We are coming off a cruise ship for a one-day stop in Bruges (on Sunday, Sept. 4th). My wife and I are looking for a recommendation for a unique restaurant for lunch-- a place with good local food that is not too expensive, but is a nice sit-down, good service, establishment. I love seafood, my wife not so much. So a little variety in the food offerings. And not right on the main square of the city, but within a short walk, if possible. Be sure to tell me the food selection you like the best. Looking forward to some great choices. Thanks!
I had a fantastic bowl of mussels in Bruge a few years ago. It may be the specialty there.
Mussels and frites and beer are the things to eat there. Every place we had them was great. While you wait for further replies here,may I suggest you check our Bruges restaurants at Trip Advisor.
Exactly: for the seafood lover, it must be moules-frites (mussels with fries).
For the spouse, Carbonnades Flamandes: Flemish beef stew in beer. I fell in LOVE with the stuff in Antwerp and ooh, it always comes with those to-die-for frites as well. Wear loose clothing... :O)
Hope some others throw out some suggestions but I see that Poules Moules is getting very good reviews:
I agree that Poules Moules is excellent but it's really the place to go for mussels. I honestly didn't see anyone ordering anything else when we were there, but it was mussel season apparently. We had a lovely meal at Bierbrassiere Cambrinus. It's a bar, so lovely beers, but it's charming and the food is good. We can recommend the seafood casserole, the tagliatelle, and the best creme brulee ever (even our friends from New York thought so).
The Matinee is a nice understated little place.
Fantastic!! I'm drooling already. Thanks to all for the suggestions. Don't stop now though.
We ate mussels and had beer at a place called Brasserie Mozarthuys, across canal from Stadhuis, and maybe 5 minute walk off Grote markt, near the Fish market (Vismarkt). The pot of mussels is big, plenty even for me a large man!
Just a head's up... mussels (mosselen in the local language, not moules) are a seasonal specialty in most of Belgium. That being said, because restaurants in Brugge will cater to tourists' expectations, they're on the menu year-round. But they may not be of the best quality if you're not visiting during the actual season.
Tom, I believe I saw them referred to as both moules and mosselen in Brugge, depending on the language of the menus but you're right, mosselen is the more common Dutch version for that part of the country. I do believe that September is 'in season' for these critters, though.
Before thinking about going to a restaurant in Bruges know how much time you really have to spend on land. Roughly you need about an hour and a half with pulblic transport to go from your cruise ship in Zeebrugge to down town Bruges. If there is transport provided it will take about an hour. Usually cruise ships don’t dock very long, so how much time will you have to combine a relaxed visit and a relaxed dinner in Bruges and also the transport needed. You can also think about eating in Zeebrugge and so have lesser worries about getting on time back to your cruise ship. However Zeebrugge is far from fancy, nevertheless there are a bunch of good seafood restaurants at walking distance from the cruise dock.
The mussels (mossels or mosselen) come from the Delta region in the Netherlands just north of Bruges and are mainly exported to Belgium and France. The season starts officially usually somewhere in late June or July and ends in April. Long time ago before cooled transport the season was in the colder months of the year with an “r”, so from September till April. Nowadays you can eat mossels actually all year around, nevertheless there can be a slight difference in quality and taste, but not really something to worry about. What I have heard from the specialists October seems to be their favorite month for consuming, so September is not so bad.
Restaurants like to advertise with “Zeeuwse mosselen” , as a sign of good quality. In general avoid the restaurants at Grote Markt in Bruges. You can look around with google maps to find restaurants, brasseries and bistros with good reviews and you can have a look at their websites to see the menu (some need translation). Your cruise ship will dock on a Sunday and that’s the day of the week the Belgians like to go eating out, so popular places will be fully booked quick. Again for planning be aware you need time to go from the ship and back. If the cruise company doesn’t provide transport you have to walk to the nearby tram stop in Zeebrugge and take the tram to Blankenberge for catching the train to Bruges. Before you will arrive at Grote Markt, think about an hour and a half to do the whole exercise. An expensive taxi (guess around €50 single journey) is an option to consider.
Not only mussels with fries are delicious, but more seafood like oysters, shrimps, lobster (local or Canadian), cod, sole and so on. If time is limited you can try shrimp croquettes served by most restaurants and bistros.
We ate at Poules Moules in May. While my husband's mussels and fries were delicious, I had the Flemish Beef Stew and it was amazing! The service was great - waiters spoke many languages. One night we walked in and were lucky to get immediately seated. The other night we had reservations which was lucky because it was raining and that essentially meant none of their outdoor seats were available.
Have a great trip!