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22nd October 2021

Tips and Tricks: Our Essential Guide to Eating Well at Uni

Where to go and what to eat? We’ve got it all covered in our First Year guide.
Tips and Tricks: Our Essential Guide to Eating Well at Uni
Photo: Amy Hallett via Creative Commons

It’s first year. You’ve met your flat, finessed your uni wardrobe (depop flares and festival wristbands at the ready) and forgotten to phone your parents back home. That first, eye-wateringly expensive Tesco shop on behalf of said parents, is already running low. Surely you brought more drinks with you than that novelty raspberry Smirnoff and a miniature sloe gin. But before you skip over to Sainsbury’s to give them £60 of your student loan, read our list of tips and tricks. You might pick something useful up, beyond the age old New Zealand wines deal – 2 bottles of wine for a fiver. Because it’s Manchester, and because you can probably already hear a boy strumming ‘Wonderwall’ outside Oak House. Nestled amongst the tips and tricks, you might even find some Oasis puns, ready to be recycled at your leisure.

Curry Mile
Curry Mile, Photo: Alex Pepperhill @ Flickr

Flat foodies/Don’t look back in hunger:


Use (and reuse) bags if you’re batch cooking to store the food- cuts down on using valuable freezer space, and buying tupperware.

Buy a flat toaster. Don’t be stuck grilling bagels for half the year. 

Onions as the base of a meal will always set you right. Same with wraps. 

Flat Come Dine With Me! Make friends with the neighbours, avoid their pink chicken. 


Steal other people’s food, drinks or pour their olive oil all over the floor to dance on – bad form and a waste.

Eat every meal in your room. Even if you’re flat’s not your cup of tea, now things are opening up there’s plenty of free spaces to hang out in Manchester, or on campus. 

Only shop at Sainsbury’s. Lidl’s just down Oxford Road and always cheaper.

Hatch, a restaurant on Oxford Road
Hatch, Photo: Scott Salt via Creative Commons

Eating out/(Bread) roll with it:

Out with friends?

Hatch is the place to be for going out with a big group of friends. Like Escape to Freight Island (see below), it has many different restaurants and bars within it, giving plenty of choice for everyone in the group! Parmogeddon is a highlight, serving up cheesy and delicious parmos – breadcrumb coated chicken (or cauliflower) covered in cheese and bechamel sauce, originating from Middlesbrough. A deep fried piece of Northern history.


Deep in the tunnel of exam season, Brewdog can be a lifesaver. The Deskdog deal means for £7 you have access to unlimited tea and coffee in the day, and a pint to see you on your way at the end. Feelgood Cafe, run by two wives and boasting a great playlist, is a burst of fun in the Northern Quarter. FUEL in Withington also has a fantastic atmosphere, and better yet- turns into a bar at night. 

Date night?

Lockdown dates consisted of a rainy walk around Platts park, at best. Now, Manchester is your oyster. Close to Owens Park, and with reliable warm/low lighting, HAUS is a good pizza/pint bet, whilst Wolf at the Door, a £1 bao bun and taco restaurant in the heart of the Northern Quarter, will impress without breaking the bank.

Family night?

Escape to Freight Island really has the wow factor to impress parents, entertain siblings and keep you all well fed. The 22” Voodoo Ray’s pizza to share seems excessive, but works out as fairly inexpensive. Freight Island also often has events on such as the Jazz Festival.

Honourable mentions:

You really can’t run out of places to try on the Curry Mile, many of them delivering to Fallowfield for a cosy flat curry night. 

Drunk and hungry? Kej’s it is. Turkiss’ chip kebab also deserves some love. 

We’ve tried onion rings pretty much everywhere in town. The Font claims the crown here. 

Tucked away by the Arndale, Cafe Metro is cheap, cheerful, and for what may seem a perfectly average cafe, serves up the best lasagna this side of the pennines.

42s Nightclub
Photo: 42nd Street Nightclub via Creative Commons

Drinks?/Feelin’ Supertonic

It’s the Euros, you’ve got flags on your faces and pride in your heart, it’s got to be…

Courtyard. One of the busiest and liveliest pubs in Manchester, Courtyard has a reputation, and deservedly so. Grab a pitcher, some mates and sink into the weekend. 

It’s the middle of the afternoon in town, and all you want is a cold pint in the sun, get yourself over to…

Quarterhouse. This outdoor space in the middle of the Northern Quarter lets you soak up some rays amongst the red brick, with the best loaded fries in town. Spend your summer evenings here working on a tan or your winter one’s working on a pint. 

It’s Thursday night, your hair’s washed and you’re in the mood for dancing, head to…

42s. It’s basic indie pop, communal sweat, and ruined shoes. You might devastated at being refused that next jager bomb – but the next morning be will be endlessly grateful for that glass of water you were given instead.

It’s time to leave your grimy flat behind and pretend you’re Emma Stone in that end scene of La La Land, where else but…

The Blues Kitchen. Free entry and expensive drinks, this is your chance to live the highlife. Just make sure to pre. 

You really can’t be bothered to leave Fallowfield, so you’re going to…

256 or Friendship. 256 is notoriously slow service, but it’s worth it for the cheapest expresso martinis in town. The Friendship Inn is like its name. Warm, and always there.   

Izzy Langhamer

Izzy Langhamer

Izzy Langhamer enjoys writing all things Manchester, covering food, drink and music across the city. In her spare time she studies English Literature.

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