Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Veggie Restaurant Review: Avalon in Gent, Belgium

Gent is a lovely city in Belgium about 90 minutes drive from our home. Aside from the fabulous churches, museums, and eye-candy architecture lining the river in the old city center, a castle from the middle ages beckons. We lucked out as a antique bike fair was happening the day we visited.
Dina's third miracle nap also happened, unbelievably just as we were about to visit the Gent Altarpiece: The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. For an hour both Mike and I listened to the audio guide, affording myself a museum luxury not known since Dina was born.

In the Lonely Planet Belgium guide they list three vegetarian restaurants, which is quite a few more than normally listed in a city in Europe. We chose Avalon, situated near the castle.
 The reflection in the restaurant window is of Gravensteen castle, full of torture devices and armor, as at one time it housed a prison.

Avalon has a darling interior, but I recommend strolling right on through to the back garden. Gorgeous wisteria ambles up the side of the building and both sun and shaded tables abound.
We chose a shady spot and I ordered the miso soup.
 Interestingly it contained mushrooms, not something I am used to in miso, but contributing a lovely complexity. Our entrees each had six(!) different side dishes. Since I inhaled that soup, it disappointed me that I was too full to finish my Vegetable pie, or Groetentaart.
 The creamy potato-looking side at 6:00 on my plate is actually rutabaga with the most amazing dressing on it. I begged to know what was in it and the waitress told me it was a tartar sauce with rosemary and avocado. We both agreed it was brilliant. Mike got a tempeh Rueben sandwich, and the same side dishes as me.
The tempeh Rueben sandwich, pictured above, and the tempeh close-up.

The Avalon menu in English on the left and Dutch on the right.
We would definitely go back to Avalon, however the other two vegetarian restaurants await, and with Avalon definitely living up to the Lonely Planet recommendation, I'd be psyched to try the others, too.
The only improvement I'd recommend to Avalon was a rather entertaining translation issue in the drink section of the menu:
"We have a big assortment of teas and infusions. You can pick your bag of tea out of the boxes near the toilet."
Advice for all restaurants: no matter how tempting, never write the word, "toilet" on a menu.
Our seat in the shade pictured above. I also enjoyed that the napkins and menus were fun fluorescent shades.

We also found a Starbucks in Gent, however the line was almost out the door, and we were in a bit of a hurry to take full advantage of stroller-sleeping Dina.
 Starbucks worked their magic anyway, however, with free samples of their strawberry frappuccino along the side of the building, much to my delight.
I wanted to hug these guys.
Gent (or Ghent in Dutch). Gorgeous, timeless, entertaining, and full of great vegetarian food. It was so appropriate that along the river walk I spotted these two flags, waving in the summer breeze:
My home and where I'm presently calling 'home'.

1 comment:

  1. we passed that way often and never had time to stop. I am kicking myself.