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There's so much to tickle your tastebuds in this northern gem of a city, it's hard to know where to start. Never fear – our Good Food city guide is here to help you eat like a local at the very best restaurants we can find. Like what you see? Why not check out our other city guides – we have expert recommendations for the best places to eat in Liverpool, Manchester, York and Newcastle.

Best restaurants in Liverpool at a glance

Best for: Casual dining, special occasions

After earning Devon’s Treby Arms a Michelin star and jointly winning Masterchef: The Professionals in 2012, Anton Piotrowski opened his refined Rodney Street restaurant in 2017. Pretty, technically accomplished plates are served in a chic, grown-up room – think grey banquettes, statement chandelier and Robert Welch cutlery. Piotrowski shows his fun side, too, with sourdough and Bovril butter, and a 100-day-aged beef nugget with chip shop curry sauce. But a starter of hot smoked salmon with heritage tomatoes and burnt butter, and particularly his Strawberry Fields Forever dessert (a picture-perfect construction), leave a lingering impression of great elegance. Set lunch is £95, or request their 'express tasting menu' for £65. The set dinner menu is £95.


Bundobust containers of food and a burger on a plate next to a beer

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats
Despite the rivalry that exists between northern cities – particularly Manchester and Liverpool – they are happy to share great food as hip indies increasingly expand along the M62. Go Falafel, Rudy’s pizzeria and the swanky El Gato Negro are notable recent imports from Manchester, while Leeds-based Bundobust is now on Bold Street. This craft beer and Gujarati street-snack specialist has taken a huge, bright first-floor space and decked it out in pastel shades with other cool, kitsch design features. Its meat-free bhel puri, masala dosa and tarka dhal are just as attention grabbing. In fact, if there’s a gang of you, just order the full menu: £105. Dishes from £4.

Best for: Casual dining
In many northern cities, the inner suburbs are the most interesting places to eat. Lark Lane in Sefton Park is one established foodie hub, but nearby, studenty Smithdown Road is on the up. Belzan is among those leading the charge, serving innovative sharing plates with a warm smile and zero pretention. It majors in natural wines, cocktails and sharp plates of, for instance, butter beans in beef dashi with parsley crema and cavalo nero, or lamb rump with feta, peas and strawberries(!). The ‘staff dinner’ is a clever riff on panzanella that boasted charred peppers and fennel on our visit. Large plates from £9.

Baltic Market

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats, child-friendly
Down in the Baltic Triangle, you’ll find a theme park of bars, restaurants and this street-food market that features a regularly changing array of traders such as local pizza perfectionists Little Furnace, Middle Eastern kebab outfit Hafla Hafla, or Sutikku with its Japanese, kushikatsu-style marinated skewers. There are eight main traders, plus dessert, gin, beer, coffee bars and, on six Sundays each year, an open-air market where you’ll find Anfield co-operative Homebaked, too, whose pies bagged it a nomination in the BBC Radio 4 Food & Farming Awards 2019. Dishes from around £6.


Dish of green yoghurt, with some cream on top of brown

Best for: Casual dining, special occasions

A Georgian building, stylishly revived in muted greys, exposed brick and handsome dark wood furnishings, houses Twitter legend Gary Usher’s crowdfunded Wreckfish. It has wowed Liverpool with the same creative nous and truffled parmesan chips that put his Sticky Walnut, in Chester, on the map. Head chef Ryan Howarth delivers dishes ranging from Jerusalem artichoke risotto with crispy egg, artichoke crisps and pickled radicchio, to a bone-in sirloin with Caesar-dressed charred romaine. Meat-free options are strong, too. Two courses from £22.

Wild Loaf

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats, child-friendly
Hidden away in cute Hardman Yard, the retail kiosk for Jess Doyle’s artisan bakery has a limited yet very well executed menu. The mature cheddar, mozzarella and red onion marmalade grilled cheese sandwich is a deliciously gooey doorstop, while its sophisticated doughnuts, with nuanced flavours, are a step up for this often dumbed-down treat. Focaccia sandwiches, cakes and vegan sausage rolls complete the range, on offer until 3pm. Pick up a loaf of the stellar sourdough, too. Sandwiches from £5.

Little Furnace
Best for: Cheap eats, child-friendly
Amusingly, there’s a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pizza cookbook on display in the kitchen, but it belies Little Furnace’s dedication to authentic Neapolitan pizza. Long-fermented bases are gorgeously blistered with char from a wood-fired oven, slathered in sweet tomato sauce and topped with impressive ingredients. This small but busy space on Smithdown Road has a friendly feel despite industrial touches like a kitchen fenced by corrugated iron and booths made of pallets, which should but don’t clash with the ornate tiles and Neapolitan art. Pizza from £8.50.


Bustling restaurant

Best for: Casual dining, special occasions
This Bold Street venue serves Levantine small plates in a setting of glazed-brick walls, Aperol Spritz cocktails and dressed-down staff. Paired with harissa-spiked hummus and a radish-flecked tabbouleh, its falafels are verdant roundels of fragrant, herb-packed joy. Lamb kofta with smoked paprika tahini also impresses, as do specials such as pickled squash with Savoy cabbage, dukkah & labneh. Plates from £4.50.

The Art School
Best for: Special occasions

Paul Askew’s dishes – broadly modern British, underpinned by rigorous classical technique – continue to offer high levels of refined satisfaction. Sitting in this glamorous dining room, eating, say, hogget skilfully rendered in multiple variations, it’s easy to enjoy this pampering. Go on, spoil yourself. Four-course dinner with aperitif £85.


Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats
This neat, modest Japanese restaurant is a favourite with the city’s foodies. This is food of rare freshness, clarity and depth of flavour. Staples such as panko-crumbed tonkatsu pork, karaage fried chicken and udon noodle soups take on a renewed vigour, while the lunchtime bento boxes (try the crisp-skinned pan-fried sea bass) are lifted by vibrant pickles and sauces. Its bright, citrusy ponzu is a highlight. Meals from £8.95.

Free State Kitchen

Two stacked burgers and sides on a picnic table

Best for: Casual dining, child-friendly
Free State knocks out, as locals might put it, seriously boss burgers. The setting, a Georgian building that opens out onto a lovely ivy-clad courtyard garden, makes a pleasant change from all those dark, grungy dens where you might usually eat ‘dude food’. But the menu – hot wings, dogs, clam chowder, mac ’n’ cheese – very much fits the address: 1 Maryland Street. The cheeseburger is a triumph. Mains from £9.

Best for: Casual dining, special occasion, child-friendly
Obsessive about Spanish – and particularly Catalan – food, Peter Kinsella has created a deli/bar/restaurant where everything sings with flavour, from a butifarra sausage sandwich to the secreto Iberico, a densely piggy shoulder cut from those famous acorn-fed hogs. Deep-fried goat’s cheese Monte Enebro with orange blossom honey, and the mojama (air-dried tuna from southern Spain) are all excellent. There is also a second branch of Lunya, Lunyalita, on the Albert Dock. Tapas from £4.50.

Pen Factory
Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats

This warehouse space majors on rustic small plates of Spanish and East Asian origin. The fact that chef Tom Gill’s kitchen grows some of its own ingredients in a natty urban garden (squash, cavolo nero, rhubarb) tells you a lot. Be it a buttery, garlicky hillock of sautéed potatoes and wild mushrooms, or melting soy, chilli & cumin marinated lamb ribs, this gutsy food will bring a glow to your heart. Plates from £3.50.


Multiple cups of tea with different leaves and flowers in them

Best for: Cheap eats, casual dining
Natalie Haywood’s Bold Street HQ (part of her growing Leaf empire) continues to pack in the punters thanks to its honest, affordable grub and its lively vibe (it's an art/music hub as much as an all-day eaterie). The menu runs from jazzed-up falafel flatbreads to specials such as confit duck leg with lentils and an apple & cinnamon sauce. Mains from £12.50.


Best for: Cheap eats, casual dining
Candice Fonseca’s Stanley Street kitchen continues to create a daily blackboard menu of terrific, globetrotting dishes. Grab a comfy booth and tuck into a Spanish deli platter or a Thai sweet potato curry. Mains from £13.50.



Best for: Casual dining
Just as the decor is an attractive mishmash – colourful Med tiles, artfully distressed surfaces – so too Bacaro’s menu of broadly Italian small plates happily folds in British and Spanish influences. Try the roast cod, creamed mash, pickled shallots, egg yolk and burnt onion. Dishes from £3.95.

Black Lodge

Best for: Craft beers
This experimental brewery-tap creates exciting, left-field beers, while its charcuterie boards showcase Britain's best bresaola and salami-slingers. Beers from £3.95.

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats, child-friendly

The family-run Caribbean Ragga’s – a simple corner café spot on Smithdown Road – serves all your Jamaican favourites: curried goat, rice ‘n’ peas, callaloo, ackee ‘n’ saltfish. Ragga’s jerk chicken, beautifully blackened on the grill, juicy as hell, hot but not aggressively so, is an enduring favourite. Mains from £4.

Bold Street Coffee
Best for: Child-friendly, cheap eats, casual dining

This is Liverpool’s pre-eminent third wave coffee stop, covering all your cold brew and flat white needs. It also does a fine line in hearty winter broths with wicked sourdough, Ottolenghi-ish salads and posh toasted sandwiches (the grilled cheese is epic). At weekends, it ups the brunch ante with plates of fried duck egg with sautéed potatoes and artichoke hearts or scrambled eggs with seasonal Wirral samphire. Dishes from £4.95.

The Egg
Best for: Cheap eats, casual dining, vegetarian and vegan food

Hidden on the top floor of Newington Buildings, this cosy, bohemian loft café (and independent art gallery) is legendary among Liverpool’s vegans and vegetarians. Expect hefty portions of tasty dhals, tandoori mushrooms, creative soups, huge doorsteps of cheese on toast, and gorgeous, wobbling quiches served with assorted salads. The cakes are good, too. Open in the evenings, BYO (corkage £2 per bottle). Mains from £5.75.


Best for: Cheap eats, casual dining
This Lebanese is a bright ‘n’ buzzy, rapid-fire takeaway and diner that does a credible line in fresh Levantine street food such as shawarma wraps, falafel and kofta, as well as various hot and cold mezze. Prices are keen and Bakchich is open from breakfast for its scrambled version of shakshuka until late for specials such as lamb kabsa, a traditional Middle Eastern rice dish. Unlicensed. Wraps from £7.

Baltic Fleet
Best for: Cheap eats, casual dining

Arguably, if you haven’t visited this historic dockers’ pub, you haven’t really been to Liverpool. On a bitterly cold winter’s day, when the wind is whipping off the Mersey, there is nothing better than grabbing a seat by one of the Fleet’s log-burners and tucking into a bowl of its braised beef scouse stew (a variation on the iconic dish introduced to Liverpool by Scandinavian sailors, who knew it as labskaus). Other hearty pub grub is available – homemade pies, a ploughman’s – which you can wash down with this brewpub’s own stouts or pales. Bowl of scouse £5.95.

Moose Coffee

Best for: Child-friendly, casual dining
Located in the business district near many of the city’s hotels, Moose, a surprisingly swish homage to the American diner, is a bang-on option for breakfast. All calorific US breakfast life is here, from piles of salted caramel pancakes and sweet waffles with smoked, shredded chicken, grilled cheese and tabasco maple syrup to great sticky wodges of French toast, various hashes and even grits. Kids will love it. Dishes from £8.50.

Just for the cheese fans...

Liverpool Cheese Company
Head to Woolton Village to try any of around 200 artisan cheeses, from Stinking Bishop to Perl Las, and take home something special.

Is there anywhere we've missed? Let us know in the comments below...

More northern city guides

The best restaurants in Liverpool
The best restaurants in Manchester
The best restaurants in York
The best restaurants in Newcastle

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