I was very impressed with the burgeoning food scene in Belfast. Thanks to a friend who worked in a local restaurant, I was able to enjoy some great meals. My top finds include:
Deanes Love Fish: Just having arrived on the train from Dublin, I enjoyed my first meal at Deanes Love Fish, a block from my hotel. Chef Michael Deane is one of the country’s best restaurateurs and chefs and has a Michelin star. His seafood restaurant, Deanes Love Fish, is a bright space with conservatory roof, that features local seafood and shellfish. The deviled crab and sweetcorn on toast plus an arugula salad was perfect. 28-40 Howard St.
Make sure to add the afternoon tea at the Merchant Hotel to your list when you are in town. It is served in their stunning Great Room Restaurant. 16 Skipper St.
James Street & Co.: I had an excellent meal at this contemporary Belfast restaurant located at 21 James St. South. A friend had worked in the kitchen while living there and highly recommended it. They feature a two or three course lunch or pre-theatre menu, a Taste of Ulster Tasting Menu or an a la carte option. The grilled cod, with Wye Valley asparagus, shiitake mushrooms and a citrus cream was an excellent entree choice. Next door is their more casual James Street Bar + Grill.
Mourne Seafood Bar: I enjoyed lunch at this casual restaurant in back of a fish market. The seafood doesn’t get any fresher. For lunch they don’t take reservations, so go early as it is very popular. 34-36 Bank St.
Home Restaurant: This a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant at 22 Wellington near City Hall. They feature a fresh, local and seasonal menu. I enjoyed my Sunday night dinner on my last night in town. The deli in front is open for breakfast or coffee. They feature gluten free and vegetarian options in addition to their regular menu items.
The NY Times in a recent 36 Hours in Belfast highly recommends Buba in the trendy Cathedral Quarter for its Middle Eastern and African-inspired dishes and Edo for its tapas-style plates and charcoal oven (with peat, pear and apple woods) salt-aged steaks plus wine and cocktails. Kelly’s Cellars is recommended for your “post-dinner pint” at 30-32 Bank St.
You might try Belfast Food Tours which operates food tours, bar tours and brewery tours.