Set out on a food trail of local specialties and gourmet treats across Northern Ireland, and prepare for a taste sensation.
Local food and drink heroes
Wherever you go in Northern Ireland, you’ll naturally find fabulous food and drink, but you’ll also hear stories of the passionate people who rear, make, cook, distill and serve these feasts to your table.
Handled by the experts
Of course, all that great produce needs to be handled with respect and a legion of excellent chefs, from Noel McMeel at Lough Erne Resort in County Fermanagh to Derek Creagh at Harry’s Shack in Portstewart, County Londonderry, certainly know what they’re doing. It’s what makes travelling here so rewarding – from small village delis to luxury resorts, there’s a real sense of creativity, quality and innovation.
Created by you
Want to brush up on your own skills, or learn something new? Cookery schools in Northern Ireland will broaden your culinary vision, with panoramic backdrops that really elevate the experience. Just look at the Belle Isle Cookery School on the magnificent Belle Isle Estate in County Fermanagh, or the Mourne Seafood Cookery School, in County Down overlooking pretty Kilkeel Harbor. It’s a great way to create something new.
Walk around Belfast and you’ll find yourself in the centre of a food and drink renaissance. Northern Ireland’s capital has become a hive of high-grade chefs, producing some seriously exciting dishes. Step through the black frontage of OX or enter the hallowed doors of EIPIC, and you’ll encounter modern, Michelin-starred dishes that celebrate Northern Ireland’s quality local produce.
This is a city rippling with great places to eat. There are cool coffee hangouts like Established, and buzzing urban hubs like Town Square. There are elegant restaurants like James Street South, and innovative spots like Shu. And the mantra right now? As Bib Gourmand-winner Home likes to proclaim: “Fresh. Local. Seasonal.” You only have to wander around St. George’s Market to see what chefs in Northern Ireland have on their doorstep: grass-fed beef, sumptuous artisan cheese, succulent oysters.
And the culinary successes don’t stop in Belfast. Harry’s Shack in Portstewart, a seafood hotspot that was rated Ireland’s Restaurant of the Year just months after it opened in 2014.
A passion for local, natural produce, chefs at high-grade eateries, such as Blakes of the Hollow, Newforge House and The Parson’s Nose are proving that to get the very best, you don’t have to go far…
And it doesn’t stop at Belfast’s city borders. Head outside the capital and you’ll encounter distinctisense of adventure is reflected in menus across Northern Ireland, whether at the elegant Browns in Derry-Londonderry, or The Poacher’s Pocket – a refined gastropub in Comber, County Down. Fuelled by a Travel around Northern Ireland, and you’ll quickly notice the surge in homegrown craft beers and artisan ciders, with an emphasis on small, high-grade breweries. Take a seat in centuries-old pubs such as Grace Neills (1611) in County Down, or The Brewer’s House in Donaghmore, County Tyrone, and enjoy crisp local brews and fruity ciders. Keep your eye out as you travel around for names such as Sheelin from County Fermanagh, Whitewater from the Mourne Mountains, Kilmegan Cider from County Down, and Hilden from County Antrim.
Many of these beers, ales, stouts and ciders pair brilliantly with seafood and local flavours, so if you’re visiting one of Northern Ireland’s gastropubs, make sure to ask about matching the right drink with the right food. Take it from us – it’s the best way to enjoy them.