Places to eat in Antwerp

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Most Viewed Restaurants in Antwerp

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    Estro Armonico: One Well Worth Searching Out

    by johngayton Updated Jun 6, 2015

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    This was a find and a half. I'd noticed an interesting doorway leading off Hoogstraat and cautiously peeked my head through it. I was gripped by a sudden assault on my nasal and taste senses, a grip which dragged me more than willingly into a confused maze of tiny courtyards.

    Within these was the open cellar doors of the underground restaurant, from which the scents of real cooking emanated. Stanley Ellin's short story "The Speciality of the House" immediately sprang to mind. Well, call me Laffler if you like but I'm perfectly happy to recommend Estro Armonico to all and sundry, especially those who love a beautifully prepared, and cooked, lamb dish.

    It was still early when I first popped my head in, about 5.30, but the more than welcoming lady owner beckoned me downwards. She explained that they didn't open until 6-ish but it'd be better if I visited after 7. She showed me the log fire over which the meats are grilled and tapped me reassuringly on the shoulder as she assured me that a booking wouldn't be necessary, not for a single person anyway.

    So, it just had to be done.

    I got back just after 7.

    The arched cavern of the restaurant was perfectly enticing. The waitress who greeted me was equally so. Ok there was only one other table occupied but the intimacy of the space and the friendliness of the reception negated the requirement for other people and in some ways perhaps this is a restaurant best visited when quiet - I can imagine it being a bit of a bouncy sound chamber when busy.

    I took the table in front of the open fire where the potatoes were baking and the chef/patron came out to unmelodramtically do the finishing touches of the meats on the grill. No circus here, just a guy doing the cooking and with a care and attention that I immediately appreciated.

    The waitress took my beer order and by the time she'd returned I was ready for my meal order: Scallops in Pernod to start and of course the LAMB - "Gigot pour moi", which I then had to translate to English and ask for the leg - Antwerpen-style - language requires flexibility.

    Scallops were OK - good sauce and not too overcooked. The LAMB tho' - threw my taste buds into multi orgasms. Instead of getting a whole chunk of meat the chef had butchered the leg along the individual seams, which meant that each mini-joint was a perfect little cut in its own right and each cooked accordingly to a spot-on rose finish.

    No sauce required, and just a foil-wrapped baked potato as an accompaniment - DELISH!

    With such a succulently savoury main course I just had to pass on the interesting dessert menu and upon asking for cheese found that they didn't actually do cheese as a menu item, but if I wanted a bit of Feta...

    PERFECT!

    Not the cheapest place in town - my single person bill came to just over 50 euros but that included all three courses, a Chimay beer, a small pichet of red wine and a coffee (with a top-up) and so 60 euros has given me friends for life.

    As I left my waitress once again patted my now meatier shoulder, "Au revoir Monsieur...en six mois?"

    BTW The reference to Stanley Ellin's superb little short story is here:

    Speciality of the House

    L'Agneau Stygian Entrance Scallops Maze Of Alleys Doorway from Hoogstraat
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    De Smulpaep: Fries from a French chef.

    by Jerelis Written Feb 28, 2015

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    The Belgians take their French fries seriously. First of all, they are not a French but a Belgian invention. And secondly, nowhere do they taste better than here. The secret: they bake them twice. If they want to eat fries, they go to a “frituur”. For dinner or late at night before they go home after a party or a night of heavy drinking at the bar. French fries always taste good.

    My favorite frituur in Antwerp is De Smulpaep, run by two young guys. One of them is a French chef who puts his experience in top restaurants in France and Switzerland into practice in a deep fryer. Pretty uncommon.

    We don’t eat just fries, we also order snacks on the side. And the homemade snacks are always the best. When I see a freshly made cheese or shrimp croquette lying behind the counter, I just can’t resist. The tartar sauce here is unbelievable. Almost haute cuisine and for only € 9 you’ll have a very decent meal here, a drink included. De Smulpaep is very tempting!

    Opening hours:
    Tue – Fri 11:30 – 14:00 & 16:30 – 00:00, Sun – Mon 16:30 – 23:00

    Favorite Dish: French fries of course!

    Can't resist!
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    Mostar Balkan Grill: Amazing Fish Soup!

    by johngayton Written Dec 15, 2014

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    I had been looking for a Caribbean restaurant on Vlasmarkt that I'd noted the night before but it turned out to closed on Mondays and still in the mood for something a bit different, when I came across the "Balkan Grill" signage of Mostar I checked out the menu board.

    It was a quiet Monday night and there was only one other table occupied but despite being virtually empty it did have a pleasantly laid-back atmosphere. Service was apologetically welcoming as my youthful waiter indicated I had a choice of tables.

    Although formally set-up with immaculate blue and white linen, gleaming glassware and a full-service of polished cutlery at each place-setting the airy, well-lit, dining room was softened of its starchiness by the open-beamed ceiling, the smattering of folksy knick-knacks and the profusion of lush greenery in its wooden planters.

    Favorite Dish: The Balkan Grill menu reads exactly as it should with its sections for soups, salads, hot & cold starters and then followed by the grills, steaks, braised dishes, fish and finally, rather bizarrely, a pasta section. Starter prices range from 5 euros to 11 and main dishes from 13 euros and so prices are perfectly reasonable. This is backed up by an equally reasonable and comprehensive drinks menu.

    Being peckish I decided on the Fish Soup to be followed by the Cevapcici au Ajvar, the later being described in the French translation as "Petite Saucisses". I was intrigued by the house wine from the Bosnia and Herzegovina winery, Vinarija Citluk and so a half-litre carafe of that was ordered too.

    As my title gives away - the Fish Soup really was amazing. I make a pretty good fish soup myself and this was every bit as good as any of my efforts. A rich shellfish-based bisque that was obviously made with a good stock and packed with freshness of flavour - as my opening pic shows I damn near licked the bowl clean.

    My little sausages were suitably meaty, with a subtle spiciness, and there were plenty of them. The fries were a bit bog-standard, but not inedibly so; the trio of sauces - Provençale, Garlic & Piquant Pepper - all had distinct flavours, whilst the accompanying savoury rice and the side salad provided an "almost" healthy counterfoil.

    I liked the wine too. I'd never come across Bosnia and Herzegovina wines before and the red, made from the local Blatina grape, was smooth and rich and as meaty as the sausages.

    All-in-all, an excellent meal which came to just over 30 euros - 35 including a tip for the friendly and attentive service throughout and the freebie glass of Slivovitz was more than appreciated.

    The ex-Fish Soup!
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    Bai Wei: Exactly What I Was After

    by johngayton Written Oct 29, 2013

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    Between trains at Antwerpen Central on a cold rainy October lunchtime I wanted something warming and substantial, but not expensive. With the city's Chinatown just across the square I reckoned a meaty noodle soup would do the trick.

    Bai Wei's extensive, but simple, menu looked good to me.

    The restaurant itself is as simple as the menu, but for those of us who can read between the lines there's a lot of subtle little touches which impressed me and I was especially impressed by the spotless functionality of the open kitchen.

    This isn't a fancy Chinese restaurant with a dozen chefs cooking up feasts from a menu 10 pages long for hundreds of people. It's a guy making his own noodles in front of you and cooking them fresh to order, with a little back-up from the (out-of-sight) main kitchen.

    I found the service perfect. The manager/owner was more than welcoming as he subtly checked that I was OK with chopsticks. The waitress was smilingly gorgeous and superbly efficient.

    I had the "Red-stewed Duck" with the wet noodles. Absolutely delicious! Half-a-duck, roasted aromatically with soy and spice to accompany a well-flavoured broth brimming with the freshest of fresh noodles. The broth did need a touch of the table condiments, the soy and chilli, but that's how it's designed to be eaten - so that you can adjust for your personal taste. The crispy-skinned duck was succulent and having been cooked and then chopped on the bone made it a finger-licking finish after my clumsy chopsticking.

    I cook professionally and I know food - this was GOOD. I also noted that despite being relatively quiet (cold, rainy October) the other dozen or so customers were all Oriental including the family of six at the table next to me whose conversation flitted so wonderfully between Chinese, Dutch and French.

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    Panos: Breakfast If Staying At Billard Palace Hotel

    by johngayton Written Oct 27, 2013

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    Panos is a Belgian chain of fast food bakeries with outlets at main train stations and around the various towns and cities. On this trip I stayed at the Billard Palace Hotel, on the square beside the main train station. With it being literally an overnighter, but with no rush the following morning, I asked at the hotel about breakfast.

    They didn't have their own breakfast facility but instead offered me a voucher for the local branch of Panos, which was on the corner, about 50 metres away. This offered an eat-in or take-away selection of: hot drink; fruit juice, savoury roll, croissant and sweet pastry for 5 euros which turned out to be excellent value-for-money.

    The eat-in restaurant is fairly basic formica-topped tables and plastic chairs but immaculately clean and if you get a window seat has great views over the Astrid Square.

    Nothing fancy, just good travelling rations if not expecting to eat again until that evening.

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    Braboke: On the Grote Mrkt

    by Roadquill Written Aug 8, 2013

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    I was looking for a restaurant in the old town, avoided some of the touristy streets, and found a nice view opposit the City Hall. Braboke isn't a fancy place, but it is comfortable. I found an outside table and ordered a bucket of mussles in a cream garlic sauce and a bottle of wine.

    View from My Table
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    La Tarantella: Nice Italian restaurant

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Jul 15, 2013

    La Tarentella is an Italian restaurant. The place has a very small terrace in font (1 table), a front round, a covered court and a back room. The food is great; service might be slow, so take your time here.

    Business hours:
    Mo: Closed
    Tu-Fr: Noon - 3PM; 6PM - 11PM
    Sa-Su: 6PM - 11PM

    La Tarantella - Starters
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    't Waagstuk: Great location at the Waagplein square

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Jul 15, 2013

    't Waagstuk Is a great local pub in a typical setting at the Waagplain square. There is a terrace on the square. There are at least 100 beers available and offcourse there's Geuze, Kriek and Trappist.

    Business hours:
    Mo-Th: 10AM - 2AM
    Fr: 10AM - 4AM
    Sa: 2PM - 4AM
    Su: 2PM - 2AM

    't Waagstuk - Antwerp
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    De Duifkes: Local Theater café

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Jul 15, 2013

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    De Duifkes is a very original brown Antwerp café close to the Bourla theater. Owner Martine rules her business in her way! Enjoy the Sunday animal market from the terrace or have some artistic conversations inside.

    De Duifkes - Antwerp De Duifkes - Antwerp
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    Sushi!: Eat In Or Take Away

    by johngayton Written Apr 26, 2013

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    This is one of those "conveyor belt" sushi places but none the worse for that. Service is friendly, meet-and-greet style as you are directed to one of the communal tables and then your drinks order is taken and off you go. The chef at his work station deftly puts together an excellent variety of different pieces which are then loaded onto plates, coloured according to price, which then whizz around the room, like a toy train set, on the belt.

    I had a mini-VT meet here with Kirsty (KShezz), along with her partner Add, both of whom are keen sushi fans, and a very pleasant early evening repast was thoroughly enjoyed. The sushi was fresh-tasting with both spicy and subtle options and with the colour-coding what you pay depends on what you eat.

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    Fiskebar & Østersbar: FISH!

    by pieter_jan_v Written Dec 21, 2012

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    The Fiskebar & Østersbar at the Marnixplaats looks tempting. The place has an inviting look for no thrills seafood lovers.

    Count on a main course for around € 25.00.

    Business hours:
    Fiskebar: Daily Noon - 11PM
    Oysterbar:
    Mo-Th: 6PM - Midnight
    Fr-Su: Noon - Midnight

    Favorite Dish: FISH!

    Fiskebar & ��stersbar - Antwerp Fiskebar & ��stersbar - Antwerp
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    Willy Vanilly: Ice Cream

    by pieter_jan_v Written Dec 19, 2012

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    Willy Vanilly is a small Ice Cream shop with a counter to the street.

    I was at Willy's at arare moment: the temperature was around 35 deg C! So, I had no hesitation to order ice cream.

    Business hours:
    Mo: Closed
    Tu-Sa: 11AM 8PM
    Su: 2PM - 8PM

    Favorite Dish: Lemon ice cream

    Willy Vanilly - Antwerp Willy Vanilly - Antwerp Willy Vanilly - Antwerp
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    BOCADERO: Relax at the Schelde river

    by pieter_jan_v Written Dec 17, 2012

    BOCADERO is a bar at a piece of artificial at the Schelde river. It is parly housed in a former warehouse at the Antwerp harbour.

    There's live DJ music.

    Great for Summer parties.

    Open in the Summer Season from May through Spetmeber from 11AM.

    BOCADERO - Antwerp BOCADERO - Antwerp
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    FOGOS: Brazilian Food

    by pieter_jan_v Written Dec 17, 2012

    FOGOS is a Brazilian Churrascaria with great food. The side dishes are self service from a buffet and the main meat are being served at your seat from spears directly from the grill.
    The later in the evening the better the meat and fish is served.

    Business hours:
    Mo-Tu: Closed
    We-Fr: 6PM - 10PM
    Sa: 5:30PM - 10PM
    Su: 5:30PM - 9PM

    FOGOS - Main course FOGOS - buffet FOGOS- Hot pineapple
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    Frituur Eethuis Astrid De Laet: Real Belgium fast food

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Dec 16, 2012

    Frituur Eethuis De Laet offers great FRIETEN (French fries) and its speciality BROODJE SMOS (special sanswich). Actual this is abutcher shop, but you have taste one of the sandwiches, like the Smos Preparé.

    De Laet  - Antwerp
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