Chow Down: in Bruges

Being one of the biggest foodies I know, Bruges was somewhat of a haven for me from the off and a place I knew would satisfy my tastebuds. Belgium being known for their fine food and drink, it was a destination I was very much looking forward to visiting and one I couldn't wait to get stuck in to!

Upon arrival in Markt Square (still with our suitcases in tow) we wasted no time and headed straight for the first food van we saw – strategically parked in front of the Belfort – and ordered ourselves a truly Belgian snack of fries with a huge dollop of mayonnaise. Such a simple dish, but perfectly cooked and a great filler for two hungry travellers. 

Along with their infamous dish of fries and mayonnaise, I wanted to try an authentic Belgian Waffle (chocolate sauce and lots of strawberries, yes please), copious amounts of hot chocolate, chocolate in general and to see for myself how good their beer really is (it's delicious and I don't even like beer).

Bruges Beer Museum
Breidelstraat 3, in between Markt Square and Burg Square

Whether you're a lover of beer or not, Bruges Beer Museum is the ultimate experience. From getting to learn about the history of the drink itself with the help of an interactive guide to the choice of an inclusive beer tasting session at the end, the museum is a great addition to your trip and ideal for an early afternoon tipple (although bear in mind that some beers in Bruges are as strong as 11.3%)!

We opted for the beer tasting session with our tour and as we arrived in to the bar, we were handed our 3 tokens along with a menu of what was on offer. The lady behind the bar was really helpful in explaining the differences between the beers and even suggested we try the limited edition beer they had on tap, Arthur's Legacy, that of which only 1,000 litres had been made.

The 3 beers I went for were Arthur's Legacy (4/5), Rodenbach Rosso (5/5) and Palm Hop Select (1/5). Also be sure to try their local beers, especially Brugse Zot, as this is the only beer that is brewed in Bruges itself.

Ribs 'n Beer
Ezelstraat 50, a 5–10 minute walk from Markt Square

A couple of weeks before we were due to leave for Bruges, Dan and I spent a good couple of evenings trawling TripAdvisor looking for where we should book to have dinner. There were several that we looked at but Ribs 'n Beer was the one place we knew immediately we wanted to book and after reading the reviews, we knew we weren't going to be disappointed.

We were greeted as soon as we walked through the door by a lovely waiter who seated us upstairs, much to Dan's pleasure as we were sat right underneath a TV showing that night's football match. The restaurant had a great atmosphere and was lit by spotlights and candles, playing a great mixture of soul, blues and rock through the speakers but not so loud you couldn't hear each other.

Although there was a lot of choice on the menu, we decided to skip the mains and tackle their all you can eat ribs for €18. It seemed more of a challenge than an offer so we ordered straight away with our drinks, Dan opting to start with the spicy barbecue marinade and I opted for their special chocolate and beer marinade – a must try.

The ribs were the best I have ever tasted and just fell straight off the bone. I think by the fact we managed three and a half racks of ribs between us goes to show how much we enjoyed the meal and if my stomach wasn't screaming for me to stop, I'd have probably have just carried on eating!

If you're after a reasonably-priced delicious meal, with great staff, atmosphere to suit and an enjoyable evening in Bruges then I would advice you head to Ribs 'n Beer. I can't say enough about how good it was, but if you are thinking about it, be sure to book a table so you don't miss out.

Park Restaurant
Minderbroedersstraat 1, a 5–10 minute walk from Burg Square 

For our last night in Bruges, we booked ourselves a table at the restaurant rated #1 on TripAdvisor. With the option to have a 4-course menu for €40 we thought it was an absolute steal and a dining opportunity we didn't want to miss out on.

Set just on the edge of the park (hence the name), the interior of Park is absolutely stunning and it just screams fine dining. Even with the set menu, there was plenty of choice on the menu and there was the option to have a wine paired with each of your courses.

A lovely meal with attentive staff, I can see why it is so popular with not only the tourists but with the locals too. It is another place that you are better off booking before you go. Due to it's popularity, even on a weekday evening the restaurant was fully booked.

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