Best places to eat in Liverpool

Discover the best eateries in Liverpool with Good Food's restaurant guide. This food scene has everything - Catalan classics, fine dining and boss burgers

Best places to eat in Liverpool

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. 

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, a duck egg salad punched-up with black truffle & black pudding, or hogget skilfully rendered in multiple variations, it’s easy to enjoy this pampering. Go on, spoil yourself. Four-course dinner with aperitif, £69.

The Art School website

Maray

Maray

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 dresseddown staff. Paired with harissa-spiked houmous 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 £5.50.

Maray website

Buyers Club

Buyers Club

Best for: Casual dining, special occasions
With its music venue and quirky beer garden, this is firmly on the radar of the cool kids. However, its bar/restaurant is surprisingly grown-up. A blackboard list of 17 wines by the glass is indicative of a seriousness in chef Dan Heffy’s creative small plates. The marinated, salt-crusted beef with houmous, yogurt & herb oil stands out on a menu that ranges from ox cheek cottage pie to a heritage tomato panzanella. Plates from £6.

Buyers Club website

Etsu

Eats

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.

Etsu website

Free State Kitchen

Free State Kitchen

Best for: Casual dining, kid 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 £6.75.

Free State Kitchen website

Lunya

Best for: Casual dining, special occasion, kid 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. Tapas from £4.25.

Lunya website

Pen Factory

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats
This warehouse space majors on rustic small plates of Spanish and East Asian origin. 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 £3.75.

Pen Factory website

Leaf

Leaf

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 is an art/music hub as much as an all-day eaterie). The menu runs from a chicken pearl barley broth or jazzed-up falafel flatbreads, to specials such as confit duck leg with lentils and an apple & cinnamon sauce. Mains from £7.95.

Leaf website

Fonseca's

Fonseca's

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 harissa-braised Herdwick lamb shoulder with chickpeas & roast vegetable couscous or a Thai sweet potato curry with sesame lime noodles. Mains from £9.75.

Fonseca's website

Bacaro

Bacaro

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 roast cod with aubergine purée, pepperonata & pine nuts; a chistorra, egg & courgette pizzette; or black pudding with sautéed chicken livers & Marsala. Dishes from £3.95.

Bacaro website
 

Jenever
This Georgian townhouse serves 70 varieties of gin and its Dutch antecedent, jenever (including Liverpool Organic Gin), Gin tastings are available (from £20). 

Jenever website

Camp and Furnace

Camp and Furnace

Check out Nightgarden, a new audio-visual Friday night of art, music and food at this Baltic Triangle event space. Guest chefs will include regional faces such as Robert Owen Brown and Mary-Ellen McTague.

Camp and Furnace website

Black Lodge
This experimental brewery-tap creates exciting, left-field beers, while its charcuterie boards showcase Britain's best bresaola and salami-slingers. 

Black Lodge website

Fraiche
If you can get into Marc Wilkinson's Michelin-starred Wirral restaurant, you can expect a journey to the dazzling edges of gastro-creativity. Dinner £85. 

Fraiche website

Roja Pinchos

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats
Berry Street is no Bilbao, but in this cute if basic venue, think: chipboard bar, exposed walls, red plastic chairs, Basque-style pintxos rule. On the bar, you will find cold creations of seafood, manchego, stuffed peppers and goat’s cheese ‘lollipops’, while the kitchen issues hot snackettes of, say, feisty little chistorra sausages with fried quail’s egg and aioli. They like big, jazzy Iberian gins and cava here, too. Pinchos, £1.50 - £3. 50.

Roja Pinchos website

Ragga’s

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats, kid friendly
The family-run Caribbean Ragga’s now has three restaurants in Liverpool, such is the appetite for its fresh, spicy food. Its Bold Street site is a simple, colourful spot (reggae on the stereo, rum cocktails and imported Banks lager to drink), which serves all your Jamaican faves: curried goat, rice ‘n’ peas, callaloo, stewed mutton. Ragga’s jerk chicken, beautifully blackened on the grill, juicy as hell, hot but not aggressively so, is A1. Mains from £9.50.

Ragga's website

Bold Street Coffee

Best for: Kid 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 around £3 - £7.

Bold Street Coffee website 

HOST

Best for: Kid friendly, casual dining
A crisp, minimalist canteen, Host was pushing pan-Asian fusion dishes back when most of us couldn’t tell katsu from kimchi. This Hope Street hardy perennial has kept pace with the now head-spinning fashions in Asian street food and, these days, pho and udon noodle soups jostle for space on its menu alongside Korean meatballs with kimchi and smoked garlic, pork belly buns and gochujang lamb chops. Mains from £10.75.

Host website 

The Egg

Best for: Cheap eats, casual dining
Hidden on the top-floor of Newington Buildings this cosy, bohemian loft café (and independent art gallery) is legendary among Liverpool’s vegans/ 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 £1 per bottle). Mains from £4.75.

The Egg website

Bakchich

Bakchich

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 £3.50.

Bakchich website

Ital Fresh

Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats
Did you know that a minority of Rastafarians follow a vegan or ‘ital’ diet? Well, street food outfit, Ital Fresh, is bringing a taste of that diet’s vibrant, punchy flavours to Liverpool with their residency at event space 61 New Bird Street (Tue/ Weds lunch; until late on Thursdays). Expect Jamaican-seasoned fried cauliflower with lime-mango mayo, ‘chana’ curried chickpeas and jerk mushrooms with garlic-thyme kale and lush coconut quinoa. Dishes £4 - £7.50.

Ital Fresh website 

23 Club

Best for: Casual dining
Do you have a bearded, tattooed gentleman in your life who lives for brioche-clad burgers, bourbon and craft beer? Then make a beeline for the 23 (the dimly-lit basements beneath the Clove Hitch restaurant), where the BBQ, a 6oz patty topped with beer-braised brisket, will leave said gent purring. Numerous taps dispense mainly cutting-edge UK beers. The bottle selection is like a tick-list of the world’s coolest breweries. Burgers from £7.50.

23 Club website 

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.

Baltic Fleet website 

Moose Coffee

Moose coffee

Best for: Kid 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 £6.

Moose Coffee website 

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. 

Liverpool Cheese Company website

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

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of the 01 December 2016 and will be checked and updated annually. If you think there is any incorrect or out-of-date information in this guide please email us at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com.

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