For a small country, Belgium is bursting with world-class restaurants. Some of the top restaurants have become fine dining institutions, maintaining their Michelin stars since the ’80s! In this foodie map, we have gathered all our favorite eateries in Belgium, from Antwerp to Brussels to Ghent and beyond. You’ll find everything from Michelin-starred restaurants, to more casual coffee shops, natural wine bars, and, of course, Belgian frites. Navigate the map easily either by scrolling through the list on the right or by clicking the points on the map. Places are listed in a geographical order.
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An old chapel has been transformed into one of the world’s most spectacular dining rooms. The Jane was ranked no. 66 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021; a meal here is indeed a religious experience. Where the priest would have stood at the pulpit, Nick Bril and his team stand in an open kitchen at the front of the dining room. Come worship in the temple of food, sing songs of praise to the Norwegian scallop and the North Sea Turbot, and ask for forgiveness for licking the plate clean of the venison jus on the main course. Indeed, you will be led into many temptations.
Newcomer Osaka is a casual, local gem, with one of the best natural wine cellars in Antwerp. We expected to nibble on simple cheese and charcuterie, but were blown away by the high level of the “drinking food.” Nothing fancy, mind you - just simple, tasty dishes like kimchi and cheese croquettes, veggies and bagna cauda, and a sea bass ceviche. To drink, you'll find the likes of Gut Oggau, La Sorga, Le Coste, Testalonga, and Patrick Sullivan on the shelves.
Our favorite casual meal on our Belgium trip was at Lewis. The king crab with espelette pepper and butter is probably the best crab we’ve ever had. The entrecôte and pork dishes were rich and delicious main courses. The spaghetti with buttermilk, dill oil, and puffed buckwheat was a light and refreshing take on a noodle dish. And you can’t leave without ordering the signature Tompussy, a wordplay on the Dutch “tompuce,” although Lewis’ version of the dessert uses salted caramel and banana instead of the traditional vanilla. Lots of fun wines here, too!
One of the newest additions to Antwerp’s restaurant scene is Album. They make the best sourdough bread in the city, and serve seasonal dishes. Our favourite was the beef tataki, served with bok choy and gooseberry vinaigrette. The wine list has lots of our favourite natural producers, and the coffee was some of the best we found in town – from local roaster, Rush Rush Coffee.
Milad Ice Cream
Head to Milad Ice Cream for unique ice cream flavors inspired by the Middle East. Signatures include tahini, yogurt and pomegranate, rose and harissa, honey lavender, Persian pistachio, and rosewater and saffron (our favorite!).
Mico & Jon
File under: restaurants we wish we could bring home as souvenirs. Progressive Asian cuisine, with delicious dumplings and steam buns, scallion pancakes, wagyu, and chicken karaage. Authentic flavors with modern touches, like a burnt onion cream on the side of your scallion pancakes. Loads of natural wine and sake here by the glass, and amazing hospitality. Save room for dessert; owner Mico Cheung used to be a pastry chef at Robuchon in Hong Kong, so she knows a thing or two about pastries. We loved the light-as-air, fluffy as a cloud Japanese cheesecake, topped with whipped cream and lime zest. A must-visit in Antwerp!
Make a reservation to visit Segio Herman’s Italian-inspired restaurant, or drop by the all-day café for decadent à la carte options, coffee, and cocktails. We indulged in the signature caviar-topped lobster roll and an ice cream sundae: a mountain of vanilla-studded soft serve swirled high, surrounded by buttery wafer cookies, and doused with warm chocolate sauce and candied nuts. Serving size: two people (unless you’re with an ice cream lover like Anders who could devour the whole thing himself).
Belgium is synonymous with frites, and we tried quite a few varieties during our time in the country. Our favorite purveyor, by far, was Frites Atelier – Sergio Herman’s fry shop. These frites are, admittedly, much fancier than your run-of-the-mill fry shop, but several notches above any competitors. To put it plainly, these are the best fries we’ve ever had. As is the case with most exceptional fries, they’re triple-fried. A super thin, crispy shell encases a warm potato mash center. A plethora of dips are available; we picked mayo, truffle mayo, bearnaise, and ketchup.
Another newcomer in the Antwerp restaurant scene is Nage, which opened in the summer of 2021. Head chef Koen Lenaerts previously worked at Lewis before opening his own spot with his partner Niki Vansant. We loved the lobster with tonkatsu mousseline, the open-faced ravioli, and the great selection of natural wine. We spotted bottles from Philippe Bornard, Gabrio Bini, and Octavin on the shelves.
Frituur no. 1
When it’s two in the morning and all other establishments have shuttered for the evening, you can count on Frituur no. 1 to be there for you. This late night friterie serves classic Belgian fries; they're crispy and expertly fried, with a variety of classic dips like curry ketchup and mayo. Note: this place is cash only.
Antwerp’s most notable cocktail bar is Dogma, from award-winning bartender Didier Van den Broeck. The venue is quite spacious, and the cocktail list is expansive. In addition to the classics, they offer fun creative drinks such as the Strawberry Goat, with goat cheese ice cream, strawberry, Cointreau, sparkling wine, and peach bitters, and the Navy Grog, a tiki-inspired cocktail with a blend of rums, Green Chartreuse, Falernum, and grapefruit.
Black & Yellow Coffee Bar
Our favorite coffee shop in Antwerp is Black & Yellow Coffee Bar, a playful storefront near the Museum aan de Stroom. They primarily serve beans from specialty roasters MOK Coffee in Brussels and Fried Hats in Amsterdam. Both filter coffee and espresso-based drinks are available.
Veranda is a restaurant that came highly recommended by many, both for chef Davy Schellemans’ experimental dishes as well as for their exceptional wine cellar. Indeed, there are many gems to be found here! On the food side, we loved the pumpkin tortellini in a yuzu sauce, and the dessert of banana, buttermilk foam, honey ice cream, and fermented honey. To drink, we shared a few of our all-time favorite bottles: Giallo from Tom Shobbrook, and Arbois Pupillin Ploussard from Renaud Bruyère and Adeline Houillon.
If you’re looking for a Parisian-style wine bar in Ghent, look no further than Alberte. It’s a super cozy spot with tasty food, great natural wines, and very friendly staff. The menu is seasonal – some of the standout dishes on our visit were the Hokkaido pumpkin with a buttery sauce and pickles, and the Belgian beef with bone marrow and sherry vinegar.
WAY Specialty Coffee Roasters
This is where you want to be drinking coffee in Ghent! We tried a natural anaerobic coffee from Ethiopia that was bursting with notes of strawberry and tropical fruit – just what we love in our filter coffee. The beans were so good that we bought a bag to bring home with us. Most of their coffees are natural, and there’s something for every palate.
Hof van Cleve
Chef Peter Goossens is the grandfather of Belgian fine dining. Hof van Cleve got its first Michelin star in the 80s, the second star in the 90s, and the third star in 2005 – and it's still one of the best restaurants in Belgium today (ranked no. 36 in The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2021). The restaurant is located inside an old farmhouse about a 30 minute drive outside of Ghent. You can find Goossens still happily in the kitchen of his restaurant every day, and his wife, Lieve Fermans, warmly welcoming every guest into their restaurant. Goossens is obviously inspired a lot by the Japanese cuisine; every dish was better than the last, escalating in flavor at a perfect tempo. We were especially wowed by the desserts, and particularly the dessert trolley, where guests are welcomed (even encouraged!) to try every cake, tart, and cookie on display.
MOK Specialty Coffee Roastery & Bar
MOK is arguably Belgium’s most famous coffee roaster – their beans have even made their way into Copenhagen coffee shops. So, we had to pay them a visit when in Brussels. We tried a few different pour-overs, an Ethiopian honey-processed coffee with notes of lavender and nectarine, and a natural anaerobic coffee from El Salvador with notes of strawberry and mango. Delicious!
The best smash burger we’ve had in Europe was at Rambo Burger, which opened in Brussels in January 2021. The beef is 100% Black Angus; all the burgers come with two patties smashed thin and caramelized on the plancha, and then stacked on top of each other and sandwiched in a toasted potato bun with cheese and special sauce. Don’t miss the triple-cooked frites with a wide selection of housemade dips and pickles.
Racines is a pasta and natural wine paradise. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a long lunch in Brussels, and we couldn’t believe the gems we found on the wine list – Tanca Nica from Pantelleria, and Celler la Salada from Spain. All the pasta is handmade – don’t miss the pappardelle with ‘nduja and a creamy cheese sauce or the giant ravioli filled with an entire burrata and shrimp.
L'Air du Temps
About an hour from Brussels is L'Air du Temps, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant from chef Sang-Hoon Degeimbre. The setting is spectacular, like walking into a hidden foodie oasis. The walls in the dining room are made of glass, so you can look out into the vegetable garden during your meal. It's a truly stunning place. Our favorite dish was the French scallops with celeriac, chamomile, and sansho leaves, and we were amazed at their wine list. On this occasion we enjoyed wines from Laherte Freres, Muster, and Overnoy, and they had lots more of our favorite producers in their cellar. They have eleven guest rooms on the farm for those who want to spend the night. The farm breakfast in the morning is also very cozy – they make everything themselves in house, from the butter to the croissants.