In search of the best restaurants in Ballymena? Our Ballymena restaurants guide will make your belly happy!
Although Ballymena is arguably best-known for being home to Glenarm Castle, the lively town has a bustling food scene.
Boasting a mix of fancy restaurants (like the Castle Kitchen) to more casual places to eat (like Gwen’s), there’s no shortage of food options in the town.
In the guide below, you’ll find our favourite Ballymena restaurants, with a bit of something to tickle most tastebuds.
Our favourite restaurants in Ballymena
The first section of our guide to the best restaurants in Ballymena tackles our favourite places to eat in Ballymena.
These are pubs and restaurants that we (one of the Irish Road Trip team) have munched away in at some point over the years. Dive on in!
Located in the centre of Ballymena town on Lower Mill Street, Gattos is a family-run restaurant that focuses on homemade Italian cuisine.
The decor is pleasant and relaxing with an Italian theme. The food menu is massive and includes everything from pasta and meat dishes to pizza and desserts.
For starters, try the calamari with mushrooms and olives. Linguine spaghetti, pizza, and rump steak are some of the most popular options from the main menu. For dessert, try the signature Gattos platter, which is a bit of everything they bake on-site.
2. Castle Kitchen
This fabulous restaurant serves a mix of Mexican bites and classic pub starters, as well as carefully sourced local prime meat cuts and steaks.
The steak here is cooked to perfection and the house-made Baked Alaska dessert is deeelicious. With its tastefully decorated bar area and a picturesque roof terrace, the Castle Kitchen and bar is also well-known for its stylish décor.
3. Millside Restaurant
Situated inside a 200 years old schoolhouse, Millside Restaurant is a family-run dining establishment located in the village of Gracehill.
The restaurant opening in 2008 and it has gone from strength to strength ever since. On the menu, expect to find starters such as garlic mushrooms, prawn salad, and spring rolls.
Order the rump steak or go for the restaurant’s bang bang chicken. If you have a sweet tooth, enjoy a slice of the lovely raspberry truffle cheesecake.
Places to eat in Ballymena with excellent reviews
As you’ve probably gathered at this stage, there’s an almost endless number of great places to eat in Ballymena on offer.
If you’re still not sold on any of the previous choices, the section below is packed with some more highly-reviewed Ballymena restaurants.
1. Nadine’s Diner
Travellers searching for a tasty and reasonably priced meal in Ballymena should point their nose (or belly!) in the direction of Nadine’s Diner.
On the menu you can expect to find everything from cold cuts and roasts to steaks, fry ups and hearty soups. Try the sliced chicken with garlic fries or order the popular lamb shanks.
Although the interior of Nadine’s is no-fuss, the food is the business, and it has racked up 4.6/5 from 290+ Google Reviews at the time of typing.
2. Sanjha Indian Restaurant
You will find the magnificent Sanjha Indian Restaurant on Cullybackey Road in Ballymena. Specializing in authentic Indian cuisine, the restaurant offers a range of tasty starters, mains, and desserts.
If you’re a fan of seafood, the tandoori prawns are extremely tasty, as as is the monkfish biryani, if you like food with a spicy kick.
If you like lamb, make sure to order the signature rara gosht. Some of the other popular dishes on the menu include chicken with cashew nuts, tikka masala, and karahi.
3. Go Sun Chinese Restaurant
Located on Bridge Street and just a short walk from the main attractions in Ballymena, Go Sun Chinese Restaurant is a great place to sample traditional Chinese cuisine.
Opened in 1966, it is actually one of the oldest restaurants in Ballymena and it recently underwent a major refurbishment. Expect to find a range of exciting dishes on the menu.
Some of the most popular options include pan-fried Chinese turnip cake, seabass cooked in wine sauce, king prawns with sweet chilli sauce, and mature fillet steak with tea tree mushrooms.
4. The Pizza Parlour
Opened back in the 80s, the Pizza Parlour is the oldest pizza place in Ballymena. The restaurant boasts a lovely décor and offers a range of tasty pizzas with different toppings. Try the American Hot pizza or order the popular Margarita with a thin base.
In addition to pizza, the restaurant also offers dishes like garlic chips and bbq pulled pork with salad and coleslaw. On Tuesdays, the restaurant offers “buy one, get one free pizza” deals.
If you’re looking for restaurants in Ballymena for a night our with friends, get yourself here – the Pizza Parlour packs a punch!
If you’re in search of Ballymena restaurants where you’ll get some delicious comfort food, get yourself to Milanos.
This is a cosy and casual restaurant where you can unwind (there’s indoor and outdoor seating) and enjoy Italian food
In addition to a massive pizza menu, the restaurant serves a range of homemade Italian dishes such as lasagne along with a variety of pasta meals. There’s also sirloin steak with peppercorn sauce and gravy, wraps and paninis on offer.
Cafes and other great casual places to eat in Ballymena
The final section of our Ballymena restaurants guide is packed with some of the more causal places to eat in Ballymena.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from the brilliant Nobel Café and Follow Coffee to the very popular Gwen’s Café.
1. Nobel Café
Opened in 1994, Nobel Café is an award-winning venue located in the centre of Ballymena on Church Street. This contemporary café is well-known for its fantastic fries and delicious club sandwiches.
The lunches and dinners are equally good with options such as chicken with pepper sauce and veg.
Awarded 1st place in Customer Service in Ballymena, the café is extremely busy on the weekends and attracts tourists and locals alike. The only downside is that Nobel is a cash-only café.
2. Follow Coffee
If you are craving something other than the usual fry, pay a visit to Follow Coffee. This fabulous coffee place offers a range of freshly cooked in-house food including tray bakes, an array of scones, and a massive breakfast menu.
For breakfast, we recommend avocado and poached egg on sourdough bread. For lunch, choose from pies, soups, paninis, wraps, and salads.
If you wish to end your meal with something sweet, go for their signature carrot cake or enjoy a moist chocolate brownie. Weekly specials are displayed on the board.
3. Gwen’s Café
Last in our guide to the best places to eat in Ballymena is the brilliant Gwen’s Café. Gwen’s is a cosy café well-known for its lively vibe, modern and fresh décor, and delicious food.
Breakfast options include everything from sandwiches and frys to pancakes. For lunch, get the chicken stack with champs and pepper sauce and you won’t be disappointed.
In addition to their a la carte menu, the café offers an assortment of snacks and lunch specials.
What Ballymena restaurants have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some other great restaurants in Ballymena from the guide above.
If you have any favourite Ballymena restaurants that you’d like to recommend, drop a comment into the comments section below.
FAQs about the best restaurants in Ballymena
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from what are the best restaurants in Ballymena for a fancy feed to which Ballymena restaurants are nice and chilled.
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 places to eat in Ballymena?
I’d argue that the best places to eat in Ballymena are Millside Restaurant, Castle Kitchen and Gattos, in our opinion.
What Ballymena restaurants are good for a fancy meal?
If you’re looking for Ballymena restaurants to mark a special occasion, dinner at the Castle Kitchen in the luxurious Galgorm is unbeatable.
What are the best restaurants in Ballymena for something casual and tasty?
There are some great casual places to eat in Ballymena, with Nobel Café, Follow Coffee and Gwen’s Café the pick of the bunch, in my opinion.