If you’re in search of the best restaurants in Belfast, you’ve landed in the right place!
From fine dining to cheap, tasty eats, there are some glorious places to eat in Belfast, regardless of your budget.
From heavy hitters, like EDO, to very popular eateries, like Made in Belfast, there’s Belfast restaurants to tickle every tastebud.
In the guide below, you’ll find everything from great places for dinner in Belfast to mouth-watering brunch spots and much, much more.
Our favourite restaurants in Belfast
The first section of our guide is packed with our favourite Belfast restaurants – these are places that one of The Irish Road Trip Team have eaten in and that have raved about.
Below, you’ll find what we think are the best places to eat in Belfast, with everything from fine dining and cheap eats on offer.
1. EDO Restaurant
The absolute peach that is EDO is a modern Spanish tapas restaurant located on Upper Queen Street. Visitors here will be treated 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!).
Expect a menu with everything from Manzanilla Olives and Tortilla de Patatas to calamari, white chocolate cremeux and more.
2. Darcy’s Belfast
We keep going back to the brilliant Darcy’s Belfast time and time and…. time (you get the picture!) again. This is a family-run restaurant that consistently knocks it out of the park.
The menu here is packed with lots of comfort food, like pies, chowder, soup and some of the best raspberry truffle cheesecake in the land.
They also do a great Sunday roast, with a menu boasting lamb shank, honey roasted ham, and desserts like fresh fruit pavlova and chocolate fudge.
We came across Darcy’s when knocking up our guide to the best vegan restaurants in Belfast – they do a dedicated veggie and vegan menu with the likes of nut and mushroom Wellington and vegetarian pies. Well worth a try if you’re dodging meat!
3. Holohan’s at the Barge
The views at Holohan’s Barge are almost as good as the food. Situated on a refurbished barge, the sea is literally right next to the dining area here.
The menu is slick, seasonal and mostly European, with offerings such as chicken liver parfait, venison with truffled mash and of course ubiquitous boxty, taken to new heights at Holohan’s.
As this is one of the more popular Belfast restaurants, it’s well worth booking a table in advance to avoid disappointment.
4. James St
James St is another spot that’s regularly listed as one of the best restaurants in Belfast, and a quick glance at any review site will quickly reveal why – the food here is sensational!
There’s some tough decisions to be made when it comes to picking a starter at James St, with the Crab & Chilli Linguini and the Baked Scallop with Spiced Butter battling away for top spot.
The mains are also super impressive, with everything from Hannan’s Sugar Pit Bacon and a spatchcock chicken on offer.
There’s an all day menu, a set menu (3 courses for 27.50) and a Sunday lunch menu, each of which are wedged with mouth-watering dishes.
5. Deanes Belfast
Deanes is a Belfast institution, of sorts, and it’s one of a few places to eat in Belfast that’s as popular with locals as it is with tourists.
There are four venues to choose from (each of which falls under the umbrella of legendary restaurateur Michael Deane).
Regardless of whether you choose Deanes Meat Locker, Deanes Love Fish or Deanes at Queens, you’re guaranteed a fine aul feed.
One of the team here tried the Meat Locker recently after hearing that it was one of the best restaurants in Belfast for steak. She’s been raving about the place constantly since!
Related read: Check out our guide to 11 of the best places to go for afternoon tea in Belfast in 2022.
The best restaurants in Belfast for a fancy meal
If you’re unsure of where to eat in Belfast for a special occasion, don’t fret – there’s loads of Belfast restaurants that dish up a fancy meal.
Below, you’ll find places to eat in Belfast that offer a slice of elegance, like Ox, The Ginger Bistro, the Muddlers Club and more.
1. OX Belfast
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.
The duo racked up experience in Michelin starred kitchens in Paris, which should give you a sense of what to expect from a visit here.
The menus at OX are designed around seasonal, locally sourced produce. Combine this with the riverside setting and you’ve a fine base for an evening of fine dining.
There’s a lunch and dinner menu on offer here boasting everything from Salt baked golden beetroot to Mourne mountain lamb. If you’re looking for Belfast restaurants to mark a special occasion, you won’t be disappointed here.
2. The Ginger Bistro
There are few places to eat in Belfast with a reputation as fine as Ginger Bistro. Once voted the best restaurant in Norther Ireland, Ginger Bistro has been running since 2000, and you’ll find it near the Belfast Opera House.
The menu here is just something else. With starters including rare beef salad and fried tiger prawns and mains like roast hake, braised and glazed pork belly and slow cooked featherblade, you’re spoiled for choice.
Throw in impeccable 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.
3. The Muddlers Club
The Muddlers Club is one of a handful of Michelin star restaurants in Belfast, 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, The Muddlers Club offer fine dining in a relaxed environment.
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. There’s a tasting menu (the beef, girolle and bone marrow sounds incredible!) and a vegetarian menu available.
4. Shu Restaurant Belfast
The Main Room at Shu Restaurant is where French, Mediterranean and Oriental influences come together to form a stunning take on European cuisine.
At the helms is Brian McCann, a widely acclaimed chef with a knack of dishing up tasty, locally sourced, sustainable dishes.
There’s a dinner, lunch and Sunday menu to be had at SHU and, going off reviews online, each packs a fine punch.
In particular, the rump of lamb (with peas, broad beans, seared lettuce, creamed potato and garlic and rosemary) on the dinner menu sounds divine.
5. Molly’s Yard
With 4.6/5 from 300+ reviews at the time of typing, Molly’s Yard is up there as one of the best places to eat in Belfast, based on review scores.
You’ll find Molly’s in the restored stables of College Green House, where it’s been since 2005. There’s everything from a relaxed bistro menu on offer here to a more elegant setting in the restaurant on the upper floor of the property.
It’s also here that you’ll find some of the best brunch in Belfast, with a menu boasting everything from buckwheat pancakes to seafood chowder.
The best places to eat in Belfast for brunch
Below, you’ll find everywhere from the incredible Lamppost Café to the popular House Belfast and more.
1. General Merchants
General Merchants is often referred to as one of the best places to eat in Belfast for breakfast or brunch, and it’s a title that’s been well-earned.
Visitors here can expect the usual brunch favourites, like Huevos Rotos, to some unusual additions, like the Mushroom Croque Madame which includes eggs, cheese, and sherry roasted chestnut mushrooms
2. Panama Belfast
I’ve been eye-balling at that plate on the right for the last 3 minutes…! Panama is another recent addition to Belfast and it’s racking up mighty reviews online!
You’ll find this trendy little cafe on McClintock Street where it has a beautifully decorated interior and a brunch menu with plenty to pick from.
If you’re fancy a light bite, the heavenly eggs with avocado are worth a look or, if you’re in need of a good feed, give the hearty baked fry a try.
3. The Lamppost Café
The Lamppost Café is another spot that’s often pegged as one of the best places to eat in Belfast at lunch. This is a family-run C.S Lewis themed cafe.
The walls here are dotted with everything from quotes and lovely vintage crockery to references to the work of the celebrated writer.
On the menu at the Lamppost, you’ll find everything from vegan stew and poached eggs to rhubarb and custard French toast (very intriguing!) to much more.
The Lamppost is one of a handful of cafes that could go toe-to-toe with the best restaurants in Belfast. Get here sharpish!
4. House Belfast
House is one of the more popular hotels in Belfast and it boasts a banging brunch menu (for an extra £20 p/p you can get bottomless brunch – availability may vary).
Both the house burger and the house veg stack pack a punch while the French toast is a solid option if you’re after something sweet.
It’s also a handy 10-minute stroll from the Botanic Gardens, so you can nip in there before or after for a ramble.
5. Havana Bank Square
Located minutes away from Bank Square, Havana Bank Square has crafted a carefully put together menu that utilises locally sourced foods.
If you’re looking for Belfast restaurants for Sunday lunch, the menu here is worth a look (12 – 3pm on Sunday), with everything from beer-battered haddock to pale smoked cod on the go.
If you are craving something sweet, order the lemon posset or go for mango white chocolate cheesecake.
The best restaurants for Sunday dinner in Belfast
Next up we’re tackling the best Belfast restaurants for a Sunday roast (later in the guide you’ll find the best casual places to eat).
Below, you’ll find everywhere from the brilliant Neill’s Hill Brasserie and the excellent Murphy Browns to some other great spots for food in Belfast.
1. Neill’s Hill Brasserie
Inside Neill’s Hill Brasserie you’ll find Cath Gradwells cooking up a storm, with the very best in traditional Irish foods, from fresh fish to locally sourced cuts of meat.
If you tip in here on a Sunday, you’re in for a treat, with a menu laden with thick slices of roast pork turkey, beef, and pork. There’s also veggie options!
If you’re in the mood for something a little bit funkier, give the smoked eel fritters with beetroot puree and parma ham a crack.
2. Graze Belfast
Graze was set-up in 2013 by John Moffatt, who worked in some of the best restaurants in Belfast over the years. This amassed experience is evident from first bite to last.
If you’re after a roast, you’ll find the usual beef and chicken, each of which is cooked to perfection, along with a main menu offering everything from lobster to steak.
3. Murphy Browns
Murphy Browns can be found on Cavehill Road. This is a family-oriented restaurant that consistently knocks up a great Sunday lunch.
Food At Browns is sourced locally and cooked by a team of seasoned chefs. They’ve all the Sunday roast favourites on the go along with a belter of a burger, too.
If you fancy something sweet, there’s an extensive desert menu that includes a very tasty terry’s chocolate orange cheesecake.
Related read: Check out our guide to the 12 of the tastiest places for Sunday lunch in Belfast in 2022.
4. Stormont Hotel Belfast
Situated a handy stroll from the city centre, Stormont Hotel Belfast is well-known for its 3-course Sunday lunches.
Diners here can kick-back with succulent roasts finely paired with decadent desserts from around £35 per person (prices may change).
5. The Barking Dog
Visitors to The Barking Dog can expect a lovely interior (with rustic furniture and vintage décor) and mighty food to boot!
From a delicious beef shin burger and their popular pepper scampi to spectacular fish dishes and hearty homemade pasta, there’s plenty to choose from here.
On a Sunday, the roast here will set you back £27 (prices may change) and it has everything from spiced sticky pork belly bites to roast Irish chicken on offer.
Casual places to eat in Belfast that do great food
The final section of our guide to the best Belfast restaurants is packed with casual places for a bite that have racked up rave reviews online.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from Buba and Pablos to Cuban Sandwich Factory and several other places that could go toe-to-toe with the best restaurants in Belfast.
One of the more recent additions to the Belfast restaurants scene, Buba has quickly amassed a loyal following (along with outstanding reviews online!).
Dishes here include small plates of charred squid and halloumi fries to a grill menu with lamb kofte and cauliflower shawarma.
If you don’t fancy nipping into one of the cocktail bars in Belfast, don’t worry – you can avail of a very tasty sip here.
Pablo’s is a Mexican inspired burger joint in Belfast that’s become a haven for the city’s burger lovers.
You can’t blame them either, with a smashing selection of tequila and mezcal as well as cocktails containing all manner of intriguing ingredients, this is a unique spot indeed.
The real reason people come here is for the food, though. You can expect delicious creations such as double cheeseburgers with bacon, various tacos and loaded fries. The fare at Pablo’s is perfect to line the stomach before a session!
3. The Cuban Sandwich Factory
Cubano sandwiches have become something of a global phenomenon in recent years. There’s just something about the combination of pillowy bread, melting cheese, tangy pickles and salty meats that feels right.
At Belfast’s Cuban Sandwich Factory, they do this modern classic perfectly. Using locally sourced meats such as roast pork and ham, this spot has developed a cult following since opening and they regularly sell out, so get here early!
This is one of the best places to eat in Belfast if you fancy something tasty, hearty and that won’t break the bank.
4. Tribal Burger
Tribal Burger makes the bold claim of being Belfast’s best burger. With homemade gourmet patties, fresh-cut chips, crispy chicken wings and rich shakes, it’s tough to disagree!
Tribal is known for being big on quality, with prime local beef, homemade sauces and premium toppings making their burgers that extra bit special.
Think balsamic onions, blue cheese sauce and freshly toasted buns and you’ll have a good idea of what this place is all about.
If you’re in search of Belfast restaurants that do delightful things with beef and buns, make sure you get to Tribal.
Where to eat in Belfast: What have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant restaurants in Belfast City centre and beyond.
If you’ve eaten in any good Belfast restaurants recently that you’d recommend, let me know in the comments below.
FAQs about the best restaurants in Belfast
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where the get the best food in Belfast if you fancy something cheap and tasty to where to go for fine dining.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best restaurants in Belfast?
In our opinion, the best places for dinner in Belfast are Made In Belfast, Deanes, Holohan’s at the Barge and Pablos.
What are the best places to eat in Belfast City?
You can’t go wrong with Tribal Burger, Made in Belfast and Holohan’s at the Barge, although any of the Belfast restaurants mentioned above are worth a look.
What Belfast restaurants are the fanciest?
If you’re looking for places to eat in Belfast on a special occasion, OX, The Ginger Bistro, The Muddlers Club and Shu Restaurant are all worth checking out.
James Connolly is a professional writer based in London. Having lived in cities across the world including Mumbai, Medellin and Barcelona, he uses his expertise to write articles showcasing the best of global travel.