Aldo Zilli talks dining in Manchester

Manchester and the surrounding suburbs have a very special significance for Aldo Zilli, chef consigliere to the San Carlo group. He says that ‘[the city] is very close to my heart; over the years, through my work with the San Carlo restaurants I have seen how the city’s food scene has flourished. It’s a city that does its own thing and does it very well.’

Now publishing the 11th annual edition of our Manchester Food & Drink Guide, we at Food & Drink Guides have to agree. Over the years, Manchester has grown into a hotbed for outstanding dining and drinking experiences. Aldo thinks that half of the reason for this is the enterprising restaurateurs who’ve come to operate in the region: ‘businesses have seen the potential and invested here; we’ve seen new bar and restaurant openings almost on a weekly basis, many of which are independent’.

The other half is, of course, Manchester’s foodies. Diners are very food-aware in the North West. Aldo loves their open mindedness and their enthusiasm when it comes to trying new things: ‘back in 2010 when San Carlo introduced its first Cicchetti restaurant, the style of service and small plate dishes was seen as a new dining concept in the region. We watched Cicchetti flourish – it formed the blueprint for San Carlo’s global expansion – and at the same time, Manchester went on to become one of the nation’s foodie capitals, with a huge range of dining options available.’

Like many of us, Aldo is captivated by Manchester’s vibrancy and diversity: ‘[Manchester] is a culture-rich city. Visitors flock all year round to its sporting grounds, theatres, festivals, Christmas markets, museums, bars and restaurants. Manchester has become a must-visit city for food-lovers, something that can only be good news for its chefs.’

It’s not just about the Manchester City Centre, either; Aldo also thinks the wider region needs celebrating too. Nestled in amongst an expansive and varied mix of rural areas, the city benefits from a whole host of first-class local produce: ‘Cheshire and Lancashire are right on the doorstep and both excel when it comes to great local ingredients, from rare-breed beef to potatoes and speciality cheeses. There’s also a really healthy legion of artisan producers offering superb seasonal ingredients.’

Aldo wholeheartedly encourages residents and visitors to Manchester alike to head out and start taking advantage of the world-class culinary scene that the region boasts: ‘with every taste and style of dining covered, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for’.

Pick up a copy of our fresh-off-the-press Manchester Food & Drink Guide from your local Waitrose store or tourism office; get the guide delivered directly to your home; browse fantastic places to drink and dine at Food & Drink Guides; or simply peruse our digital edition below:

Alex Everill

Alex Everill

Whenever he goes anywhere new, Alex remembers what he ate above all else. Days are always planned around food with life stuff slotted in between, where possible. He loves a good bowl of ramen or phở, a good cup of coffee, anything Medieval and graphic novel adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays.

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