Best Cheap Eats in Manchester City Centre

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Bowl of noodles with green garnish, spoon and berry smoothie on a wooden table
Unsplash - Kyler Boone

We know times are tough out there. And when the going gets tough, there’s always an added temptation to let rip and spend money. We get it! So we’ve scoured Manchester city centre to bring you our top picks of where to eat out and still be able to put the heating on when you get home. Manchester’s awash with restaurants serving all types of cuisine to suit almost everyone's palette, so here’s’s pick of the best cheap eats and deals from morning till night.

Rosa’s Thai

3 Bowls of Asian food on a white marble table with 2 tall cocktail glasses - one red and one yellow each with ice and straws
Rosa's Thai

184 Deansgate, The Old Courthouse, Manchester, M3 3WB

Rosa’s Thai is a small chain of restaurants scattered across London and a few outside the capital. Manchester’s is located in the Old Courthouse on 184 Deansgate.  If you like Thai this is fresh, really reliable and won’t make a dent in your wallet.  Most of the dishes are filling and reasonably priced at £7 and healthy. Think – Fresh Summer Rolls - soft sheets of rice paper stuffed with mixed veg, tangy-sweet tamarind sauce & fragrant herbs, served with traditional spicy fragrant chilli sauce & crushed peanuts; Tom Yum soup with either Oyster mushrooms, chicken or kind prawns; stir fried broccoli side at £5; or for something more filling, try the stir fried veggie or chicken noodles at £13.  

If you fancy sharing, then try the classic platter (at £9 each) which comes with – chicken satay, homemade spring rolls, honey marinated pork skewers and Thai Calamari. Alternatively, the Veggie Platter is a similar price and serves up fresh summer rolls, sweetcorn fritters, tom yum tofu, spring rolls and pumpkin crackers.

You can book at table here

Elgato Negro Tapas

Lots of colourful small tapas food in bowls
El Gato

52 King St, Manchester M2 4LY

I know King Street doesn’t immediately scream cheap deal, but we like this long standing promotional deal by authentic tapas restaurant, Elgato Negro, in the heart of Manchester. From Monday to Friday between 12pm - 5pm you can eat 3 dishes for £18 which, when you’re sharing, isn’t going to break the bank at £9 each.   We found most of the menu including Crispy fried baby quid, vegetable paella, mini Catalan chorizo, and must-have Patatas Bravas are all included.  And there’s a lot more besides to choose from.  If you think 3 dishes won’t be quite fenough, then the Catalan bread with olive oil, garlic and fresh tomato is cheap at £7 and the desserts (included in the 3 for £18) are do-able for £8.50. Why not get a carafe of tap water to really keep the cost down ?

You can book a table here


fish and chips with a slice of lemon on a white plate being held up in front of the camera on a road outside Trof
Trof Manchester

8 Thomas St, Northern Quarter, Manchester – M4 1EU

Work or visiting the trendy Northern Quarter? Trof is a well-established cool number on Thomas Street serving up meals from breakfast to dinner and they do a mean Sunday roast.   They’ve got some cheap breakfasts ‘eggs your way’ at £6 and their filling sausage and egg in a brioche bun at £7.50. The Korean BBQ fried chicken with Sriracha mayo and spring onion is worth the £8.  Best of all, every Tuesday Trof offers its menu at half price so you can eat like a king for the day!  Its brunch & lunch Menu runs from – 9AM – 3PM and dinner menu – 4PM – 10PM.  You can also wash it down with a half price beer, sprit and mixer, or a bottle of wine for £15 - part of Happy Hour between 4PM – 9PM. Midweek never looked so good!

We’d recommend you book at table here 

The Real Greek

Veggie launch time platter. Lots of colourful baton veggies, 3 dipping ramekins, 3 larger bowls with Greek food and flat bread at the side
The Real Greek

Unit 2, Corn Exchange, 37 Fennel St, Manchester M4 3TR

What’s not to love about Greek food. It’s fresh, it’s healthy and it has transports you to a hot, sunny climate with the sound of the sea lapping closeby.  The Real Greek is a chain, but it’s survived, the food’s reliable and won’t break the bank. They also offer a great lunchtime deal for £9.95.  Choose between the Greek Trio – flat bread and choice of 2 ramekins of either houmous, tzatziki, feta dip or taramasalata and a big choice of either falafels, grilled aubergine, chicken or pork skewers together with Mediterranean rice, chops or potatoes.  It’s filling!  There’s also the Souvlaki wrap and a side, or the Greek Plate served with a choice of sides.  If you’re veggie or vegan, there’s a wrap and side included in the deal.

You can book a table here


Inside the restaurant, red lighting, lanterns, tables and chairs, people eating
Tampoo Manchester

Various locations across the city 

There’s a good selection of Asian restaurants across Manchester, including the infamous China Town.  Tampopo have four restaurants across Manchester, including one in the Trafford Centre, serving up a selection of small and large plates for adults from morning till night.  Whilst we couldn’t see any current deals, there’s a nice Asian sharing platter for 2 at £10 each and includes: Satay Chicken, Sticky Wings, Roasted Corn Fritters, Balinese Pork Belly & Kimchi & Cucumber Salad.  A mouth-watering Rendang Roti Wrap with flaky warm roti with beef rendang, cucumber sambal, fried egg & picked coriander and the added bonus of house fries which is bound to keep you going well into the evening for a good price of £10. If you’re looking for some hearty traditional rice dishes, then try the Indonesian Satay and rice which includes - Grilled marinated chicken skewers, full-flavour rice, satay sauce, cucumber salad & prawn crackers for £13.

You can book a table here 

Tampopo support the #eatwelldogood - Buy a meal for people sidelined by poverty’

This and That

3 white bowls each with curry in and white flatbread at the side
This and That

3, Soap St, The Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1EW

This legendary Manchester café has been running over 40 years and still going strong with over 4.5 starts on Tripadvisor.  It’s tucked away on a back street in the Northern Quarter and serves up homemade curry using fresh whole spices with a changing daily menu so you know it’s fresh. On Monday’s expect to see Lamb and pumpkin, Tuesday’s Lamb Karahi chops, Wednesday’s Vegetable biryani, etc etc. There’s always a choice of veggie curries and a long list of Sundries to mop it all up.  The prices are seriously cheap starting at £6 for rice and 3 veg, and rice with 1 meat and 2 veg at £6.50.  Opening times are 11am – 9pm weekdays and 11am – 8pm Thursday till Sunday.

Jsut turn up, you can't book a table.


Check here for your local restaurant

In a little over 5 years there are now 24 Rudy’s restaurants and just like in Naples, the team make the dough on site every day. It tastes dElicious and, we think, is as good as you’re gonna get this side of Europe.  Italian restaurant bills can creep up when you start to add on multiple starters and the all-to-tempting Italian desserts washed down with a bottle of Pinot Griogio. That said, if you’re strict with your menu choices you can easily eat for less than £30 for 2 of you.  Try the Nocellara Sicilian big green olives to start or bowl of salty crips at £1.20 followed by a choice of Marinara, Margherita, Portobello

Tarantina (anchovies, capers, kalamta olives), Salame, or Calabrese (with spicy Nduja sausage) all for less than £11 each.   The Margherita’s a bargain at £7 and additional toppings are £1 - £2 each.  Wash it down with some tap water and you’ve got yourself a bargain Italian feast.

You can book a table here


large pie on top of mash potato, gravy, and lots of green peas on top of and around the pie

53 Church street, Manchester, M4 1PD

Did someone say pie?!    This small chain of mulit award winning restaurants originally born out of Bristol by 2 friends – Tristan and Jon - is all about the humble pie.  There are many good things about their pies – they’re filling, you don’t need a knife and fork to eat one, there’s a lot of veggie and vegan options, and they’re cheap! Pieminister does a great deal on a pie, two sides and gravy for £12.50.   There’s a big selection to choose from - including British beef steak and Bishop Stilton, wild mushroom, asparagus and white wine, and free range chicken with portobello, chestnut and porcini mushroom.

Sides include mash, mushy peas, baked beans and slaw.  To keep the pie cost down, you can swerve the deal and simply chomp through a classic pie and optional gravy for £7.

You can book at table here