Northern Ireland may be renowned for its landscapes, coastlines, golf and Game of Thrones but for foodies it’s also a magical place.
The AA Restaurant Guide 2020 includes 18 establishments from Northern Ireland on its shortlist and across the country there are also many amazing pubs, shacks and eateries to dine in.
Here we pick out some of the best places to eat when you visit Northern Ireland.
OX – Belfast
Michelin-starred restaurant OX offers relaxed dining overlooking the River Lagan in Belfast. With their combined wealth of experience in fine dining, co-owners Stephen Toman and Alain Kerloch aim to provide the same quality of food and attentive service, but in a more relaxed, simple environment. Each dish on the menu is thoughtfully and creatively designed so every element of the dish has an integral role in showcasing the best quality seasonal produce.
1 Oxford Street, Belfast BT1 3LA; oxbelfast.com
Harry’s Shack – Portstewart, Co Antrim
The natural scenery at Harry’s Shack is as memorable as the food. The rustic seafood restaurant is situated on the fringes of Portstewart Strand beach and has stunning views of the Causeway Coastal Route. Fish fresh from local boats, local beers, quality wines and fabulous views make it unique and a favourite amongst locals and visitors.
118 Strand Road, Portstewart, BT55 7PG; resdiary.com
Brunel’s – Newcastle, Co Down
Brunel’s is in the seaside town of Newcastle, situated on the coast of Northern Ireland with the stunning Mourne Mountains standing tall over the town. Head chef Paul Cunningham has ensured that the restaurant’s menu focuses on bold and creative gourmet dishes using the freshest regionally sourced ingredients, really showcasing seasonal produce at its best.
32 Downs Road, Newcastle BT33 0AG; brunelsrestaurant.co.uk
Walled City Brewery Restaurant – Derry-Londonderry
The Walled City Brewery is a multi-award winning restaurant and brewhouse based in Ebrington Square, Derry-Londonderry. By having a fully operating brewery and accompanying restaurant in the same building, it is the first of its kind in the country. Guests can get a real “taste of the North West” with some incredible beer and food on offer. Those wanting to find out more about the brewery can take part in the Beer Masterclass, a 1.5-hour interactive experience where beer enthusiasts will learn all about the history of brewing whilst tasting the ten craft beers on offer.
70 Ebrington Square, Derry-Londonderry; walledcitybrewery.com
Fullerton Arms – Ballintoy, Co Antrim
The Fullerton Arms is a fantastic pub in Ballintoy that serves authentic Irish cuisine using incredible local produce, and visitors should be sure to try the famous Strangford Rope Mussels available in a range of different sauces. Ballintoy was also used as one of the filming locations for smash hit TV show Game of Thrones, with some of the scenes in the Iron Islands shot in the harbour. Visitors to the Fullerton Arms can sneak a peek at the stunning carved wooden door that is on display at the pub, created as part of a campaign to commemorate season six of Game of Thrones. With only ten on display around Northern Ireland, it makes a visit extra special.
22 Main Street, Ballintoy, Ballycastle BT54 6LX; fullerton-arms.com
Mourne Seafood Bar – Belfast
This busy restaurant located in Belfast has a superb menu featuring fresh shellfish carefully hand-selected from its independently-run shellfish beds. Mourne Seafood has been praised by top critics including the Observer Food Monthly Awards and was also voted as a “top choice” by Lonely Planet.
34- 36 Bank Street Belfast, BT1 1HL; mourneseafood.com
Sleepy Hollow – Newtownabbey
If you’re looking for some place warm and cosy, then Sleepy Hollow may be the perfect choice. One of the 18 Northern Irish establishments shortlisted by the AA for its Restaurant Guide 2020, this Newtownabbey favourite is renowned for its modern Irish food as well as serving classic dishes using new innovative techniques.
13 Kiln Rd, Newtownabbey BT36 4SU; sleepyhollowrestaurant.com
Deanes EIPIC – Belfast
Located in the heart of Belfast, Deanes EIPIC serves the best of local ingredients cooked to award-winning standards. The restaurant retained its Michelin star last year and in May head chef Alex Greene scored a double win during finals week of the Great British Menu. He cooked two of the courses (starter and dessert) in this year’s banquet.
28-40 Howard St, Belfast BT1 6PF; deaneseipic.com