Discover Benelux, Issue 29, May 2016

Page 96

Homemade food right on the sea bank TEXT: SOFIE COUWENBERGH | PHOTOS: RESTAURANT PICARDIE

Restaurant Picardie in Belgium’s coastal town of Blankenberge was the first restaurant there to offer its customers a completely covered and heated terrace right on the sea bank. It is known for serving quality homemade meals right by the beach. At Restaurant Picardie, both tourists, locals and people with a holiday home alike enjoy lunch or dinner inside the cosy restaurant or on its terrace, where they are sheltered from wind and rain by glass and a rooftop that can be removed when the weather is nice. “That’s really our top feature,” owner Lieven Ketels says, “that people can comfortably sit right by the beach any time of the year.” Blankenberge local Lieven, who took over Restaurant Picardie more than 25 years ago, has developed it from a basic bistro that was only open during school 96 | Issue 29 | May 2016

breaks and the summer months, to a place where people can enjoy a homecooked meal 11 months of the year at a reasonable price. There is ample choice as well, with two fixed menus and the option to order à la carte. “The customer has changed and knows a lot more about cooking and food now than when we started, so we always do our best to evolve with them and adapt to their needs,” Lieven says, and it is one of the reasons why the restaurant offers a selection of two “healthy biological meals”, prepared with ingredients that are all locally sourced and produced in an ecologically responsible way. Every two months the selection changes according to what is in season at that moment, so customers can frequently try out a new bio-dish. Aside from the changing bio-meals, Restaurant Picardie’s menu

also boasts three seasonal suggestions that are changed every two months. But it is not just the food this restaurant is known for. Lieven had the idea to decorate the toilets of Restaurant Picardie with pictures of fashion models from Blankenberge who are posing with toilet gear. The decoration made it into the local paper and always amuses visitors. What should you get when visiting Restaurant Picardie? According to Lieven, the mussels, the fresh fish dishes, and meat grilled on a special lava rock are his customers’ favourites. If that is not your thing, the extensive menu guarantees you will find something to your liking. www.restopicardie.be