Tel: 32 3233 6270
This lovingly refurbished 17th-century house boasts some of Belgium's best cookingwith prices to matchby chef Johan Segers. The Flemish food (poached tongue fish stuffed with rhubarb in a white wine sauce) is creative and ever-changing, with definite leanings toward French cuisine (which helps explain how Segers has garnered his Michelin star), and the wine cellar overflows with more than 5,000 bottles. So confident it closes on weekends.
Lunch and dinner. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
Tel: No phone
Belgium wouldn't be Belgium without, well, French Fries (the French still don't quite understand why Americans blame these fried potato sticks on them), and this is the best frites emporium in Antwerp. In the evenings, a traditional, ferocious, middle-aged Flemish woman runs the shop and delights in insulting the customers—in a charming way, naturally.
Tel: 32 3770 8625
Who would have thought the industrial look could be as swanky as this? Het Pomphuis serves an upmarket menu, including dishes such as cod on a bed of mashed potatoes topped with poached egg and caviar, or pheasant with sauerkraut, cabbage, fried potatoes, and veal gravy, in what was a shipyard pump housethe old hydraulic equipment is still therein a revitalized wharf north of the center. The huge arched windows and skylight ceiling deliver some Art Nouveau drama, as does the sexy long bar.
42 Vlaamse Kaai
Tel: 32 3257 1648
Formerly a Congolese warehouse, this lively local favorite is a great place to grab a casual meal. The decor is standard Flanders: worn black-and-white floor tiles, paper-menu place mats on wood tables, tatterdemalion maps on the walls, and a nicotine-stained ceiling suggesting a long lineage of dining and debating intelligentsia that continues today. The fare is basic but tasty: juicy steaks are served with a choice of six sauces (mushroom, mustard, Roquefort, béarnaise, peppercorn, and Provençal) aside fresh leafy salads, piping-hot soups, and small pots of wine. Daring diners might want to sample the horse steak, something of a cult favorite in Belgium.
Open daily 7:30 pm to 1 am.
13 Adriaan Brouwerstraat
Tel: 32 3233 3030
Don't leave town without having a meal at Lux, which offers one of the city's most sumptuous and priciest dinners, but also one of its most affordable prix fixe lunches (around $30 with glass of wine, excluding Saturdays). Housed in an 18th-century Polish shipping warehouse in the rapidly gentrifying Het Eilandje (Docklands) neighborhood, the grand space recalls Antwerp's merchant wealth with extravagant Corinthian columns made of Belgian marble, walnut paneling, 15-foot ceilings festooned with gilded crown moldings, and fine Belgian linens laid across black lacquered tables. Not to be outdone by the opulent surroundings, Chef Bert Zaman's Med-Flemish fusion cuisinecod with mustard and Hoegaarden sauce, and salt-crusted lamb with candied Belle de Fontenay potatoesremains the true star.
Open daily noon to 3 pm and 6 to 11 pm.
Tel: 32 3237 4365
Resist the temptation of the trendy pan-Asian lounges in the Het Zuid neighborhood and head a few blocks east to the eggplant-painted dining room of Muro Turks, where you'll enjoy mouthwatering Turkish and Mediterranean treats. This relaxing and recently renovated grill cooks up Anatolian specialties such as ground lambstuffed eggplant, chicken pitas, and crispy veggie pizzas.
Open daily 5 pm to midnight.
Tel: 32 3232 2797
Created from five small 16th-century homes on a cobbled street, this cozy restaurant with oak-beamed ceilings features FrenchBelgian cuisine (fried goose liver with canapé of caramelized apples and syrup of Calvados and Liege, or suckling pig with shallots, mustard, honey, and Kwak beer) and a weighty 40-page wine list. Try the two-course Discovery Lunch based on market-fresh ingredients of the day. If it's your birthday, take your ID and you'll get a free meal plus champagne for the entire table.
Tel: 32 497 045 865
There's a cheery Montmartre feel to this bustling Het Zuid charmer with its sunny dining room and cozy floral wallpaper. It serves up simple modern nibbles that a hip Belgian mom might throw together: terrines made with Roquefort and dates, toast smeared with goat cheese and honey, and spicy meatballs plopped atop coriander-infused couscous. A selection of sandwiches, pastas, and salads are listed on the chalkboards and help keep the place filled with a young sophisticated crowd of regulars even on weeknights. The patio swells with flaneurs in summer.
Open Tuesdays through Fridays 10 am to 3 pm and 6 pm to midnight, Saturdays and Sundays 6 pm to midnight.
16 Oude Koornmarkt
Tel: 32 3231 6170
Tucked away on a side street and featuring a bright courtyard, this restaurant once boasted Michelin stars, until owner-chef Marc Paesbrugghe got tired of the hassle and restyled it as a more laid-back eatery specializing in French cuisine. Not to worry: The more-typical Belgian food (fillet of calf with leeks, potatoes and rosemary, or duck steak with orange and dauphine croquettes) is as good as ever, but now dinner is served in two sittings and the prices are lower (not cheap—just not as stratospheric as they once were). And though Sir Anthony has fallen out of the limelight, advance booking is still essential.
23 Oude Leeuwenrui
Tel: 32 3213 3333
This soothing space in the obscure Oude Leeuwenrui neighborhood offers seasonal dishes with a subtle Asian twist. Creations such as claypot-steamed quail with eggplant, zucchini and salted-citron rice, and sashimi with yuzu dressing are a refreshing break from beef and butter-laden Belgian fare. All of Volef's dishes are served in handmade ceramics. In the summer, the Japanese-inspired courtyard makes a terrific sanctuary, but if it's overcast, which it often is, the main dining room's vivid Tiffany-blue walls are a great way to combat the ubiquitous shades of gray.
Open Mondays through Fridays noon to 3 pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays 6 to 10 pm.