The Rivals

4.4
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901 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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What 901 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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HR
Manchester
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Didn't have a meal as pushed for time , will definitely get there earlier next time and dine

AD
London
1 review
Dined on 7 November 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

We were well looked after. I chose a non-meat option which looked lovely however I found it had too many flavours. A bit on the expensive side.

EJ
1 review
Dined on 6 November 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Really good food. Great menu selection. Fantastic service. Will be back.

KM
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 2 November 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great pre theatre dining venue. Food is really good, and it's a lovely setting. Previously we have had our dessert in the play's interval - what a brilliant idea! No rushing to finish, you can take your time and then have pudding in a quiet environment half way through the production. My friend - not a pudding enthusiast - said the eccles cake was the best dessert she'd ever had. I need your recipe so I can treat her to some home baking!

CE
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 2 November 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious food, lovely view from the window. Waiting staff were all friendly and efficient. Please try it for yourself !!

CQ
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 1 November 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Perfect for pre theatre supper. Friendly staff; our waitress checked if were going into the theatre so she knew what time constraints we had. My steak was superb: tender and flavoursome. Good ambiance, but the noise levels rose too high for my liking as the restaurant filled up pre theatre. However, I’m still looking forward to a return visit.

MG
London
14 reviews
Dined on 1 November 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Excellent meal, straightforward food very well cooked. Good value. Friendly service.

QL
London
5 reviews
Dined on 1 November 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great modern British right on St Anne's Square. Big tables with plenty of space around you and very reasonable wine list too! |Very good friendly service too!

EM
Edinburgh
1 review
Dined on 26 October 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Really great, friendly service from very welcoming and lovely staff. Food was very nice, but I did think it was a little pricey. Great place to go for a pre-theatre dinner and would certainly recommend it. Very good drinks options.

AK
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 26 October 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Staff were really friendly and efficient. Food was excellent . Wine reasonably priced . Had a lovely family night out

JP
London
1 review
Dined on 26 October 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We enjoyed a lovely meal served by friendly staff. The restaurent had a great atmosphere and is a huge asset for the Royal Exchange

MJ
Cheshire
2 reviews
Dined on 19 October 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Stunning little restaurant with great service and delicious food, would highly recommend and we will be back

SL
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 18 October 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My Daughter & I were attending a play at The Royal Exchange and decided The Rivals to be a great location.
Fantastic choice, the restaurant was not overly busy and had a lovely atmosphere.
We chose to eat from the fixed menu which had some lovely options: 2 courses for £22.
The staff were super attentive and managed time expectations well.

Would return again even if not attending a play.

l
London
3 reviews
Dined on 17 October 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

I love eating here pre theatre. Alway a good veggie and fish choice on the menu. Staff aware you have a deadline of course. I really appreciate being able to come back for dessert or coffee in the interval too.

P
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 11 October 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

JT
Manchester
1 review
Dined on 9 October 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall4food5service5ambience5

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

TM
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 28 September 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent meal and service. Restaurant of choice for us!

GR
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 28 September 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

h
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 25 September 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

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
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Always good and relaxing gets you ready for the performance

SP
Cheshire
1 review
Dined on 21 September 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service4ambience4

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

JE
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 9 August 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

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
Overall5food5service5ambience3

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
Overall4food5service4ambience4

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall4food4service4ambience4

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
Overall5food4service4ambience4

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

TM
Manchester
2 reviews
Dined on 3 August 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall2food2service1ambience1

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
Overall1food2service1ambience3

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
Overall4food4service4ambience4

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall2food2service2ambience3

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
Overall4food3service5ambience3

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