Liverpool is renowned across the world for its music and football but it is also swiftly gaining a reputation for the vibrancy and breadth of choice of its food scene. Diners can experience the ultimate journey of taste sensations and one thing is for sure – you’ll never go hungry on a visit to Liverpool! To quote renowned Liverpool chef Paul Askew: “Any region, any great city, needs a culture of good food and we have a restaurant scene that is developing at an incredible rate of knots”.
The city is rightly proud of its multiculturalism and this is reflected in the food on offer that represents every corner of the globe. You’ll find dishes from Russia, Africa, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Vietnam and Mexico to name but a few. There are more places to eat and more international cuisines than ever before. In fact Liverpool, and its visitors, has never had it so good. As well as catering for every taste, Liverpool’s dining scene provides for every budget, from high-end fine dining, to street food.
The city centre has distinct areas with different characters, each with wonderful eateries ready to discover. You won’t go far wrong by starting your culinary journey on Bold Street, a historic shopping boulevard, oozing atmosphere and character. The Italian Club and Italian Club Fish both have a great reputation in Liverpool, particularly for their clever fusion of Italian and Scottish influences, in recognition of the owner’s heritage.
For uber cool boho style try Leaf, one of the most unique venues in Liverpool. The independent tea shop offers hundreds of varieties of tea, as well as a breakfast, lunch and evening menu. Housed in a distinctive building, Leaf also holds events including vintage fairs and club nights. For lovers of Vietnamese food, check out Pho Vietnamese on Bold Street. The restaurant was launched by a couple who quit their jobs to travel around the world. They were so inspired by Vietnamese street food that they decided to bring the cuisine back to Liverpool.
For those who love Mediterranean food try Souk. Diners with hearty appetites and palates favouring stateside cuisine – think enormous burgers and fat ribs – should head for Red Dog Saloon on Bold Street. The restaurant has also earned a reputation for delicious puddings including Oreo white chocolate fudge pie. Bold Street is also the location for American fast food restaurant Taco Bell, as well as cafe bar Love Thy Neighbour, a social venue with offerings including brunch, superfood smoothies, open sandwiches and organic dishes.
Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free
In nearby Slater Street diners can sample Canadian fast food speciality poutine at Caribou Poutine. The restaurant is the first to bring poutine, chips topped with cheese curds and gravy, to Liverpool. For Persian-inspired, charcoal-fired Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine check out the Shiraz Palace on Ranelagh Street, which also offers a range of delicious mezze dishes.
Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for in Liverpool including one of the city’s latest editions Our Kitchen. Launched by former children’s TV presenter Tara Maguire, the restaurant on Bold Street, serves quirky vegetarian and vegan dishes. In nearby Duke Street, non-meat eaters will love Down the Hatch – which describes itself as Liverpool’s only vegan junk food eatery. Veggie burgers and various deep-fried delights are among the menu choices.
The Egg Café in Newington, just off Bold Street, is located in the light and airy loft space of a former Victorian warehouse. As well as being famed for its vegetarian and vegan breakfasts, the cafe is also a popular meeting place and has its own art gallery. The Meeting House Café in School Lane also offers reasonably-priced vegetarian and vegan fayre.
For those who fancy combining their love of vegetarian and vegan with a trip across the River Mersey, try the recently launched 142 The Lauries in Birkenhead, Wirral. Texan-born chef Sean Paul Redding, who has cooked for celebrities including Paul McCartney, Kate Moss and Liv Tyler, is behind the venture. Sean Paul’s menu matches every meat or fish dish with a vegetarian or vegan alternative.
Allergies are also well catered for in Liverpool with many restaurants offering gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free options. For traditional pub grub lovers, try the Philharmonic on Hope Street, Rigby’s on Dale Street or The Hub Ale House and Kitchen on Hanover Street. At the Blundell Street Supper Club you can combine a fine evening meal with cabaret entertainment. The Pump House at the Albert Dock serves great food and has undergone a £250,000 refurbishment.
Liverpool’s Chinatown is the oldest established in Europe with around 10,000 Chinese residents living in the city and its surrounding areas. In addition to its beautiful Chinese archway, it has some great restaurants and noodle bars offering everything from banquets and all-you-can-eat buffets to dim sum. Highlights include Chy on Renshaw Street, which combines traditional Chinese food with modern cuisine. Matou Pan Asian Restaurant, located in the Mersey Ferry Terminal Building at the Pier Head, gives customers the opportunity to enjoy fine waterfront views as they dine.
Liverpool ONE is a shopping and leisure complex with more than 35 restaurants and cafes, most of which are well-known chains including Nando’s, Five Guys, Pizza Express and Wagamama. Allow your palate to travel the world with cuisine from France, Italy, Japan, America and Thailand. Sample an all American old-style rotisserie at the Club House, while meat lovers can also head to Red’s True BBQ for a variety of slow-cooked meats or sample buttermilk fried chicken at Yard and Coop.
If your taste buds favour cuisine from the Far East, check out Chaophraya for Thai fine dining. Try Browns for classic meat and fish dishes including Chateaubriand, from Browns’ own reared cows, as well as oysters, cocktails and an extensive selection of wines and beers. Diners with a taste for spicy food will also be spoilt for choice in Liverpool. Indian restaurant Barton Rouge has recently opened in Exchange Street in the city centre, following on from the success of its eateries in Heswall on the Wirral and Chester. Specialities include saffron chicken, lamb pepper fry and hyderabadi gosht.
For Indian food with a difference, check out the Liverpool phenomenon that is Mowgli. With two restaurants, in Bold Street and Water Street, the food is inspired by Indian street markets and dishes Indian people prepare and enjoy at home. Highlights include gunpowder chicken, angry bird, Aunty Geeta’s prawn curry and the famous Mowgli chip butty. Delifonseca, located at the Dockside area of the city, is another Liverpool institution. With a menu that changes daily and a deli, it is a foodie paradise.
Try something new
Delifonseca is complemented by its ‘mothership’ restaurant Fonseca, in Stanley Street. Celeb chef Marco Pierre White has established his Steakhouse Bar and Grill at the Indigo Hotel in Chapel Street, while Piccolino in Cook Street is a popular, bustling Italian restaurant with great food and a lively atmosphere to match. The Hope Street area of Liverpool, nestled in between the city’s two iconic cathedrals, is a district blessed with great restaurants. Known as the Georgian Quarter, the area was voted one of the best places to live in the UK in 2018. With its beautiful architecture, history, culture and superb cafes and restaurants, you’ll see why.
At the higher end of the market, 60 Hope Street offers a bistro, restaurant and private dining, with terrific seafood and contemporary meals using fresh, seasonal produce in a convivial atmosphere. At the nearby, multi award-winning London Carriageworks diners can enjoy delicious modern dishes made with local and fresh produce. Former Carriageworks chef Paul Askew has also launched another venture, the Art School Restaurant, where diners can enjoy colourful modern dishes in a space flooded with natural light, thanks to a huge glass roof.
The Quarter, in Falkner Street, is a bustling bohemian cafe and restaurant popular with theatre and music goers attending performances at the nearby Royal Philharmonic Hall and Everyman theatre. You can watch the world go by while sitting outside or inside if it’s raining or chilly, next to huge picture windows that look out on to a cobbled streets – a popular location for TV and film makers. Host is a Pan Asian restaurant located on Hope Street, while the Pen Factory Bar and Bistro, specialising in seasonal, small plate tapas, is the reincarnation of the former Everyman Bistro.
Hardman Street is home to two of Liverpool’s newest restaurants, The Florist and Oktopus The Florist, opened within a former blind school, offers a range of cocktails, world ales and a menu specialising in grill-inspired, deli and rotisserie dishes. Oktopus, which began as an experimental pop-up restaurant before moving into its permanent home, offers clean, simple, seasonal cooking with a focus on the highest quality vegetables and seafood.
Nearby is Duke Street, a historic area that has undergone regeneration in recent years. Here you can enjoy the delicious Japanese food and sheer theatre of Sapporo Teppanyaki. Meats cooked on the grill, sushi, Yamazaki whisky and sake all feature on the menu, while diners are entertained by highly skilled chefs showing off their elaborate food preparation skills. For traditional Italian dishes try Il Forno in Duke Street or the nearby Monro, an award-winning gastropub that features a bar, restaurant, stunning log fire and garden.
Dinner with a view
If you fancy ‘pushing the boat out’ and you have a head for heights, take the lift to the 34th floor of Panoramic 34. The restaurant, one of the highest in the UK, boasts magnificent views of the Liverpool skyline and waterfront and provides a lunch menu, fine dining and afternoon tea. Sip champagne in a building so tall, it makes the 98.2m (322ft) Royal Liver Building look small.
To enjoy great views while eating and drinking, head to Liverpool’s Albert Dock located within the city’s historic waterfront. The area was once at the heart of Liverpool’s commercial empire and, after major restoration, is still thriving thanks to tourism and attractions such as Tate Liverpool, the International Slavery Museum and the Beatles Story. There are many restaurants and cafes to choose from at the Albert Dock including Miller and Carter steakhouse, PANAM, a stylish eatery housed within a former television studio, the renowned Maritime Dining Room and Revolucion de Cuba, a vibrant rum bar and restaurant with a Cantina menu that explores Mexican and Spanish regional cuisine.
Castle Street, in Liverpool’s business district is also lined with great eateries. These include celebrity chef Gino D’ Acampo’s restaurant, featuring a games room and large circular prosecco bar, Neighbourhood brasserie, serving European and New American cuisine and Olive, specialising in Italian fayre within a rustic, friendly environment.
For a taste of South America and a unique dining experience, try Viva Brazil, which has a menu featuring 14 authentic Brazilian BBQ meats. Salads, fish and vegetarian options are also available at this award-winning steakhouse. Liverpool has experienced a renaissance in recent years that has transformed the city beyond all recognition. With thousands of people living and working in and visiting the city centre, a thriving nightlife and its 2008 accolade as European Capital of Culture, the place is booming. This is reflected in the vast array of restaurants, cafes and bars that are now available, as well as food and drink festivals that take place in the city throughout the year. If you come in September you might even get to sample the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival.
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