De Librije, Zwolle, 5/12/17

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front entrance

De Librije has been located for 3 years in an old prison in Zwolle, a short train ride from Amsterdam. The dining area is downstairs and upstairs is a hotel.  They offer a tasting menu of 5 – 7 courses or a la carte options.  For the tasting there are  4 courses where you have a choice of dish and the additional ones are chosen by the chef.  For our 7 course tasting we both chose different dishes from the options but for the surprise courses we were served the same.  After a moment in the reception area we were moved to a pre-dining room lounge.  Drinks are offered and champagne was topped off as we enjoyed some snacks which were all pretty good.  Also Chef Jonnie Boer comes out to visit about the menu and you make your choices and decide the number of courses.   Continue reading

Bord’eau, Amsterdam, 5/11/17

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restaurant windows

Bord’eau is located in the De L’Europe Hotel which overlooks a busy canal in Amsterdam.  One wall of the lovely restaurant is floor to ceiling windows overlooking this canal – a great seat for a show with your meal.  The tables are good sized and well spaced with faint pop music playing in the background.  Service is friendly and helpful but pacing was too slow leaving lots of time between courses which seemed deliberate since there was no crowd.  The food seemed to be going for more visual punch than flavor.  They offer an a la carte menu as well as tastings of 3 – 6 courses and it is well detailed what is added with each additional course.  There is also an optional duck liver course that could be added to any of the tastings.  (We chose to add that to our 4  course tasting). Continue reading

Comme Chez Soi, Brussels, 4/29/17

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entrance

Comme Chez Soi has been in this location since 1936 and in the same family’s hands since 1916.  Laurence Wynants Rigolet’s father had been chef, as was her grandfather and now her husband Lionel is the chef and she looks after the front end.  It is a small place with only about 11 tables in the main dining room, but there are small private rooms and two tables in the kitchen.  The main dining room is lovely filled with stained glass and dark wood.  There is comfortable bench seating along the walls with chairs on the other side of the ample tables.  Spacing is good and there are plenty of sound absorbing surfaces in the room so noise is not a problem.  The window on one end looks out onto the street and into the kitchen on the other end.  It is a lovely room.  They offer a la carte, a special lunch menu and a couple of tasting menu options.  We chose the 5 course menu.  Service is impeccable and well paced along with being super friendly (and they speak great English).   Continue reading

Nuance, Duffel, 4/28/17

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entrance

Nuance is a small place in Duffel – a short train ride from Antwerp.  Thierry Theys is the chef of this 2 star Michelin restaurant which he started in 2008 with his wife Sofie who manages the service part of the house.  She not only brings out the food but gets by to visit with every table to welcome them.  They make a great team, so young (they started Nuance at 21 years of age) and yet very capable.  If you’ve read many of my write ups you know I’m a nut for flavor with appearance being secondary.  This place managed to pull off both spectacularly.  I can’t remember when I’ve so enjoyed looking through my photographs to chose which ones to include and yet so fondly remember the flavors of the experience.  They offer a 6 course tasting menu with optional wine pairings or an a la carte menu.   Continue reading

La Paix, Brussels, 4/28/17

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building

La Paix is nice sized space dominated by a metal origami bird sculpture hanging from the ceiling.   The small tables are widely spaced and ended by additional wooden cabinets where serving dishes can be placed and a purse or jacket stored on the shelves below.  The room has approximately 8 tables, a high ceiling, bright lighting, windows looking out on the street on 2 sides, a bar on one side and an open kitchen taking up the last wall.  Chef David Martin and his wife Nathalie Obbiet who runs the front end took over the place in 2004.  They are only open on Friday night, they are mainly a lunch spot.  Located right across from a market they have a seafood tank containing some huge crabs and other live seafood.   Continue reading

Bruneau Restaurant, Brussels, 4/27/17

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entrance

Bruneau is an elegant restaurant spread over several rooms.  There are private party rooms as well as a lovely patio with sculpture and trees.  The room is nicely lit with soft lighting and candles which gives a lovely warmth to the beautiful wood work that is the lower part of the room.  Soft music is in the background, tables are large and widely spaced and each table is equipped with salt and pepper grinders.  They’ve been here since 1975 with the same chef and it feels like a throw back to another time (the ladies menus having no prices) and yet it is very comfortable.  The friendly service may be a part of that and chef Bruneau coming out to visit with his guests at the end of the meal.  They offer 4 and 5 course tastings as well as a la carte and we were up for a red wine and meat meal.  We came to the right place.   Continue reading

Hof van Cleve, Kruishoutem, 4/27/17

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front door

Hof van Cleve is in an old house outside of Ghent, using several of the rooms as dining rooms.  The wide wood plank floors and white painted ceiling give it the feeling of a farmhouse.   The house windows look out on to the meadows and farms around it.  It has a comfortable and welcoming feel.  The tables are well spaced  and service is friendly but the pacing is variable.   We started with the house aperitif which was a sparkler mixed with elderberry.  It rang up at 30 euros a glass, but was a good pour and nicely refreshing.   Continue reading