Antwerp and the Northeast Restaurants

Antwerp cuisine understandably focuses on fish, presented with few frills in even the finest restaurants, often poached or steamed, and reasonably priced. From the chilled whelks and periwinkles (marine snails) picked out of their shells with pins, to piles of tender little grijze garnalen (small shrimp), to the steamy white flesh of the mammoth tarbot (turbot), the scent of salt air is never far from your table. The ubiquitous mosselen (mussels) and paling (eels), showcased in midpriced restaurants throughout the city center, provide a heavier, heartier version of local fish cuisine. Bought live from wholesalers, the seafood is irreproachably fresh.

Antwerp has a high number of restaurants for a city its size. Many of the traditional places, both formal and casual, are clustered in Oude Stad. There are plenty of tourist-focused restaurants on the Grote Markt, but if you look along the smaller streets around the square you'll find some excellent local favorites. Het Zuid, meanwhile, is known for trendier cafés and restaurants. Peak dining hours are generally from noon until 3 and from 8 pm to 11 or midnight. Since the dining scene is quite busy, it's best to make reservations.

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  • 1. 't Fornuis

    $$$$ | Oude Stad

    Burrowed deep in the heart of old Antwerp, there is something likeably stubborn about the defiantly traditional t' Fornuis, a place where stock Flemish surroundings...Read More

  • 2. Fiskebar

    $$$ | South of the Center

    This hip Scandinavian-style fish joint is the place to try seasonal, organic, and sustainable seafood---arguably the best in the city---served simply as a fruits de...Read More

  • 3. The Jane

    $$$$ | South of the Center

    Having held two Michelin stars since 2017, this shooting star on the Belgian gastronomy scene is located in the chapel of a former military hospital,...Read More

  • 4. 't Hofke

    $$ | Oude Stad

    It's worth visiting here for the location alone, in the Vlaeykensgang (the oldest alley in the city), where time seems to have stood still. The...Read More

  • 5. De Fortuyne

    $$$

    Along a quiet street just off the Grote Markt, this chic restaurant creates a relaxing vibe with its rustic, bare brick interior walls, and a...Read More

  • 6. De Godevaart

    $$$$ | Oude Stad

    Tradition gets a modern infusion here, where a resolutely old-school atmosphere is enlivened by a smattering of contemporary art, while the kitchen turns out seasonal...Read More

  • 7. De Windmolen

    $$

    In an old yellow-painted brick farmhouse just east of the center, the leafy front terrace and rustic interior both provide a charming setting for enjoying...Read More

  • 8. De Witten Vos

    $$$

    Commanding a prime spot on the main square, the White Fox serves good portions of pan-European food at fair prices, with a menu that juggles...Read More

  • 9. Dôme

    $$$$ | South of the Center

    Architecture and food aficionados will appreciate both the food and somber decor in this splendid Art Nouveau building in the upscale Zurenborg neighborhood---this former teahouse,...Read More

  • 10. Elfde Gebod

    $ | Oude Stad

    With a name that means 11th Commandment, and an interior crammed with more than 600 plaster saints and angels salvaged from old churches, this atmospheric...Read More

  • 11. Fiera

    $$$$ | Oude Stad

    For those who fancy dining in epic surrounds, this restaurant occupies a former trading hall of the neo-Gothic stock exchange building, which dates from 1872....Read More

  • 12. Frites Atelier

    $ | Meir

    Brussels may be the city best known for its frites, but that hasn't stopped this high-end Dutch friture from muscling in. Created by three-star Michelin...Read More

  • 13. Grand Cafe Horta

    $$$ | Meir

    The iron framework of the 19th-century Maison du Peuple, a building designed by famed Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta, supports this brasserie. It siphons a...Read More

  • 14. Het Nieuwe Palinghuis

    $$$$ | Oude Stad

    Aptly named, The New Eelhouse specializes in various preparations of sweet-fleshed eel, along with grilled turbot, sole, scallops, and myriad other crustaceans, including lobster and...Read More

  • 15. Het Pomphuis

    $$$$ | Het Eilandje

    The name translates to the Pump House, and in its heyday it drained the neighboring dry dock to allow for ship maintenance. It still looks...Read More

  • 16. Intermezzo

    $$

    This modern café-restaurant with a prime spot on the main square serves pan-European dishes, but with a notable Italian slant that also spills over into...Read More

  • 17. InVINcible

    $$$ | Oude Stad

    Located in a house on a narrow side street just seconds' walk from the Grote Markt, this small French-style bistro has one of the better...Read More

  • 18. K. Zeppos

    $$ | Meir

    This busy café-bar is found deep in the hipster spawning grounds of Mechelseplein, and while the menu is limited to a half dozen Flemish and...Read More

  • 19. Murni Zuid

    $ | South of the Center

    Directly opposite the KMSKA fine arts museum, this place is open from early until late and will satisfy your needs whether you're after breakfast pancakes...Read More

  • 20. Nage

    $$$ | Oude Stad

    Simplicity is the buzzword---both in the contemporary Belgian cooking, and in the decor---in this elegant but cozy parquet-floored bistro with minimal decorations on the walls...Read More

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