Best-of Guides Belfast

The Best Restaurants in Belfast

7 Restaurants
Located on Northern Ireland’s east coast, Belfast is its vibrant capital and an increasingly popular tourist destination. Whilst it’s not all about the Titanic, the world-class museum dedicated to the ill-fated ship by the regenerated waterfront is certainly worthy of a visit. Belfast is at the centre of Northern Ireland’s gastronomic scene too, with plenty on offer at St George’s Market and a host of Michelin-recommended restaurants. Let’s run through some of the best places to try on a culinary trip to Belfast.
Updated on 15 July 2024
Cyprus Avenue
228-230 Upper Newtownards Road, BT4 3ET Belfast
££ · Contemporary

Over on the east side of the city, in the suburb of Ballyhackamore, sits this deservedly popular neighbourhood bistro with a lively atmosphere. It’s open all day and offers a selection of wide-ranging menus, including vegan options, a children’s menu and special deals for a host of occasions. The enthusiastic team run the place with aplomb and seem to be having as much fun as the diners. Add in the flavoursome cooking and you can see how this would quickly become your go-to for any sort of celebration.

Deanes at Queens
1 College Gardens, BT9 6BQ Belfast
££ · Modern British

The gastronomic landscape of Belfast owes a great debt to Chef Michael Deane. His numerous restaurants offer something for every taste and a variety of budgets. This is one of his simpler offerings, which delivers consistently enjoyable food with an appealing price tag – making it a worthy recipient of a Bib Gourmand. Located, as the name suggests, by Queen’s University Belfast, it's a spacious yet bustling modern brasserie offering refined dishes and big flavours. Meats cooked in the Mibrasa charcoal oven are a feature of the menu, but it may well be dessert that sticks in your memory. If panna cotta is on the menu, be sure to go for it.

3 Capital House, Unit 2, Upper Queen Street, BT1 6FB Belfast
££ · European Contemporary

You’re spoilt for choice at this smart and trendy brasserie, whose name translates as ‘I eat’. Another of Belfast's Bib Gourmand restaurants, dishes here are good value and perfect for sharing. The cooking is internationally influenced, but Spain reigns supreme with the likes of paella, patatas bravas and pan con tomate all making an appearance. Many dishes also come from the Bertha oven, where they are cooked over apple or pear wood. The fun doesn’t stop at the food, with cocktails aplenty complementing a range of tequilas and a sensibly priced wine list. Warm and welcoming service helps to contribute to a lively buzz. To best soak up the atmosphere, grab a seat at the long kitchen counter in the heart of the action.

22 Wellington Place, BT1 6GE Belfast
££ · Traditional British

Just round the corner from EDŌ, this upbeat restaurant benefits from a smiling team who provide a wonderfully warm welcome. The cheery feel is enhanced by a plethora of foliage decorating the room, along with work from local artists and a good buzz to the atmosphere. The cooking itself has a rustic edge and delivers bags of flavour thanks to the well-sourced ingredients. The extensive menus not only offer plenty of choice but also cater well for a range of diners, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available.

James St
19-21 James Street South, BT2 7GA Belfast
££ · Modern British

Any discussion of the Belfast dining scene wouldn’t be complete without mentioning local chef and restaurateur Niall McKenna’s long-standing modern bistro. He’s employed several chefs over the years and knows how to adapt and react to the times. There’s a pleasant buzz in the air which fits well with the exposed brickwork and high ceiling. Steaks cooked on the Josper grill are likely to go down well, but the kitchen is equally adept at fish dishes. If you’re partial to a whiskey, then there’s a fair few to choose from.

Just three minutes’ walk away is The Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast, which is recommended by Michelin.

1 Oxford Street, BT1 3LA Belfast
£££ · Modern British

Stephen Toman worked with some of the best chefs in France before returning to his home city of Belfast to open what is now one of its finest restaurants. Holding a Michelin Star since 2016, OX is a stone’s throw from the River Lagan and offers an understated yet wholly enjoyable experience. Stephen’s cooking is wonderfully refined, with flavours and textures all perfectly balanced, and his dishes are often more complex than they initially appear. Vegetables, in particular, are treated with great respect. The adjoining OX Cave is an ideal place to enjoy a glass of wine chosen by Sommelier and Restaurant Manager Alain Kerloc’h, who Stephen met during his travels in France.

The Muddlers Club
1 Warehouse Lane, BT1 2DX Belfast
£££ · Modern Cuisine

Another of Belfast’s Michelin Star restaurants, The Muddlers Club is named after the secret society that used to meet here in the back streets of the city’s Cathedral Quarter over 200 years ago. One wonders what they would make of the place now, with its industrial style and skull-based décor. You can bet they’d appreciate the food though. Chef Gareth McCaughey’s cooking looks to the classics for the base, adding restrained modern touches. He also champions quality local produce and doesn’t overcomplicate things in unfussy, honest and hearty dishes. Your dessert may well be the highlight, which is no surprise given Gareth started out as a pastry chef.

Staying the night? The Merchant Hotel is just a few steps away.