It was announced today (16 August) that this October, Belfast will celebrate NI Year of Food and Drink by shining a light on the city’s rich culinary scene during Eat & Drink Belfast Restaurant Week.
Held over a nine-day period from 8 – 16 October, Restaurant Week will promote great Belfast food and champion the city’s diverse and award-winning choice of restaurants, cafes and gastropubs, as well as celebrating Northern Ireland’s impressive artisan producers, growers and brewers, by encouraging both residents and visitors to dine out and enjoy all that Belfast offers.
The Restaurant Week initiative, which is funded by Belfast City Council with support from Tourism Northern Ireland and delivered by Visit Belfast and Food NI, culminates in the arrival of the BBC Good Food Show, which takes place at the Belfast Waterfront from 14 – 16 October and sees famous names like James Martin and the Hairy Bikers visit the city.
Eateries are now being encouraged to submit unique ‘food experiences’ – from bespoke menus to special events – for promotion during Restaurant Week. The deadline for submission is Tuesday 23 August, with more information available from Food NI.
Belfast City Councillor Deirdre Hargey said:
“Belfast Restaurant Week is an unmissable opportunity to show the passion that goes into making, cooking and serving up our first-class food and drink.
“Belfast’s hospitality industry makes a major contribution to the local economy, with nearly a thousand outlets supporting around 29,000 jobs, so the Council is pleased to support this initiative, which will give the city’s many restaurants an opportunity to showcase their talented chefs and local ingredients. We are confident that Belfast Restaurant Week will encourage more people to get out and experience some of the great food available right across the city.”
Jorge Lopes, Country Director of Diageo NI, said;
“Food and drink is a key aspect of any thriving city, and Belfast can compete with the best. Food and drink is an important part of any city break – estimates show that about one third of a tourist’s spend is on food and drink – so we want to encourage our industry customers to embrace Belfast Restaurant Week to shout about what makes Belfast and Northern Ireland such a fantastic destination for food and drink.
Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive of Visit Belfast, also said:
“Good food has always been core to the DNA of any intrepid traveller, and eating out is an increasingly important element of Belfast’s tourism offering. Food writers and critics have been raving about our restaurants and food scene for some time now and the city has been mentioned in many influential travel and food guides, notably being named as one of the top places to visit for food in 2016 by the National Geographic Traveller magazine, all of which helps in attracting more and more visitors to Belfast.
“Eat & Drink Belfast Restaurant Week is all about raising the profile of our eating out scene, encouraging everyone to enjoy great nights out, sampling new menus and perhaps trying something different whilst getting the true, great taste of Belfast.”
Susie Brown, Director of Corporate Development at Tourism NI added:
“The NI Year of Food and Drink has been a great success as we head into the final stages of the year, the time is right to celebrate Belfast’s unique restaurant scene. Belfast is home to very talented chefs who combine fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create dishes of distinction, and we hope this initiative will encourage everyone to get out and enjoy some great food and drink.”
Sharon Machala from Food NI concluded:
“From an Ulster fry to Michelin-starred dining and everything in between, Belfast has it all, and Eat & Drink Belfast Restaurant Week will celebrate the great variety of dining in the city. We are encouraging Belfast eateries to get involved with this celebration creating ‘food experiences’ that showcase the great local food and drink available in the city.”