Food-lovers in Bruges breathed a sigh of relief when top chef Geert Van Hecke opened De Refter. The "refectory" is very different from Van Hecke's posh and expensive De Karmeliet, but it does share a garden (and some of the dishes) with that Michelin-starred neighbor. This more laid-back option is bright and airy, with a cheerful tiled wall and an open kitchen. Simple tables and chairs placed fairly close together keep things lively, and also loud. The menu follows good brasserie-style cooking, with French and Flemish inspiration. The prix-fixe menu has a choice of around eight starters and ten main dishes; the something-for-everyone approach works well. Starters such as snails and white pudding with herbs and fennel, or seafood chowder with a garlicky rouille sauce, set the tone. To follow you could go either French, as with beef tartare with French fries and salad, or Flemish, with a casserole of pork cooked in beer with mushrooms, green beans, and creamy mashed potatoes. Classic desserts include a first-rate dame blanche, ice cream with rich chocolate sauce poured over. The place fills up fast, and sometimes the service can buckle under the pressure, so be prepared to wait if you go at peak times.
Our Rating Neighborhood Center, north of Langestraat beyond the canal Hours Tues–Sat noon–2pm and 6:30–10pm Transportation
Bus 6 or 16 to CoupersPhone 050/44-49-00 Prices Two-course lunch menu €20, three-course dinner menu €37, a la carte also available Cuisine Type French, Belgian Web site De Refter
MapMolenmeers 2 Bruges
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.