Spend hours over breakfast here, spreading toast with jam and peanut butter from the help-yourself jars, or sit in cosy corners tapping away on your laptop, munching on bacon sandwiches while Fleetwood Mac fills the air.
Order a bowl of yogurt topped with banana, honey and nutty granola for brunch, but don’t leave without trying one of the pastries from the impressive spread on the counter. We loved the bear claw, a jazzed up almond croissant – crisp, flaky layers of pastry filled with rich marzipan and topped with flaked almonds – that can be torn apart from the ‘claws’ on the side.
At lunchtime, the sandwiches are a must. Thick slices of freshly baked bread are filled with everything from roast pork to jerk chicken. Or, for real indulgence go for the UGC – an ultimate grilled cheese sandwich made with comté, mature cheddar, leeks and onions.
Click here to read about the best bakeries across the country
Best cafés and coffee shops in Liverpool
Bold Street Coffee
Opening in 2010, Bold Street Coffee was one of Liverpool’s first speciality coffee shops, serving cortados and bacon butties to a hip, hungry crowd. Open all day, you can stop by for an egg buoy (that’s scrambled egg and cheese on a toasted brioche bun) for breakfast, grilled cheese toasties and vibrant salads at lunch and lighter sharing-style plates come dinner. Start with smoked almonds and focaccia before warming lamb tagines and chorizo ratatouille.
Tucked away on one of the Liverpool city centre’s back streets, Root focusses on serving speciality coffee. Take a seat on one of its high stools and sip a refreshing nitro cold brew as you work, or choose the tasting flight for a little sample of each. Wicker chairs are dotted around the outdoor space but if you don’t have time to sit down, grab a flat white and slice of almond cake to go.
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Guest brews are on rotation every few weeks including Leed’s North Star Roast (listen to our podcast with North Star Roast here) and Copenhagen’s April Coffee Roasters.
Best food market in Liverpool
For Liverpool’s best selection of street food all under one roof, head to the Baltic Market in the Baltic Triangle. The large warehouse space, kitted out with white-washed walls and communal tables, is home to traders serving dim sum, falafel wraps and veggie tacos. Spend an evening sitting under the fairy lights and enjoying a drink from one of the pop-up bars, or order a wood-fired pizza to takeaway and eat it out by the docks.
Best restaurants in Liverpool
Located in Liverpool’s hip Baltic Triangle neighbourhood, Manifest is the latest restaurant from partners Paul Durand and Charlotte Jones. Previously best known for the Bold Street bakery-bistro, The Little Shoe, this 30-cover wine bar and restaurant, opened in March, sees them explore exciting wines from cool vineyards, while chef Paul gives full vent to the kitchen skills he honed at Moor Hall and Edinburgh’s 21212. Expect plates of torched mackerel, heritage tomato, beer mayo and nasturtium or heritage lamb, peas, crème fraîche, burnt onion and mint, underpinned by an emphasis on local, sustainable produce such as Anfield elderflower and ex-dairy beef.
The Barrie brothers’ Albert Dock stunner is a date night spot you can enjoy as you see fit. Want intense conversation? That’s fine, lean in. If you like to buzz off an energetic room – engaging music, excitable vibe, open kitchen action – you can do that, too.
Across tasting menus and a daily changing plates carte, chef Ellis’s modish dishes – fermented chilli-dressed Menai Strait oysters; Anglesey crab risotto with celeriac from Warrington’s Field 28 – make exemplary use of Welsh and northern produce. The signature dry-aged duck for two has, says brother, Liam: “Established its own cult following.” lerpwl.com
For decades, latterly at his elegant Art School Restaurant, chef Paul Askew has set a culinary bar in Liverpool. His technical prowess and love of north-west produce have made him a legendary figure locally, and an inspiration to several generations of chefs – some of whom he is collaborating with at Barnacle. Found on the mezzanine at Duke Street Market food hall, Barnacle (named after Paul’s merchant seaman dad, ‘Barnacle’ Bill), was described, at launch in December, as a celebration of this port city’s global food influences using incredible regional produce. The vibe is casual (there are bar snacks, too) but a menu of just 12 dishes: available as two or three courses (£37.50), including an amuse and bread, indicates the ambition Paul’s team has for its game terrine, seafood chowder or Shropshire chicken with Wirral ricotta dumplings and Ormskirk leek and kale. barnacleliverpool.co.uk
For the best pizza in the city head to Santa Maluco, a buzzing Brazilian-style rodizio pizzeria and cocktail bar in the business quarter, serving pizzas by the slice. Vibrant graffiti murals of Christ the Redeemer grace the walls while industrial-style wooden sharing tables, lit by low-hanging lights, fill the large open space.
Crisp, smoky bases with charred crusts are topped with indulgent and inventive toppings. While margherita is on the menu, choose ‘What the Duck?’ topped with shredded duck, cucumber and char siu sauce, or ‘Ma-Donner’ with minced lamb, sriracha yogurt and mint dressing for the full experience.
In the sunnier months grab a table outside, among a breezy post-work crowd.
For fine-dining in the city’s Georgian quarter book a table at the Art School. This restaurant, in Liverpool’s former art school’s life drawing room, has chef Paul Askew at its helm. The greenhouse-style roof basks the simply laid tables in warm natural light, while attentive staff gently weave among the latter, pouring glasses of wine and offering chunks of squidgy focaccia.
Choose the tasting menu for a selection of five delicate dishes, all prepared in the small glass-windowed galley kitchen that sits across one side of the room. On our visit we tried nuggets of salty tempura fried eel followed by tender scallops with smooth cauliflower purée, toasted hazelnuts and matchsticks of sharp Granny Smith. The standout was crisp-skinned, flaky halibut on a bed of sweet tomatoes, smoky aubergine purée and meaty crab, drizzled by a sherry vinaigrette.
After your meal, head downstairs to the cellar bar for glasses of Champagne and plates of cheese and charcuterie (if you still have room that is) in a more intimate environment.
Opened in 2017, Wreckfish is Gary Usher’s fourth restaurant in the north west, with a focus on simple, bistro-style food made with great produce. Expect flamed mackerel with green olive tapenade, confit leek with parsley gnocchi and fresh ricotta and hearty desserts such as marmalade sponge and crème brûlée.
Visit on a Sunday for a traditional roast with all the trimmings or a choice of lighter dishes such as roast cod with capers and mussels.
After its own million-pound renovation, Duke Street Food & Drink Market in Liverpool is now home to Pilgrim, the winning idea from 2019’s My Million Pound Menu series. Launched officially in June, the restaurant is inspired by the Camino, an ancient pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela that’s taken place since the ninth century and crosses the borders of France, Spain and Portugal.
The brainchild of foodie friends Jamie Duffield, Dave Bone and Anthony Power, Pilgrim’s ever-evolving small-plates menu reflects the 12 well-trodden paths of the Camino – showcasing the highlights of the Iberian Peninsula. Dishes include brown butter poached scallops with a chorizo crumb (inspired by Ribadeo in Galicia) and St James tart (fragrant almond cake) with burnt pear, crème citron and hazelnuts, inspired by the finish line, where you can visit the tomb of St James. There are plenty of appropriate drinks pairings, too, with 50-plus wines, 30-plus vermouths, port and Spanish sherries on offer, as well as ‘taptails’, aka cocktails on tap.
In its new, permanent, home – sitting alongside the likes of meat-centric Bone and Block, Asian bowl food from Ginger, pasta from Cucina di Vincenzo and Cuban street food from Finca – Pilgrim is on the market’s mezzanine and features an open-plan kitchen and cooking over coals, counter dining and pretty tiles, and seating for up to 50 guests.
Try Pilgrim’s recipes for yourself here
With panoramic views of the city and beyond, including the iconic River Mersey and landmarks such as Royal Albert Dock and the Three Graces, Panoramic 34 (on the 34th floor of West Tower, 300ft above sea level) certainly lives up to its name. The food is as highly rated as the restaurant’s lofty location. Try the 48-hour, slow-cooked beef short rib with puffed wild rice, aubergine ketchup and chervil powder.
In a nutshell: Combining a restaurant, bar and deli, Lunyalita brings authentic Catalan charm to The Royal Albert Dock Liverpool.
Who’s cooking? Owner Peter Kinsella heads up the kitchen team at Lunyalita, the “little sister” of the existing Lunya restaurants in Liverpool and Manchester. Passionate about cooking from scratch, here Peter can be found rustling up a wide variety of tapas.
What’s the vibe? The understated décor is pepped by colourful velvet sofas and chalkboard menus, while a bustling open kitchen means there’s plenty of atmosphere. If the sun’s shining, head outside to the ground-floor terrace or upstairs champagne balcony – both overlook the dock.
What’s the food like? If you like either of the Lunyas, chances are you’ll feel the same about Lunyalita. The menu is different, though. There’s a choice of hot tapas (think classics – gambas pil pil, tortilla and more); cured meats, fish, vegetables and salads; as well as big sharing platters, a range of paellas and the like (including arroz negro and fideuá) and bits to pick at, such as roasted Catalan almonds, salty Spanish crisps and giant Gordal olives.
Slow-proved bread from local bakery Baltic Bakehouse with tangy tomato got things underway on our visit, followed by fried courgette flower stuffed with Monte Enebro goat’s cheese, calamari in bubbly batter, chicken croquetas (the flavours change daily) and fried chorizo with honey and fennel seeds. Belly pork from the specials worked well with its accompanying passion fruit and quinoa salad, while kimchi added welcome sharpness. And a deli veg platter, laden with cheese, crisps, olives, salad and kikones (giant baked corn) served us well. Galician favourite, a rich and dense almond cake (tarta de santiago) and a smooth crema catalana, fragrant with orange and cinnamon, took care of dessert.
And the drinks? Wine and beer is sourced from Spain, as well as the coffee, which comes direct from the award-winning Café Saula in Barcelona. You can also order sangria (three ways), a huge range of sherries and Spanish spirits, and cocktails. If you’re a fan of gin – be sure to check out the selection here, too. It’s said to be one of the biggest collection of Spanish gins outside of Spain, with new additions being added all the time (with a rogue Ginsmith Marshmallow from Liverpool, for good measure).
olive tip: Don’t leave without ordering the patatas bravas. Peter’s is a potato lover and he rotates suppliers throughout the year to source the best. Chunky-cut, fried potatoes with sweet and smoky tomato sauce and creamy aioli, these are a simple delight.
Reviewed by Camille Allcroft
For small plates and spot-on cocktails, pay a visit to Maray on Bold Street. The buzzing vibe starts here in the afternoon and carries on well into the evening, as friends cosy up in the intimate restaurant digging into burrata, roasted cauliflower with pomegranate and lamb koftas.
Arrive early for a seat at the bar and order the Whip Royale – a concoction of cucumber gin, prosecco and fragrant lavender, or keep it classic with a gin and tonic, each perfectly paired with a garnish.
This family owned Catalonian restaurant in the centre of Liverpool is a haven of Spanish produce and cuisine. The bright and airy space is ideal for a big family lunch or a fun dinner with friends.
Lunya’s extensive menu covers dozens of Spanish cheeses and cured meats, sharing deli platters and plenty of tapas dishes, as well as freshly-made traditional paellas and even Segovian baby suckling pig to share (must be ordered 48 hours in advance).
We recommend choosing a selection of tapas dishes to share. Don’t miss the signature crispy chicken strips coated in super crunchy tortilla chip pieces and served with punchy Catalan dip. Seafood fideua comes in a tiny little black pan, sizzling with thin fideau noodles in black squid ink sauce with pieces of springy squid and plump Mediterranean prawns.
If you’re struggling to choose, go for one of the tapas banquets that cover all of the classics – tortilla, patatas bravas, albondigas meatballs and Iberico meat and cheese platters.
Peruse the authentic Spanish products in Lunya’s deli on the way out. Shelves heave with elegant bottles of regional wines, sherries and vermouths, while a large counter is filled with fresh padron peppers, piquillo pepper hummus and Spanish cheeses (such as manchegos, huge wheels of strong cabrales blue cheese and soft scooping torta cheese). There are plenty of cured meats to choose from, including Spain’s hero acorn-fed Ibérico ham.
In a nutshell: The latest venture from Chris Edwards and Owain Williams, the owners of successful Liverpool restaurant Filter + Fox, Belzan describes itself as a neo-bistro and bar serving seasonally led dishes.
What’s the vibe like? Belzan has a charming neighbourhood feel, with a minimal decor of white painted brick walls, simple candlelit tables and pendant lighting. Hip without trying too hard, it’s the kind of place you wish could be a fixture on every street.
What’s the food like? Small sharing dishes are the style here with five recommended to feed two. Thick slabs of chargrilled bread and butter sprinkled with sea salt got our meal underway and silence ensued as we devoured the first plate to arrive, incredibly smoky and tender pork collar yakatori with shisho mayo.
Hake with braised chicory and harissa crema was comforting and indulgent, with a bold kick of spice. We then moved on to truffled celeriac with melted tunworth cheese and puffed barley. Like a sophisticated take on cheese fries, the sweet and earthy celeriac wedges paired well with the creamy intensity of the melted tunworth.
A dessert of barbecued banana with banana ice cream, salted caramel and chocolate delivered the fun of an American diner-style dessert – the banana took on a syrupy quality which worked well with the caramel and chocolate
And the drinks? The small but perfectly formed cocktail list is filled with exciting creations. We ordered the Corpse Bride, a heady combination of Monkey 47 Gin, Lillet Blanc, grapefruit, lemon and pastis.
The wine list brings together a pleasing variety of old and new world wines on a menu annotated with quirky descriptions.
olive says… Belzan is a real find and it pulls off the tricky feat of feeling welcoming and familiar, while maintaining a unique persona packed with charm.
Click here to read our full review of Belzan
In a nutshell: Röski opened late in 2017 in the stylish Georgian quarter of Liverpool, with ambitions of gaining Michelin stars for its contemporary approach to fine dining.
What’s the vibe like? At around 30 covers Röski has an intimate feel and the minimal décor ensures the focus remains on the food. Stylish bronze light fittings add a splash of warmth to the neutral grey and white room and the eclectic soundtrack ranges from Florence and the Machine to jazz.
What’s the food like? We opted for the seven-course tasting menu and a snack of tapioca crackers with potted shrimp, edible flowers and a burst of citrus got the meal off to a promising start. A starter of red deer venison with creamy potato espuma, game gravy and garden courgettes was hearty and rich.
Röski’s take on scouse brought the traditional stew up to date – tender, 100-day-aged slow-cooked brisket from local butcher Edge & Son was topped with barbecued carrot and swede, parsley powder and tangy ‘drunken’ onions marinated in beer.
Middle Eastern-inspired roasted and caramelised cauliflower with parmesan custard and tuile was an appealing vegetarian course, and came with frozen apple and a piquant madras curry oil that worked well with the nutty cauliflower.
Yorkshire forced rhubarb, caramelised white chocolate and silky ‘builder’s tea’ ice cream came with an array of leaves doused in essence of rhubarb which billowed across the table, while edible silver leaf and candyfloss completed this theatrical creation.
And the drinks? There’s a wide variety of wines available, including mid-range and premium options and tasting menus can be paired with matching wine flights.
We sipped chilled Jacquart Brut Mosaïque Rosé champagne before moving on to a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from the Yealands Estate, with notes of wild thyme and citrus.
olive says… Röski delivers on its promise to breathe new life into fine dining, serving food to get excited about, with bold flavours and meticulous presentation.
Click here to read our full review of Röski
In a nutshell: A kitchen, bar, off-licence and event space rapidly carving out its own niche.
What’s the vibe like? The bar and restaurant is a spacious, bright and informal space with exposed brickwork, polished wooden tables, pot plants, chalkboard menus and a shelf brimming with colourful jars of house-made pickles
What’s the food like? The small plates were sophisticated without trying too hard; twice-cooked chunky chips with rich beef gravy was the embodiment of uncomplicated comfort food.
Southern fried chicken delivered a sublime combination of flavours: succulent chicken in a golden crumb was paired with a wedge of fluffy cornbread and maple syrup, while popcorn added intense sweetness and a contrasting texture. Chunks of on-trend pickled watermelon on the side added a refreshing tang.
Octopus risotto conjured up a taste of the sea with a slight saltiness from its ink, the pan-fried, pickled tentacle was extremely tender. Truffle gnocchi with chestnut mushrooms and crispy sage was another triumph, full of intricate flavours, with an earthy depth of pungent truffle, meaty chestnut mushrooms and pillowy gnocchi.
There was a choice of panna cotta or lemon cheesecake for dessert and the latter was zesty and light, which worked well with the topping of (unfortunately out of season) strawberries bursting with sweetness and some playful popping candy.
And the drinks? The cocktail list breaks away from the strict classics. Garden Negroni (gin, Aperol, Cocchi Rosa, maraschino and mint) and Praise Bee (vodka, honey, orange bitters, grape and sparkling Chenin Blanc) both sounded appealing, and White Port and Tonic was an up-to-the-minute alternative to G&T.
olive says… Buyers Club is a great all-rounder where you can dine, drink and listen to music. The star of the show is undoubtedly the dazzling and affordable (£6-£9 each) small plates, but the service, too, is cheerful and efficient.
Click here to read our full review of Buyers Club
Words by Ellie Edwards, Camille Allcroft and Mark Taylor
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