The picturesque medieval city of Ghent in Belgium is not only home to castles and canals but also boasts a thriving culinary scene.
Where to eat in Ghent
Food in Ghent ranges from the traditional moules and frites, irresistible chocolates to the famous Belgian waffles sold on every street corner and of course the beers. It’s also a paradise for veggies, being hailed as the vegetarian capital of Europe.
With a huge array of cafés, bars and restaurants in Ghent, the gastronomic and fusion cuisine on offer will make your mouth water. Being a university city, many of the restaurants also exude a young, hip and urban vibe. Take a break from the sightseeing with the 8 coolest places we found to eat in Ghent on our family city break.
When in Ghent visit the place where the waffle was invented. It’s very cool to know you’re eating a bit of history and the reason why Max makes it onto my list.
The family have been cooking the best waffles in Ghent for six generations, evident from the line of hundred year old waffle irons lining the wall. All adding to the charming art deco interiors. Today Yves Van Maldeghem the great, great great, great, grandson of Pierre ‘Max’ Consael runs the iconic establishment.
A real Max waffle, known to us as the Belgian waffle (but clearly should be called a Ghent waffle) must be 4 x 5 with twenty squares. The lightest of waffles almost like air and ever so moorish. The locals eat them with icing sugar, although a variety of toppings are offered from whipped cream, fruit, maple syrup and chocolate.
Max | Goudenleeuwplein 3 | 9000 Ghent | Website
Ghent is home to a huge number of vegetarian (or vegetarisch in Gent) restaurants compared to the size of the city. The idea behind La Botaniste is food as medicine, where they serve 100% organic plant based food and natural wines.
On entry it has a look of an apothecary or age-old pharmacist. Behind a big wooden counter are rows of shelves full of bottles filled with a variety of healthy, tasty food substances.
Starters can be anything from a veggie sushi or fresh spring roll to a mezze or seaweed tartare. The large bowls are their speciality like spicy chili sin carne with mixed beans, tumeric and sour cream served with rice and quinoa. The Jeff, miso mushroom sauce with cooked potato, raw salad and aioli dressing. And the Pasta al Mafiosi, perfect for kids with wholewheat pasta with soylognese sauce, green olive oil and gomasio. Kiddy bowls are also available for all the large bowl options or why not make your own DIY bowl.
If you still need more healthy treats afterwards, desserts like the quinoa peanut butter cookies, omega 3 brownies and chia seed pudding are served.
In a former 17th-century inn you’ll find a pizzeria with a twist. Surrounded by industrial decor, vintage lamps, neon letters and metal mesh, heavenly pizzas will be served.
Made from dough which uses brewer’s yeast the pizzas feature a surprising combination of toppings. Try the Ritmo De La Nacho, a Mexican fury with black beans jalapeno, nachos, red onion, cheddar, coriander and topped with sour cream and guacamole.
Or how about the Tom Selleck, pickled pineapple, jalapenos, ham on the bone, pickled ginger and ricotta di bufala.
The Las Vega is vegan, with a sauce of legumaise curry, spinach leaf, with garlic and mushroom, Zuma paste (homemade chilli paste made from Habanero peppers), coconut flakes and espuma soy yoghurt. Literally a three course meal on a pizza! Oh and the classic margarita can still be found on the menu to appease those tastebuds just after the usual.
Wash the slices down with homemade lemonade squeezed from interesting flavours like dark caramel sea salt and lemon & rose or with a choice of 20 different specialty beers. It’s the perfect place to chat, relax, and share your pizzas with friends and family. And let’s be honest an Italian restaurant is always a winner when travelling with kids.
Otomat | Kleine Vismarkt 3 | 9000 Gent | Website
Slightly off the beaten track, but still in walking distance of the centre is De Superette. In a former corner grocery store called Superette Edwin, acclaimed chef Kobe Desramaults has opened this hip bakery and restaurant in Ghent. Shared dining plates and unique flavours are the order of the day with a fresh loaf of sourdough.
The relaxed homey atmosphere is the perfect place for a lazy morning or afternoon reading your newspaper. The loft like space with rough brick walls, vintage furniture and a wood-burning bread oven.
We brunched on tasty cheese and mustard toasties with the most incredible tasting bread and poached eggs, doused in chilli oil yoghurt, topped with croutons. In the evenings the bread oven is used to make pizzas.
De Superette | Guldenspoorstraat 29 |9000 Gent | Website
This quirky eating joint is a cross between a designer cafe and launderette. Yes, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner, relax with a cold beer or enjoy a fresh coffee, reply to a few emails all whilst washing your undies! The most efficient form of time management seen and a massive hit with the student population.
Upstairs washing machines line one end of the café full of vintage inspired furniture and a pastel slash bright coloured palette.
The bagel burgers are the main draw like the Curry Kentucky, a grilled chicken and curry sauce burger and the Lucien Le Parisien with Serrano ham, goats cheese and sundried tomato.
We lunched on the Jacky Seratki, delicious marinated halloumi, red pepper, basil dressing and spinach and the Trying Nemo with steamed salmon, tartare and red cheddar. All served with potato waffles and lashing of mouthwatering truffle mayonnaise. What’s not to like here?!
Wasbar | Korenmarkt 37 | 9000 Gent | Website
In Choc Gent – Daskalides
This chocolate-coffee bar in Ghent is the perfect place to stop after a visit to Gravesteen. Conveniently located practically opposite the Castle of the Counts, you can indulge in sweet treats, coffee, hot chocolates and their well-known crazy shakes.
From choices like chocolate marshmallow clouds, oreo vanilla cookie monster, bubblicious or unicorn. Kids will be in seventh heaven and severe sugar high as will the adults.
In Choc Gent | Sint-Veerleplein 13 | 9000 Gent | Website
Belgium is known for its frites and a Ghent food guide is not complete without the addition of a friterie. The quest to try the Belgium delicacy is harder than you think for a veggie, as most of the frites sold are fried in animal fat.
Frites Atelier uses plant based oil and love how the skins are left on for an extra earthy taste and dash of vitamin C. The inventive toppings are guaranteed to lead to indecision from Flemish Stew, Indo Super Hero to the Kimchi Special.
The additional freshly made sauces are delicious too – free from preservatives and other nasties, with a choice of deep truffle, the famous classic, French Bernaise, Lovely Andalouse and the Chefs Ketchup offering a vegan option. Who cares if the company is originally from Amsterdam. Frites are frites, right?
Frites Atelier | Groentenmarkt 20 | 9000 Gent | Website
Holy Food Market
The 16th-century Baudelo Chapel has seen many guises from church, library to now Ghent’s hottest dining spot. Essentially a food court, it houses a mix of gourmet outlets from 16 local food entrepreneurs around a swish central bar.
Walking through you can take a food journey through many different cuisines like Japanese, Thai, Italian or Russian. Enjoy it all surrounded by the buzzy atmosphere of chapel where a young Mozart played some of his first concerts.
Holy Food Market | Beverhoutplein 15 | 9000 Gent | Website
For more information about Ghent head to the Visit Flanders website.
Where’s the coolest place you’ve eaten on your travels? Let me know in the comments box below.
Disclaimer: We were guests of Visit Flanders, however, all views, opinions and photos are my own and remain a copyright of the Curious Pixie.
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