Belfast has some of the best restaurants in the UK in terms of unique menus, fresh produce and great atmosphere. Treating yourself won’t break the bank either, as the city’s most expensive restaurants are usually cheaper than ones you’ll find in London. While you’ll likely find that the best restaurants are located in the South district and throughout the Cathedral Quarter, most establishments will boast amazing food and wine menus all year round. Here are six of the best.
The Great Room Restaurant is part of the Merchant Hotel, located in the Cathedral Quarter. Having been awarded 2 AA Rosettes, the Great Room looks like something out of a Victorian dream, decorated with striking red and gold. Diners feast under a glass cupola – which happens to be Ireland’s largest chandelier.
The food is one of a kind; the summer menu includes dressed crab and oyster beignets and speciality Irish pork fillet with onions and baby leeks. Each menu option will come with a recommendation of an in-house wine to pair with your meal. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll be able to make the most of the three-course vegetarian menu, featuring a wild garlic and asparagus velouté starter and a gnocchi main.
Molly’s Yard is a small establishment behind Queen’s University, resting at the top of the beautiful Botanic Avenue. Fine dining comes cheap at this restaurant, which has a 5–10–5 menu (in GBP) on offer throughout the year, showcasing the best local produce from Northern Ireland. Menu options includes the favourite seafood chowder and Molly’s burger Mór.
The a la carte menu includes a smoked salmon terrine starter, Belfast hills kid goat shoulder for the main and a funky selection of dessert options – from Irish cheeses to a bag of Abernathy fudge. They also have a fantastic cocktail menu and specialise in all things gin.
Coco offers a relaxed fine dining experience and almost feels like a bistro, just with a better menu. The restaurant is situated behind City Hall, which often houses the city’s local fashion events and meetings. Menu options are all tempting and hard to decide between, from the seared scallops to the venison and herb gnocchi, and salted caramel desert.
In terms of cocktails, the establishment aims to provide guests with modern twists on classic drinks, including the lychee martini, a favourite with visitors.
This restaurant is worth a visit for its wine and food bar. Head chef Chris Fearon, who once appeared on BBC’s Great British Menu,opened his chain of restaurants throughout Belfast City. The College Green restaurant holds a Michelin Bib Gourmand for its extraordinary menu and presentation inside the open plan setting, which also has its own wine tasting bar. With too many first-class menu options to choose from, you’ll be stuck between the local Mourne Blackface lamb rump or a dressed and roasted hake for lunch.
Like many of Belfast’s new restaurants, Salt Bistro is classy and chic, with a classic evening menu. The bistro-like atmosphere ensures it fits in perfectly at its location in St Anne’s Square in the Cathedral Quarter, which is famous for first-class food in casual and alternative settings. Presentation is casual: sides are brought out in baskets, plates are simple and tasty and the wine menu is a great pairing to both.
James Street South opened in 2003 and has since dominated the restaurant culture in the city. This interior feels like an art gallery-turned-restaurant, and the food itself is the art. Each menu option is presented with a unique twist, from the colourful pasta to the smoked salmon cured with Guinness.
They have a fantastic tasting menu if you want a little bit of everything; it has its own vegetarian option and wine pairings that go with each course. Their reputation has allowed them to host a range of events, and private dining experiences for groups are available throughout the year.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.