All posts filed under: dining out

About the smallest room of the restaurant!

Readers who have been following this blog, or who have read some of our restaurant reviews, will have noticed a peculiarity that we try to include in our restaurant reviews. We post pics of the food, the interior, we write about how we were welcomed, the service, and the atmosphere, and …. we also try to include a photo of the smallest room of the restaurant. Well, mostly the toilet or restroom is the smallest room of the restaurant, although we have also encountered some where you could almost park a car 😉 ‘Why are there photos of toilets in some of your restaurant reviews?’ A restaurant experience is formed by many things. First, and foremost, the food of course, but there are many other factors  that shape our impression: comfort, tidyness, service, attitude, location, accessibility, choice of vegan options, presence of non-vegan items, etc. And yes, also the state of the toilets or restrooms. Hygiene is of course important in a setting that serves food to clients. How clean a toilet is (or not) might be …

Vegans not welcome!

Yes, they do exist. Restaurants that do not want to prepare a vegan menu. I have yet to encounter a sign on a restaurant’s door that explicitly says so, but there are certainly chefs and many in the catering bussiness who share this view. Over the years, I have contacted dozens of restaurants with the question if they can make us a vegan menu. I have had many positive replies, but onfortunately also many restaurants letting me know they cannot or will not make a vegan menu. Sometimes it’s just a straightforward and simple ‘no we don’t do that‘. Sometimes they add some explanation like ‘it’s not our specialty‘, ‘we don’t work with such products‘ or ‘we don’t think we can give you a satisfying culinary experience‘ or even ‘because it requires a total reorganisation of our kitchen‘. Sometimes they even refer me to vegan friendly places in town. I appreciate restaurants taking the time to reply to my request, even if they answer they cannot or will not provide a vegan menu. Rather they are honest about it, than …

Adding stars to my restaurant reviews

I have been contemplating this for a while, but decided to finally add stars to the restaurant reviews on The Bruges Vegan. (update Fall 2017: I stopped doing this – see below). In favour of adding stars: It is an easy way to give an ‘overall’ impression of a restaurant I can add it to the title of the restaurant review, so that immediately gives you an indication of our experience (either good or bad). Against adding stars: I find it difficult to score on a 5 star scale (but halves would complicate it too much) I feel al lot of places will fall in the 3 to 4 category People might only judge by the given star, and not read the review anymore (if they ever did 😉 ) A score is a medium of different aspects: food, comfort, service, hygiene, opening hours, etc. Foodwise it might be a 5 star, but comfortwise it might only be a 1 star, so that levels the score. My rating may change over time, as my assessment also evolves the more …

A word or two about restaurant reviews

We have visited hundreds of restaurants over the years. And although we have only started this blog fairly recently (beginning of 2014) there are already quite a lot of posts with restaurant reviews on our blog. Here are some thoughts about restaurant reviews, and our take on the matter. #1. A restaurant review is always a subjective account A restaurant review is always a personal account. So many different subjective preferences shape the experience. As we explain in #2 we try to look at the global picture when writing a restaurant review, but even that is of course shaped by our own personal preferences and taste. #2. More than food: everything counts The food is of course the main focal point. A restaurant experience is however also shaped by other factors: comfort, hygiene, service, attitude, location, accessibility, choice of vegan options, presence of non-vegan items (like leather chairs in vegetarian restaurants), …  And a price tag that is in check with the quality. So sometimes the vegan food may have been great, but the restaurant scores less on other points (or …

A critical note about vegan (friendly) places? Don’t you dare!

This is a comment that often comes up on vegan forums when somebody gives a negative comment about a vegan (friendly) place. You shouldn’t criticise them! You should be supportive. At least they are making an effort, don’t be so negative. They need our love and support, not criticism. The reasoning behind it is that these vegan (friendly) places already have a hard time surviving in a predominantly non-vegan catering world, and we should not be making it any harder on them, but only encourage them and support them, and as such, not criticise them. Of course we support vegan places and wish them the best and try to visit as many of these places as we can! We hope their numbers will increase rapidly in the future. Whenever we see a new vegan place opening, we are excited to go try it out and we give it our support. And when non-vegan places start offering vegan options, we encourage their efforts! We have had plenty of positive experiences over the years and have documented them in our reviews. But just the fact of being a vegan business or …

Dining out is always a matter of trust

As you can tell by the number of restaurant reviews on our blog, we have visited quite a lot of restaurants over the years. Yes, even as vegans (I stress this because some people think that is impossible) and even in restaurants where at first glance this may not be so obvious. Yes, we have had some bad experiences. I’m not referring to the the rabbitfood that we’ve sometimes been served, but to dishes that are not vegan. For example a dish containg oystersauce, although explicitly labelled on the menu as vegetarian (and yes, also having checked whether it didn’t contain any eggs or dairy). But on most occasions, we have enjoyed a vegan menu. At least that is what we think (and hope)! Dining out always involves a risk. One can try to minimise that risk, for example by clearly informing the restaurant beforehand on what vegan means, explaining what you do and do not eat. But nevertheless, the risk that some dishes may contain animal ingredients cannot be taken away completely. Although we realise that dining out always involves some …