Italian restaurants in Manchester are, contrary to what you might have expected, part of a rich Italian history in the city. Perhaps not as prominent as Chinatown or the curry mile but undeniably similar in more than a few ways, the birth of Manchester’s Italian restaurants and indeed an entire Italian community dates back to a time around the end of the 19th century when migrant workers from rural Italy began to settle in Ancoats. Many a Manchester tale describe how Italian delicatessens emerged along the pre-industrial streets of Ancoats selling pasta, proper olive oil and all kinds of spicy sausage. These Nepalese-style sights, sounds and smells meant the birth of Manchester’s Little Italy and set the ball rolling for the development of an Italian restaurant scene in Manchester that, as we see today, is absolutely booming.
Of course, these days if you’ve walked through any part of Manchester city centre or are familiar with any of its suburbs, you’ll know that Italian restaurants have fanned out way beyond the Little Italy of Ancoats. To be honest, Big Italy is now a description that’s probably far closer to the mark. Italian restaurants in Manchester are everywhere because Italian food is without doubt one of the most popular cuisines in the city. You can find one fit for any occasion and it’s rare you’ll hear a no when you ask any Mancunian if they fancy Italian for dinner. The North loves it’s carbs, after all, and Manchester’s Italian restaurants cater for that all too well with pizza and pasta and all the usual suspects.
Almost every Italian restaurant in Manchester serves pizza because it’s the stuff of dreams. Pizza brings smiles to faces and can be as gourmet or as greasy as you want it. Not just that, some restaurants keep it classic in terms of toppings – nothing wrong with that, respect – but some get all experimental, sometimes even crazy with theirs. The lesson to be learnt here, folks, is that pizza is a very personal thing, and Manchester’s Italian restaurants cater for you all, classic or crazy. So whether it’s in the Northern Quarter, Spinningfields or out of the centre at of Greater Manchester’s hidden gems, you’re in for a treat.
Of course we understand that as good as Italian food is, it’s gluten-heavy, meaning gluten-free folk can’t always enjoy it if they want to. Which is a big shame, because Italian restaurants in Manchester are too good and too many to even consider missing out on. But fear not, the good news is many of them these days cater for gluten-free and do a damn fine job of it as well. It’s not just the independents found in the Northern Quarter, either, as many larger chains or franchises are quickly realising that a gluten-free offering doesn’t appear to be optional anymore.
All this talk of carbs and pizza has got us thinking. Yes, Italian main courses are terrific and tasty, but the desserts are also a thing to behold. Particularly the ice cream, and at some Italian restaurants in Manchester you’ll find this frozen foodstuff is of a ridiculously high standard. Again, it dates back to Little Italy in Ancoats when, because the cheap houses that Italian migrants often lived in had particularly cool cellars, the grounds for making ice cream and then selling it were fertile. Understandably, fellow Italians as well as sweet-toothed Mancunians were very quickly hooked on the good stuff and, ever since, there has a been a gentle love for ice cream right across the city. Pick wisely from Manchester’s Italian restaurants today and you can share this love, one icy lick at a time.