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. These days you’re spoilt for choice as the Belfast food scene can hold its own against the best. Lonely Planet 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. Image above from top left: Lost & Found, Coleraine; Ox, Belfast; Browns, Derry~Londonderry; Browns, Derry~Londonderry. Middle row: Harry's Shack, Portstewart; Eipic, Belfast. Bottom row: Established Coffee, Belfast; Graze, Belfast; Grace Neills, County Down Mourne Seafood Bar And it doesn’t stop at Belfast’s city borders. Head outside the capital and you’ll encounter distinctive restaurants that are destinations in themselves. Just look at Harry’s Shack in Portstewart, a fishy mecca that was rated Ireland’s Restaurant of the Year just months after it opened in 2014. According to the restaurateur behind the venture, Donal Doherty, this is the best time ever for Irish food: “There is much more confidence in our own ingredients, and customers have become more adventurous and trusting,” as Doherty explains. If I were to die tomorrow, I'd walk to Strangford, get a couple of bottles of really cold Chablis, and eat as many Strangford Lough oysters as I could. Then I'd die very happily indeed. Killian Fox, The Guardian newspaper That sense 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 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. Don't-miss food festivals Comber Potato Festival, June The harvest of this famous and esteemed County Down potato is a cause for much celebration with this fun festival event with a focus on great food and entertainment. Flavours of the Foyle, July Come to Derry~Londonderry in July and you'll find the Walled City celebrating its wonderful seafood, with live cookery demonstrations and local produce. Armagh Food & Cider Festival, September Right in the heart of the Orchard County, they celebrate the harvest of the famous Bramley apple with cider tastings, orchard tours, and outdoor markets. Looking for a taste of Northern Ireland? 12 Northern Ireland treatsDelicious nutty potatoes, exceptional blue cheese and some of the best apples in the world. Enjoy! Eat to your heart’s content in Northern IrelandTuck in and get ready for a taste sensation in every corner of Northern Ireland! Flavours of Northern Ireland: a food itineraryJoin us as we set out on a food trail of Northern Ireland’s local specialties and gourmet treats.