Given its proximity to Belgium it’s not much of a surprise to find Belgian restaurants in Maastricht . We’d been booked into one of these, Witloof, for dinner. Before we’d even sat down I had food envy as I spotted a colander of chips (yes, I did say colander) on the next table. Looking round the room I spied more of them but I had a feeling that they were only used for more than three people. This isn’t fine dining (in case the colander of chips wasn’t enough of a giveaway). The menu at Witloof Belgian restaurant is hearty, basic food and it doesn’t pretend to be otherwise. But at €29.95 for three courses you really can’t complain. I was a bit confused by the numbers written by each item on the menu. Initially I thought it might be the prices, until our waitress explained they were recommendations of beers to go with the food. Witloof Belgian restaurant has a pretty impressive selection of beers, there are 100, the majority of which are Belgian beers.
The atmosphere at Witloof Belgian restaurant was pretty relaxed. Staff were friendly and happy to accommodate my request for no seafood in my fish dish and the food was simple and adequate. Sharps particularly enjoyed his generous portion of waterzooi, a traditional Belgian fish stew with seafood, potatoes and veg. The only disappointment was that our chips arrived in a big bowl and not as I’d suspected in a colander. But it’s the award-winning interior design of Witloof, created by Maurice Mentjens, that makes this restaurant a Maastricht hidden gem.
As you walk through the door the area by the entrance has a more rustic, countryside feel with lots of wood. The section we were seated at, upstairs at the back was cute with blue/grey wooden chairs, blue and white tiled walls and Baroque wallpaper in the same style (I had to do a double take as it was made to look like it was carved out of wood). I was quite taken with the shelves of beers and the obligatory Tin Tin figure, just in case you somehow forgot you were in a Belgian restaurant. Sharps particularly liked the entrance to the toilets, which had heart-shaped windows on the doors showing the inside of the men’s (red) and ladies’ (yellow) toilets, representing the colours of the Belgian flag.
Witloof Belgian restaurant also has a pretty cool plate room which is home to 2,107 antique plates on the wall. Fortunately it’s only used for private dining and functions as after a couple of Belgian beers I’d have been worried about accidentally knocking a couple of the wall. Downstairs in the basement the red dining area is adorned with huge Rubens prints of Venus, Cupid, Bacchus and Ceres in what the owner describes as an attempt to create a ‘Sistine Chapel with Flemish roots.’ Witloof is a great Maastricht restaurant for a casual dinner with friends and if the hospitality here is anything to go by I can see a trip to Belgium on the horizon very soon…