Gary and I spent five days in Belfast a few weeks ago, and the city totally blew me away.
He was working nights, so I spent a lot of time on my own in the evenings (I drank a lot of hotel wine and watched a LOT of Chef’s Table on Netflix, and I’m a-ok with that!).
Instead, most of the time we had together to explore was in the mornings. We wandered the streets of Cathedral Quarter, strolled through the Botanical Gardens, paid a visit to the Ulster museum, and had a lovely time just soaking up the buzzy atmosphere and snapping photos of the street art.
Oh, and eating. We did a LOT of eating too!
One of the things that surprised me most about Belfast was the food and drink scene. There is SO much exciting stuff happening here! 2016 was the city’s Year of Food and Drink, and it seems to have just kept growing from there on in. From fancy tasting tables, to budget breakfasts, traditional dishes, and artisan coffee, there’s something for everyone.
In fact, there’s SO many somethings, that I’ve split this post in two. Today you’ll get to read all about my morning suggestions: fabulous coffees, millenial breakfasts and delicious lunches. And tomorrow I’ll share everywhere we ate dinner and all the pubs we visited.
Ready? Let’s go!
Oh! Donuts was the first place I went on the morning I landed in Belfast. I had a couple of hours to kill before Gary arrived, so I took Sarah’s advice and headed there in search of donuts, coffee and free wifi.
It’s quite small, but it’s very cute and the branding is amazing. They have a giant mural at the back of the restaurant, with a few tables, stools and (most importantly) plugs.
I tried the donut with greek yoghurt and granola, which was LOVELY. I’m a big fan of the yoghurt topping idea, as it wasn’t too sweet and made it feel a bit more breakfasty. I also grabbed Gary a salted caramel donut for later (because I’m a great girlfriend), which was filled with thick salted caramel sauce. Super sweet, but very delicious.
The staff were lovely, the coffee was really great, and I got to charge my phone up. What else can you ask for? It’s perfect if you just want to sit down somewhere with a good coffee and a delicious snack.
This place came up several times when I asked for suggestions on Instagram. The coffee here is one of the best we had in Belfast, and we had some really great coffee on this trip.
It’s the most expensive option on this list, but we came here three times over five days, so apparently it’s worth it!
The space is huge, with tall ceilings and a very minimal industrial feel about it. There are lots of seats and big tables, but the place was packed full of students and Macbook-workers every time we visited, so we just grabbed our coffee to takeaway.
They have a small breakfast and sandwich menu, but again they’re pretty pricey. If you do want a snack, I fully recommend the salted caramel brownie. I made a lot of v inappropriate noises while I ate mine!
We popped in here for a quick coffee on our way to the Botanic Gardens. The coffee at our hotel was DIRE and we were in desperate need of caffeine, so we literally just jumped into the first place we found that looked decent.
It turned out to be a GREAT choice as the coffee at Town Square was fantastic. Strong, fruity, and the latte milk was perfectly creamy. We pulled up a couple of stools to a sunny window seat and had a nice little chill out time before wandering off again.
Their breakfast menu looks excellent and is served until 5pm, and they also have a great little choice of cakes and scones.
This was another Instagram suggestion, and one of my favourites!
Inside, pocket is TINY. There are a couple of window seats, and about 6 tables squished together in the middle. We chose to sit outside, partly for the sunshine, and partly for the highly instagrammable yellow patio furniture.
We ordered inside, and within minutes the waiter descended on us with hot creamy lattes and piles of avocado on sourdough toast. I had mine with a deliciously garlicky green sauce and poached eggs, while Gary opted for bacon and watercress. The avocado was well-seasoned (a crucial factor!), and both my eggs and his bacon were cooked to gooey/crispy perfection.
Other menu items that caught my eye: the buddha bowl with grilled halloumi, and the maple french toast with apples, creme fraiche and pecan butter. *drool*
It’s right opposite the university, so it tends to be very full of students, so aim for a late breakfast or early lunch to beat the crowds.
The surprisingly spacious cafe was filled to the brim, and we had to wait about 10 minutes to be seated, but it was definitely worth it. Sat at a tiny table in the window, we scanned the menu and ordered cheeseburgers, fries, and giant vanilla milkshakes, drizzled with chocolate sauce, and sprinkled with tiny marshmallows.
The burgers were good, the fries hot and crispy, and the milkshakes were GREAT, but it quickly became obvious that we’d missed out on their specialty. Around us, everyone was working their way through plates of Ulster fry, a variation of the English breakfast that features soda farls (my favourite!) and potato bread.
The whole menu is super reasonably priced, the staff were fantastic, and I think it’s definitely a place to look out for if you’re on a budget.