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Review: Gusto Restaurant, Deansgate, Manchester, UK

Gusto Restaurants have 13 Italian restaurants in the UK, spanning from Edinburgh to the north to Birmingham in the ‘south’, but mostly located across the north of England. The cities of Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Nottingham all have one, as does Manchester, the city we were visiting for the weekend.

On entering Gusto Manchester, with its entrance adorned with a plant installation, we were warmly welcomed by two ladies behind a reception desk who made a note of our reservation details before we were taken to our table. Reservations are not required, but are recommended at busy times. Despite being quite a large venue, it can get very busy at peak times.

Within the walls of this classic Grade II Listed building is quite a large restaurant (8,000 sq ft), opened in 2014 following a £1.3m makeover, with a variety of seating options and an island bar with a patterned marble counter that takes centre stage (where you could sit and have a drink if you were waiting for a table).

Although we were dining in the mid-afternoon (ahead of an evening show), the restaurant had a quiet buzz about it.

Diners are able to see into the display kitchen at one corner of the restaurant. There is also a private dining room at the venue, suitable for special celebrations.

The menu

We visited on a Sunday for which there is a special Sunday menu. I assume this to be similar to the regular menu – it included a wide selection of dishes but had a highlighted section entitled ‘The Gusto Roasts’ that included the usual meat roasts with all the trimmings, as well as a vegetarian option (a Mushroom & Red Wine Pudding which is served in a suet crust).

The menu includes calorie information, a new government requirement for larger restaurants, an initiative embraced by Gusto Manchester.

The food

As a party of five, we were able to sample a number of different dishes. Our starters included the Caesar Salad (pictured here without anchovies due to a personal preference) which can also also be ordered as a main, and with chicken as an optional extra.

Between us we also sampled the Chicken Liver Pâté which came with a tasty caramelised red onion chutney and warm toasted focaccia bread…

…the King Prawn Bucatini in a sweet chilli tomato sauce finished with fresh lemon and rocket, a good choice for those with a hearty appetite…

…and the Crispy Lemon & Pepper Calamari which had a wonderfully light and crispy tempura batter and was accompanied by a lemon mayonnaise.

Moving on to the mains, I have it on good authority that Gusto’s Classic Burger – a British chuck burger with caramelised onion, pecorino cheese (but pictured here without), tomato, lettuce, relish and gherkin, with skin-on fries (or a house salad), and with the added pancetta, was particularly succulent.

A vegan alternative is available with a ‘Moving Mountains’ burger and homemade Romesco vegan mayonnaise and vegan mozzarella.


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The pizzas are cooked in wood-fired ovens, apparently using a dough recipe inherited from a Tuscan monk. The bases are light and airy, with a distinct authenticity about them. Pictured below are the Truffle Bianco Pizza (a white base with truffle paste, portobello mushrooms and Fior Di Latte mozzarella topped with rocket and Gran Moravia cheese and – my choice – the very flavoursome Caprino Pizza (with D.O.P. San Marzano tomato, goat’s cheese, roasted red peppers, pine nuts, sweet onions, pesto, Fior Di Latte mozzarella and rocket).

The Truffled Mushroom Fettuccine also caught my eye and I’d be tempted to choose that next time. It comes with oyster, chestnut and button mushrooms and tarragon, and is pictured here with a good sprinkling of Parmesan. It can also be had as a starter, and comes with the option to add chicken.

For dessert, I had the Chocolate Espresso Martini Mousse – a whipped chocolate and coffee mousse with a ginger biscuit base topped with Chantilly cream – which was light and, for a non-coffee drinker such as myself, with a sufficiently light coffee flavour.

The Italian Gelato Ice Cream is also to be recommended. You can choose from chocolate, salted caramel or strawberries & cream flavours, or go for the more simple Madagascan vanilla.

Chocolate lovers will be tempted by the Warm Chocolate Brownie which comes served with salted caramel gelato ice cream and a dark chocolate sauce.

Other options included: Biscoff and Chocolate Dough Petals (to share) – a ‘twist’ on their regular Dough Petals with real Italian gelato Madagascan vanilla ice cream and fresh berries; Tiramisu; Vanilla Panna Cotta served with oranges marinaded in Marsala wine; and Amaretto Crème Brûlée served with fresh berries.


Gusto Manchester can be found at 4 Lloyd Street, Manchester M2 5AB, which is just off Deansgate. On street parking is avilable on Lloyd Street or Q-Park (Piazza), St James Street. At the recommendation of Gusto in advance of our visit, we actually parked at the Manchester Great Northern NCP car park a little further away, because it is also handy for the Manchester Opera House which we were visiting afterwards.


Starters ranged from £5.75 (Rigatoni Arrabbiata) to £13.25 (Pan-Seared King Scallops).

Mains ranged from £10.95 (Pizza Margherita) to £32.95 (8oz Fillet Steak). Gusto’s Steak Experience costs £100 but is for two people and includes a bottle of A Mano ‘Prima Mano’ Primitivo wine.

Desserts ranged from £5.50 (Italian gelato ice cream or Sorbet) to £7.25 (a number of different desserts).

The final verdict

Gusto Manchester offers great value for money for authentic Italian food, with an extensive and varied menu. Service was very attentive without being overly-intrusive. The restaurant has a nice buzz about it and we would particularly recommend this venue for pre-show dining for anyone attending events at the Manchester Opera House (3 min walk) or Royal Exchange Theatre (7 min walk). It is also handy for pre- or post-cinema dining with the Everyman and Odeon cinemas both within a 5-minute walk.

Disclosure: Our visit was sponsored by Gusto Restaurants.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. I went here for my birthday a few months ago!! It was really busy but for good reason – it’s an excellent Italian.

  2. I live in south Manchester and have heard good things about Gusto. On the face of these pictures, I’m definitely going to give it a try next time I’m passing one.

    1. There’s quite a number of them dotted around where you are located, Marcus! Alderley Edge, Cheadle Hulme, Didsbury and Knutsford all have a Gusto restaurant.

  3. If you’re going out for a meal you want something with decor that looks a bit special. I’d be happy to eat here as it looks good.

    1. From the moment you step inside, you’re made to feel very welcome (or at least we were) and, as you say, it’s an inviting environment in which to dine. Definitely give them a try if you ever have the opportunity.

  4. From what I can see of the tables, they look big enough and sturdy enough. Some restaurant designers simply forget how much space 4 large pizzas take up.

  5. It should be illegal to post pictures of pizzas looking like that. It’s still a few hours to dinner time for me and they’re making me hungry.

  6. Most of the time I like the calorie count. I know it can be a bit depressing but it gives the chance to balance out calories over the meal.

    Last week I was really surprised when a scallops starter came in at over 650 calories then I realised that must have been the chorizo which pushed up the total. It’s good that the calories give you chance to keep control.

    1. I know what you mean, Freya… I’m kind of in two minds on the issue myself. On the one hand, yes it’s good to keep an eye on these things, but on the other hand, sometimes you just want to enjoy your evening without being reminded about any over-indulgences!

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