For a culinary city break, Belfast has plenty for the hungry traveller to discover. Wander through the pretty Cathedral Quarter, with its numerous restaurants, cute cafés and packed pubs, and you’ll find chefs getting inventive with the produce on the city’s doorstep, including fine seafood. Then cross the river to the Titanic Quarter to see its shipbuilding past.
All photography: Tim White
Banging bread at a Victorian market
Saturday lunchtime and ready to eat? Head to St George’s Market. Inside this historic redbrick building, which opened in 1896, you’ll find sizzling street food and stalls piled high with local ingredients and delicacies. Try every version of soda bread or tuck into fresh oysters at £1 a pop. There’s also live music to soundtrack your browsing.
A world of gin at a blossom-filled bar
At House Belfast, near the city’s Botanic Gardens, the talking point is the flamboyant ground-floor gin bar and, in particular, the indoor cherry blossom tree that towers over it. This is a drinking spot that’s crying out for its place on your Instagram feed. The maximalist decor and creative dining menu also make it a buzzy place for Sunday lunch.
A fresh bowl of ramen at Jumon
With its low lighting and mural-covered walls, Jumon is a chilled dining spot turning out confident Asian fusion dishes. Sit at one of the wooden tables and enjoy aromatic bowls of ramen or delicate Vietnamese spring rolls. Plus, everything they serve is vegetarian. (Non-veggies, you might just be converted.)
Seasonal Michelin magic at the Muddler's Club
Hidden away down a side street in the Cathedral Quarter is the Muddler’s Club, from chef Gareth McCaughey. It’s intimate, relaxed and has one of those menus that changes based on what local ingredients come in that day. As you’d expect from a place that’s been awarded the restaurant world’s highest accolade, each dish is spot-on. You’ll need to book ahead.
Killer cocktails in the room the Titanic was designed in
The former headquarters of shipbuilders Harland and Wolff has been elegantly transformed into the Titanic Hotel Belfast. Pop into the Drawing Office Two bar, where the designs for the RMS Titanic were drawn up, for one of their beautiful cocktails.
Small plates packing big flavours at Six by Nico
Grab a velvet stool at the counter of the Ora tapas and wine bar, and enjoy small plates inspired by chef Marty Murphy’s travels, such as meaty crab claws with tom yum dressing. Also hot in town is chef Nico Simeone’s Six by Nico. The idea? A six-course tasting menu on a new theme every six weeks. The surprise? It costs just £29.
Anything you're given on an award-winning food tour
Taste & Tour offers an adventure around Belfast’s food scene or a delve into the city’s gin or whiskey histories. Each tour mixes old and new places, so you might visit both an olde-worlde pub and a cooler-than-thou new restaurant.