Restaurant: City Picnic

In the month of healthy resolutions and diet culture overload you would be forgiven for thinking things have slowed down across Belfast’s restaurant scene. I’m here to tell you quite the opposite, as it’s full steam ahead for popular city centre eatery City Picnic after over 15 months of closure.

This Castle Street business offers a newly developed menu with a balance of indulgent and healthy meals to suit whatever mood you might find yourself in. With a fresh new look, reasonable price point and quirky menu, it’s among the finest options for a quick and casual meal you could manage to find in town.

There’s a lot to be admired about City Picnic, not least the unrivalled effort its management have delivered to continue trading for the people of Belfast.

The last business to reopen after the adjacent Primark building was destroyed by fire in 2018, it’s back with a fully refurbished restaurant, a revamped menu and impressive bar area.

Clearly the owners have found the silver lining in their misfortune with a space that covers all bases, including breakfasts, lunch and now dinner, not to mention the mouthwatering cocktail list.

Half way through the month of January, I was ready for a little indulgence and certainly wasn’t disappointed by the range of choice on offer. First port of call was of course the drinks list, from which I had to try my best-loved gin bramble.

A popular classic that’s essentially a gin sour, City Picnic’s version was a perfectly balanced mix of alcohol and the blackberry flavour of the creme de mure. There are plenty other options available to wet your whistle, with Heineken on draught, multiple bottled beers, a fair few spirits and of course your choice of wine, soft and hot drinks.

After first being torn between the burger list and wings & chicken options, I settled on The Mexican, a beef patty with American cheese, crispy Spanish chorizo and spicy chipotle sauce.

My other half went for the aptly named Sticky Pig pizza, with bbq pizza sauce, pulled pork, chorizo and a dressing of red onion, rocket and chipotle drizzle.

Both priced under the £10 mark, each dish far exceeded our expectations. It really is all about the food at City Picnic, which is clear from the high quality meat to the sesame seed burger bun that came together to make a tantalising, hearty burger with a lively kick of spice.

As someone whose long been a fierce critic of bbq pizza I was surprised at how much I just couldn’t resist trying a slice of the Sticky Pig. The chefs at City Picnic have been clever to add a drizzle of chipotle sauce over the generous serving of meat as it’s heat does well to balance out the sweet bbq sauce.

Embracing the quirky and innovative menu for all it had to offer we also enjoyed the signature Messed Up Fries which came loaded with crispy smoked bacon, parmesan, cajun peri sauce and garlic butter. At this point we knew our January diet was well and truly out the window, but we struggled to find any concern as we polished off every delicious bite.

Another menu on the item that caught my eye was the Veggie Bean, a spicy bean patty with rocket and fire roasted salsa that sounds as though it cold convert any meat eater. There’s also plenty of lighter options for those seeking a healthier meal, including a Falafel & Three Bean salad I am dying to try.

City Picnic’s fresh new look has created an ‘outside in’ atmosphere, with an array of plants and textures, soft lighting and an urban chic finish making it a stylish and modern dining option.

Whether you fancy a quick milkshake and burger lunch or dinner with friends over a bottle of prosecco, this Castle Street eatery has everything you could wish for on the menu, with top class service to top if off.

Jenna Gardiner

City Picnic can be found at 06 Castle Street, on the corner of Fountain Street. They are open 10am to 10pm everyday. For more information, including menus, table booking and pre-ordering lunch go to and find them on @citypicnic on Facebook and Twitter and @city_picnic on Instagram.

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