The last ten years or so have been great for the restaurants of Belfast. The increase in the quality and quantity of dining options for the city has been great to witness. Today Belfast has something to offer everyone’s tastes. It can be somewhat overwhelming to look at all the different choices and make up your mind. That is why this guide exists!
This guide is here to help you make the best decisions when it comes to dining out in Belfast. If you are looking for something cheap and cheerful, something fancy, or anything in between, this is for you. I have gone into detail on what is on offer in Belfast. There are links to either the restaurant’s websites or TripAdvisor reviews and a map of the dining options in the city to help you during your stay.
Like anywhere else in Ireland, the quality of food in Belfast is high. There are plenty of farms across the island and most restaurants try to cook with local ingredients whenever possible. Though this has always been the case, recently there have been a few changes. The last 10 years has seen a renascence of Irish food and many establishments now offer foreign meals prepared with local, Irish ingredients.
This article will be updated as often as possible, so check back on your travels.
Click HERE to see the map and get where you need to go!
I have gone into detail on a few different locations for breakfast in Belfast in my 48 hour guide to the city HERE. If you want some more options, check there. This guide will have some overlap, but I will try to keep that to a minimum.
Though I have spoken about the Ulster Fry before, it is something that I must mention here. This meal is consistently ranked as the most popular dish in Northern Ireland. Food critics from around the UK regularly compare it to the similar dishes offered in Britain and it always wins out. The ingredients for the Ulster Fry are as follows:
- 2 fried eggs,
- lightly browned potato and soda bread,
- pork sausages,
- crispy bacon,
- black and white pudding,
- 1 red tomato.
This meal is a perfect fit for the Irish weather and will fill you up for the day ahead! Here are a few places where you can find this delicacy in Belfast.
This place offers up one of the most popular Fry-ups in the city. If you choose to come here, you will be surrounded by locals and visitors. They also have a vegetarian alternative to the traditional fry. The recipe above is meat-heavy, so it can be good to have an alternative! If you want to eat here, try to get in early as it does tend to get busy! Prices range from £5-15 per meal.
Maggie May’s Botanic Cafe
This is a popular spot for locals and you will usually find them here when friends are visiting from overseas. They serve breakfast all day, so if you really want that great Northern Irish meal at 5pm, look no further than here! They also offer vegetarian cuisine and have more options than many other family-run establishments in Belfast. Prices are normally £5-25 per meal.
This unique restaurant is built out of the former studio of a famous local artist, William Conor. Born in Belfast in the 1880’s, he became famous for his paintings of the trenches in the First World War. Here you can enjoy your breakfast in a grand studio with high ceilings and great food. The building is located near the botanical gardens, so if you want to check out some beautiful scenery after breakfast, head right on over! This popular location has won multiple awards for food in the last number of years, so it can be busy, if you are going to arrive with a large group, book ahead. Prices range from £5-15 per meal.
While you’re traveling it can be difficult to prepare and store food. As such, fast food sometimes becomes a necessity. Here I will talk about some of my recommendations for fast dining in Belfast. You can avoid, or gravitate towards, these places at your own leisure!
Fish and Chips are a dietary staple for any visitor to Ireland. Normally the fish will be deep-fried cod, cooked with some sort of bread batter. This delicious meal normally comes with thick deep-fried chips too! They are best served with hefty portions of salt and vinegar. This is in no way healthy, but you will see the need for it after a few hours spent in the Irish rain (or after a few pints of Guinness!).
Fish City is one of the best reviewed “chippies” in Belfast and it offers patrons the option to dine inside the establishment. There are different menus for sitting in and takeaway however. Prices here range from £2.50 – £10 for the takeaway menu.
Bad Ass Burrito
The Burrito craze that has take hold of Dublin has moved all over the island of Ireland. One of my favourite franchises has recently moved to Belfast. Bad Ass (as in donkey) Burrito is as its name implies! All the ingredients on offer are prepared fresh each morning and you have the option to either build your own burrito, fajita, taco or chili bowls, or order from a set menu. In Belfast they are located right next to City Hall, in the very center of town. Prices normally range between £5-6, but you can pay for additional extras.
Healthy Fast Food (Lunch)
While I love the two places above, eating there all the time is not sustainable. There are plenty of delicious alternatives to the traditional takeaway fare in Belfast that is not only quick, but healthy too. These are places that you should check-out, especially if you are traveling for a longer period.
I have spoke about this establishment before in my 48 Hour Guide to Belfast. But it is worth repeating. Kurrito is a “wrap fusion” restaurant and only recently sprouted up in the city. Additions like this show the rapid, positive change the city has seen in recent years. This place offers one of the best examples I have seen of an Irish take on foreign cuisine. With recipes from Kashmir made with local ingredients! Here you will find fresh and healthy fast food.
Prices are usually between £5-10.
Lunasa café offers up something a little different to what you might expect. The term “Lunasa” comes from the ancient Irish language and refers to the pagan festivals that would have marked the beginning of the harvest period. Basically, its Autumn. This Irish named restaurant however offers up some of the best Spanish Tapas north of Spain itself! This place offers great Mediterranean food in Belfast. If you get a little tired of Irish cuisine, try here!
There are plenty of options for dinner in Belfast. I have already spoken about many of the choices I’m about to give you in my 48 hour guide to the city. First though, I want to mention somewhere I haven’t spoken about before…
Acton’s Restaurant is right in the centre of the city. It is located next to some of the best hotels on offer and some of its most popular attractions, like the Grand Opera Hall. Though it has such a central location, it is still just outside of some of the main city streets, on a nice quiet square just outside of the hustle and bustle of the city. Its menu can accommodate all dietary requirements and it is one of the most popular new places to eat in Belfast. Prices are normally around £25-40 per meal.
This is one of the best traditional pubs in Belfast and it offers up some of the best Irish food around. Though Irish food is normally meat-heavy, they do have options for all dietary requirements. You can find this pub down a small alleyway just outside of the main shopping district. Even though you will avoid most of the locals here, the Morningstar does host a lot of tour groups during the summer months, so book ahead! Prices will be about £15-30 per meal.
Michael Deane is one of the best chefs to come from Ireland. He held a Michelin Star for 13 years! A few years ago, here decided to come home to Belfast and set up a few fine-dining establishments. They are all located right next to one another, in the old Linen district, near the Europa Hotel. Each one has a different focus; meat, fish, etc. So, there will be food here to suit all tastes. This is the most difficult place to find seating on this list. You will have to book ahead if you are travelling with a group.
This restaurant recently opened in 2012 and has been serving some of the best Asian fusion food around. It is Chinese food cooked with as many local ingredients as possible. Since it opened Zen has become one of the most popular restaurants in the city for locals. When you go here you will share the building with people on birthdays, bachelor parties and work nights out. Here you will get one of the best cross-sections of Belfast society I have come across! Prices are about £15-45 per meal.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to the best restaurants in Belfast. This list will be updated from time to time, so do check back if you need to make some plans in future!
If you want to see the map of these restaurant’s locations again, click HERE.
If you want to see my guide to Belfast in 48 hours, click HERE.