The echoing back streets of Belfast host some of the most exciting hospitality venues in the UK. Attracting the gaze of both the casual diner and the serious aficionado, our list exhibits the top nine best restaurants in Belfast city to visit in 2022.
1. Hope Street
Stopping in Belfast for a night of Arts entertainment may lead you to one of the best restaurants in Belfast city centre: Hope Street.
Take three minutes of your time to walk from Belfast’s Grand Opera House to this snazzy establishment and you’ll find yourself treated to a super-handy pre-theatre menu, specifically designed to ensure guests keep good time on their box office tickets.
This is a place that will definitely keep your hopes up. A winner in the Northern Irish Food Awards March 2019, Hope Street’s specialty is in prime Northern Irish beef.
Centred around local produce, Hope Street sustainably sources the ingredients for its dishes from local farmers, ensuring that producers in the wide bottle-green farmlands in county Antrim get a fair deal.
Beyond the beef mains, go for the goat’s cheese fritters. Then try a British traditional pudding such as Sticky Toffee for dessert. Also, best not forget that Hope Street offers a Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) service; so keep in mind a reasonable corkage charge when you book with them.
2. Darcy’s Belfast
For a local home-grown family-run dining out experience, Darcy’s on Bradbury Place is unmissable.
Situated snugly on a long row of shops and venues in South Belfast, the short exterior is admittedly hard to spot. However, on a good day you may catch the sun sparkle on Darcy’s gilt-impressed lettering, shining above its front doorway.
Upon entering, get ready for an education in cultural history: Darcy’s has a wall purely dedicated to some of Belfast’s greatest cultural exports, famous Northern Irish actors who have come from the city.
The food choices continually surprise its guests. A broad mix of traditional Northern Irish dishes (including a superb Bushmills whiskey pie) and a selection of coastal meals (one specialty, the seafood chowder, has never failed to impress) keep diners returning for more and more.
In addition, Darcy’s is a fair trek from restaurants near city hall; therefore, meals are reasonably priced.
3. Molly’s Yard
Next step just two streets away is Molly’s Yard. From the outset this space is already interesting. Molly’s sits in a converted stables from the nineteenth-century that once served as a coach house.
As such there’s a familiar rustic feel to everything this fantastic restaurant has to offer — from a warm-hearted bistro to a pleasant courtyard outside.
Since this restaurant has partnered with Belfast’s smallest microbrewery, Hilden Brewing Company, the best thing to do on a first visit is choose the paired ales with your dish of choice — a great addition, especially when restaurants across Northern Ireland now have the chance to offer customers mobile drinks ordering.
It goes to show the careful work that Molly’s Yard has put into its food. If you’re feeling adventurous, make sure to sample their vegetarian tasting menu for some pleasant surprises.
4. The Muddler’s Club
A unique locale at the Muddler’s Club greets the unsuspecting visitor. Little do guests know, they travel into one of Belfast’s most interesting buildings, a secret cove of historic delights. The tattoo style interior is a deliberate call back to Belfast’s rich history. The building itself, for instance, once hosted a meeting place for a gentleman’s secret society . . .
London-trained chef Gareth McCaughey leads this award-winning restaurant, and his tireless efforts have paid off well. Muddler’s Club has earned a Michelin Star and a whole swath of other commendatory awards.
One journalist wrote in the Irish Times that the food at the club screams quality on a plate. They also had the final say on what Muddler’s Club is really all about: “No secrets. Just one of the city’s best restaurants.”
There are few restaurants in Belfast city centre more stylish than the neat interiors of Coco, Linenhall Street. Vibrant décor and contemporary art line this venue’s innards — and this in itself makes Coco worth a visit in 2022.
Only there’s more. Beautiful rooms coincide with beautiful meals. Rich on seasonal portions, Coco in all its artsy bling is certainly one of the best restaurants in Belfast.
Noble is in Hollywood, north Belfast, a postcode that The Sunday Times recently included in a list of best places in Great Britain this year.
Noble bustles with local talent, from its top-trained cook to prize-winning manager, and everything from its snacks to mains speak of a unique personality. A bit out of the way from other entries on this list, but worth a mention all the same. Taking the time to visit this restaurant is a guaranteed treat.
7. Il Pirata
Looking for the best restaurants in Belfast city centre that serve up a superb Italian meal? Il Pirata (“The Pirate”) is your best bet.
Inside has a quirky feel: naked lightbulbs, equally bare wooden tables, and black-and-white two-tone walls make this another stylish place to eat.
Like Molly’s Yard, Il Pirata have their own brands of alcohol on offer. If the Irish cuisine of restaurants in Belfast has become too much, then Il Pirata provides a nice European retreat.
Cooking is flawless, and when it comes to Italian favourites (i.e., bocconcini, porchetta, cicchetti, Venetian style), Il Pirata is the place to visit.
8. The Lantern
In the bull’s eye of the best restaurants in Belfast city centre, the Lantern’s unpretentious front misrepresents the quality dining experience it offers inside — so much so that reviewers on TripAdvisor have declared this venue a “hidden gem” in the city.
Careful consideration goes into the meals here, where top-quality Northern Irish ingredients inform the style. Plain and simple, this restaurant caters best for a no-nonsense crowd, performing its best when serving up traditional favourites: slow-cooked beef, the crown-choice of pork belly, and a British classic in itself, apple crumble for dessert.
9. John Long’s
Last but not least, John Long’s is a venue that does things a bit differently.
Dishing out traditional fish and chips for over one hundred years, this is more a Belfastian treasure than anything else.
Located in the heart of Belfast’s industrial sector, John Long’s first thrived on serving workers from both the shipyards and the nearby linen mill. It has stood strong ever since.
Famous faces and locals alike have stepped inside John Long’s to taste some of the best meals in the county. The Belfast Telegraph put it eloquently when summing up the city’s consensus on this well-loved institution: “Truth is, the chips are the best in the land . . . Long’s are in a league of their own.”
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