10 Best Restaurants in Oude Stad and Het Eilandje, Antwerp and the Northeast

't Fornuis

$$$$ | Oude Stad Fodor's choice

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 with heavy oak chairs and beamed ceilings are the setting for some of the best (and priciest) food in the city. Charismatic Michelin-starred chef-owner Johan Segers likes to change his French-accented menu regularly; however, roasted sweetbreads with a wild-truffle sauce are a permanent fixture and worth trying. He also tends to stop by for a quick chat with just about every diner, if only to explain what it is you're eating. While you're waiting for your visit, take a chance to look at the restaurant's wonderful collection of miniature stoves.

Reyndersstraat 24, Antwerp, 2000, Belgium
Known For
  • Likeable old-world setting
  • High-priced French cooking that more than lives up to the bill
  • Gregarious owner who's always willing to chat
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed weekends and 1 month in summer, Reservations essential

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 classic dishes presented with an artist's eye for flair. From fillet of lamb surrounded by a forest of green and wild garlic, to a deliciously gamey pigeon en croute, the choices are seasonal and big on flavor. The outdoor terrace at the back is also a pleasant spot in summer.

Sint-Katelijnevest 23, Antwerp, 2000, Belgium
Known For
  • Imaginatively presented dishes
  • Fresh, seasonal cooking in a sumptuous setting
  • Good-value lunch menu
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues., Reservations essential

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 café enjoys a prime location, tucked into a tiny street between the Grote Markt and the cathedral. The food and drink are straightforward but hearty, with a lunchtime menu that revolves around club sandwiches and croques (pricier full meals are served in the evenings), and you can sit on the terrace in the shadow of the cathedral.

Torfbrug 10, Antwerp, 2000, Belgium
Known For
  • Unique interior packed with religious iconography
  • Very popular at peak times
  • Efficient service, despite the crowds

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$$$$ | 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. In contrast to the historic setting, the pan-global dishes are ultramodern works of art on a plate---prepared in the open kitchen on one side of the hall, their names derive from their geographical inspiration: a riff on a ceviche, for example, might be called "Lima," while a pasta-based dish might be titled "Florence."

Lange Nieuwstraat 14, Antwerp, 2000, Belgium
Known For
  • Located in a stupendously grand neo-Gothic hall
  • Check out the churchlike vaulted ceiling, 80 feet above your head
  • Contemporary fine dining taking inspiration from around the world
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.

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 mussels (in season). Fittingly for an Antwerp landmark, the restaurant has dark wood and a comfortable, deep-rooted air.

St-Jansvliet 14, Antwerp, 2000, Belgium
Known For
  • Remarkably fresh seafood
  • Redbrick walls bedecked in old pics
  • High prices but good quality
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon., Tues., and Fri.

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 the part; a vast interior boasts an impressive 23-foot pit with iron parapets and round Art Nouveau--style windows with their original metal rods. The bistro-style menu includes bubbling bouillabaisse, succulent sweetbreads as well as great slabs of tenderloin drizzled in béarnaise sauce. Make a trip to the washroom to view the heavy steel pump doors.

Siberiastraat Z/N, Antwerp, 2030, Belgium
Known For
  • Classic bistro food with an international twist
  • Good if pricey (€34) set lunch menu
  • An incredible setting in an old industrial pump house
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No lunch Sat.


$$$ | 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 wine lists in the city, paired expertly with some old Gallic standards; try the homemade pâté or bone-marrow appetizers. To get a sense of the scene, and what's cooking, grab a seat at the bar overlooking the exhibition kitchen.
Haarstraat 7, Antwerp, 2000, Belgium
Known For
  • Watching your food being cooked and chatting with the chefs
  • An excellent wine selection with some more affordable options
  • Some of the most imaginative cooking in the city
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed weekends, Reservations essential


$$$ | 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 to distract you from the food. Lunch is à la carte, but the three- to five-course prix-fixe dinner menus are also pared down and kept simple, with no more than two or sometimes three choices per course---but simplicity doesn't prevent each dish being a masterpiece.

Reyndersstraat 17, Antwerp, 2000, Belgium
Known For
  • Simple dishes with few ingredients so that each one can stand out
  • Naturally fermented wines to accompany the meal
  • The fish and seafood dishes are particular stars
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues. and Wed. No lunch weekends


$$$ | Oude Stad

Perched atop a huge glass-and-black-metal construction designed by avant-garde architect bOb (his spelling) Van Reeth, this cozy riverside restaurant---with bistro-style food as modern as the surroundings---resembles a docked cruise ship. You're virtually assured a good view, since large windows stretch around the building---boat traffic bustles on the Schedlt River to one side and, on the other, there's a fine view of the cathedral and the Oude Stad.

Ernest Van Dijckkaai 37, Antwerp, 2000, Belgium
Known For
  • Set high up above the Schedlt River with 360-degree panoramic views
  • All-day service on weekends
  • Pretty decent wine list

Sir Anthony Van Dijck

$$$ | Oude Stad

This fine-dining restaurant has long been a fixture on Antwerp's dining scene, dishing up exquisite cooking in the interior courtyard of its elegant dining room since 1975. Longtime chef and local legend Marc Paesbrugghe, who once gave away his two Michelin stars because he was tired of the red tape, has long-since hung up his apron, but the torch has been passed on in the kitchen with no drop in standards, and a prix-fixe menu that delicately picks its way through a host of big flavors.

Oude Koornmarkt 16, Antwerp, 2000, Belgium
Known For
  • Excellent fine dining in a rather stately setting
  • A great value lunch deal that doesn't skimp on culinary imagination
  • Consistent quality for more than 40 years
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon., Reservations essential