Gent (or Ghent), Belgium
I'm traveling to Gent at the beginning of August for a work trip and I'm looking for some fun restaurants for lunch and dinner.
I'm looking for a range:
* the local stuff you just have to try
* the fancy restaurants that you go to for special occasions (or when it can be expensed!).
My coworker and I love love love good food.
When I was there a few years ago I kept eating at this casual (faux fast food) vegetarian restaurant called Greenway on Nederkouter. They had great soups, and salads. Neither me nor the friend I was traveling with are vegetarians, but their food was the type of veggie cuisine that doesn't leave you feeling that you're missing anything, just really fresh and satisfying. I also recommend you go to one of the little fry huts at least once, they're kind of an institution. I remember the ones near the bars opening in the late evening. Convenient!
if you have never had Belgian genever, there is a legendary bar in Gent that serves many varieties of it. I'm sure your hotel can give you the name. I can't remember. Genever is not always available in all town in Belgium, so take the chance if you like spirits at all.
I know you didn't ask this, but the Van Eyck in the main church is staggering. Really staggering. Walk around the back of it too. Don't miss it.
My favorite Belgian dishes that I eat whenever I'm in Belgium are waffles, plain -- and they make a dish of lamb shank in a cream-and-whole-grain-mustard sauce that is fantastic. Don't know if you will find it on the menu in Gent. I never met the bowl of moules in Belgium I didn't like. I prefer thin, almost matchstick frites to the fat ones, but eve the fat ones have oooomph.
I think the wheat beers are an incredible treat in summer, and in general -- while I know nothing about beer -- I found the sweet beers delicious.
I wish I was in Gent!