Eating out the Zeeland way
Choice is a fine thing in Zeeland, especially when it comes to eating out. Be you a person seeking peace and quiet, or a beachgoer, a biker, a foodie or a fast young thing, there are restaurants to your liking. So varied is the choice – from beach to polder, from on the dike to outside it – maybe you can’t quite see the wood for the trees. Here are ten tips for enjoying the culinary delights of Zeeland.
Promise yourself to eat out at least once at the beach. Relaxing, absorbing the views of sea, beach and dunes. A sample: Beachclub Perry’s below Brouwersdam, or the Dam in Vrouwenpolder. On Sundays, Panta Rhei in Vlissingen showcases live music as well. In 2016, the Strandpaviljoen Breskens aan Zee won the nationwide ‘Strand Nederland’ contest held by our (gastronomic) Belgian neighbours.
A land in the sea, sure, has many harbours. Take a table next to the jetty, boat watching, people watching. Could last for ever. In most Brouwershaven restaurants, you’re seated in the first row, the harbour is the stage. In Zierikzee, watching everything pass by is not just for water sport lovers. The café De Gekroonde Suikerbiet is listed by Misset Horeca, a hospitality journal, as the best café in Zeeland. At the De Zeemeeuw restaurant on the outer harbour of Stellendam, you could easily picture your fish dish coming straight from the boat in front of you. Could be.
Plentiful they are, fishing villages in Zeeland. Some bask in international renown, such as Yerseke, Philippine and Bruinisse. Be sure to visit Colijnsplaat. At restaurant De Schelde it feels like time has stood still. The fish quay is 500 metres away, so you’ll get daily fresh varieties like eel, sole and turbot. It’s the same sweet story in the fishing village of Breskens: the lively fish auction sees to that.
Farmer feeds you
The agriculture of Zeeland is very varied nowadays. The dark days are long gone when all you could get in the polders was potatoes, carrots and onions. The eatery at Mariahoeve farm serves home-grown produce for lunch and at its barbecues. A very special add-on to an outing is to study the cultivation of salty vegetables. The centuries-old Schouwse Hoeve farmstead in Burgh-Haamstede has a very varied menu, with most ingredients being local produce. Over at the Baeckermat in Westdorpe, all dishes are sourced solely from their farm shop.
In Tholen, the historical centre is largely encircled by walls and fortifications. It partly adjoins the harbour. At the nearby Hof van Holland establishment, the owner of the fish restaurant prepares the best dishes herself.
In the polder
There are seven Michelin-starred restaurants in Zeeland, mostly near the water. The Inter Scaldes property (**) lies between the two arms of the Schelde. There Jannis Brevet creates heaven on earth from the treasures of the sea and the flavours he favours from the soil of the Beveland polders.
On ‘t other side of ‘t dike
The dikes protect us from the sea. Respect. A thousand times respect. In the safety of their shelter, we can live, work and play. There are places, though, where we cautiously go to the sea-side of the dike. At the westernmost tip of the Walcheren headland, on the imposing Zeedijk of Westkappele, the dike pavilion De Westkaap deferentially stands just metres away from the North Sea. You’ll eat well, in awed fascination at the tableau just beyond your table: a fierce storm, a passing ship, a setting sun.
Up on the dike
That we have numerous beach pavilions is a (tasty) given. Some parts of our coastline, though, are not dunes and beaches but sturdy, beefy dikes. On some, a dike pavilion has taken root. One such is 't Schor in Paal harbour, located at the edge of the breath-taking nature reserve ‘Verdronken Land van Saeftinghe’. You see, you feel, you taste the essence of East-Zeeland-Flanders. Fantastic vistas, surprising nature and some great food.
Zeeland - Land o’ Lakes
We have more on offer than just the splendid estuaries of the Oosterschelde and the Westerschelde and the North Sea, we got lakes too. Water sporters thrill there, bathers chill there and some great people village there. To dine at the Wields aan het Water restaurant in Ouddorp on the Grevelingen lake will elevate your dining experience to world-famous heights. Go with friends or family, enjoy the terrace or rest awhile on a lounger on the private beach. You will, finally, leave, inspired by the beguiling dishes, the very nice people and the tasteful music.
In dune with a star
Nestling in the dunes of Cadzand is Pure C, the Michelin-starred restaurant of Sergio Herman where the head chef Syrco Bakker reigns supreme. Pure C (*) is no less that an ode to Zeeland, to the world and to life. The cocktails are audacious, the food spellbinding, the wines dune très haute quality and the sea views symphonic.