Belfast: Center of Northern Ireland’s New Cuisine

Belfast: Center of Northern Ireland’s New Cuisine

When thinking of your next golf trip to Northern Ireland, you may not consider cuisine at the top of your list of things to experience. But Ireland is having a foodie moment, with local produce, cheeses, and meats becoming the stars of the gourmet show. In cities like Belfast, local chefs are elevating Northern Irish staples to new heights.

Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is at the center of the gourmet renaissance there. Because of its proximity to the sea, fish is a great place to start with new Irish cuisine. Oysters are an especially good choice, as they come in fresh to restaurants like Mourne Seafood Bar ( and Love Fish ( High in protein and low in fat, oysters have been a staple of Irish diets for at least 5,000 years. Now you can enjoy them fresh off the half-shell or prepared in a trendy new way, such as fried in a tempura breading. Enjoy a pint of local beer or cider with your oysters and take a minute to sample other local seafood, including haddock, local salmon, and cod.

If you’re feeling adventurous in cooking up your own Irish cuisines, head to St. George’s Market ( to find the freshest local seafood, as well as other staples like cheese, fruit, and vegetables. The fish section of the market has a reputation for being the leading retail fish market on the island, with 23 fish stalls for you to look through. You can also find wild meats such as venison or pheasant (in season), spices, chocolates, and even European treats like French pastries, Spanish tapas, and, of course, coffee or tea. If you care to leave the cooking to the professional chefs, you can always find books, antiques, jewelry and other locally-made items at the market, too.

Gastropubs are increasingly popular in Ireland, allowing diners to enjoy the very best cuisine in a more casual setting. While you’ll still find classic pub fare like fish and chips or bangers and mash, you’ll find that they’re made with the freshest local and seasonal ingredients available. Hip hangouts like The Garrick Bar ( incorporate classic pints and solid food with dancing, DJs, and nightlife. Open 24 hours, gastropubs like Horatio Todds offer lunch, dessert, and cocktails, as well as set menus of two or three courses at very affordable prices.

If you’re looking for fine dining, Belfast does not disappoint. With a Michelin star to its name, Ox ( delivers experimental takes on seasonal fare, with menus created specifically based on what local suppliers have to offer. Other Michelin-rated restaurants include Deane’s Eipic ( (a sister restaurant to Love Fish), and the Old Schoolhouse Inn ( The latter is a 20-minute drive outside of the city center, but the award-winning kitchen and accommodations are worth the trip. James Street South ( offers another opportunity for great food matched with great service in a relaxed environment, where you can try more traditional fine dining fare such as steaks, risotto, and, of course, seafood.

While Ireland may always rely on its reputation for meat-and-potatoes meals crowned with whiskey and pints of stout beer, Belfast is helping secure Northern Ireland’s place on the map as a food-lover’s dream. With dozens of choices from Michelin-rated to casual dining, you won’t be disappointed with a food tour of Belfast.

Not sure where to start? We can help organize your trip to match the perfect day of golf with the perfect Northern Irish culinary experience. Give us a call so we can start planning your trip today.