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By Anja Rot
I have never before visited Antwerp or Belgium for that matter, so I really didn’t know what to expect. But I must say that the cities I’ve visited are all really nice, especially because of the old town’s architecture. It is just simply amazing! Everything is also pretty close, since Belgium is quite small and there are good connections with trains. Of course the landscape makes it much easier. So I must say I quite quickly grew fond of Antwerp. I liked walking around the city, because it was truly amazing. Well, it still is! And me being me, I visited quite a few restaurants, usually for dinner. I’m going to list them down for you. Fun fact: Belgians order a standard beer by raising their pinky. Another fun fact: you get fries with almost anything.
I can legit say it is my favourite place. It was really funny, because my parents and I found it already the first night we arrived with the car from Bovec, Slovenia (yes, we made like more than 1100 km in one day). We were pretty exhausted and hangry! So after we parked the car near my parents’ hotel we went for a short walk down the street from the central station and we all found this place favourable. You get the whole encyclopaedia for beer, since it is the place to beer! You can choose from 27 beers on tap and 300 bottled beers, quite some choice… You can imagine, my dad loved this place. All dads would. Of course we decided for the typical Flemish dishes. I tried a lot of them and I loved them all. I was here like at least 4 times. The mussels with fries – they are sooo big and tasty, you don’t get them so big at the Adriatic Sea coast, no way. And you get a lot of them, seriously I couldn’t eat all of them and I felt pretty bad about it. Because they were also quite expensive, more than 20 €. I tried the meatballs in tomato sauce with fries. Yes, fries is everywhere. The meatballs were tender and tasty, but nothing new for me. My favourite was the beef stew cooked in Bourgogne des Flandres with fries. I also tried their typical house hamburger, but I wouldn’t really recommend it, because other things are much better and for me almost 13 € for a hamburger is quite expensive. This one is not worth it, to be fair. But you have to keep in mind that Belgium is quite expensive to eat in a restaurant, if I compare it to Slovenia or Czech Republic, even Germany maybe. My dad tried baked chicken breast with apple sauce and fries, which was also quite nice, but chicken is just chicken, you know. They have the whole menu online, so you can check it out. When in Antwerp, definitely go to Bier Central! You have to try cheese and shrimp croquettes too, typical Belgian, expensive, but yummy!
My second favourite place! And we discovered this one with my parents the second day! The next time, I went there with my friends who visited me and the nice waitress remembered me from the first time. I was very pleasantly surprised! The food here is just simply delicious, no extra words needed. The portions are huge and you really get full. So go there when you are really hungry. They also have traditional Flemish and Belgian dishes. I tried vol-au-vent when I was here for the first time – still dreaming about it! It’s like chicken in puff pastry with cream, mushrooms and sort of small meatballs. Also the mussels and Stoofvlees met Leffe (beef stew) were yummy – I took a bite from my friends’ plates, hihi. One other time I also had rabbit in beer sauce. I admit I was very sceptical at first, because I was afraid it would be very dry. I was very much wrong and happy “to take the risk”. It was so tender, I didn’t almost need the knife. The meat just tore itself from the bone. Crazy! I’m drooling over my computer right now…
I visited two burger places as well. The meat and the sauce definitely wins at Ellis Gourmet Burger. Fries was good at both places. Fries is good everywhere in Belgium, I seriously didn’t have bad fries whatsoever. That is why I decided I will not eat fries anywhere else ever again. Probably I am lying to myself right now, but anyway. No bad fries. All in all I must say Ellis wins also because of the bun, it was more tasty and it also looked prettier, although the plate looked a bit sad because the hamburger looked so lonely. The one in Burgerij also had way too much onion. Also if you compare their photos on the website or the actual served one, it’s quite a difference, like McDonald’s, despite I already took a bite. The price in average is the same, around 8-13 € for a hamburger “menu”. Aaaand, we have a winner, ladies and gentlemen – Ellis Gourmet Burger!
It’s like you travel to Spain for a few hours. An amazing experience, I just loved it. The service was very nice, waiters greeting you “Hola, guapa!” Ladies, just go there, at least for a sangria and you will feel immediately like the world revolves around you! I ordered paella of course, probably the most traditional Spanish dish you can get. Briefly, it’s rice with seafood and chicken cooked in a special broth. Unbelievably good and also very big portion! I took home my leftovers for dinner. They were kind enough to put it in a plastic container. Before we got our order, they served us with chips, a bit spicy but nicely crunchy. Sangria was just of the right sweetness, so very dangerously drinkable. The place is really legit, everyone talking and looking Spanish, showing fresh fish around the restaurant, just to prove how really fresh everything is. I loved it, I only regret I didn’t go at least once more…
Best fish and chips I had. Ever. In my life. I also went there a few times. The fish was always fresh and tasty. They have the Panko breadcrumbs, which I love very much, because they are crunchier. Also the chips is delicious, nicely seasoned and crispy. Sorry, I don’t have a better photo, but you can check out their website or Facebook page. The photos actually show how the food really is! You will pay like 12 € for this dish, more than worth it!
My first falafel time! Thanks to my bestie I believe it was a very good first time. The service was very quick and nice, very helpful. Since my bestie is more experienced with falafels, you can trust her word this time. It was fresh, tasty, soft with a good crust. I’m not a big fan of hummus, but yet again, she said it was very tasty. But I did become a fan of falafel! Have to try it more often now… The salad was ok, a bit too much pepper for my taste. The pita though – that was yummy in my tummy for sure!
All you can eat ribs for 18 €! Need I say more? Meat and ribs fans – it’s your place to be. The barbecue sauce is very nicely seasoned and the meat is so tender it separates from the bones itself. The sauce which comes with the potato is a bit spicy, but not bad.
Mercado is a very cool place to hang out with your family or friends or travel buddies. They just opened in November, if I remember clearly. It is sort of like a market or open kitchen system. In the middle there are tables where you can sit down and enjoy your meal. All around it are different bars/stands with different offers. It’s inside of a big hall, so don’t worry about the unpredictable Belgian weather. I’ve been there a few times and I tried different food every time. It was my first dim sum at Sum Sum, which in Cantonese means a short hop to touch the heart and it did touch my heart. You won’t really get full with it but it’s good to have a light dinner or like a break in between meals. I had a very delicious steak tartare at Karnivoor, it’s a paradise for meat lovers. It’s where I also tried the hamburger. And the meat really is delicious as they say! I must say the portion of steak tartare was enormous. The hamburger was a bit smaller, but it was really good. Belgians have a nice tradition that they always put a fist of salad next to your main dish, not just fries. I like that! I also tried the Bubble Waffle. You can choose between different toppings, of course the price rises with every added topping. The only downside is they put it in a cup and it’s hard to eat the topping alongside the waffle. I think I had this soon after they opened and everyone was staring at my waffle. I was feeling pretty endangered! In the last two months or so they were also hosting some events, like live piano session in the evening. It’s nice to sit there, enjoy your food and wine and just chill.
With my favourite foodie we also tried a Portuguese restaurant. It looked like a cozy, homy place. We were quite early, already at 18.00, when they just opened for dinner. Friendly advice: always check the timetable wherever in Belgium you go! The people working there were very nice, but didn’t speak English, so we had a bit of a struggle. But somehow we managed to order and we also knew what we were ordering, yay us. I had a grilled steak, which was very tender and tasty and biiiiig. I guess you can compare its size with the rest of the food on the plate, you’ll see I’m not lying. The potatoes was also really good, not sure if it was fried or baked in oven, but it was really good. Since we ordered like a daily menu we also got the soup and dessert. You could really taste the dessert was home made, although it wasn’t chocolaty, but with strawberries – my second favourite. The only downside of it was it ended too soon. Cannot really say if it’s pristine Portuguese since I haven’t been there yet, but it’s on my bucket list
“Via Via Joker Reiscafés are meeting places for world travellers. They are the crossroads between east and west, north and south.” We went there with our Eclips family (student house) for a goodbye dinner. You can choose from variety of different dishes from all over the world – you can choose something African or something Asian and so one and so forth. I don’t remember the name of my dish, to be fair. The fact that it was written in Flemish didn’t help at all. But it was sort of like a lasagna with lamb and vegetables. No joking, it was huge. I am a very slow eater, but this time I was extra slow, I even had to make a break in between. Monstrous! Of course after some time my rested stomach was ready for a dessert. But I was so full I had to share it. Me sharing food – doesn’t happen many times or with many people, FYI. It was very chocolaty, soufflé-like dessert, with warm liquid chocolate inside and chocolate base. When you cut it, that sexy chocolate starts flowing from the base, yummy! It was delicious and the strawberry sauce and cream next to it was like a cherry on top. So if you wish to eat something form other parts of the world, this place is waiting for you!
Another all you can eat – sushi this time. It is a bit more expensive – like 25 €. But I like their system: if you leave any food on your plates, you will be charged 1 or 2 € extra per plate. It is a good way to keep the greedy people in their limits, I guess. I didn’t try much sushi outside my home country and I quite liked this one. A variety indeed, so if you are really hungry and a sushi lover, it is the place for you! What you see on the photo was just the first round… But don’t be too greedy!
About the author:
A foodie is considered a person, keenly interested in food, especially eating and cooking. I’m mainly interested in eating, to be fair. Big part of this has to do with my father’s delicious cooking, very grateful for that. I enjoy known food but I also love exploring new kinds of it. Besides that I am also a wanderlust. And that is why I combine the two. Perfect combo. Every time I travel I experience local (as much as it can be) food. Yes, I am one of those people who photographs the food. And yes, I have a lot of material already. And yes, that is why I decided to make a food blog Foodie for foodies. In my blog you will get description of the food and recommended places to eat. I hope you find it useful. Enjoy!