Breakfast of Champions!
About 45 minutes north of Brussels, Belgium, is the country’s second most populous city of Antwerp. Antwerp does have an interesting history – its name comes from a myth about a giant, and it was briefly ruled by the Spanish – interesting place, but I’m here to talk about the food! Similar to just about anywhere in Belgium, the best food usually falls into a few categories: beer, waffles, chocolate, and fries. Antwerp has great selections for all of these. I’ve been lucky enough (or unlucky- depends on how you look at it, it is Belgium) to spend about 2 months in and around this city on various trips, so I’ll share some recommendations on where to eat!
Let’s get to the important stuff first- the bars. In the center of town is the decently impressive Cathedral of Our Lady. Immediately to the left of the entrance is my favorite bar in the country- Pater’s Vaetje. There are about 50 or so beers available, and as in every Belgian bar, they all have their own specific glasses. The food menu is decent (no fries, oddly, but fantastic burgers), and Pater’s is always packed with locals. Also in Antwerp is the famous Kulminator, which has 600+ beers available and is rated a perfect 100 by Beer Advocate. You need to go to both, but while Pater’s might not be as big or famous, the the atmosphere is great.
A quick note on some local beers. De Koninck is brewed right in Antwerp and is relatively common anywhere in town. Another local beer worth trying is Westmalle Tripel. This is brewed just outside of town by Trappist Monks in one of the very few remaining Trappist Breweries. Both are relatively fantastic (and potent!) beers!
As far as restaurants go, I’ll skip over the generic waffle and fry shops- they are everywhere and they are pretty much all amazing (how could a fresh waffle covered in chocolate be bad?). On the high end, right on the river next to the Antwerp Museum (Museum aan de Stroom) is “Lux“. This Michelin rated restaurant is in the offices of an old shipping line and has fantastic Belgian food. A highlight one price range lower is La Terrazza, good italian food and good atmosphere to boot.
Finally, I’ll mention Appleman’s. Not because they have amazing food, (though it’s not bad), but because you can get in! And that matters, because in June of 2012 Kanye West could not. Just saying. (Kanye Turned Away)
Overall Antwerp has lots of good food options and this doesn’t even scratch the surface. Do some exploring! If you have other favorites, add them below.
Here are some other food ideas for Antwerp:
Tquiero – Good fresh sandwiches and salads for amazing prices (<$15 pp)
Beni Falafal – “Crazy good” halal falafel, very inexpensive as well
Brasserie Den Artist – (in the south on Leopold de Waelplaats across from the Art Museum – great brasserie food, $30 a person)
Il Gallo Nero – Fun little Italian place by Groenplaats, simple food, great service
Hangar 41 – Great stoofvlees met frietjes. Right on the skelde and a nice interior
Waffles – The Australian- right across from the Hilton Antwerp entrance
Hana Japanese Restaurant – Authentic Japanese food, try the fried chicken bowl
Café de Vismijn (best Atella in town), Chatleroi (very casual, local)
As for the pictures, yes, they are generally bad, but they are just here to give you some “flavor.” 🙂 These walk around shots are mostly from point and shoot cameras or my travel blackberry… I usually chose not to lug the huge D800 to dinner. Special thanks to everyone I’ve traveled with in Antwerp for their input!