Skip to Content

15 Best Restaurants in Belfast (2024 Edition)

15 Best Restaurants in Belfast (2024 Edition)

The best restaurants in Belfast are Darcy’s, The Ginger Bistro and Holohan’s Pantry, and I basing this on a lot of time spent in the Northern Ireland capital.

However, there’s a lot to like about the food scene in Belfast, and it seems to go from strength to strength each year.

In the guide below, you’ll find what think are the best places to eat in Belfast City Centre – these are places that I’ve eaten in 3+ times and that I’m confident you’ll love!

The best restaurants in Belfast

 

This guide is packed with a mix of new and old Belfast restaurants that consistently delight diners, and it’s updated frequently. 

Below, you’ll find everywhere from EDO and The Ginger Bistro to some of the most unique places to eat in Belfast City Centre.

1. The Ginger Bistro

The Ginger Bistro

Photos via The Ginger Bistro on FB

There are few places to eat in Belfast with a reputation as fine as Ginger Bistro on Great Victoria Street (near Belfast Opera House).

Once voted the best restaurant in Northern Ireland, Ginger Bistro has been running since 2000 and it boasts an adventurous menu and impeccable service.

For starters, expect the likes of Gin Cured Salmon with Celeriac Remoulade and Rare Beef Salad.

On the mains, there’s Crispy Oriental Duck Leg, Spiced Roast Cauliflower with Hummus and a Slow Cooked Featherblade of Beef.

Throw in excellent service, cosy surroundings and a carefully managed supply chain and you’ll quickly realise why this is widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in Belfast.

Solid value-for-money: This is one of several Belfast restaurants where you feel like you’re getting good bang-for-your-buck, with 3 Courses for a reasonable £39.75 (price may change)

 

2. Holohan’s Pantry

Holohan's Pantry

Photos via Holohan’s Pantry on FB

With a beautifully appointed interior and an attention to detail that you’ll notice from the moment you arrive, there’s a lot to like about Holohan’s Pantry on University Road.

This place showcases the very best of Irish cuisine through a finely curated, and very well priced, menu.

Personally, I’ve only ever been here for the pre-theatre menu, that comes in, at the time of typing, at a very reasonable £20 for two courses.

On the menu, expect hearty fare, like Holohan’s Fish & Chips (with mushy peas, caper and lemon mayonnaise) and some delicious Fermanagh Boxty Dumplings (with roast pumpkin, beatroot, chesnuts and fried sage).

On Sunday’s (see our guide to Sunday lunch in Belfast), you’ll find roast, pan seared trout, boxty, a trio of pork and plenty more. A peach of a restaurant.

Live trad music: Don’t fancy nipping into one of the pubs in Belfast for live music? You’re in luck. There’s live trad here on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

 

3. Darcy’s Belfast

Darcy's Belfast

Photos via Darcy’s Belfast on FB

Located on Bradbury Place, Darcy’s is, in my opinion, another of the best restaurants in Belfast City Centre. This is a family-run spot that crafts delicious, traditional dishes with locally sourced ingredients. 

Delighting locals and tourists alike for 20+ years, Darcy’s boasts top-notch service, a cosy interior and walls dotted with nods to local talent, like George Best.

For starters, you’ve the option of signature mussels (with herb and garlic cream sauce), seafood chowder, chicken wings and veggie spring rolls.

There’s then the main menu, the highlight of which is hard to pick – it’s a toss-up between the honey roast ham (with mash, seasonal veggies and cider parsley sauce) and the whole tail scampi (with chips and tartar sauce).

Why I keep going back: Darcy’s has a homely feel to it. Combine that with great service and beautifully prepared food and you’ve a winning combination

 

4. James St

James St

Photos via James St on FB

James St is another spot that’s regularly listed as one of the best restaurants in Belfast, and for good reason – the food here is sensational!

There are several menus here, but I’ve only ever eaten from the à la carte which, while reassuringly small, has plenty of delicious dishes to consider.

For starters, there’s everything from crab and chilli linguini and crispy squid (with black garlic mayo) to house ricotta and more.

On the mains, there’s tomahawk steaks, potato and parm gnocchi, duck and fish options. For dessert, the Sticky Toffee Sundae and the Braeburn Apple Tarte steal the show.

The set menus are good value: There are 2 courses £26.50 and 3 courses £29.50 (prices may change)

 

5. EDO Restaurant

EDO Restaurant

Photos via EDO Restaurant on FB

The next spot, Upper Queen Street’s EDO, is a recent awardee of the Michelin Guide’s “Bib Gourmand”, which recognises places that serve great food at moderate prices.

Edo is a modern Spanish tapas restaurant that treats diners to top-notch service, small, flavour-laden plates and a vibrant setting.

There’s a flexible sharing menu on offer along with a carefully picked wine list (and some lip-smackingly-good cocktails!).

The menu highlights, in my opinion, are the Braised Beef Cheek (with smoked cheese and beef crumb), the Langoustine Croquette and the Strangford Mussels (with garlic, Sauvignon Blanc  and sourdough).

Book ahead: As this is one of the more popular Belfast restaurants, it’s well worth booking Edo in advance

 

6. Zen

Zen

Photos via Zen on FB

You’ll find Zen on Adelaide Street where a dimly lit and glamorous interior collides with a lively buzz to deliver a dining experience that you’re unlikely to forget.

At Zen, you’ll find authentic Asian cuisine, ‘flamboyant entertainment’ and fancy cocktails and traditional Chinese beers.

There’s a huge menu on-the-go – there’s mains (like deep fried monkfish tails or the pan-friend rib eye steak rolls), Teppanyaki and set meals (3 courses for £29.99 p/p).

There’s also endless starters (the sesame prawn toast is top-notch), sashimi (fine slices of raw meat), sushi and soups.

Rotating booths and karaoke: If you’re looking for Belfast restaurants for a great night out, book into the Japanese Tatami room or the private karaoke room

 

7. Shu Restaurant Belfast

Shu Restaurant Belfast

Photos via Shu Belfast on FB

The Main Room at Shu Restaurant on the Lisburn Road is where French, Mediterranean and Oriental influences come together to form a stunning take on European cuisine.

The first thing you’ll notice here is the interior – bottle green suede couches meet whitewashed brick, vibrant mosaic tiles and eclectic wall art.

But on to the menu – the stand-out starter, for me, is the Korean fried chicken, but the yellowtail sashimi and the salt and chill squid are worth considering.

For mains, there’s everything from roast halibut (with shellfish risotto) and veggie curries to aged Hereford sirloin and more.

Visiting at the weekend? Head to Jul’s – it’s a cocktail bar and restaurant in the basement with a more chilled buzz

 

8. Coppi Restaurant

Coppi Restaurant

Photos via Coppi on FB

We’re off to Coppi on Saint Anne’s Square, next – one of the best restaurants in Belfast when it comes to Italian food!

Coppi was inspired by the Cicchetti bars in Venice and it’s run by husband and wife team Andrea and Chef Tony O’Neill.

The menu here is laden with contemporary, Italian inspired dishes with starters that include feta fritters (fried feta drizzled with truffle aioli) and duck arancini (crispy duck and rice balls).

For mains, when I was here last, I went for the slow braised beef shin lasagne and it was sensational. I’ve also had the classic duck ragu and it was ridiculously good. There’s also a variety of pizzas.

Have room for dessert? Indulge in the warm chocolate and hazelnut cookie with Nutella ice cream

 

9. Coco

Coco

Photos via Coco on FB

Tucked away in Belfast’s linen quarter, just behind Belfast City Hall, Coco is one of the more recent additions to this guide to the best restaurants in Belfast.

After admiring the beautiful red brick building, step inside and take in the funky interior with its very quirky artwork.

If you’re going for starters, the salt and chilli squid (with napa slaw, aioli and chill jam) and the roast squash risotto (with pine nuts and crispy sage) are the pick of the bunch.

You’ll have a hard time picking a main, with several scrumptious options on offer, like the basil stuffed chicken breast with potato gnocci and the veal loin with cocotte potatoes.

The pre-theatre menu is great value: Run at select times, you’ll get 2 courses for £23 and 3 for £29.50

 

10. John Long’s

John Long’s

Photos via John Long’s on FB

If you’re in search of casual Belfast restaurants that dish up the city’s best fish and chips, mosey on down to John Long’s on Athol Street (near the Grand Opera House).

In 1914 (yes, 1914!), John Long converted a section of his grocery store so that he could sell fish and chips. Fast forward 100 years and 2 owners later and John’s Long’s is still making bellies happy.

You’ll find a no-nonsense menu here, with sausage suppers, steak burgers, chip butties and the pièce de résistance – the fresh battered fish supper.

Like stepping back in time: The interior at Long’s is like a living museum, with formica furniture that dates to the 1970s 

 

11. The Muddlers Club

The Muddlers Club

Photos via The Muddlers Club on FB

The Muddlers Club is one of a handful of Michelin star restaurants in Belfast City Centre, and you’ll find it tucked away in the colourful streets of the Cathedral Quarter.

Named after a secret society that met there over 200 years ago, this swanky spot offers fine dining in a dark yet warming post-industrial-style room.

Head chef Gareth McCaughey combines the very best of home grown produce and a wealth of skill to create dishes that’ll tantalise your tastebuds.

Try the tasting menu: It changes regularly but recent dishes include beef with mushroom and bone marrow and Wicklow venison with parsnip and chestnut

 

12. OX Belfast

OX Belfast

Photos via OX Belfast on FB

OX is an award-winning restaurant on Oxford Street that’s been on the go since back in 2013, and it’s run by two friends – Stephen and Alan, who racked up experience in Michelin starred kitchens in Paris.

The interior of OX small, bright and airy with minimal clutter and large windows that face out to the River Lagan. The menus here are designed around seasonal, locally sourced produce and, as such, change often.

Previous menus have contained the likes of Skeaghanore duck (with salsify, buckwheat and elderberries) and wild venison tartare (with lovage, black garlic and fermented kohlrabi).

If you’re looking for Belfast restaurants to mark a special occasion, you won’t be disappointed here.

Eat with your eyes: The only thing better than the taste of the food at OX is the presentation. Every inch of the dishes here are meticulously assembled

 

13. Molly’s Yard

Molly’s Yard

Photos via Molly’s Yard on FB

With sparkling reviews online, Molly’s Yard on College Green near Queen’s University is up there as one of the best places to eat in Belfast.

It’s also one of the most unique. The restaurant is situated inside a restored 19th century stable that was once part of College Green House.

There’s plemnty to like about the à la carte menu here, with simple options, like the soup with crusty bread to start and the more adventurous crispy spiced haloumi.

For mains, there is everything from a chargrilled ribeye (with root veg, red wine jus and hand cut chips) and a tasty butter roasted hake fillet.

Visiting during summer? If the weather is good, try and nab a table in the courtyard outside

 

14. Yügo

Yügo

Photos via Yügo on IG

One of the newest additions to my guide to the best restaurants Belfast has to offer is Wellington Street’s Yügo.

Here, you’ll find traditional Asian cooking mixed with ‘a Belfast Bushido attitude’ and a minimalist interior along with Asian-style cocktails.

If it’s your first visit, try the dumplings (the spicy beef and bone marrow is delicious) or the bao (I’d eat 10 of the panko prawn ones..!).

Crafty cocktails: There’s an extensive cocktail menu at Yügo. If you fancy something different, try the Vietnamese Iced Coffee

 

15. Bank Square Brasserie

Bank Square Brasserie

Photos via Bank Square Brasserie on FB

One of my favourite things about Berry Street’s Bank Square Brasserie is its location – it’s surrounded by lovely traditional pubs that are great for a pre-dinner pint, like Madden’s.

The interior of Bank Square is cosy, with brick lined columns and vintage chandeliers that give it an olde worlde feel.

Two of the highlights on the starter menu are the saffron and beef shin arancini (with garlic and lemon aioli) and the zesty Thai crispy beef (with napa slaw).

On to the mains. I’ve been here twice now – on the first visit I had the bone marrow beef burger and I had to be rolled out of the place! On the second, I had the much lighter pan fried salmon with potato gnocci – both were the business!

There’s great value lunch: There’s a £10 lunch menu served from Monday to Friday a mix of fish and meat dishes

 

Explore beyond the Belfast restaurants

the best things to do in Belfast Ireland

Now you know where to eat in Belfast, it’s time to look at the various things to do in Belfast!

The map above will give you a sense of what’s on offer, but find all of my guides to the city in the Antrim hub.

Fancy more food guides?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.