Since 2011, Gent has been my hometown. My weekend hometown that is. As I spend most of the weekdays abroad, I try to enjoy my weekend in Gent to the fullest with my family. So, here are the best tips for Gent – according to me:
Table of Contents
- Why you’ll love Gent
- My best omakase experience in Gent
- The best hotels in Gent – according to me
- The best place for dinner in Gent – according to me
- The best bars in Gent – according to me
- The best things to do in Gent – according to me
- The best places for a run in Gent – according to me
- The best places to work in Gent – according to me
- Other tips:
Why you’ll love Gent
Gent feels like a village, but has an amazing density of great bars and restaurant. This, all in a stunning setting.
My best omakase experience in Gent
The Japanese habit of omakase (お任せ) when you’re ordering at a restaurant pretty much means, “I’ll leave it up to you”, inviting the chef to be innovative and surprising in the selection of dishes. I try to do it in every city I visit, and apply the idea behind to everything between how I pick my runs, how I pick my food, how I plan activities with my kids, how I explore cities and how I travel in general. So, I tried this in Gent as well.
My best omakase experience in Gent was probably at Bodo, where I had an amazing date-night with my wife.
The best hotels in Gent – according to me
- 1898 The Post. Definitely not the cheapest hotel in Gent, but the best choice if you have some money to spare and really want to enjoy Gent and your company to the fullest – also see my separate review of our stay at 1898 The Post.
- The Marriott is right in the city center. In all honesty, the rooms are fine, the main hall is hideous, but the location (at the Graslei right in the city center) makes up for it.
- Logi d’Enri is a B&B with 11 guest rooms in an old, restored and charming building. Consider the Grand Suite with a free standing bathtub.
- Not in Gent, but about 15 minutes outside the city (in Laarne) is ‘t Groene Genoegen, a beautifully restored building with views over the green fields.
The best place for dinner in Gent – according to me
People in Gent love to go out for dinner, so make sure to reserve in advance. If you really want a the nicest places and a more recent overview of what is hip and happening, have a look at De hipste adresjes van Gent (use Google Translate for quick translations).
- Roots. Probably the favorite place of my wife and me.
- Bodo. Really good food, amazing location next to the castle.
- Cafe Rene is a great place owned by Kris and Jurgen (please say hi). Very good place to get some lunch.
- Pakhuis probably is one of the most beautiful places in Gent. A truly amazing old style building with some decent lunch and dinner options.
- Chez Claire is a great place to get eclairs (eat in or takeaway).
- Cru is a good place to have breakfast or lunch. Don’t forget the fresh market that is below.
- Kin Khao is really nice Thai restaurant in the city center.
- Meme Gusta has some amazing typically Belgian food – like grandmother would make it (hence the name of the restaurant).
- Gwenola seems to be a simple pancake restaurant at first, but it carries the weight of generations of pancake memories. Chance is that the parents and the grand parents of the locals you will see here also went here to get some super cheap but amazing pancakes.
- Julie’s House is a remarkable bakery for pies, cupcakes and breakfast. Try all the cakes. Julie’s is so remarkable that many cafes and restaurants around town actually offer Julie’s cakes on their menu.
- Amadeus is a place for ribbs. The place for ribbs.
The best bars in Gent – according to me
- Ona, probably the nicest wine bar in Gent. It is our favorite venue for a date night.
- Bar Win, great wines, amazing food plates, great breakfast.
- The Cobbler. Situated in 1898 The Post. Great cocktails, amazing views over the city.
- De Maecht van Ghent and Kaffee Plansjee are perfect for the dancing evenings.
- Vooruit is a beautiful old building just outside the busyness of the city center. It has a cafe/restaurant downstairs which is great to meet up and/or get some work done.
- Jigger’s is one of the best cocktail bars in Gent. Be sure to make a reservation well in advance.
- Blauwe Kiosk. At the Kouter Square where the flower market is on Sundays, they will have a stand with seafood and champagne, the Blauwe Kiosk. Join the locals in having some.
- ‘t Dreupelkot is probably the most peculiar Belgian geneva-café in whole Flanders and the world and the universe. Watch out for Pol, the owner. He looks a bit untidy at first, but once he starts joking, he is rather nice really.
- OR Coffee has been the breeding ground for some of Belgium’s best baristas. They still have their own roastery and school as well as amazing coffee.
The best things to do in Gent – according to me
- De Graslei is the key quay in the Gent city center. It has some amazing historical buildings, but it truly comes alive in summer when people flood the quay with some small bites and a bottle of wine. Get yours at the nearby Albert Heijn (in the Post building, entrance at the Korenmarkt square).
- Boat tours are a great way to see some of the most beautiful parts of the city center.
- On Sundays, there is a small book market at the Ajuinlei.
- De Kouter square has a flower market on Sundays. In summer, it is a truly vibrant place to be. Plenty of flower stalls, quite some places to get champagne with oysters. If you’re lucky, there will be a local fanfare playing on the small permanent stage that is set up.
- There’s a nice flea market at Sint Jacobs square. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning, this lively square is taken over by trinkets, baubles, small antiques and old junk. Grab a coffee at the coffee stand.
- The S.M.A.K. museum is our favorite modern art museum in Gent.
The best places for a run in Gent – according to me
Gent is not brilliant for running but not bad either.
- Lots of people go running around de Watersportbaan, de Blaarmeersen park and/or de Coupure waterway.
- As my family and I live near Gent and not in Gent, I like to do a big round through the city and around the canal (many alternatives/shortcuts available).
The best places to work in Gent – according to me
- The Cobbler. Situated in 1898 The Post. Especially in the afternoon, the atmosphere is quiet and super relaxed. They have a small corner with an amazing view over the city. Also, see my separate post on why I love working here.
- OR Coffee has been the breeding ground for some of Belgium’s best baristas. They still have their own roastery and school as well as amazing coffee. The Ghent City Center location is a great place to get some work done because of the super coffee and wifi – beware of hordes of students however as it is close to some university buildings.