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The interior of Pakhuis, one of the most popular restaurants in Ghent, Belgium
Piet De Kersgieter

Ghent Restaurant Discoveries

By Andrew Harper

The Hideaway Report | April 16, 2018

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Ghent is now one of the foremost gastronomic destinations in northern Europe, thanks to the talented young chefs who have been drawn to this wealthy, food-loving city.

Chambre Séparée

Ghent is now one of the foremost gastronomic destinations in northern Europe, thanks to the talented young chefs who have been drawn to this wealthy, food-loving city.

Chambre Séparée

Langoustine from Chambre Séparée Photo by Andrew Harper

Chef Kobe Desramaults is the wild man of Ghent gastronomy, having upended all the French conventions that once defined serious eating in the city. Chambre Séparée is a relaxed place where you sample a single tasting menu at the U-shaped bar, with a view of the open kitchen. Desramaults puts on a diverting show but still finds time to change the vinyl records on a vintage hi-fi that provide the evening’s soundtrack. Surprisingly, given the customary conservatism of the Michelin guides, Desramaults has just won his first star. The menu changes regularly but runs to 20-plus small plates that include dishes like North Sea shrimp tartare, potato purée with caviar, wild duck with shiitake mushrooms, and radicchio and hazelnut tart with lavender.

Chambre Séparée
Keizer Karelstraat 1. Tel. (32) 5-744-5567

Oak

Salt cod topped with caviar from Oak Photo by Andrew Harper

Young Italo-Brazilian chef Marcelo Ballardin formerly worked with luminaries such as Heston Blumenthal in England and Tim Raue in Berlin. He has just received his first Michelin star this year. Many locals consider this stylish contemporary table to be the best address in Ghent right now, so reservations need to be made far in advance. Typical dishes include cured Norwegian salmon with buckthorn berries and cauliflower, Spanish pork with Jerusalem artichokes, and plums and mango with makrut lime and yogurt.

Oak
Hoogstraat 167/001. Tel. (32) 9-353-9050

Pakhuis

The bar area at Pakhuis Piet De Kersgieter

One of the city’s most popular restaurants, Pakhuis occupies an attractively renovated former warehouse in the heart of the city and serves the comfort food that Belgians crave. Start off with some Dutch oysters or deep-fried North Sea shrimp croquettes, and then try the excellent steak tartare made with Flemish beef, or sole meunière. There is a great selection of wines by the glass; alternatively, opt for the restaurant’s own excellent locally brewed lager.

Pakhuis
Schuurkenstraat 4. Tel. (32) 9-223-5555

Restaurant Vrijmoed

Chocolate, cranberry and laurel from Restaurant Vrijmoed Heikki Verdurme

This charming townhouse restaurant in the center of Ghent just received two well-deserved Michelin stars for the fine contemporary Belgian cooking of young chef Michaël Vrijmoed. A variety of tasting menus are offered and are a better value than ordering à la carte. Recent dishes from the five-course menu included smoked eel with smoked eel ice cream, yuzu and algae; scallops with parsley root and Jerusalem artichoke; roasted pigeon with turnips and pistachios; and white chocolate with parsley sauce.

Restaurant Vrijmoed
Vlaanderenstraat 22. Tel. (32) 9-279-9977

De Superette

The interior and view into the kitchen at De Superette Piet De Kersgieter

The hippest place in Ghent for a casual meal is chef Kobe Desramaults bakery-cum-restaurant on the premises of a former supermarket. Come here for the best weekend brunch in town, which includes scrambled eggs with bacon and fontina cheese, and delicious vols-au-vent.

De Superette
Guldenspoorstraat 29. Tel. (32) 9-278-0808

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