Belfast is fast becoming known as a city renowned for its food and drink.
In fact, the BBC Good Food Show recently released their 20 Greatest Places To Eat In Belfast ahead of their Waterfront show in mid-October, and they hit the nail on the head with each mouth-watering recommendation.
Meanwhile, The Guardian’s ‘Alternative City Guide To Belfast‘ managed to capture some of our favourite quirky destinations for a night out doing what we do best – eating and drinking.
As a triumphant result, every week new restaurants, cafes, bars and casual dining options are opening their doors to Belfast for the first time. And thankfully right now is no exception.
Victoria Square – Website
Marking its first much-anticipated venture into Northern Ireland with it’s launch of Zizzi in Belfast’s Victoria Square in October, this international chain is creating 35 jobs.
The popular Italian restaurant already operates 140 restaurants across the UK and Ireland, and is famed for its authentic Italian food, family friendly atmosphere and mouth-watering pizzas.
And according to the Victoria Square website, there will now be something of an ‘Italian Quarter’ in the popular shopping destination – as it’s set to open beside Pizza Express and Prezzo.
Look out for such foodie highlights as the new, mouth-watering addition to the menu, the Fritto Misto. This sharing dish boasts king prawns, calamari, mussel ‘popcorn’, peppers, artichoke & courgette, all lightly battered and served with chilli, lemon, parsley & an aioli dip.
The new restaurant will be open from noon to 11pm every day apart from Sunday when it will close at 10.30pm and it also offers extensive Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Veggie alternatives.
2. Town Square Bar
12 Lower Crescent – Website
The Bar at Town Square officially launched on Friday, with party boasting Rodger Montgomery on the decks playing a mix of disco and oddities all evening, as well as a series of giveaways and free drinks on the night.
The new bar is adjacent to the existing Town Square Café, with an entrance on Lower Crescent. However thanks to some quirky design work, that team have managed to ensure we can access the bar via the existing café. So we don’t even have to get our hair wet.
As well as the impressive list of eight beers available on draught, you can choose from a wide selection of craft beers, cocktails, ciders, gin, vodka, wine and bubbly – amongst others.
3. il Gusto Ristorante
423 Lisburn Road – Website
New Italian eatery il Gusto Ristorante is due to open its doors on Wednesday, September 28.
Located beside Eddie Rockets, the new 40-seater restaurant has been given a complete make-over and will specialise in offering healthy authentic Italian food options, which they hope will set it apart from other Italian eateries in Belfast.
They’ll be sourcing their food products from local suppliers where possible, ranging from homemade pasta and pizzas to fish and meat dishes. It will be fully licensed, open seven days a week and is planning to offer both dine in and take out options. They also have a separate outside heated decking area.
Abbeycentre, Newtownabbey – Website
Chicken chain Nando’s is expanding its reach across Northern Ireland with a new restaurant just outside Belfast! In a move that will create dozens of jobs, the South African-owned business is set to move into the Abbeycentre in Newtownabbey.
The news comes as plans were submitted to take over an area of the centre’s food court. It comes after the chain opened its fourth locations at Boucher Crescent in south Belfast. As well as its two current branches in the city, it operates a third in Derry.
Castle Lane – Website
Bakery chain Greggs has opened its fourth shop in Belfast on the bustling Castle Lane, creating 18 new jobs.
The chain first entered the Northern Ireland market in 2015, with a franchised shop at the M2 Applegreen station – which sensationally brought traffic to a halt as curious commuters strained to catch a view of the famous pastry chain.
This was followed by a further two franchised shop openings in partnership with Applegreen on the A26 outside Ballymena and on the M1, near Lisburn.
It opened its first company-managed store at Boucher Retail Park in March this year, followed by one in the city centre at Royal Avenue in May and then Dargan Road in the north of the city.
The retailer offers its range of freshly baked savouries and meal deals – as well as its range of freshly prepared sandwiches, confectionery products and coffee.
In today’s health-conscious climate, Gregg’s have had to adapt with its growing Balanced Choice range, offering a healthier range of sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups and breakfast foods.