This French style restaurant in Antwerp’s old town opened in 1979 and has been run by José Diez and his family since 1995.
The name Neuze Neuze, if you are nosy enough to want to know, means “nose to nose”, an indication of the intimate face to face dining experience you might experience in this attractive restaurant.
Dining among interlinked historic houses
Neuze Neuze occupies premises that once existed five separate houses, built between 1525 and 1696. They have been linked so that the shape of each of the original houses can still be appreciated and a sense of their heritage is maintained. Their walls, now painted white, help break the space within the restaurant and create a sense of privacy and intimacy.
The location of this restaurant, in Antwerp’s city centre, means it is convenient for business people and politicians to dine here during the week. The room on the mezzanine level is ideal for discussing business. Yet Neuze Neuze also attracts a cosmopolitan clientele of global travellers, couples and small groups of friends, particularly over weekends.
French cuisine with a local twist
The food served here is inspired by French cuisine but Diez uses Belgian ingredients in the preparation of his dishes, to provide a distinctly local twist. Belgian blue beef is on the menu and locally brewed beers are used in sauces, including in one of the specialities of the house, scallops fried with caramelised sauce with white beer Hoegaarden beer.
Beer is used as an ingredient in a number of the dishes but this is more of a place to enjoy a good wine. Diez, whose family heritage is Spanish, takes pride in the fact he offers a range of special Cavas.
Seasonal dining in Antwerp
Diez ensures that diners at Neuze Neuze get a sense of the season, thanks to a regularly changing menu. Autumn is the hunting season and this is reflected in the game offered on the menu. Dishes featuring venison, hare, pheasant and wild boar are served. Diners seeking a special night should look out for the hunting festival, during which musicians play hunting music.
The five course degustation menu will appeal to gastronomes who like to enjoy more than once glass of wine with their food; there are no such restrictions here. The Neuze Neuze menu runs to four courses and the Belge Epoch menu to three.
Belgian chocolate for dessert
If you enjoy chocolate, look out for the chocolate mousse, which features three different Belgian chocolates.
Fans of the artist Rene Magritte will note that the restaurant’s logo is inspired by his work, but, instead of eight noses, the sign above the door at Neuze Neuze depicts nine. As Diez explains, this is a subtle reference to a Flemish expression, “it is the nose of the salmon”, which is uttered when food is truly exquisite.
Also, look out for the little ‘noses’, packed with the flavour of raspberry, served after the meal.
There’s a smoking area downstairs, away from the main restaurant. No food is served in the smoking room but diners can take their aperitifs and coffee there.
Neuze Neuze is closed in Wednesdays and at lunch time on Saturdays, otherwise lunch orders are taken from noon until 2pm and dinner orders between 7pm and 9.30pm. Reserving is highly recommended.
View the Neuze Neuze ((Wijngaardstraat 19, tel. +32 3 232 2797) menus on the restaurant’s website.
Find out more about Antwerp and the city’s attractions on the Visit Flanders website.