out in Manchester takes you on a trip around the world, celebrating the diverse culture of the city and enjoying the talents of chefs with skills from all around the globe. What better way than to finish this list than in South Asia with This & That – a Manchester institution for 35 years? Now there are no shortage of South Asian restaurants in the city possibly it is one of the most crowded markets and with chicken Tikka Masala being one of the most popular dishes in England there is no shortage of demand. Unlike Chicken Tikka Masala however (it is believed that it was created in the UK inspired by South Asian cooking) This & That is authentic. 

The restaurant is in the Northern Quarter on Soap St. which is a small street off Thomas St. and pretty well hidden but definitely worth hunting down. They run with a rice and three concept something I am told originates from Manchester where you simply get your rice with a choice of 3 of the day’s curries. They typically have a choice of 9 or 10 curries daily with different ones each day on a rolling weekly menu. Again vegans and vegetarians are not forgotten with 3 daily Vegan options. The seating inside is long communal tables so you may even get chatting to a Manchester local while dining in a restaurant that has been popular with Mancunians since 1984.