The Rivals

4.4
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887 reviews
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£25 and under
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Gastro Pub

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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

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

What 887 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.6
service
4.3
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
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P
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The perfect place for a pre-theatre dinner at the royal Exchange - we love it.

JT
Manchester
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, surroundings and staff. Good value for a high quality meal. It’s a little cool when sitting by the windows on a cold autumn evening-bit of a draught. Overall very good

C
Manchester
3 reviews
Dined on 7 October 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

had a pre theatre dinner with a friend on Monday night. as always, the food is fantastic, efficient & friendly staff & a lovely atmosphere. a treat in itself! would recommend whether you're going to a show or not. we eat there regularly. one of the best restaurants in Manchester & good value for money.

MD
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 7 October 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and excellent service, with plenty of time to enjoy before the play started and the opportunity to have desert at the interval!

t
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on 4 October 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Enjoyed the varied menu, ambience was very good, along with the service. Have no hesitation in recommending the restaurant to friends

TM
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 28 September 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

The food was good as always, but we had a vegetarian who thought the veggie prices were expensive for the offer. Given vegetables are usually cheaper than meat, and we weren't having black truffles with morels offered, I (a meat eater) did agree with him. It wasn't something I would normally check up on, but I will do in future. The cheeseboard was its usual star course, although keeping the grapes accompanying them in the fridge is not good, they need to be at room temperature or replaced with a sliced apple or pear, not a big ask surely.

AB
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 28 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent meal and service. Restaurant of choice for us!

GR
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 28 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service as always. An oasis in the city.

h
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 25 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Whenever we see something at the Royal Exchange, we always eat here, we love it. The decor and atmosphere are lovely and relaxed and the food quality and presentation are at the fine-dining end of the spectrum. The goat's cheese with beetroot carpaccio and the braised pig cheeks for starters were superb; and the hake for the main course served with peas, mint and salsify was delicious with the big white flakes of fish. It's making me hungry, I could eat it all again! I also had a lovely glass of Albariño, which I love. Eating here before a show also takes the pressure off timings as you know you'll be served your food on time and you're only a few steps away from your seat. Although this restaurant isn't just for theatre-goers, I'd recommend it anyway - a lovely place to meet a friend for good food and a nice glass of wine.

PD
Manchester
3 reviews
Dined on 23 September 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Always good and relaxing gets you ready for the performance

SP
Cheshire
1 review
Dined on 21 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Eating at The Rivals was a perfect complement to attending the performance of Macbeth the same evening. The service from the moment we entered the restaurant was just so friendly and welcoming. The beef which I had was meltingly tender and accompanied by perfect kale. My husband's hake was an equally well-thought out dish. Overall it was clear that the food was cooked by people who cared what they did. Really good quality and absolutely delicious. I can't recommend this place highly enough. One of the best meals I have eaten for a long time.

SC
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 20 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food with friendly and efficient service. Perfect for a pre-theatre meal but I would go anytime!

DW
1 review
Dined on 18 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Excellent food. Full of flavour. Good quantity. Each course was great. Can't fault it.

JE
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 9 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Fantastic inventive menu currently
Love saving pudding until the play interval...everything ready and waiting...very civilised
Lovey friendly staff
Best kept dining secret in Manchester

OT
1 review
Dined on 8 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

I eat at The Rivals at least four times a year and always thoroughly enjoy the food - beautifully presented and always delicious. The ingredients are fresh and combined so creatively. The service is excellent.

PC
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 5 August 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

The overall experience was excellent. The only anomaly was we had to eat from the set menu and there was one item off and one changed. Your website showed a full a la carte menu for evening meals however we were told this was not available. A little bit misleading.

P
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 3 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

food and win lovely, excellent staff and very pleasant evening - highly recommended and not just a place to eat when going to the theatre

MD
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 3 August 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

A great menu offering the best problem of all -how to select just one dish for each course. I would have thought there was something for everyone. The service is always charming and helpful. Nicely busy ambience.

PH
Newcastle
2 reviews
Dined on 3 August 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Good pre theatre venue for dinner. Excellent food but gone up a bit in price

TM
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 3 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, started with the Terrine, very flavoursome and tasty, moved on to the beef featherblade steak which was mouthwateringly tender and full flavoured, and finished with the cheeseboard (for two) lots of cheese, most importantly served at room temperature, not straight out of a fridge, so full flavours available. Good selection of artisan biscuits and nice complimentary chutney not too overpowering for the cheese. Two pints, one of lager and one of local bitter good and reasonably priced and bottle of house Merlot recommended by waiter as cheaper and better than wine list Merlot, what's not to like? Five stars all round, will defo be returning soon.

CM
Cheshire
3 reviews
Dined on 3 August 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 1

We booked to eat at 12.30. I was sent a proviso as I assume is usual with some restaurants that our table will be required back by 2.00. This isn't usually a problem, however we were still waiting for our main courses at 1.50. The food was unremarkable.

d
1 review
Dined on 1 August 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

The table was booked for 6pm. We got the minuscule starter and the drinks after about half an hour. We didn't get the main course until 7.05pm. The meal was hot and tasty, but the wait was excessive. There was no time for a desert or coffee before the start of the production.
I returned to the Rivals (the cafe in the auditorium) today (Tues 6/8/19 13.00) with a friend. There was hardly any salad left, so we chose veg curry and rice, but there was no rice, so we opted for potato wedges with curry. We were then told that there were only enough wedges for one, so my friend had a baked potato and curry.
What is happening at the Rivals??
I won't be rushing back for a while.

PK
Manchester
3 reviews
Dined on 1 August 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The food was excellent, the service was friendly and efficient and it was a lovely prelude to our theatre visit!

C
Manchester
4 reviews
Dined on 31 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

dinner pre theatre. we eat here regularly. the food is fantastic. the service is excellent. & it's fair value.
no where better in M/cr

JD
1 review
Dined on 29 July 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

I normally love eating at The Rivals before going to see the play but this time I didn't enjoy it at all. We wanted more of a tapas type meal as we didn't have a lot of time, but the bar menu had just changed and I ended up having a toasted sandwich with chips for my main course. We asked for a dip and could only have tomato sauce as the mayonnaise had run out! Where we were seated was boiling hot because one of the blinds was broken so we had to ask to be moved. The staff were lovely but the rest of the visit was a disappointment. Please reinstate your more varied snack/bar menu for those of us who can't sit down to eat before 1815!

DR
Lancashire
2 reviews
Dined on 16 July 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 3

Good service, food good except over cooked salmon. Pleasant atmosphere apart from loud music making conversation arduous

GB
Manchester
3 reviews
Dined on 13 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brilliant menu with lots of vegetarian choices. Flavoursome and the portions were just right. Saved our dessert until the interval....lovely

M
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 6 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful vibrant food, great service in stylish surroundings. We had 2 courses before the theatre show then had dessert in the half time break - it was all ready and waiting for us. perfect.

m
1 review
Dined on 4 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Took my friend for her birthday and we loved it, everything was perfect couldn’t fault it. Will definitely be going back

CG
Yorkshire
3 reviews
Dined on 4 July 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Always a lovely welcome and a relaxed friendly service. The food is always lovely, well presented and tasty. We always book when we buy our tickets for the Theatre.

MH
1 review
Dined on 4 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Really enjoyed our pre-theatre lunch at The Rivals. The food off the set menu was imaginative and well presented. Service was friendly and efficient. We would definitely go there again.

PW
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 3 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very convenient having a very good quality restaurant in the same building as the theatre. Food and service were excellent as usual.

F
London
11 reviews
Dined on 2 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

An excellent restaurant. Great service and good food

BM
Manchester
5 reviews
Dined on 2 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

As always great food and great service. I go when the production has started so it is quiet, hence the lower score for ambiance.

J
London
1 review
Dined on 2 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Recently we have eaten out rather more than usual, this was the best meal for quite a while. The menu was interesting and although it is limited there was a very good range. We decided to have just two courses, I had crab cakes and then spiced squash in coconut milk. Both were excellent. My partner had ricotta followed by beef, again excellent.
Staff were very friendly and we were served quickly - but not too quickly. A really good experience all round.

T
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 29 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food, fresh and really classy. Every course is as good as the last. Reat for vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters. Perfection.

OT
Yorkshire
1 review
Dined on 28 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent service & excellent food enhanced a really enjoyable evening at the theatre

TD
New York Area
26 reviews
Dined on 27 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Outstanding food, quite exceptional,both courses with a clever connection to the play

j
Sydney / NSW
1 review
Dined on 24 June 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

There is a really traditional feel to the restaurant which is totally in keeping with the Exchange Building. The service is excellent - very personable and knowledgeable.

TJ
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 24 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely menu. Excellent and prompt service. I liked the fact that we could order dessert and coffee for the interval!! We will definitely book again.

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