European River Cruise Stops Antwerp
Antwerp, Belgium Photo Credit: Visit Antwerp

By Europe Contributor, Maria Lucena Gomez. Maria is a dear friend and fellow foodie who lives in Belgium. We bonded in Brussels through our love of food and travel. She’s a Venezuelan lawyer who has been living in Belgium for almost 15 years and working for an American multinational that takes her to the heartland quite often.  She shares with us her Antwerp Belgium Foodie Guide.

When Jessica asked if I wanted to be a guest writer for her blog I was thrilled. I do not have a blog but I do share her endless passion for travel, culture, food, and writing. I hesitated about the topic: should I do a Gourmet review? Street food? Foodie stores? As a good Foodie Libran, decision making is not my strength so I wrote about a combination of all of these and I chose one of my favorites cities in the world: Antwerp. Most tourists while in Europe will easily gravitate towards the authentic charms of Rome, the class and sophistication of Paris, the lively hipness of Barcelona or the cosmopolitan airs of London so I am on a personal quest to let everyone know about a city often missed in Euro tours: Antwerp. It’s a gem in my little adopted country, Belgium. One of my absolute fun Saturday routines includes spending a day in Antwerp or as I call it, my mini NYC. It is the fashion capital of Belgium with its combination of architecture, art galleries, and the vibe of the Saturday market. Antwerp is young, hip, cool and multicultural.
Antwerp Belgium Foodie Guide
Antwerp, Belgium. Photo by Visit Flanders

Start your day by arriving at the beautiful Antwerp Central Station (it was recently selected as The Most Beautiful Station In The World) and hit the streets right behind the commercial and popular Meir! You will be easily distracted by the sweet vanilla smell of Belgian waffles!

Where to eat in Antwerpen: Start your day by arriving at the beautiful Antwerp Central Station (it was recently selected as The Most Beautiful Station In The World) and hit the streets right behind the commercial and popular Meir! You will be easily distracted by the sweet vanilla smell of Belgian waffles. No smell distinguishes more this tiny country than the smell of freshly-made yummy waffles. Heaven!

Walk through the South (Het Zuid), feel the breeze of the Schelde River and visit the Castle (Het Steen – Steenplein 1, 2000 Antwerpen) for a little bit of history. When you are hungry, go for one of the below, you will not be disappointed!

Dinner at Vis Bistro in Antwerp Belgium
Vis Bistro Antwerp
Belgian classics: A wonderful Bouillabaisse at Vis Bistro Mojo (Kasteelpleinstraat 54, 2000 Antwerpen). Johan & Nuria run this bistro and food shop and they do so with a lot of passion for fresh products from the sea. You will find the freshest seafood in Belgium in this tiny bistro. You do need to reserve as it can get pretty crowded!

A gift of the sea: “vispannetje” (fish & seafood stew with yummy tiny North sea shrimps) at De Markt. You can shop at the market during the early hours then end up having a wonderful lunch at their terrace.
A classic “Stoofvlees” (beef & beer stew with hand peeled Belgian fries) at Home Brewery ‘T Pakhuis (Vlaamsekaai 76, 2000 Antwerpen). This dish is best eaten on a typical Belgian rainy wintery night!

Antwerp Belgium Foodie Guide. Te Kook Restaurant
Burger at Te Kook Antwerp

Edgy:  This is certainly the prettiest hamburger I have ever eaten and it was oh so tasty! Te Kook (Vrijdagmarkt 7, 2000 Antwerpen) is a very innovative restaurant of French and Belgian cuisine with a modern twist. Pricey but absolutely worth it! Honest and innovative Matty (Brederodestraat 23, 2000 Antwerpen) and his wife Katrien offer light, creative 5 star cuisine at affordable prices. My favorite dish is the parmesan and fresh truffle risotto. To die for.

Romantic Eats:I have never been disappointed by Josephine’s (Gentplaats 1, 2000 Antwerpen). You can have the most amazing cocktails (I always want to be creative but boringly end up ordering their 5-star Mojito) rightly served by the best barman of this country. Their duck dish is so perfectly executed and presented! The decor is soft, candle-y and romantic, and they do have live Jazz most nights and a charming piano in the middle. What else could you ask for?

On a budget: 100 grams of garlicky black olives, a tiny pot of fresh humous, a couple of slices of freshly sliced Belgian ham and a warm Moroccan bread at one of the amazing market stalls at the Exotische Markt (Oudevaartplaats, Theatherplein en omgeving) on Saturdays from 07h00 until 15h00). This will cost you 7 Euro and if it is sunny I guarantee you an amazing meal and people watching!

Antwerp Belgium Foodie Guide The Jane Restaurant
Maria with Chef Sergio at The Jane

Decadence all the way:Splurge with the 4 -dishes menu at The Jane. Chef Sergio Hermann (my favorite Chef ever!) and Nick Bril are true artists of food making. Their dishes are locally sourced, pretty, harmonic and they scream creativity, passion for the job and flavor! Everything is out-of-this-world good but my favorite are the desserts (and their zesty foie gras and granny smith jus!). Look at this pretty strawberry creation! Mindblowing.
Drink: Have a cold Kwak beer at Pelgrom (Pelgrimstraat 15, 2000 Antwerpen). This middle age cellar is utterly amazing and off the beaten path. Go there for a romantic drink or for a fun beer night with friends! Ideal for after-dinner drinks is Het Elfde Gebod (“The eleventh commandment”) (‪Torfbrug 10, 2000 Antwerpen). The religious décor of this bar is breathtaking and peaceful. Indulge with more specialty beers or their tasty fruit-flavored Jenevers.‬

Antwerp Foodie Guide The Jane Restaurant
Desserts at The Jane Antwerp

See/Experience/Shop:  If you are travelling with kids do not miss Antwerp’s Zoo (Koningin Astridplein 26, 2018 Antwerpen). It is in the middle of the city right next to the train station, a perfect combination for every member of the family. If you love art the Place To be is The MAS (Hanzestedenplaats 1, 2000 Antwerpen) Museum aan de Stroom (a landmark building between the city and the port). The current Display of Power exhibition about the world of prestige and symbols is captivating. For the fashionistas out there, do not miss the shops on the Schuttershofstraat for Wouters&Hendrix, my ultimate “affordable luxury” Antwerp jewelry designers. This city is beautiful for its diversity. I very much hope you can include it on your next Belgian stop. Enjoy the vibe of Antwerp, be curious, keep on traveleating!
Thanks Maria for all the tips! It brought back some great memories of Belgium!  I hope you enjoyed our Antwerp Belgium Foodie Guide.  What’s your favorite city in Belgium for food?