Offbeat, fresh and vibrant, Het Eilandje is very much a hidden gem in Belgium's second city. Nestled in Antwerp's original, and now defunct, port area, 'the Little Island' is a uniquely individual part of the city, far away from the more traditional tourist trap areas.
Locals know all about the best places to hang out, shop and eat in Het Eilandje, and regularly pack out the cafes and restaurants in the area. Sampling the eclectic mix of food from hipster cafes and quirky restaurants fits in well with the laid-back vibe. And the industrial feel left over from the docks gives it the air of a tiny Brooklyn – something that's reflected in the sheer variety of food on offer.
Check out our favourite picks from Belgium's hottest foodie paradise, all available on Deliveroo.
Refined cuisine with fusion dishes from all over the world, Verso Café reflects the multicultural, exciting atmosphere of Het Eilandje. You can find everything from succulent Gillardeau oysters from France and Russian Oscietra Royal Caviar, to a classic Caesar salad or burger with basil, mozzarella and bacon. Even simpler meals are served up with total sophistication. We love the beef tartare, paired with earthy Jerusalem artichoke and black truffle.
Ideal for: a romantic meal for two in your own dining room.
Where: Verso Cafe, Het Eilandje
Showcasing the unconventional, forward-thinking food revolution in Belgium, Balls & Glory focuses on sublime meatballs. Owned by Belgian food entrepreneur and TV personality Wim Ballieu, the menu is crafted to appeal to diners who want great food fast. Flavours are vibrant but straightforward. The menu is stripped back, offering organic pork meatballs (or veggie alternatives) with salad or creamy potato. Flavours change daily – so it's always exciting to discover what's on offer.
Ideal for: sharing in front of a movie with friends.
Where: Balls & Glory, Het Eilandje
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Their slogan is 'Great Food for Great People' and who are we to argue? With imaginative wraps, sandwiches and salads on offer, along with pasta plates and veggie pots, there are plenty of exciting lunch options up for grabs.
We love the Dutch Favourite Sandwich, made with nutty spelt bread, mild yet tangy gouda, fresh tomato, green salad and a piquant pink peppercorn and tarragon sauce. It's a great example of the unusual twists they give to traditional dishes. The organic Veg Pots are also highly recommended. Go for the Moroccan Couscous Vegpot, stuffed full of toasted almond flakes, sweet apricots, smoky paprika, fragrant cardamom, cumin and fennel seeds. These veggies pack a proper flavour punch.
Ideal for: office lunches, to power through the afternoon.
Where: The Foodmaker Melkmarkt, Het Eilandje
4. Goodie Foodie
When it comes to breakfasts with a bit of bite, Goodie Foodie knows where it's at. From a Green Bagel with healthy hits of iron-rich spinach and creamy avocado to a BLT on a fresh bagel, you'll find something to whet your breakfast, brunch or lunch appetite. Try a Swedish Omelette for a satisfyingly rich dish, with soft and vibrant smoked salmon mixed with the distinctively sour flavour of capers. It's a deliciously different protein-rich start to your day. You can even get sweet bagels, with plenty of creamy butter and delicate chocolate flakes, or with fresh banana and the aromatic flavour of cinnamon, all drizzled with naturally sweet maple syrup. Perfect.
Ideal for: breakfast fuel first thing in the morning.
Where: Goodie Foodie, Het Eilandje
For the very best in local ingredients, unusual restaurants and top class cooking, order from a Het Eilandje hotspot on Deliveroo.