Antwerp's Old Town is full of restaurants worthy of a visit
Antwerp is a bustling port city on the river Scheldt. Although it’s more well known for its architecture than its food, there’s no reason tourists can’t overlap the two. Antwerp’s historic centre is beautiful, and so is its cuisine. We’ve rounded up the best restaurants in the Old Town and put them into one handy list.
Restaurant, Belgian, $$$
Dave De Belder freely admits that his suppliers probably find him a difficult customer, owing to his selective nature demanding only the best ingredients. This attention to detail is evident in De Godevaart’s food, cuisine prepared to precise standards following a modern molecular gastronomic philosophy. The menu will leave you spoiled for choice, but your final decision won’t matter too much, as everything on the menu is of excellent quality.
An Antwerp staple, Grand Café Den Rooden Hoed has been plating up seafood and classic Belgian meals for decades. Flemish painter Quinten Matys lived in the building during the 16th century, and it was used as a coaching inn as long ago as 1750. The restaurant is relatively large, with room for over 150 people. However, due to its popularity, bookings may still be necessary at weekends or on busy holidays.
Café Restaurant Bourla is affiliated with the majestic Bourla Theatre, which is considered by many to be Antwerp’s best entertainment venue. The restaurant maintains a balance between a casual atmosphere and a refined one, with a broad mix of people dining at its tables. Serving up a mix of Belgian and French cuisine, the menu showcases both excellent food and great value for money, with enough options to suit all tastes.
This small, trendy cafe unsurprisingly specialises in falafel. The ethical cafe serves fresh ingredients every day, sourced in eco-friendly ways, and serves all-natural, gluten-free food. Portions are generous, especially considering the low prices, and coupled with the food itself, they make Falafel Tof a near-perfect lunch spot.
This cosy bar and gastropub is named after its resident dog, the eponymous Billie. Any place billing itself as a “Beer Café” is going to have a massive range of beers, and this place is no exception, with a huge variety of choices from all around the world. The building is small, but the portions certainly aren’t, with generous helpings of food made with fresh ingredients. Pick your meal and then consult the staff about which beer to match it with.
The ambiance in this restaurant is excellent, with a bustling interior, interesting art adorning the walls, and jazz music playing in the background. Every month, the restaurant revitalises its menu, and there are always daily specials on offer. With three, four, and five-course set menus, there are meal sizes to suit everyone. The menu itself is fairly small, but that’s to be expected when they change it so often.
De Broers van Julienne restaurant interior | Courtesy De Broers van Julienne
Another small, cosy restaurant, this place serves up vegetarian and vegan meals. Tasty and organic, the meals are surprisingly filling, while the wine list is pretty extensive, going as far as to include a selection of vegan wines.
Simply Emily is a cosy little cafe doling out warmth and comfort in a selection of nutritious bowls. A small and clean location with a real local business feel, Simply Emily makes a perfect venue to escape the bustle of the city and relax with a bowl of soup, a quiche, or something a little sweeter. For those who can’t stay for long, all dishes can be taken away.