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Mar 30, 2011 06:17 AM

Ghent or Bruges: which is a better base food-wise?

If you had to choose 1 city as your base, which would it be (foodwise) and why?

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  1. While both cities are great, and some of the beer from Ghent is fabulous, l would pick Bruges, when there seemed a lot bigger and more options in everything, food included. On the otherhand, not that far apart, if going by car, so maybe you can do both as l did.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

      Deluca--so glad to see a familiar name on here--I enjoy reading you on the Paris & NY boards... I'm traveling to Belgium at the end of this month--Fri/Sat nights in Bruges, Sun in Ghent--would love your personal recs--anything for a Christian Constant/Yves Camdeborde/Stephane Jego, Balthazar & Babbo fan?

      1. re: foreverparis

        There's a great new restaurant in Gent called de vitrine. It's owned by the owner/chef of In de Wulf. I also love C-Jean in Gent. In Bruges, we had the most fantastic dinner at Hertog Jan. It's a 5 minute cab ride from the center. It's simply spectacular.

        1. re: Nancy S.

          Thanks Nancy! Good to know Hertog Jan is that close to town... I'll be in Gent on Sunday and it looks like C-Jean's only open for lunch that day but Vitrine sounds great--bistronomique is just what I'm looking for! Do you have any bistronomique recs for Bruges?

          1. re: foreverparis

            I wish I could help, but I've only been to Hertog Jan in Bruges. It was so fabulous, however, that we are already planning our return to Bruges for the purpose of eating there again. I have heard that De Jonkman is also quite good, but we have never been.

            1. re: Nancy S.

              OK--thanks Nancy! I always like to try at least a couple of non-starred places so I'll let you know if I find anything worth reporting!

              1. re: foreverparis

                Let us know what your thoughts on Belgium were. Find a travel partner yet ? it is not easy to accomplish.

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  No travel partner yet Deluca, but I've realized life's too short to wait around and I've met some interesting people on my solo journeys... Re Bruges and Ghent, I'll report back if I have good experiences. I don't think I'll venture out of town to Hertog Jan or De Jonkman--as good as they sound. I'm determined to find the Christian Constant/Yves Camdeborde of Bruges! But, regardless of my success, I have Paris to look forward to in December! Nothing like the tastes, sounds, smell, sights and lights of Paris to bring on the spirit and joy of the season:)

    2. I didn't see a huge difference as far as food went...anything from brewpubs (hey, with 800 kinds of beer produced in Belgium...) to nice sit-down restaurants.

      Both have plenty of lovely places with outdoor seating overlooking the canals, both have a good variety, and we were more than happy with everything we ate in both cities.

      I liked Brugges better, hubby preferred Ghent...full disclosure: when we were there last summer, the entire center square in Ghent was ripped up for what looked to be new plumbing and/or sewer works, so I'm sure that impacted my impression of it...ymmv.

      11 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842

        BRUGES! You have a lot more to be honest in the surroundings. Ghent is nice and has more and more coming, but in Bruges you have Hertog Jan, which is one of Europe's best restaurants, Oud Sluis is only 15min away and there are plenty of little things around that will keep you busy for a while.

        If you're in the area, a visit to Hof van Cleve is also highly recommended!

        1. re: FelixH

          I'd pick Ghent. Your odds are better as there are far less tourists. Grab a stoverij at T'Vosken, a huge waffle at Max and a great full meal at Belga Queen on the Graslei.

            1. re: currycue

              Just back from a long weekend in Bruges, what a great city. We were staying in the very centre. The old chocolate house is wonderful for breakfast-mix your own hot chocolate and delicious waffles. The brewery museum had surprisingly good food for one lunch and i we snacked for the other 2 lunches as we'd had such large breakfasts. 1st night-In Dem Wittenkop-very good rabbit stew. 2nd night-Vlamiche Pot-very flemish menu with huge portions of beef stew and chips. The last night was the best meal and the most expensive. Park restaurant. Very very good-lovely atmosphere, smart but not oppressive. The waterzoi was fantastic and the sabayon was one of the nicest deserts I have had for ages. My other half has reviewed them on trip adviser if you are interested. The best bar was De Garre-we were a little overwhelmed at the choice so the waiter just took over and gave us some great selections. It was our 2nd visit to Bruges so we didn't rush around doing the museums this time. We watched the movie "in Bruges" for the umpteen time on my laptop while we were there too. Fun to spot the locations used.
              It was only 30 mins on the train from Gent and 1hr from Brussels.

              1. re: greeneyesN4

                we stayed a 1 minute walk from Vlamiche Pot. it was closed 1 night for a private function and closed the other night when its hours said it should be open.

                De Garre - thought people only went there for their house beer, which is delicious but very high in alcohol

          1. re: FelixH

            Felix, is Oud Sluis only 15 mins away from Brugge center?

            1. re: blownd

              I'm heading to Brugge on a Sunday / Monday which rules out all the Michelin starred places. One of us is a vegetarian. I am looking for local seasonal food. Are mussels in season in July? Where is a good local place for mussels?

              Lunch: Patisserie Prestige
              Dinner: De Koetse

              Lunch: Open
              Dinner: Open

              1. re: laubowski

                Ghent has veggie options. not Brugge

                1. re: atomeyes

                  De Avonden in Ghent is a stellar restaurant that always has veg options.

                2. re: laubowski

                  I had a lovely dinner at De Stove. The Erica and Gino were delightful--he's the chef and she's the hostess.

                  Incidentally, they were kind enough to recommend (when I asked) their favorite chocolate shop and I wanted to pass that along in case you're interested since it's simply the best chocolate I've ever had! It's called Van Tilborgh and it's run now by Ingrid Libeert who is Mrs. Van Tilborgh's (who's now in her 80s) daughter. There's also a home-made ice cream and waffle place just next to it. I stopped for ice cream and then picked out some chocolates for gifts and a few pieces for me to eat later. Then, when I ate the chocolate pieces later that afternoon they were so divine I had to return the next morning for more! I bought a whole kilo box for myself. I also stopped next door again for the Belgian waffle covered in dark chocolate--for breakfast... Shame.

                  Envious that you'll be there--it's a great town!

                  Van Tilborgh Chocolate: Noordzandstraat 1b Brugge; Phone is +32 (50) 33.59.04
                  De Stove: Kleine Sint-Amandsstraat 4; Phone +32 (50) 33 78 35

                  1. re: laubowski

                    Mussels are only in the start of the season mid July, but you always can find mussels. The once who are wellknowned in Brugge or Ghent are "Zeeuwse" Mussels. They are from The Netherlands and season is starting now. Locals often go to Philppine for tasting Mussels. It's a little town just over the Dutch border (Zeeland). It is a 20 minute drive from Ghent. Personally I prefer to eat them from september on. The other option now is eating "Bouchot" Mussels. The Bouchot is French and are a bit smaller but very tastefull.
                    On monday in Brugge you can try "Rock Fort".
                    In Ghent nice options are Lepelblad, JEF, Vitrine, Volta, Coeur d'artichaut and House of Eliott (open on monday).
                    All of these restaurants have nice seasonal food and should give you vegetarian options as well but you will not find mussels in these restaurants.