Top 5 best restaurants in south Belfast

Here’s our guide to the top 5 best restaurants in south Belfast that you need to try.

There are many reasons to visit south Belfast; one of the most popular is to check out Queen’s University and the surrounding Botanic Gardens. Queen’s is one of the leading universities in Ireland and one of the most beautiful buildings in the entire city, having been around since 1849, it never ceases to draw in tourists.

But south Belfast has another reason why we believe people should visit it. It’s home to some of the finest restaurants in all of the city. Check out our list of the top five best restaurants in south Belfast, and our recommendations from each place, below! 

5. The Barking Dog – for a delicious (and huge!) burger 

Grabbing a burger at The Barking Dog, one of the best restaurants in south Belfast, is one of the greatest meals you'll eat in the city.
Credit: @barkingdbelfast / Instagram

You can’t go wrong with a burger — and you especially can’t go wrong with a burger from The Barking Dog — which is why it’s starting off our list of best restaurants in south Belfast. 

The meat is incredibly tender and juicy, and the chips from The Barking Dog are some of the best chips we’ve ever had. It’s also worth mentioning that the burgers are BIG. So, if you visit here — make sure you’re hungry.

The atmosphere is very relaxed, and it has a great selection of beers and wines to choose from. If you decide to visit, our recommendation is The Barking Dog’s beef shin burger. You can thank us later. 

Address: 33-35 Malone Rd, Belfast BT9 6RU

4. Holohan’s Pantry – for an authentic Irish meal 

Holohan's Pantry is one of the best restaurants in south Belfast, you have to try their local seafood.

This straightforward, family-owned Irish restaurant offers a lovely warm glow and great food. It’s everything you’d want a traditional Irish restaurant to be, and it’s one of the best restaurants in south Belfast. 

Holohan’s Pantry also offers guests patio seating, though we don’t recommend eating your fish and chips outside in this winter weather. But in the warm summer months, it’s a fantastic place to sit while having your meal and sipping a few beers. 

The staff are knowledgeable about the food, and their Guinness is delicious. What more could you want? Our recommendation here is to try the chargrilled 10oz sirloin with hand-cut chips. You won’t regret it. 

Address: 43 University Rd, Belfast BT7 1ND

3. Shu Restaurant – for a menu with a French twist 

Looking for some more fine dining then Shu is a delicious place to try and one of the best restaurants in south Belfast.
Credit: @ShuRestaurant / Facebook

Shu Restaurant is somewhere we’ve only been to once, but are itching to get back to as soon as we can. 

It’s a modern French restaurant with a dark wood and leather designed cocktail bar. Their menu is to die for and they have a fantastic wine list. We suggest reserving a table here if you plan on going, it’s a popular place! 

It’s a little pricier than the other best restaurants in south Belfast we’ve mentioned, but we believe it’s honestly worth the money. Our top pick for your order is the corn-fed chicken, due to how succulent it is. Our mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

While you’re here, you need to try their cocktails; they’re some of the nicest we’ve ever had.

Address: 253 Lisburn Rd, Belfast BT9 7EN

2. Saphyre Restaurant – for dinner in a former church 

Saphyre restaurant is one of the best restaurants in south Belfast, and it;s in an old church making it even better.
Credit: saphyrerestaurant.com

This fine-dining restaurant offers a unique twist: it’s located in an old church. Yep. We’re pretty sure you’ve never eaten in an old church before, so why not try here? 

Saphyre offers visitors a delectable range of food and drink and classy décor. It also has a great vegetarian selection to choose from, something we wish more restaurants would offer. 

The duck here is cooked to perfection and our personal favourite. For the vegetarian option, we suggest trying the smoked heritage beetroot; we haven’t personally tried it but judging from the happy reviews it seems like a good choice! 

The desserts are also mouth-wateringly beautiful here. The lemon and lime tart is a highlight. 

Address: 135 Lisburn Rd, Belfast BT9 7AG

1. Villa Italia – the perfect Italian dining experience

Villa Italia is a great Italian restaurant in the city, maybe the best, and our pick for best restaurants in south Belfast.
Credit: @villaitaliarestaurant.co.uk

Our number one choice of the best restaurants in south Belfast goes to Villa Italia. This place is magnificent; we’ve lost count of how many times we’ve been here, that’s how much we love it. 

This Italian restaurant has a cosy, casual atmosphere to it, making it a perfect place to take the whole family for a meal. Their pizza, as you would probably expect, is top-notch. Villa Italia doesn’t skimp on portions either, meaning you get what you pay for. 

If you go here — and we urge you to do so — we recommend trying Villa Italia’s classic spaghetti bolognese dish. We’re going to go out on a limb here and say it’s not only the best bolognese in south Belfast but in the entirety of the city.  

Address: 43 University Rd, Belfast BT7 1ND

Which of these restaurants have you been to? Do you feel we’ve left any out? Let us know! 

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Note: our travel articles should be used only to plan future trips. Please stay at home until the government has advised otherwise.

Calum Armitage is an Irish writer from County Down. He is currently a journalism undergraduate studying in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is passionate about writing (both fiction & non-fiction), travel, and Formula 1. His goal is to one day be a published novelist and to dedicate his time to writing full-time. Also, he owns a chubby black cat named Dracula who likes to sleep on his books while he is trying to read.