Ghent and the Leie Restaurants

Ghent has long held a place in the hearts of Belgian gourmands, in part due to the enduring popularity of Gentse waterzooi—a classic Flemish dish of boiled chicken covered in thin strips of leek, carrot, and onion, all swamped in a delicious creamy broth. However, these days the city is causing a very modern stir in the food world thanks to a group of young childhood friends, now chefs, rather cringingly dubbed the "Flemish foodies." Their emergence has turned this old industrial port into something of a culinary destination—the Patershol area is particularly blessed. But away from the glare of Michelin stars, there's still plenty of good, cheap, traditional food to be found, especially of the seafood variety.

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  • 1. D'Oude Schuur

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    The reputation of D'Oude Schuur often sees Ghentians make a weekend of their visit just to indulge here. As its name (The Old Barn) suggests,...Read More

  • 2. Oak

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    A fair contender for the best meal in Ghent, Oak more than deserves the Michelin star it bagged in 2018. Chef Marcelo Ballardin worked previously...Read More

  • 3. Publiek

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    Dishes at this Michelin-starred bistro from established Ghent chef Olly Ceulenaere are intricately prepared with a depth of flavor that belies their often simple ingredients....Read More

  • 4. Rebelle

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    The only downside to Rebelle is that it's not exactly convenient. It lies a few miles outside the city center, in the small village of...Read More

  • 5. Roots

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    This dinky but stylish offering is found deep amid the winding old back alleys of Patershol. Inside it is all rather minimalist and homely—bare wood,...Read More

  • 6. T'Grof Zout

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    A seasoned performer. This classy restaurant, run by owners Marniek and Christine, has been dishing up imaginative takes on classic bistro dishes since 1999. A...Read More

  • 7. 'T Oud Sashuis

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    An enticing café-bar with a long history and, many say, the best setting on the Leie. It lies next to the old sas (a drawbridge...Read More

  • 8. Bakkerij De Vesten

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    You'll find an absolute sea of bakeries selling mattentaarts, the iconic local curd pastry that errs decidedly on the sweet and dry side. Everyone has...Read More

  • 9. Balls and Glory

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    This now ubiquitous "fast food" meatball joint has found plenty of love across Belgium but it all started here in Ghent in 2012 with a...Read More

  • 10. Bar Gidon

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    This café-bar on the market square is popular among cyclists, as any glance at its walls—festooned in photos, jerseys, and memorabilia from the Tour of...Read More

  • 11. Bar Proef

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    Sometimes you're just in the mood for a solid bar-brasserie meal, and this well-loved spot on the corner of the Vlasmarkt is as good an...Read More

  • 12. Bistro Andre

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    This charming redbrick eatery on the corner of Collegestraat rings all the right bells. There is nothing too adventurous here; French and Flemish crowd-pleasers are...Read More

  • 13. BOEF Oudenaarde

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    Perched over the road from the river, this waterfront café-restaurant is a popular brunch spot, dishing up warm soups, casseroles, and plenty of breakfast treats,...Read More

  • 14. Boon

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    This health-conscious café majors in vegetarian and vegan treats, largely in the form of plate-sized salads, quiches, and soups. It's a charming location, having been...Read More

  • 15. Brasserie Keizershof

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    Here, you'll find the kind of food typical of a Flemish table, with plenty of steaks and classic stews accompanied by less local dishes, just...Read More

  • 16. Brasserie Vinois

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    Hidden away among the museum streets of Deurle, this brasserie is best known for its "grandma cooking." Expect veal kidneys lashed with sharp Ghentish Tierenteyn...Read More

  • 17. D'Ouwe Hoeve

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    An old favorite among locals. Its village-center location, spilling onto the cobbles beneath the church, sets a convivial scene. Inside, the "The Old Farm," as...Read More

  • 18. De 7 Zonden

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    This place is well hidden from the street, as you enter what is seemingly a mall. But that quickly gives way to a whimsical open-air...Read More

  • 19. De Trog

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    A beautiful old mansion house is the home of this charming organic bakery and café. Its courtyard terrace is a pleasant spot on a sunny...Read More

  • 20. Deboeveries

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    North Sea sole is the specialty here, fried and served with frites or grilled with a side of dijonnaise. It might not sound like the...Read More

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