Restaurants in Belgium

Opposite the towering St. Nicholas church, you'll find this Michelin-starred restaurant where the nine-course seasonal menu of local specialties such as grilled herring and beef carpaccio with clams is lighter than it sounds.

Portuguese designer du jour Antoine Pinto and Flemish chef Peter Goossens collaborated on this minimalist brasserie serving updated vernacular Belgian fare, such as pork stewed in kriek beer.

This is one of the few modern places in town that does old-school Belgian cooking (make sure to have the speculoos ice cream, made from the famous Belgian ginger cookies).

If you find yourself on the Lange Gasthuisstraat (and you should), combine lunch- linguine with black truffles perhaps - with amusing bourgeoise-watching at concept store Flamant home interior's swank brasserie.

A white-tiled Danish joint perfect for scallop cevice and aquavit.

To sample the best in Belgian ale, head to the cozy bar overlooking the Leie River. What to try: one (or more) of the 22 beers brewed by Trappist monks. Rochefort and Orval are our favorites.

Though there's a formidable weekend lunch crowd, the communal tables and long hours (7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.) of this Belgian prototype are a boon to travelers.

The restaurant is set in a 13th-century granary on the oldest canal in town. Expect low beamed ceilings, a backlit lounge, and stainless-steel accents. The menu includes updated Belgian classics such as eel stewed in cream and herbs.

A quick walk from Grote Markt, this traditional restaurant serves rib-sticking Flemish dishes prepared the old-fashioned way; the saddle of hare with "melted" root vegetables is a standout.

Check out the old tiled mural of bakers at work at this former bakery while enjoying the antipasti, pizzas, and pasta.

The place to go in town for oysters, with an Art Nouveau glass roof and cast-iron interior that could have been built by Gustave Eiffel.