Cheap Eats: Restaurant Deals in the North
Just cause you're skint waiting for the next student loan installment to come through, doesn't mean you don't deserve a meal out every now and again...
In Manchester, Northern Quarter pizza parlour PLY offer 50% off pizzas for members (sign up at plymcr.co.uk) while just down the road at Trof you'll find 2-4-1 on all mains including a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich and Spiced Lamb Khoubz Bread; simply order two mains and a drink and get the cheapest meal free. Shoryu will also let you snag a bowl of their Ganso Tonkotsu ramen for just a fiver (!) each Monday too.
Liverpudlians: if you're out to impress and willing to splash out a little more, head to London Carriage Works for a free bottle of plonk with the prix fixe menu (two courses for £22 or three for £27.50).
Bilbao in Leeds offers 50% off their tapas dishes – from Spanish staples like Iberico ham and patatas bravas through to signature dishes such as blue cheese and almond salad with chicory, pickled shallot and micro cress. Both the Leeds city centre and Chapel Allerton branches of The Pit also offer 50% off each Monday, available all day.
£1 tacos, hombre! That's right, every Tuesday Mancunian Latin American joint El Capo serves up £1 tacos (including the daily specials) from 4pm, with nothing but the limits of your appetite to stop you. If burgers are more your thing, head to Common for their classic BOGOF burger treatment every Tuesday for members – same applies to their sister site The Beagle in Chorlton.
In Liverpool, if you're in the mood for some Spanish small plates, Tapas Tuesdays at Cosy Club mean you can get three tapas dishes and a glass of wine for £11.95. Meanwhile over in Leeds it's 50% off every Tuesday at Arc, spanning everything from pizza planks to dirty burgers.
You've no doubt earned yourself a hump-day treat! Get yourself some 50p chicken wings at El Capo in Manchester every Wednesday from 4pm, or in Liverpool enjoy a pizza, a cocktail and live Latin jazz for just a tenner at Frederiks.
In Leeds? Treat yourself to 50% off tapas at District, where you can work your way through baby squid, spiced lamb chops, Shetland mussels, Mediterranean ragu and more, before coughing up just half the price.
Everything on the main menu at Manchester mainstay Odd is half price all day every Thursday, whether it's a burger, sarnie or a portion of fish and chips.
Lunch and early evening
Put down that Boots meal deal. Right now. Lunch doesn't have to be this way! Some of our favourite midday options in Manchester include Zouk, with tiffin lunches for £7.95, or Dosa Xpress in Withington, with a dosa express meal or lunch meal special coming in at a penny under £5 or £6 respectively. Common's sarnies are £6.50 with chips or salad until 5pm, and PLY's pizzettas with rocket and hazelnut salad also carry the same lunchtime pricetag.
Out to impress? Capitalise on the early evening prices at the restaurants that you'd only have a shot of going to if your parents were in town (and paying). TNQ's express menu is served Monday-Saturday, 12-6.30pm, where you'll get either two courses for £14.95 or three for £18.95, while Mr Cooper's House and Garden at The Midland hotel has a strong pre-theatre menu available between 5pm and 6.30pm, which lets you choose two courses for £20 or three for £24.
Head to Liverpool's latest fried chicken favourite Yard and Coop at lunchtime and you can get a £5 lunch special, or you can pick and mix your way through lunch at Salt House Tapas, where you can get three small plates and bread for £12.95 – think salt cod croquettes with romesco sauce, aged Manchego cheese toastie, pan-fried padron peppers and much, much more. An express lunch for £9.95 sounds good in itself, but at Red’s True Barbecue the deal is sweetened by the promise of bottomless drinks, too.
One of our favourite spots in Leeds for a smart meal in a relaxed setting, you can enjoy Ox Club on the cheap if you head down between 5pm and 6.45pm for their prix fixe menu (two courses and one side for £16.50 or three courses and one side for £19.50 – and, crucially, they don't even whack on a supplement for the flat iron steak), or for a quicker bite to eat try The Belgrave Music Hall's in-house pizza slingers Dough Boys before 7pm on Sun-Thu or before 5pm on Fri-Sat, where you can get your first two slices of pizza for half price. If it's a lunchtime hit you need to settle, Leeds institution Bundobust is without doubt your best bet, with two Gujurati-style vegetarian street food dishes for £7 between 12 and 4pm.