'T Werftje

'T Werftje Restaurant (Bruges)

© 'T Werftje

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Fancy a pint at the bar with some caviar toasts while watching the game? Nobody will blink an eye, because here you can do as you like! Welcome to ‘t Werftje, a traditional fishermen’s bistro located along an abandoned quay in Zeebrugge, in action since 1905 – making it one of the oldest restaurants on the coast. No frills, just a shack inviting you to have a blast, with whole lobsters aplenty and an ‘80s soundtrack – because for owners Mike and Herlinde De Preem, backed by their son Eli, atmosphere is everything. On the menu: Zeeland oysters; an orgy of shrimp croquettes, all 10 of which are best gobbled up with your hands; a North Sea shellfish platter that’s fit for a king (oysters, crab, langoustines, clams, whelks, razor clams, gray shrimp, etc.); or bling-bling blinis with sour cream and Imperial Heritage caviar. And since one of the house rules assures that “Whoever falls in love with the sea must endure its salty kisses,” don’t forget to wear a Niet Sturten (“Don’t drool”) bib as you smooch a lobster straight from the tank, slathered in herby butter and with an oyster béarnaise sauce, or ‘t Werftje style, doused in walnut oil, chardonnay vinegar, harissa and fresh herbs. // Kiko Zushi

FEELING THIRSTY? A very sage menu: a Loire Gamay from Marionnet (€8.20 a glass, €45 a bottle), Le Clos des Messieurs, a Reuilly white by Claude Lafond (€7.50 a glass, €43 a bottle), and for something a little funkier, Glou, a skin-contact Ardèche Gamay from the Ferme des 7 Lunes (€75).

PRICE: Fines de claire oysters €16 for six, tapas €15 to €34.90, croquettes €4.60 to €5.40, grilled lobster €55, shellfish platter €43, kids’ dishes €2.70 to €12, desserts €5-12.

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