The 10 Best Spots For Fine Dining In Antwerp, Belgium
Located in the chapel of a former military hospital in the centre of Antwerp, The Jane throws a whole new light on the fine dining experience. A magnificent chandelier with 150 points of light, a neon skull and a contemporary take on the religious symbols of the former chapel’s stain glass windows feature in the breathtaking interior. Master chefs Nick Bril and Sergio Herman can be seen preparing food in the open kitchen built on the former altar. Dishes are served with the utmost precision and accompanied by a fine selection of classic and organic wines. The trendy upstairs Upper Bar provides a laid-back ambiance with special Belgian beers and cocktails.
Short of visiting Brussels’ Horta Museum, this is a perfect place to get a taste of the art nouveau décor signed by Belgium’s renowned architect, Victor Horta. Grand Café Horta is situated in Antwerp’s busy shopping area, offering a relaxing break from the retail world. Take the typical Horta staircase to the lower level where bartenders, behind an attractive circular bar with glasses stacked on glass shelves, take orders for the best draught Belgian beers. The restaurant serves champagne breakfast and a wide choice of meat and fish at lunchtime including seasonal suggestions and one of the best steak tartars in town.
A former late 19th century art nouveau manor house, Dôme is the obvious place to go for the finest French cuisine in very distinguished surroundings. A majestic dome and old mosaic floors are the perfect setting for this gourmet retreat in the city’s residential area. The high quality of the restaurant has earned its owners, French chef Julian Burlat and his Belgian wife Sophie Verbeke, a Michelin star. Julian Burlat’s passion for food oozes from his divinely presented dishes. He delights in creating unique dishes from top quality products, producing a menu that is fit for a lord.
Located on the first floor of Antwerp’s historical La Bourla theatre, De Foyer is the best place to eat before or after a show, but it is also an ideal retreat from the bustling streets of the city centre. The circular neo-classic building is one of Antwerp’s most beautiful pieces of architecture, featuring statues of Apollo and the muses and a series of busts including Shakespeare, Molière and Schiller. Entering De Foyer is like going back in time to the opulence of the 19th century with its chandeliers, marble pillars and ornate dome. The brasserie-style menu proposes traditional Belgian dishes and a copious Sunday brunch.
Situated opposite the Fine Arts Museum, Hippodroom is a converted townhouse comprising of a living room, garden and sumptuous velvet furbishing. The back garden is a delightful place to enjoy the chef’s inventive cuisine, which changes with the seasons and is inspired by French and Belgian tradition. The front terrace provides a great view of the museum and inside the walls are decorated with life-size prints of the photographic works of the Belgian artist Michel François. Tables are lit with tubular neon lights, sharing the space with a spectacular brass clad bar, which completes the contemporary feel of this late 19th century dwelling.
The LUX is a trendy hang-out in the up-and-coming part of Antwerp just outside the city centre. Neighbouring the impressive modern architecture of the MAS museum, which showcases the city’s past, present and future, LUX is in the former premises of a shipping company. The building’s original ornate staircase leads up to the first floor dining area where original marble pillars and contemporary neon lighting blend the old with the new. The vertical neon ‘LUX’ sign on the original brick façade indicates that you have come to the right place for a great choice of meats, including three-week dry aged Flemish red beef and lamb chops as well as fresh fish and a generous seafood platter. It is worth sticking around for after-dinner drinks in the club ambiance of the basement and seeing the neon light reflecting in the harbour basin.
LUX, Adriaan Brouwerstraat 13, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 233 30 30
Without actually being a ship, Zuiderterras gives the impression of being one. Perched on the banks of the river Scheldt at the end of the walkway leading from the historical part of town, its large glass windows looking out on the river give you the feeling that you are dining while cruising. But there is no illusion when it comes to the menu. Traditional fish and meat dishes made with the freshest ingredients are served with a creative twist and the mouth-watering desserts are truly irresistible, the Zuiderterras chocolate mousse, crème brûlée and raspberry moelleux being the most decadent. To start the day on the right foot, Zuiderterras also serves a de luxe breakfast comprising a wide choice of sweet and savoury fare accompanied by a glass of champagne.
Zuiderterras, Ernest Van Dijckkaai 37, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 2341275
Just a stone’s throw away from the cathedral and the Grote Markt in Antwerp’s historical centre along one of the narrow cobbled streets, De Peerdestal lives up to its name, The Horse Stable. Its wooden stable-like entrance opens up into a quaint room of wooden beams dripping with candelabras and a vast collection of equine objects. Horse steak inevitably features on the menu, but there is also a wide choice of beef, lamb and fresh seafood including lobster and oysters. Outside, it feels as if you could almost hear the clip-clop of horses passing by.
De Peerdestal, Wijngaardstraat 8, Antwerp, Belgium, + 32 3 231 95 03
One of Antwerp’s listed monuments, Het Pomphuis used to be a pumping station for draining the docks prior to ship maintenance. After narrowly escaping destruction it has become a chic restaurant and bar, preserving its impressive exterior architecture. Many of the interior features, including the pumps, have also been retained, and are now juxtaposed with giant contemporary objects competing with the 200-metre-high ceiling. The terrace on the promenade of the river Scheldt looks over Antwerp’s harbour and is a perfect place for watching ships go by. The menu has options that include seasonal and luxury ingredients including foie gras, roll mops, a selection of the best matured cheeses from the cheese specialist Van Tricht and desserts imagined by Het Pomphuis’ pastry chef.
The Graanmarkt 13 restaurant is part of a new concept combining food, fashion and art. Its creators, Tim and Ilse, live at Graanmarkt 13 with their family and ensure that Belgium’s new talent is represented in the gallery, that the store is replenished with stylish garments and that guests are served with top-quality food. Chef Seppe Nobels is an expert in transforming fresh ingredients into beautifully presented dishes, using vegetables and herbs from Graanmarkt’s rooftop garden and ‘stress-free’ fish which have had time to relax after their journey from the sea making them taste better. The menu proposes appetisers and side dishes to share, as well as a good selection locally sourced organic wine.