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Chermoula carrots at Maray restaurant in Liverpool
Photograph: Maray

The 28 best restaurants in Liverpool you need to try

From cult street-food vendors to contemporary small plates, here are the best restaurants in Liverpool to book right now

Rob Martin
Written by
Rob Martin
Alice Porter

Since being named the European Capital of Culture 15 years ago, Liverpool has been totally transformed, with numerous regeneration projects taking place and local creatives pioneering exciting new launches. This is great news for foodies, as the city’s restaurant scene has completely exploded.

Liverpool is a maritime city and local chefs have certainly drawn inspiration from that, whether it’s in the form of Indian street food or Middle Eastern small plates. Old favourites remain popular too – and if you’re wandering down Bold Street on a summer’s day, you’ll notice that most of the new kids on the block are seating customers back-to-back with people dining at restaurants that have been there since the ’70s, both with equal success.

Feeling hungry? Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion with afternoon tea, looking for some culinary sustenance after a day of exploring or fancy hopping from small-plates bar to small-plates bar, here’s our ultimate guide to the best restaurants in Liverpool right now.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Liverpool

Top restaurants in Liverpool

What is it? Food, marvellous food in a historic Victorian building.

Why go? The Art School Restaurant is housed in what used to be a ‘home for destitute children’ in Victorian times. But these days you’re more likely to be chomping on a cheeseboard than writing on a chalkboard. With a focus on exquisite, beautifully-prepared British cooking, we liked the twice-baked cheese soufflé with baby leaf spinach, Ormskirk leek and Wirral watercress, and the sumptuous roast breast of salt-aged miso duck paired with turmeric potatoes.

Photograph: Röski

2. Röski

What is it? British produce transformed into photo-worthy dishes by a MasterChef winner.

Why go? Röski is the one for diners who’d like to sample the ‘next big thing’ in the food world. It’s headed up by Anton Piotrowski, a former winner of MasterChef: The Professionals, and the menu makes inventive use of homegrown British ingredients. Everything’s immaculately presented – so bring your camera.



What is it? Beloved Middle Eastern-inspired street-food restaurant, a few minutes’ walk from Sefton Park.

Why go? Translating to ‘party party’ in Arabic, Hafla Hafla started out touring Liverpool’s street-food markets before founder Tim Haggis opened his own restaurant on one of the city’s most bustling streets, Lark Lane. They have spent years perfecting their kebab recipe, bursting with flavours you’ll think about for weeks afterwards.

Time Out tip: Hafla Hafla’s salt and pepper halloumi fries are famous throughout the city – we’d recommend ordering them with a side of Shipka jam.

What is it? A neighbourhood bistro serving seasonal plates on lesser-known foodie favourite, Smithdown Road. 

Why go? Recently added to the Michelin Guide, Belzan’s constantly changing menu is a sensory delight. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly and it’s worth trusting them as they guide you through the menu. Ask them for a natural wine recommendation and opt for a bottle as you’ll want to spend the entire evening here.

Time Out tip: Don’t miss the Guinness rarebit potato, which is somehow both flaky and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.


What is it? Get a head for heights and enjoy dinner with a view at Liverpool’s sky-high restaurant.

Why go? This should be your go-to if you’re looking to impress a date. Only problem is, you’re likely to get distracted by the views. Panoramic 34’s killer location on the 34th floor of the West Tower is the perfect match for its impeccable modern European menu.

What is it? Popular Liverpool restaurant ideal for a graduation meal or afternoon tea.

Why go? The London Carriage Works is a name that regularly comes up if you ask locals what their favourite restaurant is. With a focus on produce from across the North-West, their menu is European fine dining done with simplicity and flair.

Time Out tip: If you’re in the market for something less fancy and more comforting, book in for afternoon tea and start dolloping on that clotted cream.


What is it? Italian deli, restaurant and cookery school.

Why go? This wonderful spot, tucked away from the main Duke Street drag, is all you’d hope for from an excellent Italian restaurant. It offers great food, wine, coffee and desserts, whether you want a full three courses or you’re just stopping by for a tasty afternoon snack. What makes it extra special are the Italian cooking classes: make your own pasta and sauce, then eat it. Genius! 

What is it? Beautifully crafted small plates (and some of the best veggie food in Liverpool).

Why go? Maray was born when a group of friends decided to bring the atmosphere of the fashionable Marais neighbourhood in Paris to Liverpool. Serving small plates inspired by Middle Eastern flavours, this trendy and intimate restaurant takes plant-based cooking to a whole new level. Maray also offers a tantalising selection of meat and fish dishes.


What is it? A bistro and bar that couldn’t be better located for a pre-theatre snack.

Why go? Before opening The Pen Factory, Paddy Byrne and Tom Gill ran the bistro at the Everyman theatre. They’ve now moved just next door with this new endeavour, meaning they should still be your go-to pre-theatre option. The menu leans towards sharing plates, and if a whole bottle of wine is a bit much pre-play, try one of their many craft beers or ales instead.

What is it? Laid-back Lebanese and Moroccan cuisine.

Why go? Now joined with its former neighbour Kasbah Café Bazaar, Backchich offers a wonderful mix of Lebanese and Moroccan cuisine. The staff always treat you as though you’re a guest at their own family table and the food is wholesome and bursting with flavour (think falafel, tabbouleh, hummus and shakshuka). It’s sure to warm you to the core if you visit on one of Liverpool’s frequent colder days.


What is it? Bright and bold Indian street food.

Why go? Mowgli was set up to challenge the idea that British ‘Indian food’ is limited to the high-calorie naans and chicken tikka masala you’ll find on hundreds of high streets. This is Indian food done the traditional way, and the long, diverse menu is full of healthy and aromatic options, with a particular emphasis on food for veggies and vegans.

What is it? A fine-diner on Albert Dock serving up stunning plates in an unpretentious setting.

Why go? The main reason to go to Lerpwl is, simply, the food. It’s some of the best stuff you’ll ever eat. Ever. Inspired by Welsh traditional cuisine, the seasonally gathered, locally sourced menu is a feat of imagination and a feast for the senses. It’s all beautifully presented of course, but the feeling is a relaxed one, so you really can just kick back and experience something truly special.


What is it? Veggie junk food for when you want to over-indulge.

Why go? Down the Hatch does veggie junk with a vengeance. Burgers, wraps, mac and cheese – you’re heading for a very happy seitan, tofu and halloumi food coma here. 

What is it? Enter through the bright purple arch on Newington and you’ll find this lively, lovely vegan café.

Why go? Split over two levels in an old Victorian warehouse, this inviting vegan joint offers a colourful menu of pasta, pitta sandwiches, fry-ups and stir-fries to suit all plant-lovers out there. The vast, open-plan café also doubles as a gallery.


What is it? A Mexican bar and restaurant on the Albert Dock serving street food and the best margaritas this side of the River Mersey.

Why go? A five-minute walk from most of the city’s central museums, this is the perfect place to kick back and relax with a tequila or two after a day of culture. Plan your trip to Madre on a summer evening and soak up the sun in the large outdoor seating area. Expect infinite variations of tacos, mezcal margaritas and live music.

Time Out tip: The slow-cooked beef shin and Oaxaca cheese tacos are seriously messy but well worth the salsa stains.

What is it? A true taste of Italy – in one of the city’s homeliest restaurants.

Why go? If you want a restaurant that combines character and charm with brilliant pizza and pasta, then hotfoot it to the Italian Club. With its high ceilings and walls adorned with vintage maps, this much-loved Bold Street institution feels at once understated and lived in. It also offers some of the best Italian food in the North West.

Time Out tip: Check out the vegan menu and gluten-free options to ensure no one misses out on a great meal.

Sapporo Teppanyaki
Photograph: Sapporo Teppanyaki

17. Sapporo Teppanyaki

What is it? A Japanese restaurant where you can watch your (very delish) dinner being cooked right in front of you.

Why go? Sapporo Teppanyaki has three restaurants in England, but its first was in Liverpool. The open kitchen cooks a sizzling mix of traditional Japanese recipes (with a handful of western additions). Tuck into a steaming pile of yakisoba noodles or go lighter with sushi. Sake or Japanese whiskey is, naturally, a must.

What is it? For a chilled-out, chatter-filled dinner, the Salt House has the tapas to keep you going all night.

Why go? Love tapas but bored of patatas bravas? Liverpool’s Salt House gives you the option (actually, loads of options) of ordering tapas done a little bit differently. Spanish flavours still rule, but the chefs don’t limit themselves to Iberia entirely. Instead, you get a thoroughly modern mash-up of international influences and ideas.


What is it? A Georgian Quarter restaurant serving food and cocktails in a beautiful Grade II-listed building.

Why go? As much a delight for the eyes as it is for the taste buds, with its indoor trees ensuring the venue lives up to its name, The Florist offers a great choice of menus including daily brunch served from 9am and a menu for kids. There’s often live music and evenings may see the odd bit of dancing.

What is it? A New York-style pizzeria for when you need melted cheese and you need it now.

Why go? Nothing says a trip to the Big Apple like a big slice of… oh hang on, you’re in Liverpool. Never mind, if you head to TriBeCa for pizza you can easily pretend you’re Stateside and get your fix of garlic bread, olives, calzone and all the other good stuff (including a fair few veggie options).


What is it? A gorgeous, Italian-inspired restaurant in the Georgian Quarter.

Why go? Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter must be one of the prettiest parts of the city, and its namesake restaurant fits right in with its chic decor and laid-back atmosphere. The Quarter’s menu offers the likes of fresh stonebaked pizzas, mezze-style grazing dishes and sharing boards that are so good you won’t actually want to share. Try to save room for dessert – their ice-cream sundaes (including vegan options) are gloriously extravagant.

What is it? Quality modern European food in an unpretentious setting.

Why go? It’s all in the name at the Hanover Street Social Brasserie and Bar. When you want to catch up with a group of friends and share some fancy food, book a table here. You’ve got the option of a three-course menu and wine, or a quick lunch, but whichever route you go down you won’t feel inhibited by a stuffy atmosphere.


What is it? Intimate Japanese restaurant you need to book for.

Why go? Etsu’s not the biggest of restaurants, which is partly what makes it such a brilliant place for dinner à deux. Book in advance and secure a table to enjoy its extensive menu. Wash a Japanese curry or plate of ultra-fresh sushi down with some Shochu.

What is it? All-American burgers.

Why go? These tasty, tasty burgers might well make you temporarily lose all memory of table manners as you try, desperately, to cram one into your mouth. It might not be a first-date venue (unless you look your best with bacon ketchup on your chin) but it’s a great option for a night out with your friends, especially if you get a pitcher of the notorious Bitch Juice cocktail. Although a burger joint isn’t the most obvious choice for veggies, with the option to swap to a plant-based patty, Almost Famous is beloved by meat-eaters and vegans alike.


What is it? American-style pizza that hits the spot after a long, boozy afternoon with mates.

Why go? You popped out after work to get ‘just one drink’ with a friend, but somehow that turned into two and two turned into three and three… well, now you’re really hungry and there’s zero chance you’re cooking. So you go to American Pizza Slice and guzzle the biggest, cheesiest slices of pizza you can pick up. Satisfied? Yes.

What is it? Classy Italian restaurant just around the corner from the Tate Liverpool.

Why go? Liverpool is a great city for a culture fix. But all that self-improvement can be hungry work, making Gusto, which overlooks the Tate, a handy option for quality dining after a gallery visit. There are affordable set-price lunch and dinner menus, and they accept bookings for large tables.

Photograph: Hawksmoor Liverpool

27. Hawksmoor

What is it? An upmarket steak restaurant located in the Grade II-listed India Buildings.

Why go? If you’re looking to celebrate in style, there’s no better way to do it than with one of Hawksmoor’s famous dry-aged steaks. The food speaks for itself, serving up the finest British beef from native, ethically-reared cattle, but you’ll be just as impressed with the restaurant’s decor and fantastic service. Everyone from the door staff to the sommeliers will make you feel totally at home.

Time Out tip: Start and end your meal with one of the award-winning cocktails. The Fuller Fat Old Fashioned, which is made by infusing butter into bourbon, will settle your sweet tooth if you filled up on mains and can’t manage a proper dessert.

What is it? A family-friendly restaurant serving Indian and Nepalese food.

Why go? Much more than your bog-standard British Indian restaurant, Saffron’s baltis, bhunas and chef specials come packed with flavour. There’s a lot of great seafood and vegetarian options too – something for everyone, hopefully.

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