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deanes, belfast, restaurant

Gastronomy in Belfast

From Michelin-starred restaurants to innovative street-food, Belfast has it covered

Time Out in association with Tourism Ireland

It’s probably fitting that in the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink, the city is proud to boast not one but two Michelin-starred restaurants. These offer the very best of Northern Ireland's produce and innovative flair, but the café scene too is exploding with energy, and indie markets like Folktown are bringing street-food into the mix.

caroline wilson belfast food tour

Taste and Tour food tour

Each weekend Caroline Wilson or a member of her team leads a small group of food fans on this scrumptious tour, which begins at St George’s Market before heading onto other food-themed destinations around the city. It’s a wonderful chance to chat to local producers like Gerry White, creator and founder of Jawbox Gin, and glean interesting tidbits (like why Armagh Bramleys have the same accreditation as champagne). Best of all though is the opportunity to sample some 25 examples of local produce – including dulce from Belfast Lough, beer from the Mourne Mountains and award-winning Young Buck blue cheese from County Down.

Taste and Tour


Belfast food god Michael Deane’s mini-empire of top Belfast eateries continues apace, offering something for all tastes and pockets. On Howard Street, the Michelin-starred EIPIC offers fine dining (and handbag stools) in a refined, warm space that makes it a great place for a very special meal. Next door to it, Deane’s seafood restaurant Love Fish is light, bright and breezy, and serves great-value lunches as well as a late-night menu. And next door to that, the more manly Meat Locker is the place for top steak – six cuts of them – served with proper beef-dripping chips. Other spaces are dotted around the city; book early for the chance to experience all of them in one go via the Deanes on Tour double-decker bus.

Michael Deane

ox restaurant, belfast


The warm lighting and pared-back but alluring interior, complete with open kitchen, draw locals and visitors in droves into Ox, but it’s the incredible food, genial service and laidback ambience that keep them here for hours. Whether indulging in one of the five-course tasting menus or ordering a la carte, you’ll be served the very best of local produce, from Mourne Mountain lamb and Belfast Lough lobster to veggies that taste heavenly. Next door, the Ox Cave Wine bar serves not one but a choice of eight gins originating from the island of Ireland, as well as a great wine list.

Ox Belfast

permit room, belfast

Permit Room

This new spin-off from popular Asian fusion restaurant Howard Street is a winning breakfast, brunch and lunch spot offering flatbreads filled with delicious combos and served with home-made braised beans; salt and chilli beef with Asian slaw; red Thai curry; and plates of Middle Eastern shakshuka eggs. At Permit Room, the wood-panelled space is as warm as the service, and the orange leather banquettes are just made for sinking into. For more international lunch flavours, Grapevine (5 Pottinger’s Entry, 07794 653259), has queues round the block as locals clamour for its pots of Cajun chicken gumbo, sesame pork noodle broth and seafood chowder. At less than £5 for lunch, those queues are well worth joining.

Permit Room

established, coffee, belfast

Established Coffee

Concrete floors, huge plate-glass windows and communal seating give the hip and very good Established coffee a distinctly Scandi feel, but the menu offers delicious dishes from around the globe – recent ones have included miso-buttered corn and feta pancakes, and squash and sweet potato hash with thyme and parmesan cornbread. For the authentic Scandi experience, head to one of Kaffe O’s two branches (on Ormeau Road and Botanic Avenue). The house blend is hand-roasted in Copenhagen, and accompanies smørrebrød topped with delicious mixes, breakfasts featuring smoked salmon or cured meats, or, our personal favourite, the Kaffe O plate.

Established Coffee

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