Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Belfast
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best Belfast restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 14 restaurants in Belfast and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Belfast restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Belfast Restaurants
1. House of Zen restaurant in Belfast 3 St Anne's Sq - BT1
Cocooned in the Heart of the Cathedral Quarter is the newest addition to the Zen Restaurant Group, the Cool and Elegant House of Zen.Now open since April 2012, The House of Zen blends a little bit of The Orient into the Traditional cobbled streets and cosy bars of the C...
2. Ox Irish restaurant in Belfast 1 Oxford St - BT1
“A great vibe makes up for the ordinary-looking space” at Stephen Toman’s waterside venue, whose “fun” style is fueled by “lots of staff milling about to help you have a good time”; and the “exciting wine list from his attached wine bar” (OxCave). But it’s far more than just a good-time place – renowned as one of the island of Ireland’s top kitchens – and it serves an “exceptional”, “well thought-out” and “good value” tasting menu (10 courses for £75).
3. Edo Spanish restaurant in Belfast 3 Capital House, Unit 2 Upper Queen Street - BT1
2022 Review: “Excellent tapas-style dishes (not all Spanish themed), a decent wine list and great cocktails with efficient and friendly service” combine to make Jonny Elliott’s four-year-old an attractive option in the centre of town. There’s an open kitchen so “you can watch the chefs working away, including their wood-fired oven” – one of the first Bertha ovens in Ireland.
4. Deanes Eipic British, Modern restaurant in Belfast 28-40 Howard Street - BT1
The flagship destination in the city-centre restaurant complex opened by pioneering Belfast chef Michael Deane 25 years ago, Eipic now has rising head chef Alex Greene at the helm, turning out “exceptional” and stylish cuisine – “I’ve eaten half a dozen Michelin star meals this year and Eipic edges it for me – better value for money, and you can dip in and out of the matching wines rather than having £90 added to the bill for taking all the pairings”. Sceptics can find it “a bit uptight and textbook, even if the food is well-cooked” – “you get into Eipic (and indeed go to the toilet) by walking through another Deanes restaurant, and each time I did so I wanted to stay there instead!”
5. James St Steaks & grills restaurant in Belfast 19-21 James Street South - BT2
2021 Review: Solidly good marks last year for Niall and Joanne McKenna’s “understated and classy” venue, which last year incorporated its neighbouring ‘bar and grill’ and fine dining operations into a single more brasserie-style set-up, complete with cocktail bar: many of the dishes, including steaks, come from the charcoal grill.
6. Mourne Seafood Bar Fish & seafood restaurant in Belfast 34 - 36 Bank Street - BT1
“Having helped create Belfast’s vibrant foodie vibe”, this well-known venue is still “a must-visit in the city”. “Small and cosy, with wooden tables and a great atmosphere”, it serves a “varied menu in generous portions, with interesting specials alongside staples”. A newly extended beer garden with gazebos and heaters also offers street-food-style menu from ‘The Shack’. Top Menu Tip – “the mussels are always superb”.
7. Howard Street British, Modern restaurant in Belfast 56 Howard Street - BT1
2021 Review: Marty Murphy’s well-liked, industrially styled brasserie (est 2013, and recently revamped, adding to its appeal) may not gain any particular raves, but is a decidedly “decent” spot by all accounts – and, even on a “very busy Saturday night, it still produces good solid cooking”.
8. Five Guys Belfast Burgers, etc restaurant in Belfast Victoria Square Shopping Centre, 1 Victoria Square - BT1
2021 Review: “When all you want is an old-school burger”, these US-based arrivals of recent years really “hit the spot” – you can “build your own”, with “tons of accessories”; plus “seriously addictive fries”, “thick milkshakes”, and “more soda flavours than is reasonable”. “The eat-in experience is as depressing as McDonald’s”, though, in fact perhaps more so – “some branches have a strangely gloomy ambience” – but fans feel that “if you don’t mind 1980s-rock, a trip can still be surprisingly fun”.
9. Fish City Fish & seafood restaurant in Belfast 33 Ann Street - BT1
2022 Review: “Fabulous fishy food” is “freshly cooked and served by very friendly staff” at this straightforward but jolly three-storey spot – Belfast’s first sustainable seafood restaurant, whose menu ranges beyond chippie staples to local Carlingford oysters and other Irish seafood. “All in all a wonderful experience and well worth a visit”.
10. Six by Nico International restaurant in Belfast 23-31 Waring Street - BT1
“Such amazing value for a six-course, themed, tasting menu” that changes every six weeks – that’s the USP of Nico Simeone’s national chain, which, over five years, has grown from its Glasgow base to number nine in total (with London having two: in Fitzrovia and Canary Wharf). Of course it’s “slightly gimmicky”, but on the whole it’s “a good effort at a budget experience”: “you get what you pay for, and while not all dishes hit the mark, and service can be a bit hit ’n’ miss (particularly at busy times), it is innovative, has a great buzz and is a lot of fun”.
11. Noble Irish restaurant in Holywood 27a Church Rd - BT18
“Ticking all the boxes, with modern but unpretentious food of fine quality in decent portion sizes” – including “some top seafood”. It’s a “small, intimate” place with a “buzzy atmosphere and friendly service” from ‘butler’ Saul McConnell and “fantastic quality food” from cook Pearson Morris. “I stumbled on it by chance, but will return for sure!”
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