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Belgium Advice - Brussels, Gent, Bruges, and Antwerp

I'm heading to Belgium for a week in early October and have done a fair amount of research, but am a bit conflicted on making my final decisions and could use some advice.

I already have reservations at In De Wulf and Oud Sluis so my fancy restaurants are pretty well covered but I might consider adding another one.

Here are some of the places I was considering in each of the cities. Any thoughts on them? Preferences? Any I'm missing? In particular I'd like to find a place with great moules frites.

Bruges:
Hertog Jan
Tete Pressee
De Karmeliet
Ronnie Jonkman
Siphon
De Bistronoom
Bistro Den Huzaar
De Stove
Cambrinus
Den Dyver
De Gastro
Cafedraal

Brussels:
Le Fourneau
De Heeren van Liedekercke
Les Brassins
Neutnigenough
Brasserie le Macon
Lola
Museumbrasserie
La Bonne Humeur
Maison Antoine
't Kelderke
Le Pre Sale
Rachel
Le Bier Circus
Bonsoir Clara

Antwerp - I got nothing

Ghent:
C-Jean
Max
De Vitrine

My research on breweries/beer bars is pretty well complete and prioritized.

Found a few cheese shops in Gent mentioned (Schollaert, Mekka, Het Hinkelspel, Ledeberg) but are there any better ones in the other cities?

Outside of Liege, where can I find good Liege Waffles?

Any preferences among these Chocolatiers I was considering?
Brussels - Pierre Marcolini, Le Saint Aulaye, Wittamer, Mary's, Alex & Alex, AM Sweet
Bruges - The Chocolate Line, Van Tillborgh

Thanks!
DougOLis

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  1. Da Jonkman is excellent. Hertog Jan was disappointing this year. I love In de Wulf -- been there 3 times! I would go to Vitrine as well. I havent been to C-Jean since the original chef left. Near Antwep is Nuance.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Nancy S.

      Nancy, I was planning to take my wife for her birthday to Hertog Jan largely on the strength on the previous feedback from others and yourself.

      Should I cancelmy reservation and instead dine at De Jonkman instead? I would be grateful if you could share on why Hertog Jan was disappointing this year. Thank you

      1. re: blownd

        De Jonkman was exponentially better than Hertog Jan, not only the food but the wines and service. It was simply a spectacular dinner. The food at Hertog Jan is much more simplified than it was and the preparations were simply harsh and not that delicious. Also, the service was supercilious and the wine pours were stingy. I will return to De Jonkman next summer but not to Hertog Jan. I like Hertog Jan better when it was two stars.

    2. You might find some useful information in this thread, even though my report is from 3 years ago, as things do not really change that much:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/655771

      1. On the chocolate - here's an old thread where I documented my findings.
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/262104

        1. If you go to De Jonkman (which I strongly recommend), you'll get some chocolates specially made for the restaurant by The Chocolate Line.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Nancy S.

            Nancy, thank you for the feedback. It will be a busy and interesting week for us in December. With Oud Sluis, De Jonkman and De Librije back to back. I willl be certain to return and provide an update.

          2. Hi DougOlis,

            Looking at your list I see a few top places missing, but basically your choice is sound.

            For Antwerp I agree with the suggestion you add Nuance in Duffel (a 20 minute drive from the city center)
            Try Invincible as well. Less ornate, more basic cooking with counter seating and a very clever wine list.

            For Ghent you ought to consider Dewitte Benoit en Bernard in Zingem. (Fifteen minute drive from Ghent center.) Right now imho the best in Belgium.

            In Brussels I strongly recommend you do not go to Museumsbrasserie.
            Kelderke, Pre Sale and Bonsoir Clara offer little interest. Why not consider Henri - www.restohenri.be - if you are after typical Belgian dishes done in a simple and straightforward manner based on quality products. Interesting wine selection.

            Hard to beat Marcolini for chocolate, in terms of the basic product and the aromas, but I find Darcis in Verviers - darcis.com - better, a lot better in fact. Then again Verviers is a long ride.

            Enjoy and report back please.