WHLN Manchester restaurants, bars, nightclubsManchester
San CarloManchesterSan CarloCuisine: Italian

San Carlo review
San Carlo manchester photo***Updated July 2010***

Since opening San Carlo has built a reputation of being the best Italian restaurant in Manchester, as well as a certain infamy for being a favourite of many of the region’s celebrities – the presence of two premiership football clubs in the city helps this along nicely. Even the recent arrival of a few pretenders to the ‘best Italian in Manchester’ crown don’t seem to have bothered San Carlo too much – Rosso and Don Marco spring to mind – as they have maintained a faithful client base and reputation for top quality food in warm, sophisticated surroundings. Rumours of a Jamie’s Italian in the King Street area may make things interesting for Italian restaurants in the areas but it seems cert ain San Carlo is to remain Manchester’s favourite for the foreseeable future.



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A "nu breed" Italian that shuns the traditional interior design for a more modern layout. This restaurant has certainly hit the right notes with the local 'glitterari', as it counts Sven Goran Eriksson as one of its favourite clients (be that a good thing or a bad thing, he is a self proclaimed expert on Italian food), and it's ideally located on King Street West, close to the trendy shops and almost opposite Kendals (Manchester's House Fraser).

There are two issues that have been noted about San Carlo. Firstly this is no 'mom and pop, ?20 for two including wine' style operation - this is classy food and it comes at a price. The second is the service, which some reviewers, both on this site and external sites, have noted can be temperamental'. The complaints about San Carlo tend to steer away from the most important part of any restaurant; the food, and - to date - this is something that has been loved.

In conclusion: if you're after a swanky Italian and money is no object then this is well worth a try. If you've tried San Carlo before then why not drop a review below, and let everyone know about your dining experience?



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Find out what everyone else in is saying about this restaurant. 32 reviews below

San Carlo opening times

Opening Hours



Monday - Sunday : 12noon to 11pm
Read more San Carlo reviews (2 reviews)

Nice layout, relaxed with good room. Typical italiano's how can u not love them. San Carlo gives the feeling of fine dining at a more reasonable price. Saying that the food is more than good but can defo be better. I had scallops starter, & tried the prawns too both were tasty but go for the prawns. Main we hit the lobster which was good but very chewy and too rich. Also had the clams spaghetti in red sauce again nice but too rich with tomato. Pricing food:cost is about right, I will give it another go to make a proper review & try some dif stuff, but do check it out for sure....Ussaili

Anonymous says...

Table was ready when we walked in, waiter came over to take food order within 3 mins! Tried to turn table round before we even started for next guests.Food was good but nothing special. Personally it's the name and position and also who it attracts to make it sound better. Won't be rushing back and there is better out there, with more room around table, too cramped. Sorry

Mr subby says...
1 person agrees with this review

I went to San Carlo for the first time last weekend with my parents and had a brilliant night! Considering the quality of the food, I definitely think we got excellent value for money. You get exactly what you pay for; beautiful food, friendly and attentive staff and a buzzing atmosphere. What else could you ask for? I recommend the Carbonara, it was gorgeous!

Sasha Ford says...

Ai signori cuochi , manager e titolari a me mi sa`che voi non sapete come si cucina in ITALIA.Questa voi la chiamate cucina italiana?Mi sa`che dovete ritornare in italia ad imparare a cucinare.Peccato che sono Siciliana come voi,siete la vergogna della cucina italiana ed avete infangato il vero nome della cucina Italiana.Vi dovete solo vergognare,e non mettero`piu`piede nel vostro locale.E a tutti quelli che conosco sconsigliero`di venire al vostro locale.PS;nn ho mai visto una carbonara con la panna....che schifezza!

Anonymous says...
1 person agrees, 1 person disagrees with this review

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Anonymous says...
1 person agrees, 1 person disagrees with this review

Ithink in England is not one restaurant see make very food italian.....the english people think to eat italian food,but is not really.

Anonymous says...

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Anonymous says...

my friends love the carbonara and the lobster pasta from the specials menu! seafood wise, its good considering some of the places that serve seafood in manchester charge higher prices for food that's not as good.

Anonymous says...

Went to San Carlo for the first time yesterday (Sunday 5pm ) prior to going on to the theatre.
The welcome from the management was tremendous and the buzz in the place was electric.
Chose Lobster Thermidor and Dover Sole from the Specials Board which were the best we have EVER eaten ! The price was around £26 & £22 respectively but each dish was worth every penny - out of this world.
The staff were very attentive and the wine was a Prosecco, chilled and served to perfection.
What a marvellous evening - we almost didn`t want to move on to the theatre

Anonymous says...
2 people disagree with this review

Six of us ate at this restaurant in October 2008 to celebrate my 40th. Food was fab service was excellent and the whole experience just right ! thanks San Marco

Anonymous says...

The first time I went to San Carlo with friends, it was nice food, but the waiting staff mixed up our dessert orders and charged us twice for drinks. The bill was recitfied on pointing this out. The second time, I booked a table for my boyfriend and myself. This was confirmed by e-mail and phone by restaurant staff, however on arrival, there was a solid denial that we had booked. Even on pointing out the booking on the list for that evening. On being shunned from the restaurant, we went to Bella Italia round the corner where we were met with excellent service and food that was actually better that the first meal I experienced at San Carlo!

Beth says...

buongiorno sono il manager di una compagnia di ristoranti molto competitiva al san carlo. Vado a mangiare molto spesso al san carlo perche oltre alle portate molto buone che hanno puoi trovare un atmosfera verarmente familiare.

salvatore says...
1 person disagrees with this review

Fantastic food, service and atmospher. Waiter are a credit to San Marco. An unbelievable night. Suitable for all ages. So very kind to the toddlers we had with us in our party Thank you so much keep doing as you are doing cause you have got it right...........

Dianne says...
1 person agrees with this review

ciao mi chiamo efisio effisi sono di ragusa e sono stato di recente al san carlo resturant ma anche il brasiliano la vicino non e male.....pero quel singer la non mi lasciava mangiare tranquillo. Siiiii quel pasquale la!e comunque riandro la al san carlo solo per biagio u chef

Anonymous says...

My daughter and son in law visited San Carlo for her Birthday along with two of their friends, they were delighted with the meal, drnks and the service from all the saff, but after reading the reviews from other diners, I ask myself was this a one off expereince. Do I take the chance and visit what seems to be an expensive restaurant.

Anonymous says...

Spent my 40th BDay at San Carlos and I have to say the food was fab. I love sea food and had oysters with the lobster for main. The wife had a mushroom dish and a shrimp thermador both of which were presented wonderfully. Service a treat and the whole thing including wine came to ?130 not bad for the level of food and service on offer.

Anonymous says...
2 people agree, 1 person disagrees with this review

This is the best Italian we've been to - everytime we're in Manchester we go to San Carlos but you always have to book for a weekend night. The food is fabulous and we always see someone famous everytime we go! The England cricket team were in last time we were there and before that Colin Jackson. The service has always been excellent and there's always lots of waiters buzzing around.

Angie says...
1 person agrees, 1 person disagrees with this review

I had a birthday meal there and my friend and I had a wonderful evening. Cocktails to begin with and a three course dinner with wine. Expensive - but hey!\
\
I thought the atmosphere and style of the restaurant was great and I enjoyed the conviviality and bustle. Great to people watch. \
\
I plan on taking my husband there for his birthday next week. \
\
We even saw Frankie Dettori

juju says...
3 people agree, 1 person disagrees with this review

as some people have said, this isn't the cheapest place you could eat but i went last week and wow, the food is unbelievable so very worth it! i had parma ham for starter which was beautiful and chicken for main, cooked perfectly and had the most beautiful sauce i'd ever tasted! no problems with the bill, paid for what we had, and the service was good. was quite busy for a wednesday but that tells you how good it must be! great night and so much choice on the menu, i'll definately go back

Anonymous says...
3 people agree, 3 people disagree with this review

excellent food served by extremely pleasant waiters in very nice surroundings.Will definately visit again and will highly recommend to all friends.Thank you for a very pleasant lunchtime.

patricia says...
2 people agree, 1 person disagrees with this review

San carlos is the best restarant I've ever eaten in, anywhere. I have been to all the top london italians as far as i'm concerned, San Carlos wins every time. This is suitable for all occasions -

a quick dinner, a birthday or even proposing to the one you love.

I hope that you all try san carlos there simply the best!

Anonymous says...
7 people agree, 1 person disagrees with this review

Fantastic food great wine, and great for star spoting.

Anonymous says...
2 people agree, 2 people disagree with this review

My partner and I (who have eaten in some of the best restaurants in the UK) visited manchester in Sep 07 and had probally one of the best meals ever in an Italian restaurant and ive visited Italy six times. The service, food & decor were 10 out of 10, only wish we had the time to return but have recommended to friends who also thought it was fantastic- Bravo!

Anonymous says...
6 people agree, 2 people disagree with this review

We went there one evening in November 2007 and it was an absoloute delight. We were 3 adults and one child (12). The food was beautiful, smple food cooked to perfection. My partner and his mother had steak, which was divine, although be warned it is served alone so you will need sides. I am vegetarian and had more choice than usual, eventually having pasta with a simple tomato based vegetable sauce which was simple but mouthwatering. The sides were classic but imaginative - courgette chips and fresh salads bursting with flavours.
We each had desert (tiramasu is highly recommended) and got through 2 bottles of house red (the best house wine I've ever had) and the bill was 90.00 which included a service charge. All in all it was a lovely atmosphere, great service and we even saw Sven! I'd go back anyday!

Anonymous says...
6 people agree with this review

salve sono un ragazzo palermitano che ha lavorato per quasi 2 anni a londra da qualche settimana sono disoccupato e se per voi va bene potremo contattarci e parlarne per potere lavorare da voi a (San Carlos Manchester) cuesto e il mio n?3497950963

marco says...
2 people agree with this review

I recently paid two visits to San Carlos within seven days. They will be my last! On the first visit the bill for two people was not cheap ?50 for two bottles of Sancerre..... no problem. I do however expect friendly cheerful service from the staff. The reason for the surly unsmiling service was....... they were tired! Sorry folks ....... when I am spending a lot of my hard earned money. I do expect service with a smile!
On my second visit we were refused a jug of iced tap water because it was company policy to sell bottled water. The food was mediocre. Goodbye San Carlos

Anonymous says...
4 people agree, 3 people disagree with this review

I cannot believe the awful reviews given to San Carlo. My husband and I visit San Carlo every time we go to Manchester and cannot praise it enough.
The food is always superb, the service is fantastic and the pricing is extremely reasonable for the quality of the food.
It is an authentic Italian restaurant, with a great bustling atmosphere. The staff are a credit to the restaurant and really add something special to your evening.

Whilst I hate fish, my husband loves seafood, and has never had any problems with the seafood here. I always have a typical Italian meal, carbonara etc and can honestly say they are the best I have ever tasted.

We have only once had a problem where an item was added to our bill in error, and the staff could not have been more apologetic and even gave us complimentary drinks.

All in all, San Carlo's is a wonderful experience, with great food.

Anonymous says...
5 people agree, 1 person disagrees with this review

I recently travelled up to Manchester to spend a long awaited evening with some close girlfriends. One of our party had already bee to San Carlo and rated it very highly.
When we arrived the atmosphere and staff were welcoming and all boded well for the start of an excellent evening - or so we thought.
Admittedly the restaurant was very busy but mysteriously someone had managed to give our table away to someone who, they claimed, had made a reservation for a party of exactly the same number under exactly the same name. What a coincidence, or was something fishy afoot?
Fishy was most certainly the order of the day as the swordfish (or what I assumed to be swordfish) in my mixed grill of fish had acquired the nasty sulphuric pungency of aging fish long since departed from the sea. My scallop was cooked to squash ball consistency and my tuna had been not so much seared as ironed on the linen setting. Oversized, underseasoned and overcooked is the only possible way to describe the giant cardboard frisbees masquerading as garlic bread. That said the salads were fresh and the ingredients liberally applied though regrettably not in the combinations we had requested.
But the de "fin"ing moment of this fishy tale was the unbelievable rudeness of the staff who, once overbearingly obsequious and familiar, were now demanding that we vacate our table (and this despite us already requesting the bill and being there a mere 2 hours). Clearly ?30 a head doesn't cut the mustard (or the tuna for that matter) at San Carlo. If you wont spend the brass (the bass was too poor even for fish jokes) then move over for some one who will.

cthomson says...
4 people agree, 3 people disagree with this review

quote 'Worst garlic pizza we have ever had' you should have gone to pizza hut.

Anonymous says...
8 people agree, 2 people disagree with this review

5 of us dined at the San Carlo on Tuesday 23/10/07. The food was good, however, it tended to go cold very quickly as the plates had not been heated sufficiently. We were also presented with vegetables that had not been ordered.

The service on the other hand was quite simply abysmal; apart from one very recently recruited member of staff, the rest displayed at best, a very disinterested attitude (until it was time for the bill). They were however, very attentive to a table consisting of 6 scantily clad young ladies!

The bill itself was an art form in over-pricing. Not only were we charged for 2 bottles of wine that we hadn?t consumed, we were also charged at a higher rate than shown on the wine list. All in all, the over-charging amounted to in excess of ?70, plus the standard 10% service charge, meant that we would have been out of pocket by some ?77!

It is not acceptable in this day and age, particularly as there is so much competition in central Manchester, for this type of lackadaisical and very poor attitude to service to be tolerated.

A very disgruntled diner.

Anonymous says...
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