Restaurant Spinola is located, as you can guess, along the Spinolarei, close to the Jan van Eyck square. During summer, the restaurant has a lovely terrace located on that square with a lovely view, peace and quiet. The interior is rather narrow, with cosy decorations. You can take a table downstairs and on the first floor (also suitable for groups up to 26 people). We visited the place on a saturday evening and they were fully booked. A mixture of locals and tourists came to taste the ‘french cuisine’ of Spinola.
On the menu you can find langoustines, Irish salmon, sea bass, sole, lobster and seasonal wild meat dishes, like pheasant and deer. House specialty is eel and mussels, prepared in heavy copper pots with free herbs out of their own garden. This summer we already had a taste of this eel dish with its 14 herbs and it was really delicious.
The restaurant also serves a market-menu, 4 courses for €55. We chose the menu, taking into account that the room was packed and the chef was already very busy. He works in an open kitchen and had a young assistant that helped him dress the plates. We saw him doing an excellent job, preparing one dish after another.
You could not say the same about the service though. All credits for the lady of the house, who takes all the orders and has a friendly word for all the guests. The boy and girl, who were helping out, didn’t do their job very well.
We got our appetizer after we finished our glass of champagne. A lovely mousse of fish and soup of butternut pumpkin. The first course was a tartare of Irish salmon with a very tasty salad of cucumber, radish and wakame. Also on the plate was a small line of wasabi mustard and pink pepper. A very well done and nicely presented dish.
Second dish was a cappuccino of grey shrimps and this was also excellent. The soup was full of flavor, a little bit of hot spices, but nog too much. A handful of big grey shrimps inside. Lovely.
The hunting season has started in Belgium, so we had a piece of deer meat as main course, with onions, celeriac puree, apple&pears creation and a tasteful sauce. The meat was very tender, a second piece would have been welcome!
The dessert was a duo of chocolate mousse and hazelnut mousse. We closed our meal with coffee, tea and some home made cookies.
We paid €197 for two, two half bottles of wine included. We were satisfied, had a nice evening, good food and the fact that it took rather a long time before we got our dishes didn’t really bother us. It was saturdaynight, we weren’t in a rush and didn’t want to be in an out the restaurant in 2 hours.
Hopefully, the young helpers can evolve into trained personnel, so that the service could become better. That way the pressure will be less for the lady of the house, knowing that her team can work more independently.
Nevertheless, Spinalo is a restaurant recommended to visit on a cold winter evening of on the terrace on hot summer evenings, for it’s traditional dishes. Enjoy the view of what was once the medieval harbor neighborhood.