Thursday, 27 July 2017

Top 5 Fine Dining Belfast

Looking for a fine dining experience in Northern Ireland?  We've got you covered with our guide to the top 5 fine dining restaurants in Northern Ireland, based on Trip Advisor ratings.  Our view is that 'the customer is always right' and what better way to rank the top 5, than using ratings provided by the diners themselves!  Let's start at number 5 and work our way to the number 1 spot.

5 - Saphyre

Saphyre restaurant in Belfast is a fabulous hidden gem set within a converted Grade B listed Church. The Belfast restaurant on the Lisburn Road is personally designed by Kris Turnbull, bright & cheerful during the day and at night seductively lit by candle lights, offering a warm welcoming, moody atmosphere.

The glamorous layout of the restaurant translates beautifully, whether it's girly lunch in Belfast, a romantic evening, night out with friends, family gathering or private party venue; the intimate dining room is perfect for all occasions.  Check out the menus Here.

What did the diners have to say about their experience?

"Have visited Saphyre on numerous occasions and have never been disappointed once. The restaurant, the setting the staff are all 5star. Have tried various menus & drinks and all have been gorgeous. Will definitely keep returning."

"I have been to Saphyre many times, from lunch with my mum to the wine tasting dinner with friends. I have loved it and it's very special. Fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere. The food is exciting and innovative and the desserts look like a picture on a plate!! A night here creates great memories..and you can't leave before a visit to the beautiful bathroom!!"

"Went back to this great restaurant on my citytrip to Belfast, this restaurant! The decor, the food AND the cocktails! What we ate was absolutely delicious. An explosion of flavours, refined and all the dishes were creative and extremely astonishing. The wine also was fantastic and well selected. A cozy and luxurious location but discrete decoration you can experience and discover innovating dishes, enjoying pairing wines from all over the world, we just loved it!!!"

To book; click Here, Email:, or call +442890688606.

135 Lisburn Road
Co. Antrim

4 - The Great Room Restaurant Merchant Hotel

The Great Room Restaurant is undoubtedly one of Northern Ireland’s most extraordinary restaurants. Thanks to the remarkable original Victorian interior with its glass cupola, Ireland’s largest chandelier an array of plasterwork detailing, the space is second to none.

From 9 course tasting menus to light business lunching (and everything in between) The Great Room offers a comprehensive selection of menus to suit all tastes and budgets.  To view the menus, click Here.

What did the diners have to say about their experience?

"Honestly this was one of the best dining experiences I've ever had. The Great Room is a sight to behold - it's just stunning, the wait staff are professional and the food is out of this world. I will be back."

"We visited for an anniversary dinner and had an excellent meal. Menu choice was good, service was fantastic and the food was cooked to perfection. The atmosphere was also great, intimate, but still spacious."

"We arranged afternoon tea for my family who were visiting from Australia. This place is a showcase for N Ireland. The restaurant staff showed us to our table and were made very welcome. Soon we had to order our food and type of tea. I have to say it felt very special for all of us. The food provided was wonderful."

To book; click Here, Email:, or call +44(0)28 9023 4888.

The Merchant Hotel
16 Skipper Street
Northern Ireland

3 - Shu Restaurant

Open since 2000, Shu (the ancient Egyptian God of atmosphere) is set in a fine Victorian terrace on Belfast's Lisburn Road.  Furnished in a contemporary style a bright space with lots of natural light, the 90 seater main restaurant has a theatre style kitchen which serves award winning food.

Check out the Lunch menu Here and the Evening menu Here.

What did the diners have to say about their experience?

"The best restaurant in Belfast. Consistently of the highest standard. We simply have yet to find a restaurant in Belfast that can rival Shu."

"I love Shu. I look at the menu and I want to order it all and if I could I'd go every week so I could just work my way through it- and then start at the beginning again!! Excellent service and atmosphere too. In fact I'm going on Saturday lunchtime with my girl friends - yeah!!"

"While in Belfast my wife and I had dinner at Shu. Excellent food, great attentive service and not over the top prices for the quality of the experience. This should be on your go to list of restaurants when visiting Belfast."

To book; click Here, Email:, or call 028 9038 1655.

253 Lisburn Road

2 - James Street South

James St. South offers a modern dining experience with great food and an exciting wine list in Belfast city centre.  Opened in 2003 by chef Niall McKenna, the interiors have been refurbished by Aidan McGrath (McGonigle and McGrath Architects) transforming the restaurant to give a modern, contemporary feel restaurant making it glamorous and unique.

The menu served up by Head Chef David Gillmore focuses on classic cooking using the best of locally sourced produce with signature dishes including Strangford Lough Bouillabaise and Organic Lamb... For a peek at our current menus click here.

What did the diners have to say about their experience?

"This is what a restaurant is all about. Fantastic service and food cooked with genuine skill and knowledge of ingredients. This is what good food is all about. Really looking forward to revisiting very soon. Well done to all those involved in what was a very memorable evening."

"The food was delicious, one of the best meals I have eaten in a long time. The staff are exceptionally attentive and friendly, making us feel extremely welcome and well looked after the entire time. We had the tasting menu and all courses were excellent, the staff explained each course as it was presented and it honestly was one of the best meals I have eaten. I cannot recommend this restaurant highly enough!"

"We went here for a birthday meal and had the a la carte menu, which was superb. The food was amazing and the service was second to none. A nicely relaxed environment with no pretentions but fantastic food and service which made us feel special. Thoroughly recommend."

To book; click Here, Email:, or call 028 90 434 310.

21 James Street South
Northern Ireland

1 - Ox

In March 2013 two long standing friends, each passionate about their craft, each with a desire to bring something new to the Belfast restaurant scene combined forces and opened OX overlooking the River Lagan.  The riverside setting offers an excellent backdrop to this Oscar & Oscar designed 40 seat restaurant, while an intimate mezzanine area provides for more secluded dining.

Check out the Lunch menu Here and the Evening menu Here.

Their focus is on bringing you a top quality, memorable and affordable product that you will want to try again and again.  They enjoy working for their customers and believe everyone should be able to enjoy fantastic food and wine, something a little different, in a relaxed environment.

What did the diners have to say about their experience?

"Visited ox for a birthday dinner recently. Started out with a glass of wine from the ox cave. A really enjoyable setting for a quiet drink. We then moved on into the restaurant for the tasting menu. The simple but tasteful decor provided a lovely setting. The food was excellently presented and tasted even better, from start to finish. The staff couldn't have been more friendly or helpful. Will certainly be back"

"We ate the Tasting Menu of eight delicious small courses served along with their wine pairing. Fresh, perfectly cooked, with delightful little surprises along the way. It was a memorable expereince and we will definately return."

"Truly one of the best dining experiences - from beginning to end, everything was perfect. The food, wine and service were utterly superb. Cannot wait to return."

"This restaurant has a Michelin star - and deserves it. Stunning food. If you want to save money - try the pre-theatre menu. Trust me, you won't regret it."

To book; click Here, Email:, or call +44 (0)28 9031 4121.

1 Oxford Street

We hope you liked this and it helps you make an informed decision when it comes to fine dining in Belfast.


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