Belfast’s Burgeoning Foodie Scene
Belfast is experiencing a culinary revolution. Add fantastic farmers’ markets, excellent cookery schools and artisan food stores to experimental restaurants and trendy cafés, and you have the perfect ingredients for a foodie getaway.
There’s never a dull mealtime on a trip to Belfast. Whether you decide to start your day with an Ulster Fry or finish with an evening spent sampling the city’s finest fine dining, you’ll never have a reason to go hungry at these superb markets, bars and restaurants.
The Barking Dog
Exposed brick walls and wooden tables set the cosy scene in this friendly restaurant, which specializes in modern Irish cuisine served with Mediterranean flair. The combination turns out to be a perfect match, with dishes like chicken supreme with chorizo croquettes and sweet potato ravioli with spring onions, parmesan and chilli butter making great use of the country’s stellar natural produce. On Sundays, the eatery takes the same approach to lunchtime, swapping the traditional roast for a spectacular spread of tapas like black pudding fritters with apple sauce, butternut squash arancini and Kilkeel crab on sourdough toast.
Since opening in 2013, OX has stacked up an impressive collection of awards, including Best Restaurant Ulster at the 2014 Irish Restaurant Awards. It’s the beautiful views across the River Lagan that’ll first attract your attention, but it’s the creative, seasonal menu that will seal the deal. The menu here changes frequently, but during winter you can expect dishes like halibut with ham hock, razor clam and vin jaune, or Chateaubriand with aubergine and kale. Anyone with a sweet tooth will be in seventh heaven here – once they’ve overcome the agonising dilemma that is choosing between peach parfait and Valrhona chocolate with praline and blackberry for dessert.
Mourne Seafood Bar
Seafood so fresh it sings is the order of the day at Mourne Seafood Bar. All of the seafood is purchased directly from Annalong and Kilkeel ports, while the mussels, oysters and cockles come from private shellfish beds in Carlingford Lough. As a result, you can devour half a dozen oysters for just £7, before moving onto main courses like a seafood casserole packed full of the day’s catches, or homemade fish fingers with tartar sauce. The bar is just a ten-minute stroll from our Park Inn by Radisson, Belfast, so you can easily stop by for lunch, dinner – or both.
St George’s Market
No foodie trip to Belfast would be complete without a visit to St George’s Market. Dating back to the last decade of the 19th century, the marketplace is one of the oldest attractions in Belfast. The fish section includes more than 23 stalls, and is known as the best retail fish market in Ireland. On Saturdays, live music accompanies the arrival of handmade crafts and street food, while on Sundays the focus is on gorgeous local produce, with a few continental delights thrown in for good measure. Chocoholics should make a point of visiting on Saturdays, when artisan chocolate-makers Co Couture are in session.