Top 10 in Antwerp
Source – Culture Trip
1. The Jane
Located in the chapel of a former military hospital in the centre of Antwerp, The Jane throws a whole new light on the fine dining experience. A magnificent chandelier with 150 points of light, a neon skull and a contemporary take on the religious symbols of the former chapel’s stain glass windows feature in the breathtaking interior. Master chefs Nick Bril and Sergio Herman can be seen preparing food in the open kitchen built on the former altar. Dishes are served with the utmost precision and accompanied by a fine selection of classic and organic wines. The trendy upstairs Upper Bar provides a laid-back ambiance with special Belgian beers and cocktails.
The Jane, Paradeplein 1, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 808 44 65
2. Grand Café Horta
Short of visiting Brussels’ Horta Museum, this is a perfect place to get a taste of the art nouveau décor signed by Belgium’s renowned architect, Victor Horta. Grand Café Horta is situated in Antwerp’s busy shopping area, offering a relaxing break from the retail world. Take the typical Horta staircase to the lower level where bartenders, behind an attractive circular bar with glasses stacked on glass shelves, take orders for the best draught Belgian beers. The restaurant serves champagne breakfast and a wide choice of meat and fish at lunchtime including seasonal suggestions and one of the best steak tartars in town.
Grand Café Horta, Hopland 2, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 232 28 15
A former late 19th century art nouveau manor house, Dôme is the obvious place to go for the finest French cuisine in very distinguished surroundings. A majestic dome and old mosaic floors are the perfect setting for this gourmet retreat in the city’s residential area. The high quality of the restaurant has earned its owners, French chef Julian Burlat and his Belgian wife Sophie Verbeke, a Michelin star. Julian Burlat’s passion for food oozes from his divinely presented dishes. He delights in creating unique dishes from top quality products, producing a menu that is fit for a lord.
Dôme, Grote Hondstraat, Antwerpen, Belgium, +32 3 239 90 03
4. De Foyer
Located on the first floor of Antwerp’s historical La Bourla theatre, De Foyer is the best place to eat before or after a show, but it is also an ideal retreat from the bustling streets of the city centre. The circular neo-classic building is one of Antwerp’s most beautiful pieces of architecture, featuring statues of Apollo and the muses and a series of busts including Shakespeare, Molière and Schiller. Entering De Foyer is like going back in time to the opulence of the 19th century with its chandeliers, marble pillars and ornate dome. The brasserie-style menu proposes traditional Belgian dishes and a copious Sunday brunch.
De Foyer, Komedieplaats 18, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 233 55 17
Situated opposite the Fine Arts Museum, Hippodroom is a converted townhouse comprising of a living room, garden and sumptuous velvet furbishing. The back garden is a delightful place to enjoy the chef’s inventive cuisine, which changes with the seasons and is inspired by French and Belgian tradition. The front terrace provides a great view of the museum and inside the walls are decorated with life-size prints of the photographic works of the Belgian artist Michel François. Tables are lit with tubular neon lights, sharing the space with a spectacular brass clad bar, which completes the contemporary feel of this late 19th century dwelling.
Hippodroom, Leopold de Waelplaats 10, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 248 52 52
The LUX is a trendy hang-out in the up-and-coming part of Antwerp just outside the city centre. Neighbouring the impressive modern architecture of the MAS museum, which showcases the city’s past, present and future, LUX is in the former premises of a shipping company. The building’s original ornate staircase leads up to the first floor dining area where original marble pillars and contemporary neon lighting blend the old with the new. The vertical neon ‘LUX’ sign on the original brick façade indicates that you have come to the right place for a great choice of meats, including three-week dry aged Flemish red beef and lamb chops as well as fresh fish and a generous seafood platter. It is worth sticking around for after-dinner drinks in the club ambiance of the basement and seeing the neon light reflecting in the harbour basin.
LUX, Adriaan Brouwerstraat 13, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 233 30 30
Without actually being a ship, Zuiderterras gives the impression of being one. Perched on the banks of the river Scheldt at the end of the walkway leading from the historical part of town, its large glass windows looking out on the river give you the feeling that you are dining while cruising. But there is no illusion when it comes to the menu. Traditional fish and meat dishes made with the freshest ingredients are served with a creative twist and the mouth-watering desserts are truly irresistible, the Zuiderterras chocolate mousse, crème brûlée and raspberry moelleux being the most decadent. To start the day on the right foot, Zuiderterras also serves a de luxe breakfast comprising a wide choice of sweet and savoury fare accompanied by a glass of champagne.
Zuiderterras, Ernest Van Dijckkaai 37, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 2341275
8. De Peerdestal
Just a stone’s throw away from the cathedral and the Grote Markt in Antwerp’s historical centre along one of the narrow cobbled streets, De Peerdestal lives up to its name, The Horse Stable. Its wooden stable-like entrance opens up into a quaint room of wooden beams dripping with candelabras and a vast collection of equine objects. Horse steak inevitably features on the menu, but there is also a wide choice of beef, lamb and fresh seafood including lobster and oysters. Outside, it feels as if you could almost hear the clip-clop of horses passing by.
De Peerdestal, Wijngaardstraat 8, Antwerp, Belgium, + 32 3 231 95 03
9. Het Pomphuis
One of Antwerp’s listed monuments, Het Pomphuis used to be a pumping station for draining the docks prior to ship maintenance. After narrowly escaping destruction it has become a chic restaurant and bar, preserving its impressive exterior architecture. Many of the interior features, including the pumps, have also been retained, and are now juxtaposed with giant contemporary objects competing with the 200-metre-high ceiling. The terrace on the promenade of the river Scheldt looks over Antwerp’s harbour and is a perfect place for watching ships go by. The menu has options that include seasonal and luxury ingredients including foie gras, roll mops, a selection of the best matured cheeses from the cheese specialist Van Tricht and desserts imagined by Het Pomphuis’ pastry chef.
Het Pomphuis, Siberiastraat z/n, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 770 86 25
10. Graanmarkt 13
The Graanmarkt 13 restaurant is part of a new concept combining food, fashion and art. Its creators, Tim and Ilse, live at Graanmarkt 13 with their family and ensure that Belgium’s new talent is represented in the gallery, that the store is replenished with stylish garments and that guests are served with top-quality food. Chef Seppe Nobels is an expert in transforming fresh ingredients into beautifully presented dishes, using vegetables and herbs from Graanmarkt’s rooftop garden and ‘stress-free’ fish which have had time to relax after their journey from the sea making them taste better. The menu proposes appetisers and side dishes to share, as well as a good selection locally sourced organic wine.
Graanmarkt 13, Graanmarkt 13, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 3 337 79 92
Top 10 in Antwerp
Source: The Crazy Tourist
1 – Central Station
The best way to arrive in Antwerp is by train; it also gives you the chance to admire Antwerp’s central station that is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The station operates since 1905 and was transformed to its former glory in the late 19th century by Louis Delacenserie and Clément Van Bogaert. It cannot be defined to a particular architectural style as a lot of styles were used in its construction. The station has four levels, 2 of which are underground.
2 – Zoo Antwerpen
If you are traveling with kids, pay a visit to Antwerp’s zoo located close to the train station. It is the world’s oldest zoos and it has more than 5.000 animals and more than 950 species. More information: http://www.zooantwerpen.be/
3 – Diamonds
Adjacent to the station is the Diamond district, after all, Antwerp is called the city of diamonds. Diamonds were being traded in Antwerp from the 15th century. On the 19th century, the city became a hub for diamond trade. About 84% percent of the world’s rough diamonds pass through Antwerp, and more than 1700 diamond companies are based here.
4 – Meier Street
As you come out of the main central station and head towards the city centre, you will meet Meier Street, Antwerp’s main shopping street. Meier is considered one of the most important shopping streets not only for Antwerp but the whole Belgium. Shoppers from all around Belgium and the neighbouring countries come here to shop. Antwerp is also called the city of fashion apart from the many boutiques and designer shops it is home to the Flanders Fashion Institute (FFI), the Fashion Museum (MOMU) and the Fashion Academy. Apart from the shops, Meier street has many impressive buildings like the Royal Palace and the Stadsfeestzaal.
5 – Rubenshuis/ Rubens House
As you walk Meier street turn left before the Royal Palace and you will find yourself in Rubens House, one of Antwerp’s highlights. Here is where Rubens lived and worked from 1616 until his death in 1640. After his death, the new owners made considerable changes to the building until it was obtained by the city of Antwerp in 1937. The city restored many parts of the house to their former state. The museum houses many paintings from Rubens and his pupils including works of Anthony Van Dyck. A lot of furniture and other works of art from the 17th century are also on display. There is also a charming garden worth visiting.
6 – Cathedral of our Lady
Antwerp’s Cathedral is the biggest gothic building in the Dutch -speaking world and has the tallest bell tower (123 m.) in Belgium. It took 169 years for the cathedral to be built, and it’s now a UNESCO heritage site. The cathedral is very impressive but what makes it so unique are the seven aisles and the four Ruben masterpieces that can be found inside it, along with other pieces of art.
7 – Groenplaats
This buzzing square full of cafes and restaurants is located at Antwerp’s historical centre near the Cathedral. In the middle of the square stands the statue of the city’s most prominent residence Rubens.
8 – Grote Markt
The impressive building of the city hall (Stadhuis) built in Flemish Renaissance style dominates the square. Other famous buildings are the Houses of the Guilds that even though they were destroyed in a fire, they were restored to their original form. In the middle of the square is the Brabo fountain. According to the legend, there was a giant in the city that used to cut and throw the hands of the sailors into river Scheldt if they refused to pay a toll until Silvius Brabo killed it and threw his hand into the river. The fountain depicts Brabo as he throws the giant’s hand into the river. It is said that Antwerp owns its name to that story as Hand werpen means in Dutch “to throw a hand”. The symbol of the hand can be seen throughout the city. There are even biscuits sold with the hand shape.
9 – Het Steen
Walk down Grote Markt, and you will find yourself at the banks of river Scheldt and the imposing Het Steen, a medieval fortress, dating from the 13th century. It is the first building made of stone in Antwerp and what stands today is only a small part of what it used to be. In the past, the castle used to be a prison and until recently was part of the Maritime Museum.
10 – MAS Museum Aan de Stroom
We walked at the banks of river Scheldt until we arrived at the Mas Museum Aan de Stroom. On the way, we also saw the beautiful Pilotage, a public administration building built in 1895. The Mas is a new museum that tells the story of Antwerp in connection with the rest of the world. The museum has a collection of more than 470.000 items, but not all of them are on display. Some of them are kept on the second floor at the Visible Storage Area. Before you leave the museum, don’t forget to check the view from the top floor.