Menu

3 Must Eat Restaurants in Oostende, Belgium

By alison - September 24, 2013 (Updated: December 4, 2015)

This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series Best Restaurants in Belgium.

Restaurants in Oostende Belgium

When Andrew and I visit a new Belgian city for a weekend, one of our first missions is to scope out recommended restaurants and make reservations. Over the course of two and a half days, we normally have one exceptional dining experience and one or two good meals. If we’re really lucky, there will be two stand-out meals. Dining in Oostende surpassed our expectations. 

I’ll be the first to admit, I wasn’t expecting stellar things from the food scene in Oostende. After all, it’s a beach town; a tourist town. After eight years in Belgium, I should know better – Exceptional food is in the most unexpected of places here.

So, with a little sleuthing on our own part, and some excellent help from the folks at Visit Oostende, we discovered three incredible restaurants in Oostende and we want to share them with you.

 

Restaurant Eclips

We knew Visit Oostende was arranging our meals for Saturday and that those meals would be showcasing the wonderful fresh seafood available in Oostende. So, left to our own devices for Friday night, we wanted to find something a little different. I headed to Trip-Advisor, and there, in the number one ranking, was Restaurant Eclips.

Restaurant Eclips is a cozy, trendy feeling spot, just off the beach promenade. The focus is on tableside fondues and grills and it is a meat-lovers paradise.

Owners, Chris and Sharon Verdonck, greeted us warmly and explained the menu and concept to us. In addition to their role as restaurateurs, they are also the chefs, servers, and even cleaners – they run the entire show themselves and are dedicated to excellent service. And that’s exactly what we received.

After downing delicious cocktails, and nibbling on our amuse-bouches, Chris began to construct our ‘kitchen.’ Andrew had opted for the fondue and I had ordered the gourmet grill, so we could experiment with each.

Soon, a mountain of fresh meat appeared before us and we dove in.

Meat for the grill and fondue

Restaurant Eclips is a meat-lover’s heaven – on the grill or in the fondue pot.

The generous portions had our bellies so full, we couldn’t manage dessert, but there was no way I could pass up one menu item – authentic Irish Coffee, made table-side. I am an Irish coffee snob, and can’t stand being served coffee with whipped cream squirted on top and having it passed off as Irish coffee.

Now this is how you make an Irish Coffee!

Now this is how you make an Irish Coffee!

So when Chris lit up the burner at our table and began to do his thing, I was practically giddy.

The result – a perfect Irish coffee and possibly the best one I’ve ever had.

Beautiful teas and the perfect Irish Coffee

Beautiful teas and the perfect Irish Coffee

While all of this was going on, Andrew was being served from a beautiful fresh tea selection that smelled heavenly.

Throughout our meal, we enjoyed chatting with Chris and Sharon about their restaurant business and our shared passion for travel. The pair spends a portion of each year in Thailand where they buy gorgeous jewellery to bring back to Oostende to sell.

The Verdonck’s friendliness and passion for what they do shines through in this excellent must-visit restaurant in Oostende.

Restaurant Eclips
Van Iseghemlaan 85
Oostende
+32(0)59433453

Galerie Beau Site

We almost didn’t make our lunch at Galerie Beau Site, or rather we almost ended up next door at the Beau Site Bistro (Take note – the bistro may be lovely but it is not the same place.) When we mentioned our reservations through Visit Oostende, we were met with confused stares. Then recognition dawned and we were directed next door.

We were the first guests through the door that morning and, at first, we weren’t sure we were in a restaurant at all. That’s because the Galerie Beau Site is much more than a restaurant. As the name suggests, it is an art gallery, featuring the work of local and international artists. It is also a shop selling vintage furniture, decorative items and even clothing.

The lovely Beau Site Galerie

The lovely Beau Site Galerie

Head upstairs and you find the open kitchen, some cozy seating arrangements and one long white table stretched out in front of a bank of three large picture windows. The window-seats have fluffy cushions and are surrounded by art books and board games. It’s the perfect place to relax and watch the world go by.

We could look at this view all day

We could look at this view all day

We sat ourselves at the table and were immediately mesmerized by the view. Watching the surf, the activity on the beach, and people of all ages passing by on the promenade, was better than television and infinitely more relaxing.

Beau Site doesn’t have a set menu. In fact, the menu is whatever the owners, Ann and Gilbert, have in their kitchen. Fortunately, Ann is an incredible cook with a passion for fresh, local ingredients. We took her suggested starter of an artichoke with homemade dipping sauce and were also treated to some sweet Belgian grey shrimps (my personal favourite).

The stunning food at Galerie Beau Site

The stunning food at Galerie Beau Site

When our meals arrived, we were impressed by the sophistication that came from the simple kitchen. Andrew opted for mussels and I had a risotto of grey shrimps and sea greens. Both dishes were perfect.

While we ate, we chatted with Ann and Gilbert, who, like Chris and Sharon, manage everything themselves and are passionate about what they do. We were told Beau Site is quickly becoming a place for artists and locals to congregate, relax, and sometimes even spend the entire day. We could see why. We only tore ourselves away from the view and the food because we had more activities planned for the day. If I lived in Oostende, Beau Site could easily become my home-office. Now there’s an idea…

Galerie Beau Site
Albert I Promenade 39
Oostende
+32(0)59278519

Bistro Mathilda

For our last meal in the city, Visit Oostende had arranged a gastronomic seafood feast, à l’Ostendaise, at the acclaimed Bistro Mathilda.

À l’Ostendaise is a restaurant venture running until the end of September 2014 (so you still have a whole year to try it out) in which local fishermen challenge the chefs of Oostende to use different seasonal seafood products each month. On certain days, there are even special ‘Fisherman’s Dinners’ where the fishermen join you for a meal and answer questions about their trade.

Bistro Mathilda is an elegant and bustling restaurant beside the lovely Léopold Park. It is run by Luc Deklerck and his wife Gerda Maenhout who were friendly and professional while attending to each and every detail in their lively restaurant.

Luc explained the à l’Ostendaise menu to us, made sure we had no food allergies and our gastronomic tour of Oostende seafood began.

 

North Sea Shrimps with potato puree and elderflower aperitif

North Sea Shrimps with potato puree and elderflower aperitif
Gravlax with cockles, fennel, sea parsley, celery and cucumber

Gravlax with cockles, fennel, sea parsley, celery and cucumber
Turbot filet with tarragon, Béarnaise, leek and grilled onion

Turbot filet with tarragon, Béarnaise, leek and grilled onion
European plaice filets with cauliflower, mussels, shrimps and anchovy

European plaice filets with cauliflower, mussels, shrimps and anchovy
'Alkmene' apple with salted caramel and lemon

‘Alkmene’ apple with salted caramel and lemon
Coffee, tea and cookies

Coffee, tea and cookies

The dishes were artfully presented and each of the featured ingredients shone. It was impossible to choose a favourite dish as each offered something unique and tasty. We were also impressed with the wine pairing choices and the final tea and coffee ending.

If you are looking for a place to have a special meal featuring all of the best ingredients from the Belgian coast, we highly recommend Bistro Mathilda.

In fact, we highly recommend all three of these restaurants. Although they are different in their menus and styles, they share the commonalities of passion for good ingredients, warm and friendly service and attention to each and every detail. We definitely won’t be waiting another eight years to dine in Oostende.

Bistro Mathilda
Leopold II Laan 1
Oostende
+32(0)59510670

Stay tuned for more articles from our visit to Oostende on the Belgian Coast, coming soon.

For more great restaurants in Belgium and beyond, check out our Restaurant Review page.

We would like to thank Visit Oostende for sponsoring part of our visit to their lovely city. As always all opinions are our own and are expressed freely here. 

Read more from Cheeseweb.eu

Alison

Alison

Big Cheese at CheeseWeb
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of Cheeseweb.eu. She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison
Cheese + Goats = My personal heaven. We discover an oasis in the cheese desert. https://t.co/Os8U86UEiX - 2 hours ago

8 comments

  1. Comment by Bjorn Blanckaert

    Bjorn Blanckaert September 24, 2013 at 18:19

    Great suggestions! Gives me something to try in my new home town 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison September 24, 2013 at 18:46

      Enjoy! And let’s us know if you discover any others!

  2. Comment by francis wyffels

    francis wyffels October 5, 2013 at 12:23

    Nice selection ! Mathilda is on my toplist when I’m in Ostend, the other places are on my ‘to-do’ list !

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison October 6, 2013 at 12:56

      Let us know what you think when you try them Francis!

  3. Comment by Louise Scott

    Louise Scott October 8, 2013 at 15:46

    Stad Kortrijk is a very good place in Oostende.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison February 10, 2014 at 09:08

      Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Comment by annie goossens

    annie goossens February 8, 2014 at 19:28

    Great suggestions. I appreciate Mathilda and I’ll soon try the other two . Yet my practically daily visit (Fr-Tue) is for La Villa des Camélias and its refined cooking. One could easily tire of eating at the same place, but no, every day is a surprise. You have the daily menu and also the specialities of the house. And the friendly atmosphere. Regular customers speak to each other.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison February 10, 2014 at 09:08

      Thanks for the tip Annie! The next time we’re on the coast we’ll try to give it a go. Sounds great!

Comments are closed.

Go top