We Visit

Where to eat in Liverpool

World famous for its music, this maritime city has a thriving restaurant scene to match its cultural status

Beatles fans still flock to the pedestrianised Cavern Quarter  where local buskers sing Lennon and McCartney classics outside bars with names like Rubber Soul, and gift shops sell every conceivable Beatles souvenir.

For those Liverpool visitors looking for something a little more discerning than a Yellow Submarine cookie jar, Bold Street is one of the best independent shopping streets in the country. It is also home to a number of the city’s flourishing restaurants, including Mowgli which serves vibrant Indian street food, including Goan fish curry.

A few doors down is Maray, a buzzing little restaurant dishing up some of the most exciting food in the city. The cauliflower with flaked almonds, pomegranate, tahini, yogurt and harissa has quickly become a signature dish.

If cocktails are your thing, Furnival’s Well in Campbell Square is a must visit. Occupying a Victorian police station where the old cells are now cosy booths, Charles Dickens worked here as a constable for one day in 1860. This impressive link to the Great Expectations author is celebrated with A Toast To Pip – a rich blend of Irish whiskey, banana, coffee, almond, lime, pineapple and dark chocolate.

The Rope Walks area boasts one of Liverpool’s most-talked about new restaurants. Occupying an old watchmakers’ factory, Wreckfish is a relaxed contemporary bistro serving delights such as braised featherblade of beef, caramelised cauliflower purée, and Parmesan and truffle chips.

Tucked away in a courtyard behind the old blind school in the elegant Georgian Quarter is Oktopus, a modern restaurant where chicken liver parfait, burnt sugar, Armagnac prunes and black treacle soda bread is one of the go-to dishes.

Home to Liverpool landmarks such as the Roman Catholic Cathedral and Everyman theatre, Hope Street is also the location of the city’s most famous pub. The Philharmonic Dining Rooms (or ‘the Phil’, to the locals) is an architectural gem and the marble gents’ toilets are grade I-listed. This wood-panelled pub, which serves a dozen different pies, is no stranger to famous customers, as regulars discovered when Sir Paul McCartney performed a surprise gig there as part of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke. Opposite the Philharmonic is 92 Degrees, a microroastery and café serving hand-roasted coffees that is typical of the new wave of exciting businesses opening across the city. 

Liverpool’s food and drink renaissance is being driven by young entrepreneurs, often breathing new life into old industrial buildings which have been derelict for years. There is no better example than the Baltic Triangle, a new creative quarter a stone’s throw from Albert Dock, once famous for imported cargoes of raw cane sugar and tobacco. What for years were empty docks warehouses are rapidly being transformed into start-up businesses and creative hangouts. Baltic Bakehouse makes some of the best bread in Liverpool and has its own café. The UGC (Ultimate Grilled Cheese) – mature Cheddar, Comté, leeks and onions between slices of wild sourdough – certainly lives up to its billing.

A walk from the Bakehouse is Cains Brewery Village, with bars, restaurants, breweries and food operators including the amusingly named, Scandi-influenced restaurant Skaus. Visit Thursday to Sunday for the Baltic Market – a street-food mecca in a huge warehouse with rows of long tables. There are around 20 different vendors here, attracting thousands of people on the weekends.

What might appear from the outside to still be the Handymans Supermarket, is actually a hip new bar serving its own-brewed craft ales, while nearby you’ll find wood-fired pizza restaurant Little Furnace and the Evil Eye beer and burrito shack.

Next head to Smithdown Road for Liverpool’s hottest new opening, Belzan, a tiny bistro with inventive dishes such as scallops, lentils, mango and masala or buttermilk-fried rabbit, fennel and apple.

Belzan, Wreckfish and Maray are among the 12 Liverpool entries in the latest edition of The Good Food Guide. Buy a copy here.

Published October 2018