Up for a tasty croquette bun or a peanut butter sandwich – with a room temperature Heineken to go perhaps? Well aren’t you in luck, because this month Trot Op! is taking you on a tour of the best Dutch restaurants in Antwerp! Hup Holland Hup!
Yes dear friends: it is finally time. This whole summer I took you on a culinary discovery tour of Antwerp. We visited the best Asian, Italian, vegan and even Latin-American restaurants the city has to offer, but all this time one gastronomic giant remained under the radar. I am of course talking of our friendly northern neighbours. How could I forget them? The Dutch, you see, are not only known for their windmills, their lost World Cup finals and their wonderful floods. No, their kitchen leaves people gasping for air as well – be it for a variety of reasons. Cheese, raw herring, meat croquettes, other cheese: these are just a few of the culinary classics the Dutch spoiled us with throughout the years. I therefor feel obliged to delve into the subtle delights of Dutch cuisine and find you the best Dutch restaurants in Antwerp. I have no doubt it will prove to be the longest list of fine dining venues I’ve ever published.
“Cheese, raw herring, meat croquettes, other cheese: these are just a few of the culinary classics the Dutch spoiled us with throughout the years. I therefor feel obliged to delve into the subtle delights of Dutch cuisine and find you the best Dutch restaurants in Antwerp.”
The best Dutch restaurants in Antwerp
Just kidding: there are close to none. It surprised me as well. Despite the flood of Dutch tourists engulfing us in better days, the amount of Dutch restaurants in Antwerp is incredibly small. Dutch chefs on the other hand, are available in droves – but we’re not talking about them today. Michelin chef Sergio Herman for example, is technically Dutch, but allow me to voice some reservations about this claim. 1. The poor man was born fifty meters from the Belgian border. Had Mother Herman pushed just a little harder, he’d now be an official Belgian. 2. There are no bitter balls or any other Dutch classics on the menu of his restaurant The Jane. This dude doesn’t cook Dutch food, and therefor he doesn’t have a Dutch restaurant. Does someone from Hong Kong baking pizzas have a Chinese restaurant? Didn’t think so. This is why I went looking for pure Dutch food exclusively, which proved to be a difficult task in this city. I still managed to find a couple of candidates though, and lo and behold: despite all the stupid jokes I’ve already made and those I’ll still make below, these are actually great places. Krijg nou de pleuris man!
1. Croquettenbar Smaeck
Every self-respecting Dutchman gets his meat croquettes straight out of the wall – cheap and efficient, ask them yourself. Antwerp sadly didn’t get a hold of this state-of-the-art technology yet, so us lot will have to stick to restaurants to meet our meat croquette quotas for now. Luckily, the perfect place was opened for this a couple of years ago. Croquettenbar Smaeck can be found in Lange Koepoortstraat – a great place for eating out since they semi-pedestrianised it – and is the only official croquette restaurant in Antwerp. There’s way more on the menu than your standard meat, cheese or shrimp croquettes. Feeling like a chorizo, black angus or even lobster croquette? Fucking have some bro, they’re right here for the taking. Vegetarians and even vegans should not despair though: they can gobble down some forest mushroom, goat cheese or truffle croquettes (and many more). You can order as many combinations as you please, and you’ll get a free salad on top. It’s never wrong to be healthy once in a while. www.smaeck.be
2. De Pindakaaswinkel
Peanut butter is the spread of the gods. You can slap it on a sandwich, cook sweet Thai chicken with it, or cover your girlfriend in it and lick it all back off later. The possibilities are endless. In Holland they love it so much they’d use it to plaster the walls of their ridiculously tiny homes with it if it wouldn’t attract ants. They’re so proud of their peanut butter, they exported the whole thing to Antwerp earlier this year. In Schrijnwerkersstraat – one of the many small alleys in Wilde Zee – you can find De Pindakaaswinkel (“The Peanut Butter Shop”). They literally sell nothing else, except for some merchandise. A whole lot of flavours are for sale here: from natural to chili pepper-lemon grass, coconut-sea salt, cinnamon and even garlic-fried onion (miss me with that shit though). If you want to end an awesome 2020 with clogged veins, buy the XXL jar of PindaBaas (“Peanut BOSS”). You’ll get close to two litres of the stuff to take home with you. The self-loathing you’ll feel when the pot is already half-empty after just three days is completely free of charge. Have at it! www.depindakaaswinkel.nl
There. That’s the whole list. I tried hard to find any more, but I think I gave you a complete overview of Dutch food culture in Antwerp by mentioning just these two places. Santa doesn’t just come every day you know. Did you visit one of them already? Did I still miss one? What are your favourite Dutch restaurants in Antwerp? Let me know in the comments below.
Don’t feel like croquettes or peanut butter? Then read my articles on the best Middle-Eastern or Burger restaurants in Antwerp i stead. Want to discover the rest of the country: read my blogs on Gaume, Spa, Leuven, Mechelen and Viroinval.
PS: Hi there possibly triggered Dutchies. Don’t worry, I was just kidding. Love you guys! ^^