From The Beatles to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Grand National to two Premier League football clubs, Liverpudlians have much to be proud about – and an ever-improving restaurant scene should be added to the city’s list of attractions. Here are Liverpool’s ten best places to eat and drink.
Words by: Ben McCormack and Carol Davis
60 Hope Street
60 Hope Street’s listed Georgian frontage is traditional to a T, but it conceals a sharp contemporary interior that makes this one of the smartest addresses in town. Start with drinks in the basement bistro/bar before heading back upstairs to the cool dining room for the likes of gin-cured salmon with cucumber, caviar and yuzu, or Goosnargh duck breast with pommes Anna, king cabbage and grape.
Where: 60 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BZ
Alma de Cuba
Alma de Cuba puts in a strong bid as Liverpool’s most spectacular restaurant and bar complex, a magnificent conversion of a former 18th-century church taking in stained glass windows, stacks of candles and wall-mounted antlers. But it’s the clubby vibe in the ground-floor bar that draws the crowds and helps bring the mezzanine restaurant to life. The global cooking is just as diverting, not least during the Sunday service gospel brunch.
Where: St Peter's Church, Seel Street, Liverpool, L1 4BH
The Art School Restaurant
Housed in the former Home for Destitute Children (circa 1888), this beautifully appointed restaurant pays homage to the building’s more recent role as an art school, with commissioned works by former students covering the walls. The cooking from chef-owner Paul Askew is every bit as artful, involving robust and often challenging flavours and including vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian menus.
Where: 1 Sugnall Street, Liverpool, L7 7EB
This multi-purpose enterprise – drinking spot, kitchen, music venue and off licence – is dominated by a glittering bar set against exposed brick. A collection of fine wines, listed on blackboards, is the first of many attractions; others include cocktails, small plates and cheeseboards, plus a clientele of students and professionals drawn from the city’s universities and creative industries.
Where: 24 Hardman Street, Liverpool, L1 9AX
Well worth the ferry across the Mersey, pint-sized Fraiche gets all the details right in its serene, bijou dining room. Chef-owner Marc Wilkinson eschews TV fame in favour of a single-minded dedication to his craft, exploring the extreme fringes of gastro-science through a mind-boggling six-course ‘signature menu’ combining art, theatre and entertainment on a plate.
Where: 11 Rose Mount, Oxton, CH43 5SG
Situated in the centre of Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter, this pan-Asian eatery offers a vast array of eclectic and wholesomely fresh dishes as diverse as its clientele. Decently priced starters include the likes of crisp-fried sea bass with hot-and-sour sauce and broccoli, while ‘big plates’ take in the likes of chicken katsu curry and braised beef rendang – all served by super-efficient staff.
Where: 31 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9XH
Simply furnished with wood, bare brick, rope and birdcage lights, this lively Indian street-food kitchen is packed with young professionals, students and fans who rave about its innovative food and exciting flavours. The zingy dishes are served as and when they’re ready by personable staff; top shouts include spiced chicken thighs with tangy slaw and the fiery Goan fish curry.
Where: 69 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4EZ
Originally opened as a tiny sliver of a café near the ‘shelter in the middle of a roundabout’ immortalised by The Beatles in Penny Lane, Neon Jamón is now wowing Liverpudlians with its grander Berry Street offshoot. The menu is full of good things like croquetas, churros and chorizo, and there’s excellent cava from the Spanish wine list.
Where: Berry Street, Liverpool, L1 9DF
With stunning 360-degree vistas from the 34th floor of the West Tower, there isn’t a better table view to be had in all of Liverpool. Panoramic 34 can be anything you want it to be – bar bolthole, a venue for afternoon tea or a cash-splashing evening out with fine wines, top Champagne and contemporary cooking – just the place for big-0 birthdays and proposals.
Where: 34th Floor, West Tower, Brook Street, Liverpool, L3 9PJ
A stone’s throw from Penny Lane, Spire is renowned for its great vibe and creative cooking, with the focus firmly on seasonal ingredients from the north-west of England: rump of Cumbrian lamb with confit potatoes, or Goosnargh chicken with celeriac rosti, say. The intimate dining area is split across two floors linked with a spiral staircase; exposed brick, contemporary artwork and polished floors set the tone.
Where: Number One, Church Road, Liverpool, L15 9EA