Antwerp is one of those cities that sneaks up on you. From the outside, it isn’t particularly beautiful compared to other Belgian cities like Brussels, Ghent or Bruges. But nestled in the heart of Belgium, Antwerp is a true gem. I am lucky enough to have some close friends who live in Antwerp (hi Gioia & Kristof if you’re reading this!) so I have visited the city on a couple of occasions. Upon each visit, I grow more and more enamored by this unique city.

For foodies, Antwerp is a treasure trove of gastronomic delights, where traditional Belgian flavors meet innovative culinary techniques. Whether you're a fan of hearty Belgian stews, gourmet frites, or delicate pastries, Antwerp has something to satisfy every craving. From the crispy indulgence of Frituur No. 1 to the sophisticated dishes at The Jane, each restaurant on this list has its own unique flair. 

In this blog post, I am revealing the very best restaurants, bars and cafes for foodies to enjoy on a trip to Antwerp. I will help you discover hidden gems and enjoy celebrated establishments that define Antwerp's culinary identity. So, loosen your belt, sharpen your appetite, and let's dive into the flavors that make Antwerp a must-visit destination for food lovers in Belgium.

Best Places to Eat and Drink in Antwerp, Belgium

Breakfast & Coffee

A Fresh Tart 

Run, don’t walk to the charming neighborhood bakery A Fresh Tart. This was by far the best baked goods I tried in Antwerp. The croissant was especially noteworthy! Flakey buttery perfection. You can tell it is a beloved local spot, because there is often a line, especially on a weekend morning. The inviting aroma of freshly baked pastries will draw you in, and the delightful flavors will keep you coming back for more.

Kornél

Kornél is a hidden gem on a quiet side street in the southern area of Antwerp. We stumbled upon it while walking from our hotel, the August, into town. There were tons of locals working on laptops and sipping tasty looking coffee, so we trusted our gut and popped in. With a delicious assortment of pastries and baked goods, Kornél is a sophisticated yet cozy spot where you could leisurely spend a whole day. 

Georges Espresso Bar

Next store to Ons Suzanne (below), George’s Espresso Bar is a minimalist coffee shop that can brew an absolutely perfect cup of coffee. The espresso was one of the best I had in all of Antwerp. It’s pretty small inside, but you can order espresso to go if you can’t find a spot to sit. 

Ons Suzanne

Ons Suzanne is a charming family-run cafe with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. We came for a weekend brunch, and it was the perfect way to start the day. The menu is focused on healthy, fresh dishes such avocado toast, omelets and smoothie bowls. It almost has an Aussie vibe with a large mural inside and warm wood furniture.

Lunch

Bar Vert

Bar Vert is a trendy, eco-conscious eatery with a menu that celebrates fresh, locally sourced ingredients. You’ll find a variety of flatbreads, salads and hummus dips, most of which are vegetarian or vegan. The airy, greenery-filled space provides a relaxed environment, perfect for enjoying good food and good company.

In De Roscam

Exuding the charm of an authentic Belgian eatery, In De Roscam has a prime location on the corner of Vrijdagmarkt square. It is one of the most picturesque squares in Antwerp! This historic establishment serves Flemish cuisine, as well as bar snacks and breakfast. You can come simply for a drink, or you can indulge in mussels and frites, a quintessential Belgian dish featuring plump mussels cooked to perfection and served with golden fries. 

Restaurant Graanmarkt 13

Set in a modern, subterranean space, this farm-to-table restaurant offers a unique pan-European dining concept in a beautiful setting. Featuring a unique blend of traditional Belgian and modern European cuisine, these dishes are prepared with a focus on simplicity and seasonality, allowing the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine through. The menu changes with the seasons, ensuring fresh and innovative dishes. We went for lunch and opted for their reasonably priced tasting menu. There were lots of new flavors, textures and techniques throughout the menu. 

Frites 

Frituur No. 1

For quintessential Belgian frites experience, there is no better choice in Antwerp than Frituur No. 1. This beloved local joint serves up the crispiest, piping hot French fries. Each batch is cooked to perfection! You can tell this joint has been around for a while, with a glimmering patina of caked on cooking oil and vintage furniture. This is a place that's cherished by the Antwerp community for its authentic take on this iconic snack.

  • Address: Hoogstraat 1, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
  • Website: none

Frites Atelier

For a bougie take on Belgian Frites, check out Frites Atelier. There was a long line when we went, but it moved quickly and it was WELL worth it. This trendy and stylish spot elevates the humble French fry to gourmet status. They serve up golden, perfectly crispy frites with a tantalizing array of different toppings and sauces, including truffle mayo and basil remoulade. They are commited to sourcing top-notch, locally-grown potatoes. It's a true homage to the art of frying, and you won't want to miss it.

Dinner

Felix Pakhuis

This trendy restaurant in Antwerp's harbor district offers a menu that's as visually appealing as it is delicious. Plus, their harborside patio has a great view of the MAS. One standout dish is their "tuna tartare with avocado and yuzu," a delightful fusion of flavors and textures. Sam loved the steak here too! The contemporary design and art installations make this spot a feast for the eyes as well.

Bistrot L’ilot

Nestled on a quiet side street off the harbor, Bistrot L'ilot is a hidden gem for those seeking a casual French bistro with a Belgian twist. With its cozy, romantic ambiance, this bistro is a perfect spot for a dinner date. For the quality coming out of the kitchen, I found the prices totally reasonable. It is meant to be a small plate experience, where you can share a number of different dishes. One of my favorites with a roasted whole tomato with basil aioli, fresh cantaloupe and crispy prosciutto. Ask for recommendations on the wine. The expert staff gave us great suggestions! 

The Jane

For a truly exceptional dining experience, make a reservation at The Jane. Housed in a former military chapel, this Michelin-starred restaurant is absolutely gorgeous. We walked over from the August Hotel, which is just around the corner. The menu offers a unique blend of modern and classical influences with a modern European lens. Their "Langoustine with textures of celery and green apple" is a culinary masterpiece, a delicate balance of flavors and aesthetics. You’ll find lots of innovative techniques and unique flavors.

Dessert

Cremerie Germaine

For a sweet, creamy finish to your Antwerp culinary journey, visit Cremerie Germaine. This cozy ice cream parlor serves up a variety of artisanal ice creams and sorbets. Their Speculoos ice cream, featuring the beloved Belgian spiced biscuit in frozen form, was AMAZING. I could eat that every single day.

Bars & Drinks 

Quinten Matsijs

Considered one of, if not the, oldest bar in Antwerp, Quinten Matsijs was recommended to us by a local. It serves up a great selection of Belgian beer, especially the beloved local Bolleke. There are a few spots to sit outside, or you can opt for a table inside the 16th-century building. It is SUCH a vibe, transporting you back in time with its old-world charm. If you get hungry while drinking, the restaurant is known for its "Waterzooi," a traditional Belgian stew featuring tender chicken or fish in a creamy broth with vegetables and herbs. 

De Koninck - Antwerp City Brewery

De Koninck Brewery is an iconic institution in Antwerp, and it's more than just a brewery; it's a lively bar and restaurant as well. You can savor their signature "Bolleke" beer, a local favorite. Take a brewery tour and learn about the beer-making process while enjoying a unique setting within the city.

Dr Beer

Craft beer lovers will find paradise in Dr Beer. With an extensive selection of local and international craft beers, this bar offers a diverse range of flavors. The knowledgeable staff can help you choose the perfect brew to suit your taste.

Elfde Gebod

For a unique bar experience, head to Elfde Gebod, a bar that doubles as a religious relic museum. The interior is adorned with a stunning collection of religious artifacts, creating a one-of-a-kind ambiance. Sam was dying to check this place out! Enjoy a wide selection of Belgian beers while surrounded by these fascinating historical treasures. Plus, it is right in the center of the city!

Bar Paniek 

For the trendiest spot in Antwerp, Bar Paniek is an ideal choice. Located inside a warehouse right on the harbor, this shabby-chic bar is part junkyard, part bar. It has a see-and-be-seen sort of vibe with casual service and a lively clientele. Enjoy a refreshing cocktail or a local beer while watching the sunset. It's the perfect place to unwind and soak in the industrial beauty of Antwerp.

Do you have thoughts or questions about Antwerp's restaurant scene? Tell me in the comments below!

Share this story

Comments Expand -
Add your thoughts today

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *