06 May 2022

5 Halal restaurants in Manchester to visit this summer

This post has been written in collaboration with SquareMeal, which helps you find and book a table at your favourite restaurants.

With another Ramadan behind us, it's good to be back to a more normal eating routine. Don't get me wrong, of course, the spiritual benefits of Ramadan are huge, but it's physically taxing. For some reason this year felt tougher than usual, even though the fasting times weren't that bad (particularly in the beginning), and the kids were off school for their Easter break for the majority of it as they got a whopping 19 days off.

Anyway, we're now looking forward to family meals at regular times, meeting up for BBQs, and of course, eating out! Ramadan tends to be a really busy period for visiting halal places because everyone who wants to eat out does it at the same, specific time in the evening, but now we can plan the outings during the day again, so it should be easier to plan something.

After having kids off school for so long, we're also looking forward to having some adult-only outings! My husband and I are already planning some child-free lunches for when we're both free and the kids are at school, so I complied a list of 5 halal places in Manchester that I think would be worth visiting.

1. Tampopo

With four locations across Manchester (Albert Square, Corn Exchange, and two in the Trafford Centre), Tampopo serves the flavours of East Asia. You can choose from a selection of exciting street food, or signature dishes from Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. While they're not fully halal, their website offers a separate halal menu where the dishes are either vegetarian or cooked with certified halal chicken. However, some of the dishes are cooked in the oven that is also used for pork, and some contain mirin (Japanese rice wine) - these are clearly marked for you to make an informed decision. There are still plenty of dishes on the menu that are fully halal though, like my favourite Pad Thai.

2. Zouk Tea Bar & Grill

As they describe themselves, "Zouk is a true melting pot of the very best in modern and traditional cookery". Founded by two brothers who wanted to share their love of authentic recipes with a modern twist, this contemporary restaurant truly has something for everyone. It combines the best of Lahore's fun street food with all the traditional dishes of Indian sub-continent. Whether it's a karahi, biryani, or even lobster Thermidor that you're after, this is the place to go. They even do the Sunday Roast! All the meat is halal, but bear in mind that alcohol is served.

3. Jasmine

Based in the suburb of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Jasmine is a casual Lebanese restaurant. With reasonably priced food and relaxed atmosphere, it seems to be a firm favourite among the locals. They offer a selection on small sharing plates, as well as larger mains. You'll find anything that you'd expect from a Middle Eastern restaurant: from hummus and baba ghanoush, to koftas, moussaka or lamb chops. They also have fresh bread on the menu, which is honestly always my favourite part of eating in a Middle Eastern place! They are also one of the restaurants that accept SquareMeal gift vouchers, so if you try them and like it enough to share the love with family or friends, Jasmine is one of the places that will let you buy a meal for them.

4. Dishoom

Paying homage to old Irani cafes of Bombay, Dishoom is another Indian restaurant that needs visiting. The all-day menu includes all the favourites, like their charred lamb chops, intensely flavoured daal or the family recipe of chicken tikka. You can also pop in for an afternoon cup of chai, and they serve their signature tipples to those who do drink alcohol. They even have a special dish just for Manchester, their exclusive Nalli nihari biryani - tender lamb shank layered with rice, under a pastry blanket. Sounds like a biryani lover's dream!

5. Evelyn's Cafe Bar

This one has been on my list for a long time, just never really got round to it! Evelyn's Cafe Bar in the Northern Quarter seems to be THE halal brunch place in Manchester, serving a variety of options: from bircher muesli, to shakshuka, and even steak and egg. It definitely sounds like a perfect place to have a lazy start to the day. Or, if you're an earlier breakfast person, they offer lunch dishes like fish & chips or a cheeseburger, and then the dinner menu from 5pm. 

So, these are my top five restaurants that I've had my eye on for a while, and hoping to finally try this summer! They all seem quite popular and have loads of good reviews, but as always I would love to hear anyone's opinion about them, or recommendations for other halal places around Manchester that you think are a must!

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