11 reasons why Liverpool is one of the world's best cities for food

People enjoying food and drink on Liverpool's Bold Street
-Credit: (Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)


Liverpool has just been ranked 11th in Time Out's World’s Best Cities for Food according to locals.

The hospitality guide surveyed thousands of people from all around the globe about food in their city. Locals rated the quality and affordability of their food scene, while they were also asked about their favourite restaurants, must-try specialities and best-value dishes.

Time Out editors included only the highest-scoring city for each country to ensure the list reflects culinary cities globally.

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Liverpool fought off some of the world's greatest culinary cities - including Porto, Marrakech and Copenhagen - to earn its place on the list.

It may come as a surprise to some that Liverpool has ranked above the likes of London and Manchester - especially when we consider that the city has zero Michelin stars. However, food-wise, this city has more to be proud of than it may initially seem.

Here are 11 ways that Liverpool shows it is a great food city.

Growing number of food and drink markets

A first look in the new Boxpark venue in Liverpool today
A first look in the new Boxpark venue in Liverpool today -Credit:Liverpool Echo

A decade ago, Liverpool had barely any contemporary food and drink markets, a concept which was quickly gaining popularity in London and other parts of the country.

But then in 2017, Baltic Market appeared and opened the city's eyes to a better world where cool, independent food businesses thrived in an uber-casual setting, all under the same roof.

Two years later, Graffiti Sprits Group (team behind Nord and El Bandito) opened Duke Street Market and now Liverpool is home to Baltic Market, Duke Street Market, Renshaw Street Market, GPO at the Metquarter, Mt. Pleasant Market, Blackstock Market, BOXPARK and even more.

Foreign influence

Raggas on Smithdown Road
Raggas on Smithdown Road -Credit:Liverpool Echo

Migration of people from foreign lands is ever-evolving Liverpool's food scene.

We have the oldest Chinese community in Europe as well as groups hailing from the Middle-East, Africa, Spain, South America and many other regions.

This massive mix of cuisine and culture gives us a choice of something different every time we want to eat out. One day you could be eating at The Twins Flavour on Dale Street which sells authentic Colombian dishes, and another day be digging into some Caribbean food at Raggas on Smithdown Road.

And without our Chinese influence, we wouldn't be able to walk into any local chippy and order a box of noodles or salt and pepper chicken, which are definite local delicacies.

Increased investment from award-winning chefs

Andrew Sheridan (right) and his team at Restaurant '8'
Andrew Sheridan (right) and his team at Restaurant '8' -Credit:Liverpool Echo

If you spoke to anyone about fine-dining in Liverpool 15 years ago, one name would pop up more than any other: The London Carriage Works. And while the popular Hope Street restaurant is still going strong and winning accolades after two decades in business, they're not the only option anymore, should you want to be wined and dined in style.

In the past year alone, several award-winning chefs have decided that Liverpool is the right place to start a fine-dining restaurant. '8' by Andrew Sheridan has opened on Cook Street while Great British Menu winner and local lad, Dan McGeorge has opened Vetch on Hope Street.

And although Liverpool is yet to earn a Michelin star, with more and more top culinary minds moving into the city, it must only be a matter of time.

Smithdown Road

Smithdown Road
Smithdown Road -Credit:Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo

I really hope that people living along Smithdown Road appreciate its food scene because it is second to none in terms of variety.

On this vibrant Wavertree street, you can get almost anything that your heart - or stomach desires. Feel like a burger? Go to SHAKE. Kebab? Try Friends. Fried chicken? Beak has you covered. Or if you want a cosy three-course meal then look no further than Belzan, a wonderful neighbourhood bistro and wine bar.

Smithdown is any foodie's dream from the very top of the road all the way down to the bottom. It's also criminally underrated!

Independent business

In a world of ever-growing corporate expansion, it's gladdening to see that many still favour the independent business over that of a huge conglomerate.

Independent restaurants have more control over their identity and the food they serve. Chefs are free to be both creative and innovative, while guests can form a relationship with the business.

Not to mention that food is generally better and receives a lot more care and thought.

Scouse

Homemade scouse
Homemade scouse -Credit:Liverpool ECHO

We can't talk about Liverpool food without mentioning the dish that the city's people are named after.

Scouse, a meat stew of Scandinavian origin, was brought to the city hundreds of years ago, remaining today.

Still served in many pubs, Scouse can be a source of contention between Scousers. Some use beef while others use lamb. Some people have pickled red cabbage with theirs but others prefer beetroot.

We tried to find the best bowl of Scouse in Liverpool and the answer was closer to home than expected. Click here for the full story.

Vegetarian and vegan options

Sanskruti, in Liverpool - Pictured Tandoori Paneer Tikka
Sanskruti, in Liverpool - Pictured Tandoori Paneer Tikka -Credit:Colin Lane

Liverpool's food scene isn't only enjoyed by meat-eaters as the city boasts a solid selection of vegan and vegetarian options.

Middle-Eastern-inspired restaurant, Maray is famous for its 'Disco Cauliflower' - deep-fried cauliflower covered in chermoula, harissa, yoghurt, tahini, pomegranate, parsley, almonds. They also serve a well-executed range of other options if meat isn't your thing.

Another restaurant that veggies must try - and non-veggies for that matter - is Sanskruti, which serves a completely meat-free menu of Indian cuisine.

For an insiders' guide to vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Merseyside, click here.

Access to amazing produce

Jonny Farrell (right) with staff of Butcher Farrell’s Meat Emporium
Jonny Farrell (right) with staff of Butcher Farrell’s Meat Emporium -Credit:Jonny Farrell

With Liverpool being so close to the Lancashire and Cheshire countrysides, there's a decent amount of farms from which restaurants and cafes can source seasonal fruit and veg.

Chefs can cook using the best meat available from quality butchers such as Butcher Farrell's Meat Emporium in Ormskirk or Edge and Son's on the Wirral.

And for fresh fish, many look no further than Wards in Birkenhead.

With the number of options available, there's no excuse for serving food which is anything but the best.

Farmer's markets

There's nothing better than getting up in the morning and browsing cheeses, meats and vegetables at the local farmer's market.

Lark Lane Farmer's Market, Woolton Village Market and Allerton Road Market all take place on one Saturday per month and are not only good places to find quality food, but to socialise too.

Liverpool Restaurant Week

Liverpool Restaurant Week showcases the best food and drink the city has to offer

This year it took place from April 22 to 28, with venues coming together, offering unique deals to mark the occasion.

Liverpool Restaurant Week sees businesses offering unique menus such as a £5, £15, £25 or £35 menu option across fine dining, desserts, fast food, bars, brunch spots and top venues.

With a 'Foodie Passport', which could be picked up at participating venues, diners could collect five stamps at any venue of their choice to enter the Restaurant Week competition which offered the chance of winning a meal out each week for a whole year.

Affordability

While the price of a meal has risen considerably over the past couple of years, food in Liverpool is still comparatively more affordable than many other parts of the country.

A three-course meal at a decent restaurant would be a dream for many living in London. However, in Liverpool it is easier to get the money together for such an occasion.

Fixed price menus also lend a hand in affording a meal out; Wreck by Gary Usher's bistro menu lets guests have two courses for £15 or three courses for £20 at selected times.

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