Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, which doesn’t mean it has to be boring or routine. If you happen to be in Northern Ireland’s
beautiful city of Belfast this summer, pop into one of these amazing breakfast spots in the City Centre, Cathedral Quarter
and outer districts. If you fancy, add a cocktail to the menu and call it brunch. This list has some of the most unusual menus, best locally sourced fresh produce and attractive balcony views.
Bakery, Deli, Restaurant, Contemporary, Healthy, $$$
You can get so much bang for your buck in this cheap UK city, including at French Village. This is one of Botanic Avenue’s
best breakfast spots, a deli, bakery, wedding caterer and restaurant all in one. The breakfast and brunch menu runs until 2 pm and focuses on local, fresh produce served on funky china plates and set at rustic wooden tables. The theme is French-chic with a little Belfast charm thrown in.
The breakfast menu includes a full or mini breakfast with a side of fresh sourdough bread; fluffy pancakes filled with berries, syrup and jam, or a French Village hash, which includes sautéed potatoes, peppers, chorizo, onion and spinach topped with egg and bread. Don’t leave without a takeaway banoffee pie or mini cheesecake, which are the real shining stars of this cozy establishment.
The National Grande Cafe
Bar, Cafe, Contemporary, $$$
How do you like your eggs in the morning? It doesn’t matter, because The Nationale Grande Cafe does everything from Eggs Frorentine
to omelettes. Walking from the major shopping district, Victoria Square, to the end of Church Street, you’ll find The National Grande Cafe, which often goes unnoticed by visitors. Breakfast is good but brunch is great, and comes with a special brunch drinks menu. From brioche French toast to breakfast brisket hash, The National is a great lunch stop for special occasions or celebrations. The brunch menu runs until 5 pm and includes a Sunday specialty menu. In the evening the venue becomes a popular nightclub.
Bar, Restaurant, Central American, Contemporary, $$$
Northern Ireland is famous for its green fields, friendly atmosphere and close-knit families. Granny Annie’s will make you feel like you’re visiting your grandparents’ house, and yet it’s one of Belfast’s most popular weekend bars and restaurants. The breakfast and brunch options are traditional and of excellent quality, from the Ulster fry to the Belfast bap (a chewy, flour-topped bread native to the city). The brunch menu has a great range of options, including steak, grilled fish and ‘bread bin’ club sandwiches. It’s a great place to get the authentic experience if you can’t make it to the local towns throughout the region.
Robinson & Cleaver
Cafe, Deli, Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
Looking for a meal with a view? You won’t get a morning view of City Hall
and the surrounding Donegall Square better than from Robinson & Cleaver’s balcony. This urban deli is a popular lunch destination for city professionals, but you’ll find peace and quiet upstairs and a varied brunch menu. The terrace was originally a luxury department store; it’s over 100 years old and comes with a particularly wonderful Australian staircase made of jarrah wood.
The sharing platters are a great way to enjoy a brunch date, either a fish and chip cone option, antipasto platter or veggie picnic. It’s modern food in a traditional setting here, with great views.
Bakery, Cafe, Deli, Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
At Wellington Place, Home Restaurant is a brunch gem. The menus come in regular options, skinny lunch options, gluten-free, skinny gluten-free, veggie, and vegan, so not one member of your party will feel excluded. There’s a range of soups to suit these dietary requirements, international spices and flavours, burgers and super salads. The gluten-free is a great addition and fills a gap that many restaurants fail to offer, and includes a risotto dish, seasonal salads, meat dishes and hummus platters, served as a light starter. The atmosphere feels like a New Yorker’s café, which they call “vibrant and bold yet familiar and comforting”. It’s also included in the Michelin Guide!
Deli, Restaurant, Healthy, $$$
For anyone on a diet, brunch can be a scary word. Slims restaurant would say otherwise, and they’ve kicked up a healthy storm in Belfast since opening their first chain on Lisburn Road. You can have a classic breakfast of decorated porridge oats or an unusual morning meal: sweet potato stacks that come in sweet options or customised topped toast. Their weekend brunch menu has a range of “Skinny Cocktails”, which enjoy a healthy mix of ingredients that ‘hide’ the alcohol, along with wine and some “simple serve gin”. If you haven’t tried black pepper with your gin and tonic
, now might be a good time to start. The food options are plentiful, from omelettes, loaded wraps, pitta bread sandwiches and salads.
Cafe, Central American, $$$
Sozo’s brunch menu offers a range of “lites and bites”, duck salads and heavier options, and you can choose how big you want your portions to be. It’s a great way to save money and limit waste, and the bill won’t break the bank. There are two outlets: one on Antrim Road and one in the outer university campus, Jordanstown. You can take the kids out for breakfast too: Sozo has a breakfast menu that will encourage them to try something new, whether scrambled eggs or topped pancakes. The menu options are relatively classic for the adult breakfast, but the quality and taste is excellent.
Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Contemporary, Seafood, $$$
Botanic Avenue is full of cafés and bars. Town Square, which faces the Empire Bar
, is a particular treat. It’s a chic restaurant with a wooden interior and open spaced floor, serving the best breakfasts and coffee in town. Their coffee arrives from Roasted Brown, who are based in County Wicklow, and the baristas have won numerous awards. Breakfast is casual and tastes great; the menu includes a great Guinness bread. If you aren’t a fan of the traditional fry, they have a popular avocado on sourdough, pancakes and a bowl of porridge dressed with apple puree and cinnamon. Town Square is a staple business on Botanic Avenue, the central hub of South Belfast, which is close to Queen’s University
and the Ulster Museum
, along with a fantastic reputation for local food and drink. The establishment also holds a free coffee tasting event every Tuesday.
Stranmillis is a beautiful street for students, tourists and residents. Conor, opposite the Ulster Museum, may look humble, but their food has won many awards. The interior was once the studio of local painter William Conor
(1944-1954), hence the name, and the theme of the restaurant reflects his artistic tradition. The breakfast menu is classic and of fantastic quality, and includes French toast, wee fry, porridge and eggs Benedict. Or, skip breakfast and opt for brunch accompanied by a fine wine. Most recipes and sauces are health conscious, and the chicken pesto salad is a favourite healthy dish. Conor is a great way to extend your visit at the Ulster Museum and experience Northern Ireland’s food culture in a historical light.
Cafe, Deli, Restaurant, Contemporary, Healthy, $$$
Maggie Mays has two restaurants in South Belfast: one at the meeting point of Malone Road and Stranmillis Road, and the other on Botanic Avenue. Each building is painted with the most famous buildings, events and streets of Belfast. There is no theme to its menu, but all-day breakfasts are accompanied by an array of dishes, from comfort favourites like chicken curry, beef lasagna and pita chicken to sandwich and burger options. The ulster fry is the favourite, which is simple, delicious and cheap — most meals here range from £5-7, all day.
Maggie Mays does everything with humour, and the menus options are marked by their effectiveness at curing a hangover, from 1-3 bottles, or you can just order a vitamin supplement to speed the process along. If you are visiting the Southern district of the city you won’t be able to miss the Maggie Mays logo on takeaway milkshakes, which come in every sweet flavour and can make a simple breakfast great. It’s also BYOB, so let them serve your coffee Irish style or take along a bottle of wine for a brunch visit. Take a hint from the local millennials and make Maggie Mays your first stop after a night on the town.