Experience Northern Ireland's Food and Drink - find fantastic hospitality right here

We breed. We grow. We distil. We catch. We bake. We enjoy.

With amazing local produce and flavours, chefs and restaurants, Ards and North Down has the largest number of award winning restaurants outside of Belfast.

With its vast coastline, the area has seafood at the top of the menu, with a daily catch from the Irish Sea and Strangford Lough supplying the local restaurant trade. Don’t miss the Portavogie prawns, local lobsters or oysters. Comber potatoes are worldfamous, and adorn your table in various forms, from simply boiled to champ – a local speciality of buttery mash with spring onions This humble potato is celebrated in June with the annual Comber Earlies Food Festival, when the town Square comes alive with family activities, fabulous food, cookery demonstrations and much more! The event was Highly Commended in the NI Year of Food and Drink Awards 2016.

The local dairy industry produces exciting ranges of ice-cream, cheese and yoghurt. Don’t leave the table without trying some. Or why not round off a meal with a little nip of a locally distilled spirit!

Whether you choose a gourmet dining room, a friendly pub, or fish and chips at the harbour, you will savour the tastes of the lush green fields, fertile soil and clear waters. For visiting hunter-gatherers who prefer to cook for themselves, you’ll be spoilt for choice with goods from local producers. We also have some excellent delies offering a taste of Northern Ireland, including, Indie Fude, The Poacher's Pantry and McKee's Country Store. Be sure to visit Comber Farmers Market, voted NI Best Local Market at the NI Year of Food and Drink Awards, held on the first Thursday of the month and full of tempting treats. There’s usually a family butcher and baker in every town and village, and plenty of farm shops in the countryside, for you to pick from.



NI Food Tours are for Foodies and those who just love good food and drink!

If you’re visiting Northern Ireland for the first time or you live here, come on an NI Food Tour and get to know the food of County Down – where we have more award winning Producers and Restaurants than anywhere else in NI!

Tracey is NI Food Tours' local Tour Guide and she has an in depth knowledge of where to find great local Producers, where you will hear their story and taste their produce. You will sample foods as varied as single estate whiskey to artisan dulse wheaten bread and everything in between! We will stop for a bite to eat at a local award winning Restaurant where the emphasis is on very fresh and very local.

Whiskey and Woodland Tour - 23 September
Mount Stewart and Echlinville Distillery
Explore the unexplored, combining a guided walk along emerging new trails in the estate farmland at Mount Stewart with a fascinating visit to the recently opened Echlinville Distillery to see the fine art of whiskey making and perhaps taste a golden drop! Suitable outdoor clothing and footwear is recommended.
Tickets: £20 (includes light refreshments) 
Tour departs by coach from Ards Visitor Information Centre, Newtownards, BT23 4AD. This is a Council organised tour.


Recipes to try at home

If you have been to any of our events which we have had cookery demos you will know that the chef's involved have created some amazing dishes out of our local ingredients which you could make at home too!

We had the pleasure of hosting celebrity Chef Nick Nairn at the Portavogie Seafood Festival on Saturday 12 August accompanied by the fantastic chef team from local college SERC:

Download Nick Nairn's recipes |

Download SERC's recipes