Just got back from a lovely little trip to Bruges. Having asked my fellow coeliac Instagram & FB friends for restaurant recommendations before we left, I was a little concerned that the most popular reply was “good luck!”.
Aside from the fact that its the chocolate capital of the world and I cant have dairy (the chocoholic in me was having a little cry), I did find a few absolute gems! AND the restaurants we visited were fantastic with cross contamination etc so I didn’t need so much “luck” after all!!
Here’s my recommendations. There’s 5 foodie tips and 5 tourist tips for two days in Bruges:
5 FOODIE FAVS:
(1) GF DF BELGIUM CHOCOLATE: Every other shop is a chocolate shop
- Gluten free: most shops had labels above each chocolate with allergen info & tons were gf. Cross contamination would have been an issue in some (quite a lot of them are pick n mix style) but the shop assistants were always red hot on this so would be able to advise. Our fav was “La Belgique Gormande” – friendly, helpful staff and seriously cute decor.
- GF & DF: Finding both GF and DF is trickier… and I made my mission worse as I wasn’t willing to accept any pre-packaged bars that you can probably get in the UK.
- (1) Dark choc: best choice in “Chocolate de Julie” – bars, homemade fruity squares and small chocolate discs stacked in beautiful little boxes. All made locally and coeliac safe.
- (2) Milk choc: much much harder to come by & I had have to settle for pre-packaged bars in “Verheecke” . Loads of choice & “made in Belgium” written on the back so that counts right?!
(2) WAFFLES: they’re everywhere, but I didn’t find a fresh gf & df one so here’s my tips for overcoming food envy…
- Option 1: buy pre-made waffles in “Verheecke”
- Option 2: Chips!? There’s 100s of chip shops in Bruges – all of them were GF and safe. Note: the mayo & ketchup all seemed to contain gluten but the staff were quick to inform me at every store, without asking. Hurrah!!
- Option 3: Or marzipan? That’s everywhere too.
- Option 4: visit the “Gingerbread tea room” which serves gf df pancakes, cakes and bagels
(3) BREAKFAST/BRUNCH: ‘That’s Toast’! So good we went twice.
- Sweet and savoury toast with toppings. Almost everything could be made GF & about 1/2 of the menu could be DF too – way too many options to write here but see the menu below & check out their Instagram..its amazing.
- If you can have dairy, you have to have the hot choc. You get a glass of hot milk with some choc drops to melt in. Yum!!
(4) DINNER: All the restaurants we visited seemed highly educated on coeliac disease so you’ll be in safe hands – 2 places refused to serve me as they knew they weren’t safe (I actually loved this – so much better than asking 12423 questions, getting questionable responses and feeling ill afterwards).
- “Het Visioen” – slightly off the main touristy trap and absolutely delish. Local food with a thai twist. The “normal” menu is marked with ALL allergens so there’s no awkward questions to translate.
- Moules – there were tons of beautiful restaurants to stumble across so don’t worry if you haven’t reserved somewhere. My tip would be to look for mussel signs – they’re everywhere in Bruges and most places offer a “casserole” sauce (as well as the classic white wine & cream). The sauce is just made of carrots, celery etc so naturally gf & df.
- “Park Restaurant” – fancy fine dining, great reviews & coeliac safe. Sadly we didn’t make it there as the beer tasting got out of hand…
(5) EUROSTAR: GF DF meals don’t exist. Shocking. There’s some crisps/nuts etc but I would recommend bringing your own.
5 TOURIST TIPS:
(1) SEGWAYS – amazing way to see the city when you’re there for such a short amount of time. And the high vis is pretty sexy…
(2) BOAT TOUR – €8 for a half hour ride with a guide. Complete with umbrellas if the rain pays a visit to Bruges too! Only 1 tour operator & lots of places to pick it up from, all offering the same tour at the same price so you wont miss out.
(3) CHRISTMAS SHOP – “Kathe Wohlfahrt” – Bruges feels like it would be magic at Christmas & we got a little taste of that in this Christmas shop. It’s absolutely bursting with decorations ..including a rolling pin tree decoration with gingerbread men and a recipe hanging off it – made for me!! They have a couple of stores to pick from Trip advisor link
(4) HOTELS – We stayed at “Hotel de TuilerIeen”, which I picked because its part of the ‘small luxury hotel of the world’ group. Ideal spot & not tooo expensive (unless you want a drink at the bar, in which case you might want to re-mortgage your house) & tiny swimming pool.
Warning: the rooms really varied – some were like this, some were a litte older and more tired but its the perfect location so I definitely recommend it. SLH link
(5) BAR – “Bieratelier” – stumbled across this bar in the rain and it’s a hidden gem. There’s beer tasting for the rest of the crowd (€32 for 13 tasters incl their own brew) but also serves rum, vodka, wine etc etc for us. Its such a cute spot that I really didn’t mind missing out on the beer. And they have gluten free crisps!
Dad and Charlie got rather merry…see pics for evidence. Yes, my dad is sat in the bar, wearing the ponchos we were given on the Segway tour. Send help. Trip advisor link