It is quite easy to find a good place to eat in Belfast. However, if you are looking for the perfect place in the city for a romantic lunch or dinner, the following are excellent places to start.
For those really hot dates when you want to impress the lady in your life and money is no object, the following four restaurants should rank highly on your list:
(1) The King’s Head
Located at 829 Lisburn Road (Tel: 9050 9950), The King’s Head has recently undergone massive refurbishment but is now open once again. With its sumptuous delights that combine fresh food with the unique local character, it has quickly established itself as one of the most popular venues on Lisburn Road. The restaurant can accommodate up to 120 people.
(2) Live Lounge, Gastro Pub & Beer
The Live Lounge is a superb venue for couples or for groups of friends. It provides visitors with a complete entertainment experience all under one roof. The ambience is decidedly luxurious, but not too formal. When it comes to customer service, the staff here will treat you like an old friend.
(3) Cayenne Restaurant
Located on 7 Ascot House, Shaftsbury Square (Tel: 9033 1532), Cayenne Restaurant quickly made a name for itself among discerning Belfast diners because of its two famous chefs, Paul and Jeanne Rankin. Their cuisine has been described as original and funky, made from the highest quality ingredients. Pre theatre menus cost only about £12.
(4) Restaurant Michael Deane
Located on the first floor on 36-40 Howard Street (Tel: 028 9033 1134), the Restaurant Michael Deane is easy to spot because of the brasserie on the ground floor. This is Belfast’s only Michelin starred restaurant and is renowned for its exquisite food. However, despite its stature, this is not a stuffy place so banish those second thoughts and drop on in.
For those who prefer spending a mid-size budget rather than splurging on food, the following are excellent dining locations in Belfast.
(1) The Apartment
One of the city’s most stylish venues, The Apartment offers a breath-taking view over City Hall. Located at 2 Donegall Square West (Tel: 9050 9777), this cosmopolitan bar and restaurant is a great date venue whether you’re having lunch, dinner, cocktails, wine or even just coffee and croissants. When night falls, the place starts jumping as some of the leading DJs in Belfast hold court amid some of the finest wine and champagne that Belfast has to offer.
(2) The Northern Whig
If you want to bask in sultry and uniquely European style, you will be hard-pressed to find a better venue than The Northern Whig. Located at 2-10 Bridge Street (Tel: 9050 9880), it has a unique ambience that is exclusively its own. There are huge granite statues showing Communist workers in different poses, said to have been acquired by the owner right after the fall of Communism in Prague. At night, The Northern Whig offers live music and an extensive selection of house cocktails that are a huge hit.
(3) Café Paul Rankin
If you want to rub elbows with Northern Ireland’s premiere celebrity chef, then this is the place to visit. With branches at 12-14 Arthur St, 27-29 Fountain St and Castle Court Shopping Centre, this café is the house that Paul Rankin built, in addition to his restaurant and regular appearances on BBC Television. It provides a decidedly modern twist on Northern Irish Classics such as sophisticated wraps, sandwiches, soups and cakes.
(4) Mercury Bar & Grill
The original Italian restaurant in Belfast is still widely regarded as the best place for Italian food, plus the prices are not so bad either. Located at 451 Ormeau Rd (Tel: 9064 9017), Mercury Bar and Grill offers its main courses at £7 to 15, which is ridiculously low for the quality of food that they deliver.
(5)Bennett’s Café & Restaurant
Among the city’s café society, this café is hands-down the best café/restaurant in East Belfast. Located at 4 Belmont Rd (Tel: 9065 6590), Bennett’s Café and Restaurant provides exquisite and freshly made culinary delights from early in the day to late at night, every single day. The main courses are available for just £10.
(6) The Northern Whig Bar and Restaurant
This is a sister company of The Northern Whig and is located on the same street, but The Northern Whig Bar and Restaurant specializes in Irish cuisine above everything else. Also located on Bridge Street (Tel: 9050 9888), The Northern Whig Bar and Restaurant is open from 12pm-9pm on Mondays to Saturdays and from 1pm to 9pm on Sundays. The main courses are available for £7-£13.
(7) Ba Soba
Located at 38 Hill St. behind the Cathedral (Tel: 9058 6868), Ba Soba is a popular brasserie that is frequented by people from far and wide.