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Success for Belgium in ranking of top 100 gourmet vegetable restaurants worldwide

15:03 27/10/2023

A total of 13 Belgian restaurants have been named in the annual top 100 vegetable restaurants worldwide by We're Smart® World.

An impressive 4th place was awarded to Vrijmoed in Ghent (pictured). The two Michelin star restaurant in the centre of the Flemish city is helmed by Michaël Vrijmoed and boasts a ‘pure vegetables’ menu.

The highest place for a Brussels establishment was again Humus x Hortense in Ixelles, finishing 9th. It’s now the sixth time that the award-winning restaurant serving plant-based gastronomy has appeared in the top 100. Last year, it was ranked 10th.


Chef Nicolas Decloedt welcomed the accolade, reports Bruzz. "It is one of the first guides in the world that emphasises the story of vegetarianism and sustainability. Unlike other guides, that's really the starting point. That story is becoming increasingly important, also in gourmet restaurants."

According to Decloedt, vegetarian and vegan gastronomy is gaining popularity and importance. "We started it years ago, long before it was hip, and therefore with the necessary criticism. It's nice to see that we've inspired colleagues over the years," he said.

In 2019, Decloedt was named by Gault & Millau as the best vegetable chef of the year. In 2020, the restaurant he runs with his partner Caroline Baerten was included in the list of the 50 best vegan restaurants in the world.

This year, it was also awarded a Michelin star. "We are included in many lists of interesting places to eat," said Decloedt. "It's great that we get that recognition from so many angles and sides. That's a confirmation that what we bring is quality."

The full ranking for Belgian restaurants was: Vrijmoed (4), Humus x Hortense (9), L’Air du temps (17), De Vijf Seizoenen (24), Amaranth (25), Arabelle Meirlaen (28), Menssa (37), L’Air des Sens (38), Zilte (43), 't Aards Paradijs (50), Neon (56), VerTige (65), Hofke van Bazel (66), De Poorterij (77), Le Vieux Château (81) and Patrick Devos (95).


Two Brussels newcomers

The two other Brussels restaurants listed were Menssa in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre (picturedand VerTige in Rue de Flandre.

Menssa is the new restaurant by Christophe Hardiquest, who was at the helm of two-star restaurant Bon Bon in Brussels for 20 years. The chef surprised the restaurant world by closing his successful dining place in June 2022, before launching his new gastronomy concept Menssa in February 2023.

Hardiquest's creativity and dedication were praised by vegetable chef Frank Fol, co-founder of the We're Smart movement. "Of course, Hardiquest is not a blank slate. He is already fully on board with the philosophy of giving fruit and vegetables a place of honour, and he does that with verve in his new restaurant."


VerTige in downtown Brussels was originally known as San Brussels, a restaurant run by Sang Hoon Degeimbre who was placed 17th in the ranking with his two Michelin star L’Air du temps. The renowned chef passed the torch to Kevin Perlot (pictured) three years ago with the Brussels address being renamed VerTige.

Its communication manager Sofie Lepere said: "We are a small restaurant, so such recognition can also create more awareness. It can also help to spread our chef's philosophy more easily."

The restaurant boasts two menus. One is completely vegetarian, the other features meat, although vegetables dominate. "The concept isn't marketing, but it's really a philosophy that our chef believes in," adds Lepere.

Photos (main image): Restaurant Vrijmoed; Nicolas Decloedt & Caroline Baerten of Humus x Hortense ©Kris Vlegels; Menssa restaurant; Kevin Perlot of VerTige

Written by Sarah Crew