I thought I would write about a couple restaurants we ate at in Belgium. I have had some questions about food so if anyone is in (or going to) Brugge or Ghent here are two very good restaurants. As a side note I enjoyed both Brugge and Ghent (My wife was not as happy with Ghent). Brugge is like a fairytale city. Very clean, and picturesque. Ghent has a similar feel, but is not nearly as clean (it has a large University and there are lots of kids who congregate along the river. I think this has become an issue because the day we visited there was a campaign to keep the river clean and throw away trash and not leave it on walkways) plus it is a larger city than Brugge.
After having disappointing meals in Versailles & Trouville I decided to research some restaurants before we headed out for dinner. At both hotels the front desk staff recommended the restaurants from a small list I had made (I was looking for stew) and both were very good.
In Brugge we ate at Bierbrasserie Cambrinus. http://www.cambrinus.eu/english.htm
The address is Philipstockstraat, 19. Which is just around the corner from the Market Square and our hotel (Crowne Plaza). When we entered the restaurant (more of a Pub) I knew it would be good because it was very lively and crowded. In fact, so crowded we were initially told there was no more tables available. Luckily there was one table left. Bierbrasserie Cambrinus means the King of Beers, and they have an entire menu of beers. Now, for those who know me I do not like beer, so unfortunately, I was unable enjoy this part of the menu. My wife who also (I thought) does not like beer did order their own dark beer (by advice from the waitress) and enjoyed it very much. So much so that she had 2. Beer is very strong in Belgium and she was in a very good mood afterwards.
She was looking for Rabbit (she had eaten once before in Belgium) and I wanted Flemish Beef Stew. They had both and both were excellent (I don’t like the idea of eating rabbit, but I did try and it was tasty). The beef stew (called Flemish Carbonades on the menu) was cooked in their beer and unlike stews I am used to was not mixed with potatoes and carrots. The beef was served in a gravy with applesauce and fried potato croquettes came in a bowl on the side. The rabbit was also served as a stew (with prunes) and came with applesauce and a side bowl of french fries. Prices were reasonable (about 17 Euros for each of our dishes) and the beer’s ranged in prices, but hers were about 3.5 Euros each and a Coke was 2.5 Euros (much cheaper than France , but small bottles). Their steaks also looked very good (person at the table next to us had one) and all portions were very generous. So we were full and passed on dessert (which was a mistake because I assumed we could get something while walking, but by the time we finished all the shops and were closed). Atmosphere was great and service was good and all staff like most of Belgium speak perfect English.
In Ghent we ate at ‘t Klokhuys Brasserie located at Corduwaniersstraat 65. In the Historic Patershol District of Ghent (near the Gravensteen Castle). This is a very charming part of town that has many restaurants along very narrow cobblestone streets.
We arrived relatively early so there were a few tables still available, but soon after all the tables were filled. There is a second floor, but I do not know if there was open seating there. The restaurant is very homey and is decorated with many clocks (hence the name “the clock house”). The strange thing is that only 2 of the clocks had the correct time. After we were seated Polina ordered her new favorite drink (Belgium dark beer – and yes, that is a photo of me having a sip) that came with some salty snacks.
As this was our last night of the trip and had Gentse Waterzooi (Flemish chicken stew) for lunch. I decided to get get the Flemish beef stew again. After much thought (and knowing she may not like & and I would not eat) My wife decided to order the pork fillet with mashed potatoes instead of the Eel. Good choice, she ate half and I ate the other half (this is why I am gaining weight). The pork was very tasty and potatoes were excellent. The beef stew was maybe even better than the night before in Brugge. It came with a small salad and a side of french fries. All portions are very generous (our neighbor had a very large steak). I saw some nice baguettes, but bread was not served with our meals.
Despite eating so much I had saved some room for dessert. We ordered the profiteroles to share. Up to this point the service had been, while not overly friendly, but very attentive. But it took well over 30 minutes to receive our profiteroles. I also noticed the people seated near to us were starting to get restless with their orders as well. A large party had arrived a little earlier so that may have been the issue. It was not that big of a deal, as we were not in a hurry (if we had been, then it would have been). The profiteroles were awesome and unfortunately for my wife I had regained some of my appetite back and had more than my fair share.
After the delay in receiving our dessert we did received the bill in a reasonable amount time (this is a pet peeve of mine). I was very pleased with our last dinner on this trip. Our dining experience at ‘t Klokhuys in Ghent was amongst the best, and prices are very reasonable (12.5 Euro for the stew and 16 for the pork). In all, outside of 2 meals in France (surprisingly both chicken – and I love the way the French prepare chicken) we had great meals. When I travel the thing I may be most motivated about is eating (that may also explain the weight gain). Even when traveling within the USA there are places or styles of food I enjoy that I can not get in San Diego.