While there is no denying that Dublin (and many other cities and towns across the nation) are home to some truly great eateries, you might not yet have discovered the truly epic restaurants this nearby city has to offer.
Belfast has in recent years – unbeknown to many of us still – actually gone and made a name for itself as one of Europe’s hottest foodie destinations.
And having just visited and eaten our way around this glorious city, here is our pick of the ten restaurants you really, really need to try on your next visit up north:
Coppi is Belfast’s first cichetti restaurant – based on those found in Venice, and trust us when we say: This spot really is worth a visit. Think fresh pasta made daily, risotto that melts in your mouth, small (and large!) plates for sharing and delicious, delicious wine.
Oh, and if interior porn does it for you, the industrial chic venue, with heavy wood tables and subway tiles, makes Coppi a total must-see too.
In the vibrant and busy Cathedral Quarter, make sure you pop into Hadskis, and enjoy an ever-changing menu of daily specials made from locally sourced produce, alongside some classic European dishes.
Oh, and Hadskis is also a great spot for people watching, to check out what the trendiest of locals are eating, wearing and talking about.
A relaxed space on the banks of the Lagan, OX is a cool and funky restaurant with a plate glass shop front overlooking the water. The interior is trendy (think exposed brick and polished concrete details) and the crowd is a mix of tourists, hip locals and frankly just anyone who appreciates really good food.
Japanese dining at its best in Belfast, Zen is one of the city’s absolute favourites.
And as well as great food, you can also enjoy some epic cocktails in beautiful surroundings.
Originally conceived as a pop-up restaurant, Home has moved from its last address to set up permanently on Wellington Place in the very heart of Belfast City Centre.
And what a treat to lovers of simple but magnificently well-prepared food! Head here for feel-good food using the best seasonal, local produce.
6. Robinson & Cleaver
A superb restaurant in a superb spot, Robinson & Cleaver sits right in the heart of the city centre. The Terrace is located on the first floor of a former department store with a great view of City Hall and the streets below, meaning it is a perfect spot for cocktails and people spotting.
Top tip: The vegetarian selection is fab!
7. Deanes at Queens
In the vibrant University Quarter of the city, Deanes at Queens Restaurant, Bar and Grill, with its glorious Terrace, takes full advantage of its gorgeous leafy location. Location-wise, the restaurant is also adjacent to Belfast’s Botanic Gardens and the Ulster Museum.
Think dishes packed with the flavour of great local produce, and gorgeous surroundings. Not to be missed.
A must-try on the Lisburn Road (a hub for quality dining in Belfast), Shu offers a great menu of French-inspired dishes.
Oh, and the restaurant also boasts a basement cocktail bar for pre-drinks or a bit of relaxation after your meal.
9. Salt Bistro
Located in the popular eating spot St Anne’s Square, Salt Bistro is quickly becoming one of Belfast’s coolest eateries.
Using great local produce, there is something for everyone on the menu, including the utterly delicious Dundrum mussels. YUM!
10. Deanes Deli Bistro
Michael Deanes New York style deli, Deanes Deli Bistro, is situated in the heart of Belfast City Centre and serves up innovative and traditional food – and gorgeous wine.
The easy-going, yet stylish interior promotes casual, all-day dining and we will most definitively be back!
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