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Good eats in Bruges and Ghent

We're staying in Ghent for 5 days early September (planning day trips to Bruges also) and staying at the Ibis near the Cathedral. We love good local foods, pastries, chocolates and coffees (we don't drink alcohol). Looking for suggestions on your favorite places for local cuisine, seafood (esp mussels) etc.... which are less touristy and moderately priced for lunch and dinners. I also have the RS Belgium book and guide. Thank you in advance!

I will follow the comments in this topic too if you don't mind :) I'm planning to take a weekend there from Paris this October. Would be nice to know what places worth visiting.

Posted by
140 posts

We will be in Bruges and Ghent in late October also so I am also following this thread. I have the RS book and have read reviews online. General consensus is that Tom's Diner in Bruges serves good food at reasonable prices. It appears that a lot of locals eat there which also appeals to me.
If anyone also knows of good lunches and dinners in Antwerp, can you please include those as well?

Posted by
138 posts

I'm going to Bruges and Antwerp in October too. I don't have an RS book but would listen to any local input if there's someone eager to help

Posted by
306 posts

Last year, we ate at Three Monkeys in Ghent. Good burgers and omelets.
We ate at Panier d'Or in Bruges, nice variety. They offered Flemish stew on their menu as well as other local offerings. Both were reasonable priced. Trip Advisor has links for you to view the menus.
Have fun!

Posted by
4003 posts

In Bruges, we enjoyed Matinee restaurant. We had the place almost exclusively to ourselves, probably because of the weather, but the food and service were good. The other restaurant we enjoyed was Brasserie Raymond. It’s more pricey than other restaurants, but the service, food, and atmosphere were very nice. In Antwerp we enjoyed De Bomma Suikerrui for mussels. For a more local feel, we liked De Groote Witte Arend. Again, we had the restaurant almost exclusively to ourselves due to the weather.

Posted by
233 posts

Hello. We just returned from our fifth stay in Ghent and can throw out 2 suggestions. Gado Gado Indonesian Restaurant is really good. They don’t do the large Rijsttafel that you would typically experience in Netherlands but food and setting was great. It is in the Patershol district. Reservations are usually needed. We went to the Ghent Beer Fest last week and many locals we talked with highly recommended Balls and Glory. We followed their advice and loved it. This is more of a casual restaurant where you stand in line, give your order and they deliver your food to your table. Their specialty is meatballs (or chicken or lamb or veggie balls), usually served with mashed potatoes and nice fresh salads. We loved this place, only disappointed that we never came across this previously. This is a locals hangout and has wine, beer and cocktails as well. Please don’t tell anyone about these two places.

Posted by
70 posts

We also will be in Ghent in October and so would like to see what folks enjoyed. I have had very mixed results just depending on RS guide books. Some amazing meals, and some duds! I seem to have better luck taking his suggestions and seeing what Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews are. High marks in both usually seems to be the way to go. Just my two cents, and our family has done a lot of travel in the last two years.

Posted by
6 posts

We spent 4 nights in Ghent in September of 2017. In general we like to stroll around at dinner time and pick a place that looks interesting, not bothering with reservations. We are rarely disappointed. These 3 restaurants are wonderful and we wouldn't hesitate to return or recommend. I can no longer locate the 4th one, a small hole-in-the-wall Italian bistro, so they may be out of business.

Restaurant De Graslei - our first night in Belgium so we went for some Flemish specialties like cheese croquettes, beef stew and seafood. The central riverside location was picturesque, but not as touristy as expected. We were seated immediately at an upstairs table. The (comfort) food was delicious; the staff was friendly and attentive, sharing some tips to make the remainder of our stay in Ghent more enjoyable.

Otomat - great beer and unique pizzas. I guess it's a chain with locations in a few other cities. They had just opened in Ghent when we stumbled upon it, drawn in by the aroma. Seemed to be mostly locals and in conversation with a man at the adjoining table we discovered that he attended high school in a nearby suburb with our AirBnB host.

't Klaverblad - a bit of a splurge, but so worth it. They were turning away a large group without a reservation when we stepped in, so we were prepared for the same. It did look full. When my wife apologetically inquired about a table for two, she "let slip" that it was my birthday. The hostess' mood visibly brightened and she led us to the last table in the back. We got the royal treatment that evening, with a b'day toast, some chef surprises and extras, a sparkler festooned dessert and a Happy Birthday serenade with the other diners joining in. Sometimes you just get lucky! (And it really was my birthday.)

There are so many other possibilities in town, with a little effort you probably can't go wrong. Perhaps ask at your hotel for their local favorite. You picked a marvelous home base for Belgium. Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
39 posts

Hi All
We returned from our wonderful trip to Ghent and Bruges and can't wait to return.... (we also visited Croatia on a tour)

As for eats, we really enjoyed Brasserie Bridges which offered a good array of the local foods (mussels, Flemish stew etc...) The ambience is typical modern brasserie style and not touristy at all.... the staff was friendly and attentive. We ate there 3 times as it was conveniently located. We liked their mussels over Poule Moule in Bruges.... had it twice! Poule Moule was nice, it was homey/cozy. The neigborhood behind the IBIS (away from the cathedral) was very quaint with shops and lots of good quick eateries, cafes etc....a good area to explore. The small side streets near the Cathedral and Korenmart offered some good eats as well if you explore. The pedestrian area is wonderful for wandering and exploring.
We did notice that most shops and eateries open at 10 am unlike the typical early morning hours for places that offer coffee and breakfast in the USA. The USA places such as Starbucks, McDonalds do however open early in the event you need a bite before a tour. We loved Ghent and Bruges.... yes Bruges is much more touristy but the Chocolate Line store is a must visit. Ghent is a university town and had a more local and historic feel. It was sooo easy to get around on the trains to/ from the towns and to/from the airport. Take advantage of the free walking tours and don't miss the chocolates!!!
btw.... there are two kinds of Belgian waffles, the light airy ones are squarish and the denser ones are round ..... we loved the light ones .... the round cakey ones (more like our USA waffles) seemed to be more widespread.

Other than food, we enjoyed the sights and local feel of Ghent and Bruges. Buses to/from train station to town center are frequent and easy.
Happy travels to all.