Restaurant Review, Mistral (Antwerp, Belgium)


One of my favorite things about travelling is dining in a place lush with character and unique from the typical tourist-frequented restaurants. Mistral, a tiny two-story serving fresh home cooking by chef Marie,  is the kind of place you will brag about to your friends at home. Some would call it ‘cozy’ although I’ll be realistic for you claustrophobics- seating is pretty tight. Although this is part of the of novelty in feeling like you are a guest in Marie’s own home.  If you don’t mind a little wafting smoke from all the pan seared deliciousness on the stove you can reserve one of the few tables in the dining room, which is situated on the main floor adjacent to the kitchen.

Our party sat upstairs along the windows which offered a great vantage point for the room and the street below. After a generous portion of French wine was served, our thick-accented server assisted us with the menu choices. It was the first time I had experienced service where the maximum amount of different dishes our party could order was 3, even though the menu was expansive. I would assume due to the size and capacity of the residence-made-restaurant kitchen. I can’t say this was against anyone’s best interest since we had a hell of a time deciphering any recognizable English from the Dutch menu anyway.

The eight of us made our selection between steak and mushrooms, fish, and a vegetarian dish. Almost everyone opted for the filet which came perfectly cooked and drizzled in a wonderful tasting jus. You can’t fight the mouth-watering smell of fish and chips though, and the aroma was complimented by the presentation of Darryl’s lightly battered fish served on a wooden slab with homemade frites and dipping sauce. A bit of menu envy had here.

Take advantage of the quaint atmosphere at Mistral and extend your bottle of wine after dinner has been cleared. Or, if you prefer to light up the town, there is a perfectly Belgian beer bistro down the street where “samplers” are served by the pint…