We went to Oostende for the day and found our favourite restaurant, “Le Grillon”, closed. Ach! We knew of this place as it is next door to Le Grillon and we always read the menu out of curiosity. It always looked good, but the Grillon had us hooked (a pun for a fish restaurant).
So we gave it a try. Nicely laid out with apparent pride in making a comfortable atmosphere for the guests. Staff were very easy to connect with and always had a smile.
Several menus to choose from. We had the Menu Gourmet for 34.95 Euros. Started with an amuse bouche of three items (pate, sausage and cod in sauce). All very nice, but the cod item was very nice – I could have eaten a plate of that. Thought the little sausage would be a bit overpowering to start off the meal, but it wasn’t. We both had the Noix de St. Jacques sautéed in a pan. Perfectly cooked and slightly “crunchy” on the outside. Came with a garlic tomato chunky sauce on the side. Thought the sauce was too flavourful to eat with the scallops, so only had a taste of that. Second course was a soup. I had the lobster “cappuccino”; my wife had the “petite” fish soup. Both were excellent and the lobster soup was served with elegance as it was “assembled” at the table.
We both has the sole meuniere. Adequate size (they don’t grow them very large in Oostende). Very tasty, but I found mine a bit dry. My wife told me I was crazy and to put lemon on it. She was right. However she thought the frits were average. I through they were homemade thin things and nice. Since she is British she over salts everything, so I told her to put salt on them and eat. She did and then she liked them.
Many choices for dessert. I had the crème brulee; she had the mouse au chocolate. Both homemade and very good.
None of the menus came with wine, so we had to select a bottle. Various prices, but ample number in the upper 20 Euro range and a very nice house cuvee.
In comparing this place to Grillon, it was a tie. Amuse bouche and soup better here, sole better at Grillon. Better selection of starters here. Service wonderful at both. Wider variety of selections here outside of the menu we took.
If you are in Oostende, it is definitely worth a visit, but it’s not very large so be sure to either call ahead or stop by in the morning before they open for business to try and get one of the last tables. Many are turned away who show up during the dinner hour.
It will be a tough choice next time between Grillon and Vieux Port
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