The Grote Markt is the heart of Antwerp; it’s definitely a place to go when in the city. The place is full of restaurants, bars, and also touristic attractions. For being a touristic area, it’s common to see some expensive spots and tourist traps, just like in any other historical center in Belgium/or Europe/or the world. But the good news is that not all the restaurants around Grote Market will make your euros disappear, and a big part of them are frequented by local people (which is always a good sign).
I love eating my way out of Antwerp, and the cheap + delicious eats are one of my favorite kind of findings. Who doesn’t like a nice and affordable meal, right? All suggestions here cost less than €12, plenty of opportunities to balance your costs while visiting the city. Now, if you want to spend even less near the Grote Markt (and not eat at Mc Donalds), you can always go to a Frituur to fill your belly with Belgium fries – and other fried stuff – or buy a fresh sandwich at Panos.
This is my not-to-short guide to cheap eats near the Grote Market in Antwerp
Poule & Poulette
What to know: If you are looking for comfort food, look no further, that’s the place to go. The star of the place is the roasted chicken, but they also serve other dishes (soups, salads) and sides. You can eat at the restaurant or order to go. They have an English menu as well, in case you don’t understand Dutch. Poule & Poulette is one of my favorites restaurants in Antwerp.
Decoration: I absolutely love their ambiance, it’s rustic, cool and very casual, a hipster kind of decoration. The “second-floor” tables are so creative; they do know how to take advantage of the space they have.
My order: Chicken, of course. I like the ½ Kip classic (€4,95). And, please, order the fries (€2,40), they are delicious, my favorites in Antwerp.
Sint Jansvliet 21, 2000 Antwerp |Official website
What to know: The name of the place means “seafood” in Irish, and that’s what they serve. They have more than one type of fish to offer, and a good variety of sauces to go with your dish. You’ll find a “Chicken and Chips” option and also a vegetarian one. I like the little wooden box where the food is served, charming and eco-friendly.
Decoration: Clean but cool ambiance, the menu is written on the wall. The historic building has big windows that are always open when the weather is good. You can also have a seat outside.
My order: I usually go with the classics, Classic Panko Fish (€10) or Classic Panko Chicken (€11), they all come with Seaweed Salted Chips.
Maalderijstraat 1, 2000 Antwerp | Official website
What to know: The owner/chef is from Africa and on his creations, he mixes Belgium-French, Asian, Mediterranean and African flavors, what a great combination. The result is a delicious menu, full of great options to choose from the written wall. The list of dishes is pretty big considering the size of the place, but he handles it very well.
Decoration: Loa is casual and has personality, a street food kind of spot, with a big table in the main room, some stools facing the street and a few tables outside.
M order: The Pulled Pork Sandwich (€8) is a must, but it’s pretty spicy (just to let you know!).
Hoogstraat 77, 2000 Antwerp | Official website
What to know: This place is for the breakfast lovers, like me. I’m a huge breakfast fan, and Tartine doesn’t disappoint in this category. They serve breakfast combos (during the weekdays), salads and, of course, tartines. During the weekend you have to pull together your breakfast, several items are available. They have an English menu as well, just ask for it.
Decoration: Cute and cozy ambient, wooden tables and some frames on the wall. I could spend a few hours in there.
My order: I enjoy the Tartine Kip Curry (€5,50); it’s delicious. But the basic breakfast combo that they serve during the weekdays (€10,50) is a good option too.
Minderbroedersrui 60, Antwerp | Official website
What to know: This spot is a hole in the wall kind of place (in a good way), it’s pretty small and has a short menu, but it has presence. It’s a nice and unpretentious place to grab a bite, you order and pay directly at the counter. Get yourself a glass of wine and watch the people passing by while you enjoy your meal. This spot, as you’re probably guessing, is all about seafood.
Decoration: Extra casual, cool and hipster ambiance, hobbit size benches, a barrel used as a table, that’s the vibe. Love it!
My order: The menu changes. But whatever you choose, grab a glass of white wine to go with it.
Handschoenmarkt 1, 2000 Antwerp | Official website
What to know: This is an Asian fast food restaurant, you can eat in there or take away, and you have to order directly on the balcony. The food is good (they use fresh ingredients) and comes fast out of the wok. You can choose the base, fried rice or noodles, add the meat (or vegetable) you want and pick one of the sauces, very simple. They also have some appetizers, salads, soups, and sandwiches. They only accept cash!
Decoration: The place looks like a fast food chain, but with some personality. They have a few wooden tables outside which are very handy for those rare sunny days of Antwerp. The ambiance inside is pretty standard except for the big red curly couch.
My order: I like the Fried Rice with Chicken and Thais Curry Sauce (€9), that’s my usual. I also enjoy the Crispy Fish (€4,50) as an appetizer.
Oude Koornmarkt 4, 2000 Antwerp | Official website
The prices presented here are from September of 2016 and the currency is Euro