Antwerp is an enjoyable place to eat, its busy centre liberally sprinkled with informal cafés and restaurants which excel at combining traditional Flemish dishes with Mediterranean, French and vegetarian cuisines. There is a good range of slightly more formal – and expensive – restaurants too, though generally the distinction between the city’s cafés and restaurants is blurred.
Antwerp is also a fine place to drink. There are lots of bars in the city centre, mostly dark and tiny affairs exuding a cheerful vitality. Some of them regularly feature live music, but most don’t, satisfying themselves – and their customers – with everything from taped chanson to house. Bar opening hours are elastic, with many places only closing when the last customers leave – say 2 or 3am – and, unless otherwise stated in our listings below, all are open daily. The favourite local tipple is De Koninck, a light ale drunk in a bolleke, or small, stemmed glass.