Belfast has undergone a culinary renaissance over the years and is now home to some of Europe’s most exciting restaurants and bars, proving to be a thriving scene that’s a perfect destination for foodies of all kinds. Experience the warmth of an Irish welcome as you delight in some of the city’s most renowned restaurants who take advantage of the region’s fresh, local ingredients and produce. Or enjoy a few drinks at some of Belfast's most trendy cocktail bars and microbreweries. Here are some of the culinary highlights you won’t want to miss on your next trip to Northern Ireland’s capital city of Belfast.
Enjoy the Taste of Northern Ireland with Belfast’s Culinary Scene
[St. George's Market Belfast. Photo Credit: Brian Morrison]
A Taste of Belfast
Belfast has been a breeding ground for forward-thinking chefs and there’s no better example than the city’s two great Michelin starred restaurants, Ox and EIPIC. Both of these eateries elevate the extremely fresh, local ingredients to give diners an experience they won't soon forget. Over on East Bridge Street, you can get a sense of where these restaurants source their produce by exploring the world famous St. George’s Market. Built between 1890 and 1896, this award-winning Victorian covered market is one of the most vibrant attractions in Northern Ireland. Sample all types of gourmet nibbles from fresh produce to hot food, plus delicious coffees and cakes, often accompanied by live music. From St. George’s Market, sign up for one of Belfast’s many guided food tours where you can continue to taste treats from some of the most popular cafés and restaurants in town while also learning about the city’s best artisan food producers.
When it comes to seafood, it’s hard to beat Belfast’s unique tide-to-table approach and restaurants like the Mourne Seafood Bar, located on Bank Street, which offers up some of the most delicious seafood caught fresh daily. You’ll fill up on some of the best oysters, mussels and freshwater fish that you can eat straight from the sea. Over on Demesne Road, the Rayanne House serves up their special “Titanic Menu”, a recreation of the final meal served to the legendary ship’s first-class passengers. Menu items include a pan seared filet mignon, topped with foie gras and truffle, drizzled with a cognac and spiced peaches with chartreuse jelly vanilla ice cream.
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If you’re feeling inspired after eating this creative meal, you can enroll in one of Northern Ireland’s many cookery schools like Orchard Acre Farm or the Belfast Cookery School to test your magic in the kitchen. Perhaps you can learn how to create some of Belfast’s favorite local dishes like the traditional breakfast- an Ulster Fry, made up of sausage, beans and eggs or a sumptuous sandwich on a famous Belfast Bap.
The Belfast brew scene
Just as innovative and creative as the city’s restaurants, the Belfast brew scene has ignited the imagination of Northern Ireland’s best brewers, distillers and mixologists. Enjoy a craft beer from local microbreweries like Bootleggers on Church Lane or The Woodworkers on Bradbury Place. If it’s crisp cider you’re looking for, don’t miss the award-winning Armagh Cider Company. To sample the regions many whiskey and gin distilleries, be sure not to miss the Belfast Food Tour’s special “Gin Jaunts” and “Whiskey Walks” to really get you in the “spirit”.
Modern flare meets traditional favorites
There’s no better place to sip your favorite beverage than a traditional Northern Ireland pub and while there are pubs to suit all tastes in Belfast, it’s the old ones that have the most character. Between Ann Street and High Street, explore the tiny cobblestone area called "The Belfast Entries", for traditional favorites such as White’s Tavern and The Morning Star Bar. Or check out the beautiful 19th century Crown Liquor Saloon on Great Victoria Street. Most pubs also offer live music in the evenings so you can delight in your drink while tapping your toes to traditional Irish tunes.
For bars with a view, nothing can beat the newly opened Observatory at Grand Central Hotel Belfast. Towering in at 23 stories, the Observatory is the highest bar on the island of Ireland and offers incredible views of Belfast city and beyond.
There’s never been a better time to discover Northern Ireland. Book direct flights to Belfast from New York’s Stewart International Airport and Providence/Boston on Norwegian for as little as $115* one way. Learn more at Ireland.com/Belfast
*Ts&Cs apply. Subject to availability. Flights available through October.