Looking for Antwerp suggestions
I'll be spending the next two weeks (1-15 Sept) in Antwerp on biz. Have been there a number of times, but always at the mercy of others for restaurant options and since I'll have a couple of weekends to myself, would like to do some exploring. Unfortunately, I'm not staying downtown, but no trouble finding a taxi (or a bike). Will likely be by myself for most meals, so also looking for places that are friendly to a loner American - casual, etc.
I recommend the Brasserie den Artiste, down the Nationaalstraat toward (just across from) the Museum of Fine Arts. It's a cozy, art-deco ish place where you can comfortably dine alone. I have been several times with the paper or a book and not felt out of place. They have the usual Flemish specialties such as carbonade - it's excellent - and also endive wrapped in ham and baked with mashed potatoes and cheese sauce...not exactly hot summer weather dining but it's chilly here now at 60 degrees so maybe you can do it! Watch out for the narrow open metal spiral stairs at the back up to the rest rooms if you over-indulge in the beers!
After you tire of mussel pots, frites, and De Koninck (something that takes me at least 3 nights, but other folks might want to move on sooner than that...), one great place to try for some variety is Lamalo, a Mediterranean Kosher place just off the Keyserlei, on the edge of the diamond district. Wonderful tagines, mezes, soups, etc., and exceptionally friendly staff. Get a table, order something off the specials board, and listen in on the linguistic gymnastics around you ... last month a party of 3 next to me was conversing in Spanish and English, while taking occasional phone calls in French, Dutch, and Hebrew.
South of the center, I had a really good, lazy weekend brunch at this new-ish cafe just off the northern end of Cogels Osylei (other side of the overpass). If I can hunt down the name I'll let you know what it was. Meanwhile, you really should stroll the Cogels Osylei if you haven't already ... probably the most jaw-dropping 2 blocks of residential architecture I've ever seen ...