Belfast loves fresh local produce, so naturally it’s home to plenty of local markets and delis. St George’s Market is the city’s most famous.
The city’s last surviving Victorian covered market is a labyrinth of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, antiques, clothes, books and local crafts.
On Saturdays, the market welcomes continental and speciality food vendors and craftspeople, while on Sundays it’s humming with live music, local artists and souvenir sellers.
Belfast’s historic Cathedral Quarter is home to two of the city’s great restaurants: The Muddlers Club, tucked away between Waring Street and Exchange Place, and Buba, which lies in the shadow of St Anne’s Cathedral.
The Muddlers Club, named after the secret society that used to meet there over 200 years ago, has developed a reputation as one of Belfast’s finest dining experiences using the best home-grown produce.
Along with Deane’s at Queens and Holohan’s Pantry in Belfast’s Queens Quarter, The Muddlers Club brings a contemporary twist to traditional Irish fare.
Over two years since it first opened, business at The Muddlers Club continues to boom and booking is still essential, despite the fact that it’s located off the beaten track.
The dishes on its five-course tasting menu are a journey through Northern Ireland and its seasons and include halibut, courgette, bisque, salt-aged beef and king oyster. You won’t be disappointed whatever time of year you visit.
Not far from The Muddlers Club is OX Belfast. This Michelin-star restaurant overlooking the River Lagan offers a three-course lunchtime menu of modern European cuisine for just £28.
Buba, in St Anne’s Square, delivers big on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours with Greek, Turkish and North-African-inspired dishes.
Order a selection of small plates to share including crispy squid with blackened harissa mayo, falafel with chilli jam and tzatziki and spiced lamb with pomegranate flatbread.
The eclectic and surprising menu, which boasts plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, will have you counting the days until you return.
Belfast’s Linen Quarter is also a foodie favourite, home to three of the city’s best restaurants – Howard Street, Yügo and EDO.
Howard Street, run by local chef Marty Murphy, has been serving mouthwatering Asian fusion recipes made using local ingredients since 2013.
The locally caught monkfish and prawn coconut curry and confit belly pork are excellent choices, as are the bespoke cocktails.
Don’t leave without trying the Friar 101, which combines Boodles gin with elderflower liqueur, fresh pomegranate and prosecco infused with elderflower foam.
New kid on the block Yügo opened in 2016 and serves Asian dishes with a twist. There’s an emphasis on local seafood but also plenty of vegan and vegetarian options to suit even the most discerning palates.
The restaurant’s open-plan kitchen is a hive of activity. You might choose to try the bao buns with brisket or panko-breadcrumbed prawn, or go big with Iberico pork or massaman curry… then again, you might just order the lot!
EDO, which means “I eat” in Latin, serves popular tapas and roast dishes sourced from local butchers and cooked in a wood-fired oven affectionately nicknamed Bertha.
Apple and pear wood logs give the meats a distinctly smokey flavour. Both the beef cheeks with cauliflower and ham hock with celeriac are excellent choices, making for hearty mains.
If you’re celebrating a special occasion, or just want to splash the cash, push the boat out with the 300g salt-aged sirloin or ribeye steaks.
It’s both easy and affordable to experience Belfast’s amazing food scene with easyJet, which has direct flights from London (Gatwick, Luton, Stansted), Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle. Book your weekend getaway and explore Northern Ireland’s stunning landscapes, culture and cuisine.
*63,068 seats to Belfast from Great Britain for travel to 26 October 2019. Limited availability. Correct at 5 February 2019.