El Rincon de Rafa
Longworth Street (off St John Street), Manchester, M3 4BQ
- Recommended for:
- Business travellers, Couples, Culture vultures, Mature travellers, Celebrity spotting, Chilling out, Escaping the crowds, No fuss
Expert review of El Rincon de Rafa
One of my favourite places to eat in the city centre, El Rincon is a hard place to find but well worth the hunt. Owned by an ex Stockport County player, the Spanish restaurant is always busy so, if you don't book, be prepared to wait for a table (it is not possible to book for tables of two).
The extensive menu is crammed full of classic tapas dishes such as tortilla Espanola (£3.95), patatas bravas (£3.75) and paella as well as Spanish broths, salads and a good range of meats and fish. Portions are generous and the food temptingly moreish - I always over-order. The house wine is very drinkable (especially the Rioja) and reasonably priced.
My test of a good tapas restaurant is the simple dish patatas bravas. In El Rincon, the tomato sauce is rich with a spicy kick and the portion is big enough to share between two – perfect!
Stepping into the high-ceilinged cellar room is like walking into a tapas bar in Spain; the white table cloths are paper, there are barrels above the wooden bar and the mismatched pictures on the wall sit next to football shirts. Diners include groups celebrating birthdays, couples and businesspeople from local offices during the week. There is always a buzz in this restaurant so don’t come expecting a quiet meal.
The Spanish staff are friendly and the food usually arrives quickly.
On a small side street parallel to Deansgate, El Rincon can be tricky to find. Take St John Street off Deansgate and take your first right down Longworth Street. Persevere - visitors to Manchester always look worried when I lead them down a small back street behind a nightclub - and look out for the restaurant’s Cruzcampo sign.
Tapas dishes start at £2.15 and main courses cost around £13.
More information on El Rincon de Rafa:
- Price guide:
- Bar, Restaurant, Tapas bar
- Spanish, Tapas
- Longworth Street (off St John Street), Manchester, M3 4BQ
- 0161 839 8819
- Lunch, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Mon-Sat noon-11.30pm, Sun noon-11pm.
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Essential at peak times