The Rivals

4.5
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961 reviews
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£25 and under
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Gastro Pub

Top tags:

Pre/post Theatre
Casual
Situated within the visually stunning Royal Exchange Theatre, The Rivals is the perfect venue for a business lunch, a break from shopping or a pre-theatre dinner. With views out over St Ann"s Square and into the theatre's Great Hall The Rivals offers a superb pre-theatre dinner menu with friendly attentive service. The bar/restaurant is also open during theatre performances for non theatre going customers. Real ale, craft beer, fine wines and excellent food are all on offer

Special Offers

Dinner 2 Course £24 3 Course £29

From a choice set menu.

Terms and Conditions: Maximum of 6 diners. Includes VAT, excludes service.

Valid For: 1 - 6 people

Starts: 3 January 2020

Ends: 31 January 2020

Availability: Mon-Sat 17:00-22:00

Lunch 2 Course £21 3 Course £25

From a choice set menu.

Terms and Conditions: Maximum of 6 diners. Includes VAT, excludes service.

Valid For: 1 - 6 people

Starts: 3 January 2020

Ends: 31 January 2020

Availability: Mon-Sat 12:00-15:00

1,000-Point Tables

See availability for 1,000 point tables

Mon - Sat 7:45PM - 9:15PM

What 961 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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LS
Manchester
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience4

The food was lovely, and our waitress from N. Ireland was extremely efficient and friendly. The only criticism was that the area where we were sat was cold. A lot of draft by window and exterior wall.

AT
Manchester
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall3food3service4ambience4

The bill was expensive for the quality of the food. My fish cakes were nice but nothing special, my husband’s mackerel escoche was disappointingly ordinary. The main course duck was very good with a delicious sauce but the sweet potato wellington was quite dry and heavy on the pastry. Overall, a disappointing experience.

JM
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The entire ambience was superb. The waitresses were extremely attentive and ensured that we had supper and that we took our seats on time. Pudding was in the interval. Excellent.

SC
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious food for a pre-theatre meal, served quickly but by friendly staff

RG
London
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

excellent food at good prices. we will visit again

JB
Manchester
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was lovely. Service very good indeed. Great staff. I like the decor too. Really enjoyed and we will return!

PB
London
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall3food4service3ambience4

The food and ambience were very good but for a theatre restaurant who are I assume used to pre theatre dining, the Timings were rather off.

As it got closer to curtain time (it was a matinee) we had to chase for the main courses to be delivered and still there was something of a wait for the starters to be cleared and for those to be delivered. The desert ordering for the interval was appreciated but a tad last minute.

It just felt like they weren’t coping brilliantly with a pretty full restaurant which shouldn’t be unusual. As I say, the food and ambience were very good.

MS
1 review
Dined on 18 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Good food very convenient for the Exchange Theater, nice place to eat

FH
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 18 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Been here a few times now. The menu is always different and interesting. The food is delicious- excellent vegetarian choices. The service couldn’t be better.

EF
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 17 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was excellent, it was a lovely end to a great evening!

LF
London
1 review
Dined on 16 January 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Great pre theatre choice. Good food, good value. Excellent service. Will definitely return

l
London
4 reviews
Dined on 16 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely menu, changes regularly. Alway a fish veggie and vegan options. Pleasant staff who accommodate need to get to performance but dont hurry you if you are dining post performance. I particularly like the option to have coffee a d dessert at the interval during an evening performance.

CW
London
1 review
Dined on 15 January 2020
Overall3food1service4ambience4

One of the starters had to be sent back because it was inedible. It was exchanged without charge. Rosemary potato had clearly been cooked long before and there was not a hint of rosemary to savour. Poor value for money. Two days later we had a cheaper pre theatre meal at the RSC Stratford and quality was far better.

PD
Manchester
5 reviews
Dined on 13 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As always, lovely food,good service and so relaxing before we see the performance.

CT
London
2 reviews
Dined on 11 January 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience4

We arrived early for a pre Theatre meal and eventhough the restaurant was busy we were happily and comfortably seated. As we were pushed for time we chose the 2 course set menu with olives to nibble with wine whilst we waited. The main courses were excellent, one of us had the beef and the other the duck. The Service was excellent with charming, friendly and very helpful staff. We realised that we would have to rush our dessert so the waitress recommended we return during the interval for our dessert and to finish off our bottle of wine. We returned to The Rivals and found our table freshly laid with our wine and desserts so spent the interval quietly finishing our meal. Very happy dining experience with super staff.

TM
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 11 January 2020
Overall3food5service2ambience5

The food was very good as always, limited but interesting menu, with lots of veggie options for one of our party, and the service was quick and polite, but we got charged £10 for 2 "changed mind" which we didn't and at half time I went and ordered drinks for 3 (a pint of lager, red wine and a large Coke) and the barman wandered off and started taking orders and serving at the other end of the bar. I was just ignored then, and didn't get served all interval. We will be going to the Rice Bowl from now on. At least they don't ignore you.

OT
London
1 review
Dined on 10 January 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Good quality food. Excellent service. Enjoyed having dessert in interval. Menu not extensive so that would restrict me returning very frequently.

PB
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 9 January 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Very convenient for the Theatre, with excellent service and a good choice of menus, from "light bites" to three course meals. Just one criticism: hot food was served on cold plates & dishes - not a happy combination on a cold January day.

KS
London
1 review
Dined on 8 January 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience4

This is a pleasant restaurant to eat before a show and the food is good. However, the menu dishes are almost all lacking in accompanying vegetables and the only non-starch vegetable available as a side was (very good) red cabbage. It is also something of a cheat to advertise the meal as a fixed price menu when almost any non-vegetarian starter or main course carries a price supplement. So the restaurant scores high for convenience but rather lower for food variety and value.

EC
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 8 January 2020
Overall4food3service5ambience4

The staff were extremely helpful throughout the evening giving advice on selection .
The food was good quality but we felt expensive especially as the main course was quite sparse of vegetables. The puddings were delicious.

CB
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 4 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We booked dinner before the production on Sat 4th Jan at 5.30. The food was lovely. My husband started with the pekora which was really tasty. We also had the focaccia bread- lovely and warm with a great rosemary taste. I then had the roast chicken which was tender and very moist and my husband had the feather of beef which he loved. I had the apple turnover for dessert which was delicious, particularly the almond ice cream. Coffee was also excellent. We couldn’t fault the food and the service was first class leaving us plenty of time to get to the performance. This was our first visit to The Rivals but we will certainly return.

AM
1 review
Dined on 4 January 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Excellent food, good drinks choice and great to see food being prepared. Staff all were attentive and welcoming.

J
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 3 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food including vegan and vegetarian options. Staff were attentive and welcoming.

DT
New York Area
33 reviews
Dined on 2 January 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

The room is quirky and charming, with tables on the upper level having a lovely view of the square and a mis-matched collection of old-fashioned, brown tables and chairs. The staff who greet and serve are terrific, always helpful and informed. The food is consistent and every dish I've had has been characterised by an interesting choice of herb/ spice/ accompaniment that makes them just a bit different and special. Portions sometimes feel a bit on the small side. Wines - I've only ever drunk by the glass - are well chosen and reasonably priced. For anyone seeing a play at the theatre, a meal here is a delicious no-brainer, but the restaurant is certainly worth a visit from anyone in search of a happy foodie experience.

M
1 review
Dined on 31 December 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The restaurant is a wonderful place full of quirky decor befitting a theatre bar/ restaurant . The service could not have been better and the menu so varied something for everyone .
We were a party of five with different palettes but the menu was perfect to fulfil everyone . I’m so glad I booked this restaurant for NYE and the service was just lovely and we commented on how great it was . Professional without being pretentious or condescending . Thank you for an Erving which was parfait !!!

BB
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 31 December 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Definitely, especially pre or post theatre. Lovely ambience and staff really polite and efficient.

P
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 30 December 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience4

Main meal was very good (hake risotto ) but disappointed in the starter and pudds .
Chestnut gnocchi starter was very tough and there was no taste of chestnuts .
Also the pudds was described as apple turnover with toffee plus ice cream , there seemed scant evidence of the toffee !
Service was great .
Dont worry will come again

J
London
3 reviews
Dined on 28 December 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Our second visit and now our favourite place to eat when we visit Manchester. The food is well prepared and presented, the menu covers a good range of options and the staff are always cheerful and attentive. The space is limited so it can feel a little cramped but the food compensates.

T
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 27 December 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

I have been to Rivals restaurant several times recently. It is consistently good in terms of the quality of its food and value for money. I have chosen the from the fixed menu and always found a good choice. The food is cooked in view of the seating area and has always arrived hot and freshly presented. I like the table arrangement and often one is seated near to large windows which overlook the pleasant St Anne’s square. I did find myself a little cold by the end of the meal due to a slight draft I suspect. There was a reasonably priced wine which we found enjoyable to accompany our meal. The team working behind the bar and in the restaurant itself were really pleasant and efficient. I would definitely recommend this restaurant as I believe it offers a higher quality and standard of meal than many of the more expensive restaurants in Manchester.
When booking the table through opentable ( an easy process) the site indicated that tables were becoming scarce for my booking period( 7:30 Saturday evening) . This proved to be misleading. Almost as we arrived the restaurant almost emptied as the largely theatre going clientele left to take seats in the adjacent theatre. We were in fact one of two or three couples in the restaurant. This might be significant for some visitors who might like the buzz of a fuller venue or indeed appreciate the quieter option.

LB
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 21 December 2019
Overall2food1service2ambience2

We are looking forward to having a nice meal at the Rivals to celebrate my husband's birthday before going to the theatre. The menu wasn't convincing and appetising. Dishes were poorly presented. Risotto was in fact a tasteless barley dish and the foccacia bread was in fact toasted bread.

OT
London
1 review
Dined on 21 December 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

We really enjoyed being able to have dessert and more drinks at the interval of the play.

LT
London
3 reviews
Dined on 19 December 2019
Overall4food3service3ambience4

Very helpful getting the order and meal quickly for pre show
Quality of food not as good as previously probably because of Xmas and very busy night
Hasn’t put me off and will visit again

CG
Yorkshire
5 reviews
Dined on 19 December 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Very busy night! Lovely menu with good choices , too full for dessert this time!!

J
London
1 review
Dined on 18 December 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience2

Delicious, varied food, pleasantly served in theatre restaurant. An enjoyable way to start the evening!

OT
1 review
Dined on 18 December 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Quality of food is good and the general decor and ambiance is lovely. The set menu now has ‘extras’ with additional charges, either have a set menu or don’t . Put out a set menu and a separate a la carte menu , don’t try mixing the two together.

CC
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 14 December 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We always choose The Rivals as the food is excellent; everything about the dining experience is perfect - in fact, it’s unrivalled!!

F
Manchester
11 reviews
Dined on 14 December 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Great service. Good quality food reasonable price wine! Perfect for a pre-theatre meal.

P
London
4 reviews
Dined on 13 December 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Enjoyed our visit, pre theatre, thought it was a bit in the expensive side and a lot of the choices were extra. But the service was good and the ambience was good. A nice way to start the evening

JP
1 review
Dined on 12 December 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Wonderful staff and great food from bar menu
We will be back

MD
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 9 December 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent service and excellent food. Great choice for pre-show dinner at the Royal Exchange Theatre, as they are associated. You can even have dessert and coffee during the interval!