Best Places to Eat in Liverpool
The Beatles, Steven Gerrard, John Bishop – Liverpool is a city known for many things. One of the things that it’s less well known for, and it’s hard to pinpoint why, is its food. Scouse might be the most famous dish to come out of the city, but Liverpool has a lot more to offer than just meat and potato and stew.
The food scene in Ireland’s second capital is as vibrant, exciting, and delicious as just about every other major city in the UK. While it may not have always been the case, If you’re looking for the best places to eat in Liverpool today, the main difficulty you’ll face will be choosing which of the many good places to go rather than rifling through a glut of disappointing eateries.
Yes, some of the best restaurants in the country can be found in Liverpool and the city’s food scene has really picked up steam over the last few years. It doesn’t matter whether you’re after Jamaican jerk chicken or a date night bistro, you’re unlikely to find yourself stuck for options here. To help you pick where to spend breakfast, lunch, and dinner when you’re in this fine city, I’ve rounded up the best places to eat in Liverpool. If none of these restaurants sounds appealing to you, then I’m pretty sure that it’s you that’s the problem. Here are the best places to eat in Liverpool, MOB. If I’ve missed your fave spot, make sure to let me know!
This cushty little bistro on Smithdown Road is one of the most pleasant places to eat in Liverpool. With its regularly changing menu that ebbs and flows with the seasons, Belzan ticks all the boxes of a proper neighbourhood restaurant. Locally made sourdough with cauliflower butter is a cracking way to start your meal and a burnt Basque cheesecake with tonka-infused Wye Valley rhubarb is an equally grand way to end it. Rest assured that everything in between will be absolutely top-notch, too.
371 Smithdown Road, L15 3JJ
There’s three Maray joints in Liverpool, making it something of a Scouse institution, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is a subpar chain restaurant. The food at Maray leans Middle Eastern but the chefs aren’t afraid to put that much PR’d about “modern spin” on dishes. The famous ‘Disco Cauliflower’, for instance, is a fun take on that baked brassica which comes dressed in a wardrobe of chermoula, harissa, tahini, and yoghurt and finished with a scattering of pomegranates, almonds, and fresh herbs. Even dishes that hail from outside the Levant, like their crisp buttermilk chicken or fluffy house focaccia, are given a dose of Arab hospitality via a firm shake of harissa. Maray is all about bold flavours, served with sincerity. Check them out.
91 Bold Street, L1 4HF
Berrington’s describes itself as a “wine bar & fire restaurant” which I think is one of the most appealing descriptions that I’ve ever heard. Nearly everything is cooked over live fire here with portions of Mangalista pork chop, Cumbrian lamb, and even sashimi-grade tuna steak all given a go on the grill. The wood brings out the best of the meat and veg that the chefs at Berrington’s so carefully plonk on it; sides of barbecued hispi cabbage and charred leeks singing just as loudly as their meaty counterparts. Pair your plates with a bottle of something suave from the impressive wine list (a bottle of Hungarian Grüner wouldn’t go amiss) and you’ll have yourself a meal to remember.
12 Smithdown Place, L15 9EH
Little Furnace is a pizza place with a big heart. Owners Peter Gleave and Ryan Herr have turned their Naples-inspired dream into a real deal restaurant that serves beautiful Neapolitan pizzas. All of the dough is made on-site using high-quality 00 flour and cooked in a hellishly hot wood-fired oven. The results speak for themselves; soft, chewy crusts that surround a puddle of delicious ingredients and primo pizza toppings such as sun-kissed cherry tomatoes, fennel salami, and fior di latte mozzarella. There’s even a fully dedicated vegan pizza menu for any, well, vegans out there. This is one of the best places to eat pizza in Liverpool – don’t sleep on it.
178 Smithdown Road, L15 3JR
A lot of Indian restaurants want to walk and talk like Mowgli, but not many can match up to the bar that Nisha Katona has set. The first Mowgli opened up on Bold Street in 2014, serving no-frills Indian eats packed with flavour; there are now eleven different Mowglis spread across the country with five more confirmed to open within the next year or so. You’ll realise why there’s now so many of them the moment you sit down for lunch or dinner. Street food-inspired dishes like the Mowgli chip butty – a tongue-in-cheek creation involving a soft roti filled with fenugreek fries, chilli pickle, red onion, coriander, and tomato relish – and heartier portions of butter chicken and bunny chow all deliver ample amounts of heat and fragrance. Order lots and eat well.
69 Bold Street, L1 4EZ
Raggas Caribbean Cafe
Every city needs a proper family-run place to eat, a place where the staff know your order better than you know the names of your partner’s family members, and Raggas Caribbean Cafe is Liverpool’s. Saltfish fritters are cooked to craggy perfection; the jerk chicken is moist with the requisite lick of heat; and the fried dumplings are dense little balls of loveliness. The classics here are done right and there’s even a range of sandwiches and wraps available if you’re after something slightly lighter. I say “slightly,” because those sangers are hefty in and of themselves and the option to add fries and slaw is one you should now morally be passing up on.
58 Smithdown Road, Toxteth, L7 4JG
Castle Street is where you can find the Liverpool outlet of Neapolitan pizza group, Rudy’s Pizzeria. The quality of ingredients they use to make their pizzas, in combination with a perfectly timed stint in their wieldy ovens, is what makes Rudy’s pies a cut above any other pizza pretenders. The simple marinara is a lesson in “less is more” while more complicated creations like the cinghiale come decked out with San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella, wild boar salame, ‘nduja, roquito peppers, parmesan, fresh chilli, basil, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Even the crusts here are worth savouring (and dunking in garlic aioli). A spot definitely capable of giving the best takeaway and delivery pizzas in London a run for their money.
3-7 Castle St, L2 4SW
Currently in the process of moving to a brand new site on Duke Street, Pilgrim looks set to pick up right where it left off when it reopens. This Iberian restaurant is all about big open fires and the fire benders there commands those flames to char seasonal produce like hispi cabbage (covering it in chive butter and almonds for good measure) and quality cuts of meat such as Iberico pork, txuleta beef, and Cornish cull yaw. The Capital City of Pop might not bear much resemblance to the Basque country but Pilgrim is more than capable of making you forget that for a few blissful hours.
46 Duke Street, L1 5AS
Indian street food + craft beer = happiness. That’s the scientific formula that Bundobust has used at all three of its UK premises and it’s one that I can’t find any fault with. There aren’t many restaurants in Liverpool that do an excellent vada pav – all glossy bun and crispy potato filling – and there’s even fewer where you can get one with a pint of session IPA. Bundobust is, however, one of those rare places. The relentless vibe at this Bold Street spot makes it one of the best places to eat in Liverpool but the food is more than capable of matching the lively atmosphere. The lunch express option (which nets you two dishes for £8.50) is also one of the best bargains in the city. Get on down at the next available opportunity.
First Floor, 17-19 Bold Street, L1 4DN
Nowhere is safe from seasonal small plate menus, not even Liverpool. While it’s easy to get cynical about restaurants charging you £12 for a plate of asparagus spears, Pen Factory is a place that does small plates right. They do that by A) ensuring that the plates aren’t actually all that small, and B) that they’re always big on flavour. The best way to experience what Pen Factory is all about is by heading down to Hope Street and sharing some plates here with your mates that are just as into food as you are. The open kitchen creates a buzzing atmosphere and the range of cask ales, wine, and cocktails means there’s bound to be something to wet your whistle.
The Pen Factory, L1 9BQ
If there are two things in life I love it’s The Sopranos and sandwiches. That’s why Derek’s was a shoo-in on this list of the best places to eat in Liverpool. Specialising in the sort of fat New York-inspired sangers that would be capable of fuelling Tony through a particularly intense therapy session with Dr Melfi, Derek’s has quickly become a lunchtime essential in the city. The ‘Paulie Walnuts’ sandwich (named after, you guessed it, a Sopranos character) is composed of whipped goat’s cheese, pickled beetroot, walnuts, caramelised red onions, and rocket in a rosemary and sea salt focaccia. Yeah. I’ll see you in line.
47 Allerton Road, L25 7RJ
I’ve already thought long and hard about where to find the best falafel in London but if you’re looking for balls of chickpea perfection in Liverpool then Go Falafel is a fairly safe bet. The first Go Falafel was opened by founder Rajab Shamallakh in Manchester and the brand has only continued to grow ever since. Falafel wraps are a no-brainer when it comes to what you should order on your first visit, nonetheless, the falafel and hummus platter is a close second. Vine leaves are a must and getting one of Go Falafel’s signature juices to wash the whole thing down also comes highly recommended.
6 Richmond Street, L1 1EF
The Italian Club
The Italian Club is (surprise, surprise) an Italian restaurant that does not muck about. The menu is big – real big – and stocked with just about everything you’d expect from an old school trattoria. Stick to the classics like the lasagne, parmigiana, and pollo milanese in the evenings and don’t miss out on their perfect pressed paninis (God, I love alliteration) during the day. This isn’t the sort of restaurant that’ll take your breath away as soon as you walk through its doors. But it is immensely friendly, the food is good, and it’s one of the best places to eat in Liverpool when you want to eat a bowl of cheesy pasta that’s actually the same serving size as one you’d make at home.
85 Bold Street, L1 4HF
Down the Hatch
Veganism used to mean endless portions of stewed lentils and brown rice. Well, not anymore, bub. Down the Hatch is a trendy little vegan joint, occupying a basement on Duke Street, that’s out to prove that plant-based eating doesn’t have to be boring. Kentucky fried oyster mushrooms po boys and buffalo jackfruit nuggets are the sort of dishes that make up the brunt of the junk food-heavy offering here, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued by each and every last one of them. A burger with a breaded mac and cheese-filled patty instead of beef? That’s what I call innovation.
Basement, 62 Duke Street, L1 5AA
Liverpool isn’t a city lacking in good eats but finding somewhere around town to get good Mexican food isn’t exactly easy. Thankfully, the team at Madre are around to help you scratch that itch when the guac craving hits. No, it’s not particularly “authentic,” but you’re not going to care all that much about that when you’re knee-deep in a portion of crispy fried chicken thigh tacos with chipotle aioli running down your chin, are you? The cocktails here are a major draw and the best way to get the full Madre experience is by getting in a round of margs and lots of sharing plates. Most big nights should start with a meal at Madre.
6, Atlantic Pavilion Albert Dock, L3 4AE
TribeCa is the sort of pizza place that’ll make you think of a flag flappin' in Manhattan and gargoyles gargling oil. Yes, this kitsch spot on the corner of Smithdown Road specialises in New York-style pizza. Toppings range from your standard cheese and pepperoni to king prawns and shaved courgette. They’ve even got a Italian meat feast pizza where every slice buckles under a charcuterie board of fennel salami, pepperoni, meatballs, and prosciutto – it’s damn good and capable of making you reconsider every shitty late night Domino’s you’ve ever eaten.
336-338 Smithdown Road, L15 5AN
As a little slice of Lebanon on Bold Street, Bakchich is one of the best places to eat in Liverpool for a plethora of reasons. Most of those reasons – like, say, a plate of chilli-laden batata harra or spicy charcoal-grilled sausages – can be found on their extensive hot and cold mezze menu. Za’atar fries are an essential accompaniment to any meal at Bakchich, as is at least one order of their fluffy pitta bread. And their silky hummus. And their smoky baba ganoush. Come to think of it – just about everything they do at Bakchich can be considered essential.
54 Bold Street, L1 4EA
The Art School Restaurant
Okay, first things first, let me just say that The Art School Restaurant is not the kind of restaurant that you’re going to be eating at every week. Or month, even. The eight-course tasting menu here will set you back £99 per person with the option to add a wine flight costing an additional £65 a head. For a special occasion, though, there is likely no place better to dine in Liverpool than right here. The interior is chic and minimalist; the food equally pared back in its presentation, but wonderfully OTT in its delivery of flavour. Even just reading the menu (Cornish turbot with saffron pomme mousseline; seared King scallop cooked in the half shell with Southport smoked pork; saltmarsh lamb loin, belly and confit shoulder) should be enough to set your tastebuds alight. Whether it’s the birthday of a loved one or you’ve just been promoted to your dream role at work – if you’ve got a reason to celebrate, you should definitely do it at The Art School Restaurant.
1 Sugnall Street, L7 7EB
El Gato Negro
There’s nowhere for a kitchen to hide when it comes to tapas. If you’re serving padrón peppers with Halen Môn sea salt, you’ve got to bloody well make sure those peppers are sufficiently charred and not swimming in a sea of oil. If you’re Jamón ibérico croquetas, you’ve got to take care that those deep-fried oblongs of joy arrive piping hot and filled with a melty, meaty middle. The fact that El Gato Negro is capable of nailing those basic tenets of tapas more than proves its mettle as one of the best restaurants in Liverpool. If you’re looking to get “on it” then it’s also worth considering the ‘tipsy tapas’ set menu where, for £35 per person on a Saturday, you can get three tapas dishes and unlimited drinks (that’s prosecco, bellini, house wine, and beer) for 90 minutes of debauchery. I’d personally stick to a dinner reservation with a bottle of good Spanish wine, but each to their own.
Unit 2, Walker House Exchange Flags, L2 3YL