“As nothing gets me more excited than eating, I thought I would share some of my favourite places in Liverpool with anyone who is interested”— DadBodEatsUK
Hello world and welcome to the foodie adventures of DadbodEats! I am very happy you are here and I really hope you will enjoy the flog (food blog because anything goes these days). As nothing gets me more excited than eating, I thought I would share some of my favourite places in Liverpool with anyone who is interested. Hopefully, this will be the start of many reviews and we can cover not only this great city, but also the best of Britain and some great meals around the world!
So without further ado, and in no particular order:
1. Best bargain: Crust, Bold Street
For value, Crust just can’t be beaten. The awards this restaurant has received back my belief that this is one of the best pizzerias in the country – not just Liverpool. Despite its slightly commercial appearance, the feeling once inside is of authenticity and the food certainly tastes of Italy. The wood-fired pizzas are mouth-watering, and as the name suggests, you won’t want to leave the crust – unless you have to because the portions are pretty epic. I would highly recommend the classic margherita – the best way to judge any pizza restaurant and very friendly on the pocket at just £6! The specials are always interesting too and the last time I went I had an amazing, spicy ‘nduja pizza. ‘Nduja is a hot Italian sausage which has an incredible depth of flavour and something which everyone needs to try! I can’t get enough and will order it whenever I can. Another must try is their take on dough balls. These even beat the nostalgia of Pizza Express’ version mainly because they deep fry them at Crust and cover them in garlic. They are completely addictive but could be improved by the condiments. Currently they are served with ketchup & mayo which is okay, but a good aioli or garlic butter would take these to the next level of doughy delight. Finally, the drinks are on point, the service is top-notch and the prices are ridiculously reasonable – bordering on silly. A nationally acclaimed pizza for just over a fiver is enough to get anyone excited, especially a stingy sod like me!
2. Best to impress: Bacaro, Castle Street
One to show your partner, your parents and anyone else who’s passing through this brilliant city. Bacaro is best described as an Italian tapería. It serves the best of Italian cuisine, but in portions small enough to allow you to try all the dishes you want – or at least a larger percentage than if they did main courses. Highlights include the calamari, pizzettes (mini pizzas), risotto and lasagne. But the standout isn’t always on the menu. The ‘Crispy Chicken Milanese’ topped with mac n’ cheese may sound a bit OTT, but it is so good they ran a stall at Baltic Market based almost exclusively on this. The chicken is as crispy as the name suggests, and the meat is succulent. Then the saltiness from the rich cheesy sauce lifts the dish to levels which make the average human salivate like a hungry Labrador. It’s a dish so good that my girlfriend and I have passed through Baltic Market to eat it, on the way to another restaurant! I know I probably should be embarrassed about such high levels of greediness, but it’s this attitude that creates my coveted Dad Bod. Not only is the food amazing at Bacaro, but the ambience is lovely and lively, without being overbearing. Everyone from students to senior execs feels welcome there and it’s first on my list of recommendations if you ever want to impress at a reasonably low cost!
3. Best for excess: Fazenda, Exchange Flags
Fazenda is a Brazilian Rodizio, meaning unlimited meat on sticks! Now this is not for the faint-hearted – it literally could cause cardiac arrest. The quality of meat is insane and this makes it very tricky to turn down. The waiters bring a selection round on a skewer, before carving it straight onto your plate. There is a traffic light system for getting more food. A green card means more, red means you’re taking a break. The first time I went I couldn’t let anything go past, so I left my card green side up for most of the meal and this was a big mistake! However, it did mean that I got to taste all the different grilled meats. These ranged from more exotic delicacies such as chicken hearts, through to the night’s special which was succulent wagyu beef, and every delicious cut in between. All of it had the extra punch of being cooked by the flame and it really is a meat lovers paradise. Plus, upon entry you get access to what may be the world’s best salad bar. There are cured meats, cheeses and delicious veg, as well as sauces and other accompaniments to compliment the main event. The only issue is that all this stuff looks so appealing, it takes serious willpower to stop yourself from overindulging before the meat even arrives! This restaurant oozes class and meat sweats in equal quantities, with a lovely bar and a beautiful setting, it really is a great night out – just don’t bring your veggie mates!
4. Best Chain Destroyer: Maggie Fu, Smithdown Road
Many people love Wagamama’s, but if you’re in Liverpool then Maggie Fu is 100 times better! I personally am not the biggest fan of Waga’s so when I heard of the menu at this Liverpool gem, I wasn’t immediately enthralled. However, after listening to multiple positive reviews I got persuaded to go. I am so happy I gave in! This is now one of my all-time favourite Asian restaurants – its tagline mentions Chinese but to me it has definite crossover into Japan and even Malaysia. Must tries include the katsu curry (I didn’t even like katsu before trying it here), and the ramen bowl, which can be customised to suit your taste. The broths have deliciously deep flavour and the char sui provides a beautiful added texture. Whatever your combination, you will be left full and satisfied with a feeling of warmth throughout. Plus, if you go for the authentic chopstick experience then you might end up warm on the outside too, after flicking hot broth all over yourself whilst slurping noodles – or maybe that’s just me! Then the icing on the cake is that they have Asahi on tap. In my humble opinion this is right up there with the best lagers in the world so it’s always a bonus to get a pint of it! I could go on and mention their lovely selection of starters but for now the last thing I have to mention is that it’s all dead cheap. Oh, and that you are likely to have to wait for a seat most nights cause the locals all know how good this place is.
5. Best Fish n’ Chips: Byrnes, Stuart Road
This Liverpool legend has been around for 4 generations according to its sign and has hoards of loyal customers. Not many restaurants last more than a year, so Byrnes must be doing something right. That something is good old-fashioned fish n’ chips. This is one of those things that should be simple, but so many places fail to deliver. Byrnes has a cult following because it delivers delicious, crispy and flaky fish and by the looks of it, has done for years. This is not as easy to find as you might expect in Liverpool chippies, and that’s why I was prepared to drive 25 minutes to pick it up. The drive was worth every minute for the craic in the shop and especially for the mountain of delicious food and pot of meaty gravy. I was too eager to eat it to drive home, so Lucy and I tucked in, sitting in the car and it was worth every bit of the mess. The chips were bang on and there was no shortage of salt and vinegar lathered over it all – greasy perfection!
6. Best Breakfast: Rhubarb, Lark Lane
One of the more surprising inclusions in this list. Rhubarb may not have the fame of a place like The Tavern Co., but it has something else. It has a lovely subtle character – or at least it has some right characters at the bar. This café seems to be the crossroads of Liverpool. Everyone, from yummy mummies, students and middle-aged beer lovers (to put it kindly), converges on this great ‘bistro’ on weekend mornings. Once you have taken in the surroundings and found a table, you can have a look through the delicious and varied breakfast menu. This includes all the classics and at incredibly good prices. Eggs Royale is around £6 and they’re by no means stingy with the salmon. A Full English isn’t much more with meaty sausages and nicely cooked eggs. Plus, you can add your favourite bits and bobs for very little extra. This means you can have a hearty, classy and delicious breakfast, with a hot drink – or perhaps an Estrella – for £10 or less. In other words, on those slow weekend mornings, when you want to get out the house, Rhubarb is an absolute no brainer. Especially as it’s just next to Sefton Park, so you can work up an appetite on your way there and then sit down and gorge – is there any better start to the morning?
7. Best for saving the world: Mowgli, Water Street
This glorious Indian restaurant is a sight for sore eyes and the food is even better. I must admit that I haven’t been for a while now, so I’ll need to revisit before doing a proper review – a great excuse to go back! Mowgli may now be a national sensation, but it started in Liverpool and therefore we can take the credit. Whilst it’s not exclusively veggie/vegan, the restaurant’s Southern Indian/Hindu influence means that some of the best items on the menu are eco-friendly (meat-free). As a dahl lover, their take is heavenly. When I was younger, I had the good fortune to visit India and this is the closest thing to genuine Indian cuisine that I have tasted since. Another real showstopper is the Holy Chow, a lovely zingy and hearty dish to leave you feeling satisfied. For those of you who are pesky, the Goan fish curry is a proper mouth pleaser too. It took me straight back to a Goan beach shack which is a very happy place to be! In short, if you want to save the world by avoiding meat and flying, go to Mowgli. Not only can you eat sensational veggie food, but you can get the authentic Indian experience without the airmiles!
8. Best for a group: Baltic Market, Stanhope Street
Baltic Market is not an easy place to review in terms of food, purely because it is a moveable feast (if you’ll pardon the pun). Liverpool’s finest food vendors go to Independent Liverpool’s brainchild and serve up their best treats, all in a huge warehouse – if you haven’t been yet then what are you waiting for?! The combination of being able to get all your favourite foods, with great drinks and a cracking atmosphere is certainly a winner. However, I would definitely try and go as a group because a fair amount of time is spent going up to order and collect your food. Now some couples may like constantly missing each other so they can focus on the scran – but even I am not that greedy. That’s why I think it is great for larger gangs and if your friends don’t mind sharing this means you can sample more delicacies. Permanent features are Little Furnace, Hafla Hafla and The Midnight Delivery. These are all great options with Little Furness’s pizzas competing with Crust’s for sure and the halloumi fries from Hafla Hafla knocking cooked cheese lovers’ taste buds for 6! All in all, Baltic Market is a great evening out – go early to get a table and then enjoy the music, food and bar to the fullest!
9. Best for the Asian Persuasion: Tiger Rock, Smithdown Road
Last but not least, we have the wonderful Tiger Rock. Serving a brilliant variety of small plates, this eatery ticks all the boxes for a pan-Asian menu. There is spice, fragrance and bold flavour, plus an ability to please all tastes – so much so that I went with three others and all of us had different favourite dishes, but not one was disappointing. For me the crispy chilli squid was as good as it gets, slightly different to other versions but amazingly tender and packed with complimentary flavours. Another really special morsel was the king prawn fish cakes. These were spot on, with a lovely crisp shell and soft moreish middle. They were both fresh and indulgent in equal measures, leaving you wanting much, much more. For those who don’t like fish, the nasi goreng and Thai green curry were classics done with class and seasoned brilliantly – again oozing fragrance and packing a real punch! In short, the menu is tantalising, the atmosphere is great and the only thing that’s an issue – like many of the places on this list – is getting a table!
So, you’ve made it this far – thank you! I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have enjoyed developing my #dadbod. I know that is very unlikely but if you’ve enjoyed it even half as much then we’ve got something going. Please do let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions or feedback then I would love to hear it.
Yours in food,
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