Mussels, or Moules Frites, are a popular summer speciality found across Belgium that we look forward to all year round. Mussels were traditionally best enjoyed on the coast of the country before technology made it possible to transport them properly. Mussels are a Belgian main course served all over the country, from street stalls to brasseries. Here are some of our favourite spots for traditional Belgian Mussels in Antwerp.
History of Mussels in Antwerp
Originally considered the food of the poor as they were cheap and plentiful, Mussels have evolved to be featured on the menus of high-class menus across Belgium. They have long been paired with fries (moules frites) for a perfect combination of surf & turf. The delicate saltiness of the mussels paired with the earthiness of the potatoes is a fantastic comfort food pairing & perfect accompanied with a splodge of mayonnaise for richness. You’ll find moules frites across Europe, particularly in France but according to an ancient manuscript, there is good reason to believe the Belgians were the first to pair the two. Traditionally found in fishing villages or fry shops, you’re more likely to find the dish in the city’s bistros and restaurants shared by groups of friends in more recent times.
De Bomma 1.7 km – 20-minute walk
The first mentioned in many food blogs and a household name for mussels in Antwerp, De Bomma is a throwback to Flemish kitchens of years gone by. De Bomma (the granny) is on Suikerrui in the historic heart of Antwerp and is decorated with many pictures of real grandmothers (you can even bring your own!). Their menu is a mixture of affordable, traditional and international cuisine with their fantastic mussel’s recipe featuring prominently. The mussels here are simple yet delicious, prepared the classic way in white wine, cream or garlic and served with lightly salted fries.
Maritime 1.7 km – 20-minute walk
Another front runner and highly recommended by foodies from across the world, Maritime Restaurant have a great reputation with both locals and visitors. It’s a small, cosy place with local charm and charming wait staff. They have some delicious seafood on the menu but do mussels particularly well. The ‘chef special’ is similar to mussels served in a chowder cream soup & is delicious served with a house white or burgundy wine. They have a selection of ways to serve mussels from the more traditional ‘natural’ to including madras curry! The restaurant has recently extended into the building next door making it spacious and airy, perfect for social distancing.
‘t Putke 1.6 km – 20-minute walk
‘t Putke is an unpretentious, street-side café in Antwerp with indoor & outdoor seating. It’s so unpretentious that you’ll often be served by the owner who is passionate about the food they serve. Don’t let its quaint appearance fool you; they serve some of the best mussels in Antwerp. Prepared a selection of 7 ways, choose your favourite flavours and enjoy fresh mussels accompanied by a traditional Belgian beer of your choice. You can have either croquettes or frites with your mussels or choose the ‘chefs’ choice’ for a pot of mussels and vegetables. Sit outside in the covered terrace for a perfect people watching opportunity.
Fish A’GOGO – 1.6 km – 20-minute walk
As a port city, Antwerp has plenty of places to choose from for excellent seafood but until now there hasn’t been an option for grab-and-go. Fish A’GOGO is a small location located near Antwerp’s “Grote Markt” serving the best quality fresh seafood to take away, eat at the small number of standing tables outside or the small seating area upstairs. The owner is the son of a fisherman & certainly knows his fish, preparing dishes in an open kitchen guaranteeing a delicious meal every time. It’s not as cheap as the usual street food in the area but the quality and the flavour make it absolutely worth the money.
If you’re planning a trip to try traditional mussels in Antwerp, we hope our guide has helped. One thing we know well is great accommodation. PREMIER SUITES PLUS Antwerp offers a spacious stylish place to stay whether you’re here for a night or a month. Our flexible apartments are matched by our flexible rates which you can book on our official website. Make sure to let us know if you find a hidden gem for mussels that we can add to our blog.