Set on the River Mersey, the vibrant city of Liverpool is bursting with activities and attractions to suit all tastes. Whether you're into culture, history, sport, or just want to enjoy some good old-fashioned retail therapy, the Liverpool City Centre has something for everyone. Beatles fans flock to this northern England location to immerse themselves in everything to do with the fab four. Football fans can take in a game at Anfield or Goodison Park, and history buffs will enjoy a visit to the Museum of Liverpool. Just make sure you drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage locker in Liverpool before you head out exploring.
Liverpool is a city with a long and rich history, and its food culture is no different. The city has a diverse range of restaurants, cafes, and bars, all with their own unique take on the local cuisine. It's safe to say that this city isn't just known for The Beatles and Liverpool FC.
Food in Liverpool is constantly evolving. Bold Street's food scene is definitely trendy, as is that of Castle Street, traditional pubs serve up a pint and a roast dinner, and the chip shops put together great food, even though it tends to be a little on the greasy side. Liverpool City Centre has fine dining and Michelin-starred restaurants as well.
Street food is another popular food category in town, and the best street food vendors in Liverpool will offer you everything from Indian to Middle Eastern to British food. And, for plant-based eaters, the vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Liverpool have menus that will keep you eating something new for every meal. But, before you commit to one specific restaurant or a certain type of cuisine, check out our list of all the Liverpool foods you have to try:
Liverpool Food: Scouse
Scouse is typically made with beef or lamb, although chicken or vegetarian versions are also available. The meat is stewed gently in a gravy made with onions, carrots, and potatoes. Herbs and spices are added for flavor, and the stew is usually served with bread or dumplings.
Deriving its name from lobscouse, a typical northern European sailor's stew, as a Port City, it's not hard to imagine how the idea of this dish made it to Liverpool. You'll find many variations on this dish in the city, but for a true Liverpudlian experience, kill two birds with one stone and get your scouse at Liverpool Cathedral. They serve some of the best in town, and you can enjoy the sights as you dine on the amazing food.
To give you an idea of the importance of this food, scouse is so popular in Liverpool that the city's residents are affectionately known as Scousers. If you only try one thing while you're here, this should be it.
Liverpool Food: Afternoon Tea
Afternoon tea is a light meal typically eaten between 4 pm and 6 pm. It usually consists of finger foods such as sandwiches, scones, pastries, and obviously, tea. Afternoon tea originated in England during the Victorian era and has since become a popular social event in many parts of the world.
In recent years, afternoon tea has seen a resurgence in popularity, especially in London and other major cities in England, like Liverpool, where there are now many trendy afternoon tea spots. Whether you're looking for a traditional afternoon tea experience or something more modern, there's sure to be an afternoon tea spot that's perfect for you.
Perhaps one of the best spots to head for afternoon tea with a view is Panoramic 34. This is a celebrated fine dining restaurant that offers amazing food in general, but the afternoon tea is definitely something special.
Liverpool Food: Wet Nelly
Wet Nelly might not sound like the most appetizing dish in the world, but before you start guessing, this is a cake modeled after a Lancashire favourite called Nelson Cake. Wet Nelly is a fruit cake that is a lot moister than its Lancastrian counterpart, which should explain the name a little.
The origin of the dish itself isn't exactly a fun story. It was created because when Liverpool was devasted by WWII, the city's residents became impoverished and needed an easy and cheap bread pudding to keep spirits high. The dessert is easy to make by hastily combining water-softened pieces of white bread, suet, dried fruit, eggs, sugar, and lemon.
You'll often find this pudding served with custard, and lemon is a particularly good choice. Despite its humble beginnings out of necessity, Wet Nelly lives on today in Liverpool.
Liverpool Food: Liverpool Tarts
Liverpool tarts didn't start out the way you see them today. They were originally a concoction of currants, sugar, butter, lard, eggs, and cream, with no mention of lemon juice or zest. Although it's not actually clear when they became lemon tarts, the theory goes that somewhere along the line, lemon juice was used as a preservative, and now a Liverpool tart is essentially a lemon tart. The recipe for the tart filling calls for a simple mix of fresh lemons, lemon zest, and demerara sugar.
The appearance of the tart is somewhat grainy, but don't worry - they melt in your mouth. This iconic treat is scattered around bakeries, coffee shops, and many restaurants in Liverpool.
Liverpool Food: English Breakfast
A staple of any breakfast menu in Liverpool is the English breakfast. This hearty meal typically consists of eggs, bacon, sausage, black pudding, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, and toast. While the ingredients may vary depending on where you go, one thing is for sure - an English breakfast will fill you up.
There are many places to enjoy an English breakfast in Liverpool, but one of the most popular spots is Ye Hole in Ye Wall. This quaint little pub serves up a mean English breakfast, and it's the perfect place to start your day if you're exploring the city. Another alternative is the Pen Factory's Sunday brunch, where you can get an English breakfast with a bit of live music.
Liverpool Food: Pasty
A pasty is a type of turnover that is typically filled with meat and vegetables. The pastry is then crimped closed, and the turnover is baked or fried. Pasties are a popular food in Cornwall, England, and the city of Liverpool has its own version of this dish.
The Liverpool pasty is filled with chunks of beef, potatoes, onions, and carrots. The filling is then wrapped in a flaky pastry dough and deep fried. This results in a golden brown pasty that is crispy on the outside and savory on the inside.
If you're looking for a quick and easy snack while you're out and about in Liverpool, be sure to keep an eye out for street food vendors selling Liverpool pasties.
Liverpool Food: Roast Dinner
When you want a tasty roast dinner, you want quality seasonal produce, a good cut of roast beef, and all the fixings. Traditionally reserved for Sundays, the roast dinner has evolved like much of Liverpool's cuisine. Many of the restaurants in Liverpool put a twist on the classic meal to make it special. At its core, you have beef and vegetables like Brussels sprouts and potatoes. Then you have the gravy and Yorkshire pudding to kick it up a level. The result is a heaping plate of food that you can get on Sundays in most pubs in the country.
In Liverpool, head to The Blackburn Arms gastro pub for a traditional meal. For something different, the Baltic Social on Parliament Street has delicious food, including a Sunday roast dinner and even a vegan Sunday roast.
Liverpool Food: Fish and Chips
Liverpool is a city with a long history of fishing, so it's no surprise that fish and chips are a popular dish in this part of the world. Fish and chips are typically made with cod, haddock, or plaice, and they are usually served with french fries (called chips) and mushy peas. Although this is a meal that's known all over England, you can't talk about a list of foods to try in Liverpool without mentioning fish and chips.
If you're looking for a classic fish and chips experience, head to Maguire's of Cross Lane. This family-run restaurant has been serving up delicious fish and chips since the 1950s, and it's the perfect place to go if you're craving this iconic dish.
Liverpool Food: Curry
Curry is a dish that is made with a variety of spices, and it is often served with rice or naan bread. The exact origins of curry are unknown, but the dish has been popular in India for centuries.
Today, curry is enjoyed all over the world, and there are many different types of curry to choose from. In Liverpool, you can find Indian-style curry, Thai curry, and Jamaican curry, but it's the Indian curry that you have to try when you're in town.
Due to mass amounts of immigration, the national dish of England is now split between fish and chips and chicken tikka masala. Indian restaurants in Liverpool are scattered all over the Liverpool City Centre and beyond, so you won't have to go far to find one with delicious food. For the best Indian Street food, head to one of the Mowgli locations.
Liverpool Food: Everton Mints
This last food to try in Liverpool is something that was invented in the city by a passionate football (soccer) fan. Everton mints were first created in Liverpool near the home of the Everton football club, Goodison Park. To honor the then uniform colors of the team, the mints' creator, Mother Noblett, made them black and white. Unfortunately, the team has since changed their home uniform color to blue, but the mints remain a lasting treasure of the city.
Now, these aren't just your average black and white mints. At the centre of the mint, you'll find a soft toffee core that's like a prize for breaking through the tougher outer minty coating. The result is a mint and caramel combination that simply melts in your mouth.
Because of the long shelf life and the fact that these mints are compact, Everton mints make a great souvenir of your Liverpool City Centre trip or the ideal gift for your friends back home.
From tasting menus in Roski's Rodney Street dining room to a tasty lunch on Bold Street and the beautifully prepared British cooking of the Art School Restaurant, you can basically get any food item you can think of in Liverpool. Street food vendors, local pubs, and fine dining establishments offer varied and inventive menus. Whether you want fancy food or casual food, Liverpool is the place to be.
While part of the Liverpool food scene is geared toward healthier and vegetarian or vegan options, many of the iconic Liverpool foods aren't exactly good for you. Head out on a few of the best hikes in Liverpool to burn off a few calories before your next meal. You'll be glad you did when you don't go home with any extra pounds. Because the reality is that the street food in Liverpool alone is enough to gain a couple of pounds, and when you're on vacation, it's natural to want to indulge. Experience the amazing food of Liverpool today and worry about the ramifications tomorrow (or next week)!