If you’re looking to refuel after a hard day’s shopping (or just wanting to line your stomach before a hard night on the town), you’re in luck, because Liverpool is a gastronomic delight. The restaurant scene has exploded in recent years and, with all the fine dining, cheap eats and independent restaurants, you won’t go hungry in this town. There’s also a Premier Inn near all the city’s best restaurants, so you won’t have too far to go to sleep off any post-lunch slumps.
With delicious Catalan food and lashings of the finest Cava to wash it down with, this tapas restaurant shows that the best things arrive on small plates. Neon Jamon opened in Smithdown Place in 2012, and has proved so popular that there’s now another one on Berry Street. The lunchtime deals are legendary, but it’s the atmosphere that keeps people coming back for more. From the soundtrack to the staff, it’s all so authentically Spanish you could be in Barcelona (if you ignore the British weather). And the dish that gets everyone talking? The straw fries served with egg on top.
Opened in 2014 by Wirral chef Paul Askew, The Art School consistently gets rave reviews and has been named as one of the UK’s best restaurants. You know you’re in for star treatment even before you get through the imposing, Georgian-style front door when you’re greeted by very smart staff wearing bowler hats. If you can tear yourself away from the armchairs and log fires in the lounge area, you’ll find that the dining room is also a classy affair. Luckily, friendly waiting staff (and the view of the chefs hard at work in the glassed-in kitchen) keep the atmosphere relaxed.
If you want a luxury afternoon tea, an evening sipping cocktails or a fine dinner in very swish surroundings, Panoramic 34 is the place. But what makes the restaurant truly special is the views. Set on the 34th floor of the city’s highest skyscraper, floor-to-ceiling windows offer stunning panoramic views of the river, city and beyond. At 300 feet above sea level, you’re even higher than the city’s famous Liver birds. Even better, friendly and knowledgeable staff are only too happy to point out places of interest.
No visit to Liverpool is complete without a stroll down Hope Street in the city’s beautiful Georgian area. And if all that walking’s given you an appetite, you’ll find some great restaurants here to satisfy your rumbling tum. For modern cuisine, there’s 60 Hope Street, London Carriage Works or The Art School. If you fancy something more low key there’s the Free State Kitchen for US-style food, or the incredibly quirky Death Row Dive and Diner where you eat your dinner off prison-style trays.
Ropewalks’ mix of historic streets, renovated warehouses and quirky venues have turned it into the city’s indie quarter, and very lovely it is too. But if it’s a good meal you’re after, you’re in the right place. Sample the best of Liverpool café culture at Bold Street Coffee and LEAF café. Or for something more substantial, there’s Indian street food at Mowgli, cocktails and small plates of French food at Maray, tapas at Neon Jamon and sushi (and to-die-for brownie spring rolls) at Japanese restaurant Miyagi.
South of the city centre, Liverpool’s Chinatown is the oldest Chinese settlement in Europe and, with its beautiful red and gold arch as the gateway to the area, it really looks the part. It tastes the part, too, serving some of the most authentic Asian cuisine you’ll find in the UK. There’s an extensive range of restaurants from Beijing, Sichuan, Vietnam and Thailand on offer but, when it comes to Chinese cuisine, North Garden is one of the best - it’s always packed with members of the Chinese community.
If you like your food to come with a big dollop of history, head to Albert Dock. This World Heritage riverside setting is packed with restaurants catering for everything from family favourites to fine dining. If you just fancy a quick bite, try Ziferblat. Inside, everything you eat and drink is free, but you pay for the amount of time you spend here. For lunch or dinner, try What’s Cooking? One of the Albert Dock’s longest standing restaurants, this bar and grill is set in a fabulous Grade I listed-building.
Hipsters’ favourite the Baltic Triangle is the fastest-growing creative hub in the city. It also has some of Liverpool’s coolest places to eat, like the award-winning Camp and Furnace, for example. This cavernous old warehouse has been given a Scandinavian makeover, complete with log fires, retro caravans and twinkly bare bulbs. If the weather’s fine, head to Constellations. Just around the corner from Camp and Furnace, this urban garden and event space hosts a fabulous brunch club every weekend.
Liverpool ONE, the UK’s largest outdoor shopping complex, has shops to suit both bargain hunters and big spenders. The same can be said for its restaurants, too, because there’s everything from fast food to fine dining on offer here. Families are well catered for among the major chains, with firm favourites like Pizza Express, Jamie’s and Las Iguanas. For something a bit more special, try Lunya, a Catalonian fusion deli and restaurant, or Chaophraya, an elegant restaurant serving authentic Thai food.
Liverpool is one of England’s most cosmopolitan cities and was the 2008 European capital of culture. Whether you’re passing through, looking for heritage, pop culture and entertainment, checking out the universities, or planning a weekend break, there are plenty of reasons to book a hotel room in Liverpool. And with quaint fishing villages and market towns on its doorstep, there's so much to see and do in the surrounding area of Merseyside.