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Fodor’s Choice Belgium: Dining

Get the scoop on the best restaurants in Belgium…

062706_belgaFINAL.jpgBelga Queen, Gent
A former corn warehouse bordering the Leie has been redesigned by the chef, Antonio Pino, into a remarkable restaurant. The large terrace leads to the ground floor’s impressive bar, high tables, and cozy leather seats. The menu has daily fresh suggestions and a three-course lunch is reasonably priced. There’s a cigar bar with occasional live jazz on the top floor. Graslei 10, De Kuip. 09/280-0100. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V. $$-$$$

Château de Lavaux-Ste-Anne, Namur Province
The owner decided to plant an herb garden in the courtyard and then proceeded to open a restaurant in this glorious castle. It rapidly became a great success. The stripped-down decor is offset by a vast hunting painting, and la patronne handles the service as if to the manner born. Try rabbit consommé with truffles, pike perch cooked in sauerkraut and wild juniper, or veal kidney in wine served with lamb’s lettuce. No matter what you pick, you’re sure to be pleased. Rue de Château 10, Lavaux-St-Anne, 7 miles southwest of Rochefort. 084/38-88-83. AE, DC, MC, V. Closed Mon. and Tues. $$$

Clos St-Denis, Liège Province
An enormous 17th-century farmhouse with attached barns is home to one of Belgium’s top restaurants. Chef Christian Denis serves extravagant fare: lobster tartare with chives; gratin of oysters in champagne and caviar; ravioli of foie d’oie (goose liver) in truffle cream. Four dining rooms outdo each other for period luxury—burnished parquet, Persian runners, chinoiserie. Grimmertingenstraat 24, Vliermaal. 012/23-60-96. Reservations essential. AE, DC, MC, V. Closed Tues. and Wed. and January 1-15 and July 1-15. $$$

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Comme Chez Soi, Brussels
The superb cuisine, excellent wines, and attentive service complement the warm decor. Some of the old favorites are gone now, but one all-time favorite, fillet of sole with a white wine mousseline and shrimp, is always available. 23 Place Rouppe, B 1000. 02/512-29-21. $$$$

062706_dekarmelietFINAL.jpgDe Karmeliet, Brugge This stately 18th-century house with a graceful English garden is a world-renowned culinary landmark, if for no other reason than owner-chef Geert Van Heck’s magnificent truffled potatoes and exquisite cod carpaccio with asparagus. The waitstaff perfectly choreographs each course with a cool professionalism in keeping with the restaurant’s formal ambience. Langestraat 19. 050/33-82-59. Reservations essential. Jacket required. AE, DC, MC, V. Closed Mon. No dinner Sun.; no lunch Tues. Oct.-May.$$$$

Jan van den Bon, Gent
With room for 30, this distinguished restaurant is a local favorite for French and classic Belgian dishes, particularly seafood and seasonal specialties. White asparagus, for instance, is cooked and sauced to perfection. Sip your aperitif on the terrace overlooking the garden, which supplies the herbs used in the kitchen. Koning Leopold II Laan 43, Citadelpark. 09/221-9085. Reservations essential. Jacket and tie required. AE, DC, MC, V. Closed Sun. No lunch Sat. $$$-$$$$

062706_lapetitefugueFINAL.jpgLa Petite Fugue, Namur
In an unassuming redbrick house on a quiet street off the place du Marché-aux-Légumes, this classy restaurant with a delicate musical motif lives up to its name. The menu, which changes daily, promises haute cuisine emphasizing regional ingredients such as trout and lamb. The subtly flavored dishes perfectly match the restaurant’s gentle interior. Pl. Chanoine Descamps 5. 081/23-13-20. Reservations essential. AE, MC, V. $$-$$$

Mamé Vi Cou, Liège
The name of this restaurant is a Walloon term of endearment for an older woman of ample propertions. So, my p’tit poyon (little chicken—another term of endearment), sit back and enjoy traditional Wallonian cuisine, which includes veal in a creamy herb mustard, or duck in a thick honey sauce. Rue de la Wache 9, Nouvelle Ville. 04/223-7181. AE, MC, V. Closed Wed. $-$$$

062706_nuezeFINAL.jpgNeuze Neuze, Antwerp
Five tiny houses have been cobbled together to create this handsome, split-level restaurant with nooks and crannies on different levels, whitewashed walls, and dark-brown beams. Look for grilled scallops with Belgian endive, bacon in a wheat-beer sauce, and ham with truffles and spaghetti made of thinly cut vegetables. Wijngaardstraat 19, Oude Stad. 03/232-2797. AE, DC, MC, V. No lunch Wed. and Sat.$$$

‘t Fornuis, Antwerp
In the heart of old Antwerp sits this cozy place, decorated in traditional Flemish style with heavy oak chairs and beamed ceilings. It also happens to serve some of the best (and priciest) food in the city. Chef Johan Segers likes to change his French-accented menu at regular intervals, but roasted sweetbreads with wild truffle sauce are a permanent fixture. Reyndersstraat 24, Oude Stad. 03/233-6270. Reservations essential. Jacket and tie required. AE, DC, MC, V. Closed weekends last three weeks in August and December 25-January 1. $$$$

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