Once again we were within a mile of the top-rated beer place in the world and, once again, it was randomly closed for our entire stay in Antwerp. Thankfully, we found many other places to try some great beers and I am beginning to wonder if Kulminator is even that good.
‘t Antwaerps Bierhuiske – Right around the corner from our hotel, this cozy place was a great pre-dinner spot to sit and sample some rarer beers. We got a large bottle of the Val Dieu Grand Cru to share (one of my favorites from our last trip) and Eric finally got to try the Struise Aardmonnik / Earthmonk, a sour wild ale (so very good). We also ordered a plate of Trappist cheese and meat that lasted about 5 seconds. :) I also managed to snag the very last bottle of the St. Feuillien Bruin which was delicious.
Mike and I with little samples of a big beer
Paeters Vaetje – This bar is right next to the cathedral. The day was cool but sunny so we grabbed an outdoor table and ordered a round of St. Bernardus 12s on draft.
Oud Arsenaal – Megan and I went shopping for a bit and left everyone else here to grab a beer and relax. It’s more of a locals kind of place with lots of older beer signage, a communal bathroom, and upstairs tenants.
Eric had a Rodenbach Grand Cru and when I rejoined the group I had a very sweet Gouden Carolus Classic.
Afspanning ‘t Waagstuk – After our tasty dinner at Estro Armonico (review below) we stopped in here for a nightcap. Eric went for his traditional OMER. and I got a Gordon’s scotch ale that came in a very cool glass. This pub had a dog wandering around and when we tried to call him over, we were informed that he was deaf. That didn’t stop us from trying to get his attention and he finally joined us for some back scratches. Our second round included the Zeppelin for Eric and a Grimbergen Bruin for me.
The next night some of the other folks went to Gollum, also right around the street from our hotel and reported back favorably on both the food and drink selection.
Desire de Lille – We decided not to pay for breakfast at the hotel on the second morning, but we needed something to get us going, so Eric found this waffle and breakfast place. My croque madam was a little untraditional in that the egg was inside the sandwich rather than on top, but it was pretty good. Eric had an omelet. One weird thing was that a woman was sitting in the bathroom expecting donations to use the facilities. I don’t expect to have to pay to use the restroom when I am spending money to eat at the restaurant.
Estro Armonico – This was Megan’s birthday dinner and it was all about the meat. Located in a stone cellar, you literally descend a steep staircase from street level to get inside. A large hearth dominates one end of the dining room and you could see the potatoes and bread being kept warm. We split a jamon and melon appetizer (photo below) and then I went for the wild pate while Eric got the steak. Everything was very good and we really enjoyed the cozy subterranean atmosphere.
Invincible – We made a reservation here on the recommendation of our hotel as it’s right next door and the affordable three-course menu made it a good choice for six people. I somehow got off on the wrong foot with our waiter from the start and was labeled a ‘troublemaker’ by him after I asked to see a wine list. There was no list, just a wall of bottles with prices on them on the back wall, many of which were overpriced. The service went downhill as the dinner wore on and it took nearly three hours for our meal which seemed outrageously slow for such a small restaurant. Unfortunately, the quality of the food did not make up for this, so I can’t say I would recommend this place.