In June I went to spend a week with my younger sister who lives in Belfast. Half our family are from Northern Ireland and she decided about 5 or 6 years ago that she wanted to go and move over there to be closer to her roots and to study art. This lends me the perfect excuse for many an excursion to this beautiful city.
I love Belfast, everything about it. The atmosphere is relaxed, yet vibrant. The people are incredibly friendly. There is a rich history and culture which is one of the things I love most in a city. There is always something going on and something do to. But most of all I love the food. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad meal in Ireland, or even an average one come to think of it. There are some truly outstanding places to eat in this city but these are the places that I will without fail go to have lunch every time I go to Belfast because of the mouth wateringly good food which is produced every single time I eat there.
My favourite place to go and eat is Il Pirata. A quirky modern Italian resturant, stumbled upon by chance and quickly became a firm favourite. It has a relaxed, modern feel and is a great place to order lots of small plates to share which I love. And the service is polite, friendly, attentive and quick. What more could you want.
The way we like to approach the menu is to order a number of things from the Cichetti, Pizzetta, Pane/Insalata and Contorni sections and share it amongst ourselves to ensure we get a great selection because everything on the menu is just so good. Every single thing I’ve eaten here has been so incredibly tasty that it makes it impossible not to want to order more, so the sharing approach is the best for our greedy little mouths! If you do fancy a larger main then just order something off the pasta, risotto or piato section. Whichever way you decide to style your meal, you can be guaranteed that you’ll want to go back here! I absolutely love it!
The best cafe I have come across in Belfast, and one that certainly seems popular with the locals is Maggie May’s. Again, this is a very relaxed place to go and eat and extremely affordable home cooked food. The food tastes mmmmtious, is all prepared from scratch and comes in hearty portions provided quickly from friendly staff. The garlic fries are to die for (for a garlic and butter fiend anyways!) so make sure not to miss those, but what I go for on an early morning visit is a good ol’ Ulster Fry complete with potato, soda bread and pancake.
Perfect spot to come and fill up, sit back and read a book or the newspaper and pass an hour in the morning before heading out to explore the streets of this wonderful city.
The Dirty Duck
The Dirty Duck in Holywood is situated on the sea front and I love going here to sit and watch the view whilst dining on really fantastic food. There are always really great seasonal dishes on the menu which always seem to be what I opt for and are always really well made, but even the regular menu is fantastic. They also have a great bar for a cheeky pint or two!
Let me know if you give any of these restaurants a try, I’d love to know if you enjoy them as much as I do!