The Rivals

4.5
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978 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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1,000-Point Tables

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

What 978 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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s
Manchester
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall4food4service4ambience4

good food, service efficient, pleasant atmosphere.

Would certainly go again

CR
Yorkshire
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely service . Nice food . A little expensive but a nice treat

K
London
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Excellent food, very friendly staff, even though it was a pre theatre meal, we did not feel rushed

JH
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Been a few times, service is swift and friendly. Food is good - a bit expensive particularly when combined with the cost of a show.

D
Manchester
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Good Vegan option though could have done with smaller portion and something else with it.

g
Manchester
7 reviews
Dined on 17 February 2020
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Normally excellent innovative cooking, however, this time the lamb loin with a suet pudding didn't work. The herb encrusted cod and sea trout starter were excellent

N
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 15 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Lovely meal and ambience would really recommend especially if going to theatre. Quality of food very good , service very good . I will be going again!

G
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 14 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It is always a good way to wind down eat great food in a quiet warm environment.

B
Manchester
3 reviews
Dined on 14 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

An excellent meal with excellent and prompt service.
Menu was so inviting and we were not disappointed with the selections we made.

P
1 review
Dined on 13 February 2020
Overall3food4service3ambience3

We were a group of 11 so service not easy. As it happened some had finished eating by the time others were served. Everybody was happy with their food though - some felt the portions were small. Staff didn’t ‘get the message’ that we were rushing pre afternoon theatre.

e
London
3 reviews
Dined on 13 February 2020
Overall4food3service5ambience4

hello - I would recommend the rivals to a friend - but only just
the food was not wonderful although the prices suggested it should be

MH
Oxford
3 reviews
Dined on 11 February 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience3

Lovely food and very varied combinations have been here quite a few times. It’s a nice place to have a meal and chat

OT
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 8 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We regularly book The Rivals alongside a visit to the theatre and have always had a superb experience. It is a real treat for the senses

t
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on 8 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely meal but our gin and tonics were spoiled by only having one make of tonic available which was horrible and killed the Tanqueray gin. Any chance of stocking an alternative like Sweppes?

A
1 review
Dined on 1 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely pre theatre meal with my mum, very pleasant seating position next to the window overlooking St Anns square. Quirky stylish interior of recycled doors. Wonderful, prompt friendly service, great food, can recommend the portobello squash wellington and the gingerbread with stout ice cream. Was relaxed and unrushed. Very convenient for the theatre. Would go again.

AA
London
1 review
Dined on 31 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Exceeded my expectations both in terms of quality of the food and service. I decided to eat here at the last minute before doing a wine tasting at the Royal Exchange. I was seated immediately and provided with the menu and wine list. The service was attentive without being rushed. The starter I had was Haddock fishcakes with salsa verde which was excellent and matched very well with the Chenin Blanc recommended. The main course was butternut squash and mushroom wellington, with roast potatos and garlic gravy which was delicious. Finished off with a Cardamom brulee which was also very nice and not too large at the end of the meal.
Overall I felt the meal was great value at 3 courses for under £30.

CJ
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 30 January 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Lunch menu offer is expensive especially as about half of the items incur an extra charge and there is lots of competition in Manchester to a similar standard.

LS
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 25 January 2020
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 on 24 January 2020
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 on 24 January 2020
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 on 24 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

RG
London
1 review
Dined on 23 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

excellent food at good prices. we will visit again

JB
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 23 January 2020
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 on 23 January 2020
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.