Paul’s Boutique is a true burger lover’s indulgence, but without the hefty price tag. You’ll find as many vegetarians as meat-lovers at this local favorite. Vegetarians can pick from nine incredible burger options, including the feta pesto and the tofu caprese. Beef-eaters have their own eleven delectable choices, including the popular sticky fingers burger with potato chips inside. Paul’s combines the cozy atmosphere of a restaurant with the charm of a roadside venue for a memorable dining experience.
Koningin Astridlaan 209, Ghent 9000, Belgium +32 9 335 09 47
De Rave is the quintessential Ghentian fine-dining experience. This trendy restaurant may be situated in a historic building, but it features modern and experimental interior decor. With the illusion of sleek white staircases on its walls and plates made of blown glass, the decor will leave you as mesmerized as the food. A true work of culinary genius with unmistakable Italian influence, the menu contains courses like parmesan risotto and asparagus chicken.
Schepenhuisstraat 2, Ghent, Belgium +32 9 225 96 60
Though it’s only been a year since it opened, Publiek is one of many new restaurants that are quickly turning Ghent into a foodie paradise. Well-known Flemish foodie Olly Ceulenaere conceptualized Publiek as a dynamic twist on traditional Flemish dishes, and last year he and his girlfriend turned this vision into a reality. With a Michelin star under Publiek’s belt already, it’s no wonder that the reservations can fill up months in advance. A sampling of his innovative creations include fish with orange buttermilk and pigeon with beetroot and grape leaves.
Ham 39, Ghent 9000, Belgium +32 9 330 04 86
There’s no place quite like The House of Eliott, an eclectic themed restaurant with a menu so exotic it almost outshines the decor. Situated along the Leie River, The House of Eliott is filled with old-world relics and mannequin “waitresses” dressed in flapper outfits. Locals love it for the intimate atmosphere, and because it looks like it is lifted straight from a living room in the 1900s. They also rave about the incredible seafood, with French-inspired specialties like lobster, scallops and monkfish.
Jan Breydelstraat 36, Ghent, Belgium +32 9 255 21 28
“Off the beaten track” is a phrase you’ll often hear about Bar Italiano if you ask the locals, but they’ll also assure you the gelato alone is worth the drive. Bar Italiano has been serving authentic Italian food for years now. The memorable taste coupled with the affordable price tag means they’re constantly busy. Handmade with milk from the local creamery, the ice cream selection has at least 10 tantalizing flavors at a time. But what most visitors don’t notice is the take-away counter in the back, where Italian favorites like cheese lasagna are sold by the slice.
Zwijnaardsesteenweg 83, Ghent 9000, Belgium +32 495 580 154
Vrijmoed is a lavish culinary feat from the brilliant, seasoned chef Michael Vrijmoed. His sophisticated, ambient restaurant is his laboratory, as every day he strives to make ordinary dishes extraordinary. Known for his unusual combination of ingredients, like a flan made from soy milk, ice-roasted potatoes and miso, Chef Vrijmoed is constantly experimenting with the menu to push the boundaries of Flemish cuisine. Go here for a luxurious six-course meal that delicately balances flavors in a way you won’t find anywhere else.
Vlaanderenstraat 22, Ghent, Belgium +32 9 27 99 977
Soup’r is the hole-in-the-wall Thai place that every city needs. With an impossibly fresh seasonal selection of Thai-inspired soups and sandwiches – most of which are vegetarian – Soup’r has a menu that is very wallet-friendly. Customers rave about the homey feel of the joint; a pleasantly intimate nook that is unlike the rushed, bustling streets of Ghent. Some favorites here are the curry soup with prawns, anything Vietnamese, and the Indonesian chicken soup. It’s a warm and spicy pick-me-up for any gloomy Belgium day.
If you don’t fancy Thai, are bored with burgers and fed up with fine dining, head over to Ankara for a flavorful Turkish experience. The chef’s platter, though a meze meant for two, is large enough to share with your entire family; it includes about 20 different varieties of Turkish delicacies including koftas, felafels, tagines, and much more. Some dishes are spicier, some are tangier, and some are sweet and sour. Ankara offers hearty, traditional Turkish cuisine in the heart of Ghent that is a great alternative for the adventurous.
Oudburg 42, Ghent 9000, Belgium +32 9 22 57 818
Georges may look like just another French restaurant, but it has a Ghentian specialty on its menu not easily found in Belgium or France: moules, or mussels, cooked in the traditional Flemish way. The prices for seafood tend to be on the higher end of mid-range, but that doesn’t stop loyal customers from coming back for the mussels, lobster, prawns and eel. If you’re looking for a balanced fusion of French-Flemish cuisine, then look no further than Georges.
Donkersteeg 23-25 | Gand, Ghent 9000, Belgium +32 9 225 19 18
La Provence is a hybrid of contemporary Mediterranean cuisine and traditional French technique, for which Ghent is the ideal culinary testing ground. La Provence is perhaps best known for its gorgeous outdoor terrace, in which seating is only available during warmer months when the backyard garden is in full bloom. Locals love the escape from Ghent city life that La Provence provides, a zen atmosphere which is only made more irresistible by a “festival menu” offering buttery grilled lobster, delicately charred eggplant and zucchini.
Nieuwebosstraat 1, Ghent 9000, Belgium +32 9 223 37 74