5 Favourite Places To Eat: Altrincham

5 Favourite Places To Eat: Altrincham

As it is now the end of my cycling road season, I will have a couple of easier weeks training, before I turn my focus to the track cycling season over winter. Now is the time that I can afford to be a little more relaxed with my nutrition and indulge in a few treats. I plan to partake slightly more regularly in my favourite thing to do to relax and that is eat out. In Altrincham, where I live, we are incredibly lucky to have so many amazing places to eat out, so I thought I would share five of my favourite places to go. Hopefully I will get to visit all of them in the next couple of weeks.

Blanchflower

This has been in Altrincham for a couple of years now and serves breakfast, lunch, coffee and cake. When it opened, it very quickly became one of Neil and I’s favourite places to go. The first time we went was within the first month of opening and it was really quiet, now whenever we go it is packed. The staff, even when rushed off their feet, are always really helpful and friendly and the food is always delicious. The menu is quite small, but the food choices tend to be pretty healthy, We like to go for a healthy treat, as I always feel like the food I’m eating is not only yummy, but nutritious and good for me as well. They pretty much make everything on site and most of the produce is organically and locally sourced. The bread, especially the focaccia, is some of the best I have tasted and this goes for the soups as well. The side salad that accompanies any lunch option is always so well thought through, providing a good variety of vegetables and only being dressed very lightly, not using unhealthy creamy dressings. They even think about texture, keeping it interesting by sprinkling over mixed seeds. They regularly change the menu, so it is impossible to get bored of going. Some of my stand out meals have included crab chowdar, cauliflower and raisin soup, humous & roast vegetable focaccia and chorizo & poached egg corn fritter stack. Even better than the soup and sandwiches is the cake counter. There is always a vast array to choose from, including rich gooey chocolate brownies, vegan chocolate raspberry cake, a delicious Bakewell slice, the carrot cake is one of the best i’ve had and the lemon loaf is nice and refreshing. The only down side to Blanchflower is that they stop serving breakfast early. I love having breakfast for lunch, or come to think of it dinner as well and as I’m restricted to porridge for breakfast before I train, I like to have poached eggs and other brunch specials for lunch sometimes instead. I’ve only been able to try the breakfast menu once on a Sunday for brunch and its safe to say it didn’t disappoint, poached eggs and smoked salmon on focaccia with hollandaise, simply delicious. If you get the opportunity, then definitely give it a try. I recommend going for the soup and sandwich combination at lunch time, as then you get the best of both. 

Oxford Road Cafe

This cafe is well established in Altrincham now. If you like breakfast, then this is your place to go. They serve it all day, from full English, to smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, to whatever kind of eggs Benedict you fancy, to pancakes topped with an array of options. You name it, they probably do it. They also do a good selection of sandwiches, salads and larger lunch options, if that is what you are looking for. The food is always reasonably priced and the portion sizes are great. If I’m going for a blow out breakfast, then the pancakes with scrambled egg, bacon, maple syrup and blueberries is my choice. Yes I know the combination sounds wrong, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…its so wrong that its just right. For something more healthy, then the guilt free bacon and eggs are my recommendation or for lunch, the goats cheese and beetroot panini is a classic. Oxford Road Cafe is a great place to go if you don’t want to be tempted in to being bad and eating cake, as they don’t really do dessert. So although the menu choices might not always be as healthy, at least you won’t get drawn in to having cake after. Be prepared to wait though, especially at weekends, as its always crowded and you can’t book. Also be aware it can be quite noisy, unless you get a seat in the back, making it hard to hold a conversation with anyone. Its a good job the food is so tasty, as it more than makes up for this.

Coco’s

This well established, family run, Italian restaurant in Altrincham is everything you want from an Italian. The staff are all very friendly, warm and welcoming and the smell of garlic is intoxicating. It has a vast menu, containing all your Italian classics from pasta to pizza to garlic bread, chicken wrapped in parma ham, to steak and a good selection of seafood. My go to starter here is the gamberoni diablo, big juicy king prawns in a really rich and slightly spicy chilli and garlic tomato sauce. It comes served with a hunk of homemade focaccia, to mop it all up with. The pizzas are particularly good here, my favourite being the diavolo, a selection of salamis, chilli, onion, pepper and rocket, but there are plenty of other options to choose from. On the pasta front, there again is a great selection, I’m a big fan of the lobster ravioli. The menu has changed slightly and unfortunately two of my favourite dishes, the crab pasta and chicken wrapped in smoked salmon & stuffed with goats cheese, are no longer there. The chicken was truly a special meal, if very indulgent and not to be attempted by the faint hearted. The menu is so vast, that I rarely have the same thing twice, but one thing that I do order each time is a side of courgette fritti, which I convince myself are healthy, as they contain a vegetable. For an Italian restaurant, the dessert choices are a little disappointing however, the ice cream is always pretty good and to be honest the portion sizes mean that you rarely have room for dessert. The food you get in Coco’s is definitely nothing fancy, but its very tasty and comforting and just what you want from home-cooked Italian food. You will be sure to leave with a full belly, a smile on your face and with a desire to return.

Phanthong Thai

This is a Thai restaurant that opened in Altrincham not long after we moved here. Since then they have opened other branches across Cheshire, as they have been so successful. It is owned and run by a Thai family that are all so lovely, warm and welcoming and eating out here is more than just food, its an experience too. Even when packed, which it regularly is, the restaurant still manages to feel calm and relaxing. I love that no matter how busy it is, you can still hear whoever you are out with, so its a great place for going when catching up with friends. It just has this feeling about the place that I’m sat in their living room, rather than a restaurant and I never want to leave. This is before I even get to the food. The menu has barely changed from when it opened and its full of Thai classics. During the week and on Sundays, you can be sure to get a good special offer on your meal, be it a 2 course set menu or all you can eat. This is not from a buffet, instead ordering fresh off a set menu, which is particularly appealing for someone who can’t see. Buffets are really not VI friendly. Even if ordering à la carte, its very reasonably priced and the portion sizes are very generous. I’ve been here so often now, that I think I’ve pretty much tried every dish on the menu and I’ve not had a bad one. I particularly love all the different starters you get in Thai restaurants and struggle to decide on one. Therefore the mixed starter platter is perfect as I get several, including spring roll, prawn toast, chicken satay and fishcake. If I feel I need to be more healthy, then the chef special soup of king prawn in a hot and sour broth, with a dash of coconut milk, is the perfect balance of flavour, its such a joy to eat.   For main, I really struggle to pick a favourite and have to decide on feel for the day I’m there. If I want a treat, then the roasted duck in tamarind sauce with caramelised onions and cashew nuts is definitely that. Its sticky, sweet, crispy and most importantly delicious. Just how duck is meant to be. If I’m wanting to keep it healthy, then I’m a big fan of the stirfried rice noodles and if I just want comfort, like a hug in a bowl, then a curry it is. All of the curries pack so much flavour, that its really hard to choose a favourite. but if pressed, it would probably be the dry curry with lime leaves, which is anything but dry and very unique. Thats probably what I love most about Phanthong, it really caters for everything, if you want to make healthy choices, then you have plenty of options and if you want a treat, then this is also possible. I lie actually, my favourite part of going to Phanthong is paying the bill, as when it comes you also get given a chocolate lime sweet. It is such a nice small touch that finishes off the meal perfectly, that you don’t even need dessert. Chocolate limes remind me of my childhood and I just love them. Eating one makes me happy. However, with or without the chocolate lime, I can guarantee that I leave Phanthong smiling and feeling content from both the excellent food and service that I always receive.

House Restaurant & Wine Bar

Although House has been open in Altrincham for a long time, before we moved here, it is only recently that it has become one of mine and Neil’s regular haunts. We like that it never gets too busy or loud, meaning that we can chat easily, while enjoying good food. The staff are always really welcoming and take good care of us. They always try to seat us in a booth, meaning that my guide dog has plenty of space to lie down under the table. They are also dog friendly, meaning that Tai gets as well looked after as we do. The menu is seasonal, so it changes regularly, but you can guarantee that there will always be a classic selection of pastas, pizzas and grill options. The fillet steak is highly recommended, along with the king prawn & n’duja sausage penne. The real appeal to House though is the amazing desserts they serve. Fortunately the portion sizes aren’t sizeable, meaning that there is always space for one. Its the kind of place you go to eat with people you enjoy spending time with, so that you can have a leisurely and indulgent meal together.

When I pick my favourite restaurants, I don’t just focus on the food, but also on the atmosphere and the reception I get when I show up with a guide dog. These five restaurants I feel are the best all round. However there are a couple of other honourable mentions as well.

Sugo Pasta Kitchen does the best and tastiest pasta in Altrincham, however it is very small, cramped and noisy, meaning that it is somewhere you go for the food and food alone. Trust me though, it is worth it.

Honest Crust in Altrincham Market does one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had, but the market itself can be loud, hard to find a seat and just a bit chaotic. I like to relax and enjoy the whole experience when I eat out and I don’t really get this from the market.

Pix Pizza does the best takeaway pizza and their delivery is very reliable. However this isn’t eating out, so they can’t rank.

Gran T’s is a lovely friendly cafe, that is also dog friendly. Its a great place to go for a chat over a coffee or one of their many herbal teas. The cakes are also pretty good, especially the banana loaf.

There are many more restaurants in Altrincham that are also good, too many to mention, but if you have a particuar favourite that I have missed out, then leave your thoughts in the comments below. We really are lucky to live where we do and don’t see ourselves leaving, so long as the restaurant scene keeps thriving.

Thank you for reading and speak soon.

Lora



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