The Best Cafes in Manchester, Liverpool & Leeds

Feature by Jess Hardiman | 04 Jan 2017

Cafe culture is alive and well, as proven by the breadth of your Best Cafe winners this year. With everything from an Australian/NZ-inspired breakfast spot to a Smithdown Road co-op for you to check out, we thought we'd make things easier and recommend some key menu items

Federal Cafe & Bar – Veggie brekkie bagel

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The folk at Antipodean haven Federal are undisputed heroes of the all-day brunch, a skill that’s won over many a Mancunian’s heart through Instagrammably fresh ingredients, sexy crockery and, above all else, huge portions. Go for the veggie brekkie bagel, which comes with free range eggs, fresh spinach leaves, aioli, spiced tomato relish, halloumi and mushrooms all splaying out onto the plate – yours for £7.50. In a world where sourdough barges into far too many brunches, sometimes it’s nice to see the humble bagel fighting back.

Koffee Pot – Pastrami and house pickle melt

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Obvs a full English breakfast here is something of a Mancunian institution, but if you want a real sense of what Koffee Pot 2.0 have been busy rustling up since their move to Oldham Street, you’ll want to check out their adventures in brining beef in-house. That means salt beef, pickled ox tongue and ox cheek pastrami – we recommend the latter, served as a three-cheese melt with slaw and house pickles. Cosy up with one of these and a round of two-for-one cocktails, and enjoy the late-night cafe culture of Europe in the heart of Manchester.

Lovelocks – Peanut butter, banana and caramelised pecans on sourdough

Arguably the best thing about Lovelocks is that sensational tiled counter, but, interiors aside, you’ll find that the menu is packed full of simple, fresh flavours partnered by the kind of reasonable prices we're after. The star of the show, though, has to be their latest breakfast item, which sees sourdough toast given some love from peanut butter, banana and caramelised pecans. If you've got room for afters, check out the endless barrage of tasty cakes, rotating daily with the likes of carrot, chocolate and raspberry and even a vegan and gluten-free chocolate fudge and peanut butter cake. 

Bold Street Coffee – Venezuelan eggs

Seems Liverpool’s first speciality coffee house is still doing it for you all, thanks to its simple, fresh dishes, laid back atmosphere, creative vibe and, above all else, consistently great coffee. Pull up a flat white and order the Venezuelan eggs: two fried eggs on white bloomer toast, sliced avocado, grated Venezuelan 100% cacao and hot pepper sauce. Yezzzir.

Naked Lunch – Vegan breakfast

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Naked Lunch is a new co-operatively owned cafe and coffee shop on Smithdown Road, an area that’s famed for its community spirit. Here, the humble full English is given some attention, with pescatarian versions also available. However, it’s the vegan brekkie you’ll be most impressed by, filling the plate with veggie nut roast, portobello mushrooms, roast tomato, avocado, house baked beans, sautéed sweet potato and baby spinach with pine nuts. 

Laynes Espresso – Smashed broad beans on sourdough

Place yourself in the reliable hands of one of Leeds’ most trusted food and drink venues, and you’ll be able to step away from the ubiquitous avocado on toast and branch out with smashed broad beans on sourdough with peas, mint, lemon, feta and a poached egg. The shakshuka is also worth your time; theirs comes topped with dukkah with harissa buttered toast on the side. 

Read the full list of winners in our 2017 Food and Drink Survey here