The Rivals

4.4
874 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

2/3 courses £19/£22

From a set menu.

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

Valid For: 1 - 6 people

Starts: 14 June 2019

Ends: 30 September 2019

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 874 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
4.5
service
4.3
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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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
1 review
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
3 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
10 reviews
Dined on 2 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

An excellent restaurant. Great service and good food

BM
Manchester
4 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
25 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.

JB
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 22 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I always enjoy my visits to The Rivals Restaurant, which are more often than not pre- or post-theatre performances. The proximity of the Restaurant to the actual Theatre space is a real bonus, especially for someone disabled♿️, such as myself! The food is always very good, and the table d’hote menu represents excellent value! I recommend The Rivals! 👏👍🙂

OT
London
4 reviews
Dined on 22 June 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good food. Friendly staff. We visit regularly for a pre theatre lunch always happy with food and service.

BM
Manchester
5 reviews
Dined on 18 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

My third visit and it has yet to disappoint me in any way, the service and food as excellent as previously. I marked it down for ambience as there are few diners when I eat as the theatre has started. Will be visiting again soon.

SS
1 review
Dined on 15 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely place with great food at a reasonable price. We will certainly be visiting again when we go to the theatre.

CK
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 15 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

If I could give Rivals 10 out of 5 I would. The service was great both at the bar and whilst at our table. We had the Chicken Tandoori and the Salmon main courses plus two delicious desserts, wine and coffee. The restaurant has a lovely informal atmosphere and a big plus is being able to preorder drinks to have back at your table in the interval. I’d like to balance this review with a negative - but there isn’t one.

Well done to all the staff front of house and kitchen.

The Kendals

SB
Manchester
7 reviews
Dined on 15 June 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Meal with friends, good food and service excellent value for money.

OT
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 14 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Relaxed yet attentive service. Fantastic food. Love you can keep your table for the interval. We came back to wine and a cheese board. Fabulous

JG
1 review
Dined on 13 June 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was excellent in taste and presentation and the service very good including changing our table fir window seats.

PD
Manchester
3 reviews
Dined on 10 June 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Yes and have done particularly if going to see a play

DH
1 review
Dined on 8 June 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 5

Arrived 18.05. Lovely table. Friendly staff. Starters prompt and lovely. At 7.00pm. I had to ask if mains were ready as we were limited as time of the show. At 7.10 we got mains and two free drinks. Had to rush meal and run out of time only had a third of the drink. The food was very good but experience wasn't good on first visit.

L
1 review
Dined on 8 June 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The set menu is great value and the food was superb. My fussy vegetarian daughter was also very happy!

JS
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 8 June 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

This is a good place to eat before a show. Thy know you'r goint to need to be through in time to take your seat.

JH
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 7 June 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Excellent service as ever, friendly and intelligent. Good food, wine a bit pricey

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