Restaurant of The Week: Manzi's

Words by
Melanie Rickey

4th July 2023

Restaurant of the Week returns with the launch of Manzi's. The iconic London seafood restaurant has been given a new lease of life by the Wolseley Hospitality Group, and an incredible new location in the heart of Soho. Melanie Rickey dropped in.

What makes a Restaurant of the Week? Well, the first thing that strikes you about Manzi's is this restaurant has its very own street! Turn into Bateman Buildings, the inconspicuous thoroughfare between Bateman Street and Soho Square and Manzi's unfurls along its full length, gleaming resplendent in its all-new-ness with a grand stretch of al fresco tables occupying its verandah.

Restaurant of The Week: Manzi's
Manzi's occupies the full stretch of Bateman's Buildings, shown here with its cooler weather al fresco space closed in, but this is opened up for summer.

On arrival, a be-hatted doorman flings open its double doors - with flashy gilt octopus handles, no less - ushering me into a spacious ground-floor dining room so fabulously box-fresh it feels like a CGI; one undulating with mosaic-ed octopus tendrils peeping from rolling waves, part of the artisan led mythical oceanic scheme by Fabled Studio.

My friends are already eating, so keen are they to dive straight into their roast scallops, shellfish bisque and crunchy romaine salad. So, yes, if you hadn't guessed already, Manzi's is primarily a seafood restaurant, and in this there is more than a half-century of form.

Restaurant of The Week: Manzi's
Manzi's Monkfish Wellington

The original Manzi's famously served Londoners off Leicester Square for almost 80 years, and closed its doors in 2006. The Wolseley Hospitality Group's new iteration, which opened last week, pays homage to the original, with a comfortingly familiar traditional fish menu offering a wide range of crustacea, Dover sole, a classic fish and chips and a shrimp burger.

As among the first to try its menu, created by Head Chef Christian Turner, we all felt duty bound to sample the Crevette Rose, peeled king prawns with aioli, which were fresh, juicy and gone in sixty seconds. After considering the Cioppino Fish Stew (£29.50 per person), we opted for the Monkfish Wellington (£37.25 per person) as our showstopping main course. Designed to be shared between two or four people, it was a tender fillet of monkfish encased in flaky, golden pastry served with a light prawn mousse and dill beurre blanc, with side of tart Sauce Américaine. 

Restaurant of The Week: Manzi's
Steamed Whelks at Manzi's

When Jeremy King was still in in charge of what was Corbyn & King, (and is now the Wolseley Hospitality Group, owners of Delaunay, Brasserie Zedel and The Wolseley), Manzi’s was conceived as a fish restaurant.

With new management in place, it has decided on a broader offer, serving chicken, beef and lamb along with two vegetarian options. Price wise, Manzi's is, while luxurious in service, style and atmosphere, not aiming for the top end of the luxury market - this is a relaxed, cosy and fun restaurant to be enjoyed by families, groups of friends, couples and for business. So starters are mostly around £15, while mains are £20 or more, with a rib-eye almost touching £40. Puddings average £10. Manzi's also offers pre-and post theatre dining with two courses at £28, and three courses at £32.50. 

Restaurant of The Week: Manzi's
Ground floor dining and the seafood bar at Manzi's

As we prepared to leave, we were asked "Have you seen upstairs yet?" Upstairs? This was the revelation of the night. Not content with one of the largest al fresco dining areas in Soho, and the spacious dining room at ground level, Manzi's saves the best until last. Up a sweeping staircase, past a hand-painted mural inspired by Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, the first floor offers a more elegant and sociable evening experience to guests, if the DJ booth is anything to go by.

Restaurant of The Week: Manzi's
The mermaid flanked cocktail bar, upstairs at Manzi's

Beyond a shiny cocktail bar flanked by mermen and mermaids a cosy and intimate space to enjoy evening food and drinks is revealed. It is dotted with cosy booths, and, tucked away, a private dining space called  'The Coral Table' for up to eight people: reserve your table upstairs if you're on a date, or getting ready to go on to late night activities. 

Book yourself into Manzi's now - or if you're feeling lucky, just turn up, tables are held back for spontaneous diners - before everyone else catches on. Word to the wise, Manzi's should go straight to top of your list for outdoor dining possibilities on balmy summer nights in central London.

Manzi's Soho

Restaurant of The Week: Manzi's
Celery Gimlet, one of the many delicious cocktails served at Manzi's