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Ratings: 13 | Reviews: 12 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by DaPeculierDane:
1.55/5 rDev -59.5%
Single worst experience in Belgium.
My wife and I are foodies. The in-laws who accompanied us are French foodies. We know good food, we know good service, we really know good beer. Den Dyver failed on all accounts.
After reading about Den Dyver in several books and on multiple websites, most notably Belgiumking.com whose other reviews were so spot on, I decided to make this the biggest meal of our trip. My wife and I always seek out the best restaurants when we travel and when given the opportunity to dine at a soon to be Michelin rated restaurant that focuses on cooking with beer, we could not pass it up.
After a day hiking around the Atlantic Wall in Oostende, our appetites and thirst were ready.
I had made reservations well in advance and we were seated promptly upon arrival by a sharp dressed and charming lady. One of the owners, the gentleman with shoulder length, well styled hair and tasteful Euro-eyewear approached immediately to discuss their menu for the evening and to offer a little background on the establishment. So far so good.
Two of us settled on the 5 course menu with beer, while the other two chose the four course menu with beer. A light snack of crackers and cheese was brought out along with a light blonde beer. Three or four servers presented it all at once, efficiently and professionally. I was impressed. So far so good.
The cheese was delightful and the fresh herbs included highlighted the spice character of the beer. So far so good.
Then it all went to hell.
Before I had consumed more than an ounce out of the tiny pilsner glass in front of me, a young waitress had swooped in and taken all four, nearly full bottles of beer off of our table and run away with them. I tried to catch her but was ignored. Sure I only got to drink 3 ounces out of a 6 or 7 Euro bottle of beer but I let it slide.
Immediately thereafter the first course, forgettable, was brought out along with another beer, from Caracole I believe. Not wanting to see a repetition of the first incident and feeling the pressure of the half a dozen waiters buzzing around us like an agitated coven of hornets, we all drained our glasses and refilled them. The empty bottles were taken but this time they were not replaced. Instead we waited...and waited... and waited for a full 45 minutes before the second course and another beer were brought forward.
Two small bottles of Carolous Amber or a similar beer were poured between us, although I could see that the other tables were continuing to receive a bottle each... We stared down at small plates of unboned white fish. There were perhaps 1.5 ounces of fish on each plate and 2-3 ounces of bones along with an unremarkable white sauce. The plate was stark and pretentious like something out of a Brett Easton Ellis 80s novel (kind of like the Owner/Maître D's hair). Although the taste was adequate, it was nearly inedible. I could feel the bones scratching my esophagus as I ate and the heartburn began coming on. There was no way to pick them all out.
The next course came sooner than the last along with another unexceptional beer, which was once again swooped away before I had a chance to drink more than half of it. My veal was dull. My companions pork no better.
When desert came, I was happy to see a bottle of Liefmans Kriek. We promptly ordered a second. I enjoyed the beer more than the chocolate mess plopped in front of me and we all started laughing about just how bad this had all been. We saw the bill and we laughed some more. I kept it. Put it in my scrap book for the trip. I don't care to look at it now but it was well over $500. Though not the most expensive meal of my life, it was by far the least satisfying at the price or anything close to it. Then we laughed some more and headed out for kebab and some real beer.
I must mention that Den Dyver wasn't without its charms. Their Toilets were higher tech then the best I have seen in Japan. Upon entering the stall. The toilet seat lifts up and retreats into the wall where it washes and dries itself. It then returns into place and covers itself with a clean sheet of paper. Brilliant, however, I would suggest that Den Dyver apply a greater amount of its plumbing budget to adding an extra sous chef dedicated to deboning.
Maybe we caught them on a bad night but I doubt it. I got the impression of a place that had once been great but that now just glided along on its former reputation.
07-30-2010 01:32:20 | More by DaPeculierDane
More User Reviews:
4.25/5 rDev +11%
After a few days in Belgium and being fed every meal like it would be my last, a meal like this was very pleasing. It started with a tapenade and a fish and spinach dip, then a course of shrimp and carrot soup. The next was trout served over potatoes, then a fish course as my main entree, served with an oyster on top. Each course can with a beer that matched food well. It is a very modern and swanky kind of place, but I really enjoyed it. The food was great, the beer was good, service was good as well.
09-29-2011 23:54:02 | More by OWSLEY069
1.35/5 rDev -64.8%
Atmosphere was awful because the restaurant was dark, moist and smelled a lot like sewer gas.
Quality was awful because the fish that I ordered was presented as little cubes like fish sticks and they were packed full of bones and was soured. When I asked for a fresh piece without bones the male host said "In Brugge, that's the way we cook fish. We keep the bones."
Service was awful because it was sooo very slow. They are so slow. I just had to say it again.
Selection was terrible. They choose beer that can easily be seen as leftovers in the cooler. The pairings had nothing to do with food. That fish dish, how about a nice thick Monk's stout with that. Um no thanks!
Food was awful. I think this place sees Americans as an easy way to make money and serves them the scraps.
09-07-2011 08:59:41 | More by seattlesleeper
4.55/5 rDev +18.8%
After reading the reviews on here my wife and I decided that this would be the place where we would have our one nice meal out during our 7 days in Europe. We were not disappointed. We went with the 3 course meal paired with beer. Multilingual staff are very knowledgeable about the beer and food pairings, friendly, and explained why certain beers were paired with the food served. I should have taken a note pad to jot down what beers I was served as I can't remember, but I had never had any of them before and was told they only serve beer from smaller breweries. I can say that the beers were indeed excellently paired with the food we had. (I had a veal steak and my wife had royal dorry (a fish)as our entrees) The food was as good as we expected it to be and our expectations were high! We were also told that the menu changes month to month and they have quite a few repeat customers who come to Brugge specifically to dine there. I belive them!
02-21-2009 19:14:26 | More by spithrash
4.1/5 rDev +7%
Having been to Brugge on a couple of previous occasions, I had peered in the door of this place and looked at the menu. It seemed expensive. On my recent visit (Oct 2008) I decided to push the boat out and so I booked a meal for the four of us.
We arrived at the appointed hour and were greeted and brought to our table. It was a Saturday night, and I observed that people who showed up hoping for a table were turned away, so pre-booking is essential. The interior is very pleasent and nicely decorated.
Two of us went for the set "Autumn" menu with beer and the other two of us chose the menu with wine. We had a house Wit bier as an aperitif and it was very pleasent. I had scallops accompanied by Cuvee de Trolls (Dubuisson) blonde beer and it was a perfect companion for the course. The main course was pheasent and it was with the dark beer Adelardus (Kerkom brewery) and this was also a great match.
Den Dyver is a place where you are expected to relax and enjoy the evening. They only have one sitting, so no one will have booked your table for later in the evening. Service (reported slow by some reviewers) was perfectly adequate, with every course, wine and beer described in detail.
The dining experience will live with me for a long time; superb cuisine with well chosen beer and wine. Sure, it was on the expensive side, but for a special occasion it is ideal.
11-05-2008 14:05:34 | More by JohnfromDublin
3.98/5 rDev +3.9%
My expectations were inflated by some of the reviews below. I'm sorry I didn't have as nice of an experience as some of the other BAs. I came here to get the three-course meal with the beer pairing but I wasn't crazy about either of the two entrees (ostrich and fish). I prefer wine with fish and after having a few beers already I didn't want to risk upsetting my stomach by eating ostrich- a dish I've never had. Since I ordered from the a la carte menu, no beer pairing!
My wife absolutely loved the fish. I ended up getting the veal steak- the only meat dish on the menu. This is mostly a seafood restaurant it seems. I was prepared for a long evening of dining out but not for the tiny portions Den Dyver serves. I don't mind waiting 45 minutes between the courses but I ended up eating way too much bread since the long-awaited courses were so small.
I did have their 'house beer' (only in Belgium!) which was a nice blonde. The steak was very good but not the best I've ever had by any means. The cheese plate for dessert was not for me: more like a tasteless glue than cheese. The ice cream my wife had was excellent but the cake was just mediocre. I expected a world class dessert but we didn't care for it. For three people, the bill came to 160 euros- a bit much since I left the restaurant still hungry. Overall, you'll spend three hours for small and expensive portions of (mostly) great food! I should've just grabbed something quick and cheap and then hit the pubs!
09-16-2008 14:38:04 | More by tubaguy
4.95/5 rDev +29.2%
Den Dyver has to be the absolute pinnacle dining experience of my entire life. Sadly (but luckily for my wallet) I dined alone, and even in being alone I was there for nearly 3 hours. The food does take a little bit of time to come, but the important part is that I had enough time to savour each beer, both by itself and how it worked with each course. Brillance.
Basically you "can" order a la carte, but myself and everyone seated at surrounding tables all did the 3 or 4-course set menu with the corresponding beer (yea!) or wine pairing with each course. I did the 3 course simply because I knew I would have been absolutely shitfaced after 4 high ABV Belgian beers.
The food really was spectacular, although I don't remember everything that I had, but since this is a beer forum I'll stick to the beer. I started with the Moinette Brune, then with the first course I was seved the Petrus Winter (absoltely stellar) which had subsequently just been released, as it wasn't even available in all the beer stores yet. With the second course I was seved the St. Floureffe Cuvée de Noël which again was just spectacular. Even though I was dining alone the waiter refilled my glass at least once with each course, and also left me the bottle to look at. Can't speakly highly enough of this place. Make sure you dress up!
A couple important things: MAKE a reservation! I was there in the beginning of December, so I made a reservation when the restaurant opened (only for dinner) on the same day that I dined, but I saw a number of people get turned away who hadn't made one. If you're there in the summer chances are you will have to book days in advance.
MORE IMPORTANT: The last course of either the 3 or 4-course menu is a choice of a cheese plate WITH a beer OR a dessert plate with NO chosen beer pairing. If you are expecting a beer to be paired with each course, make sure you order the cheese plate as no beer comes with the dessert plate. Of course this is spelled out IN PLAIN ENGLISH on the menu, and had the negative whiny reviewer a few places below me paid a little more attention while ordering his food he would not have been surprised.
02-07-2008 15:32:53 | More by AWolfAtTheDoor
4.15/5 rDev +8.4%
My wife and I ate dinner here over the Christmas holiday. We were attracted to this place due to the food reviews but we also read that the beer selection was very well thought out as well.
I was a bit suprised to see that they didn't have a bottle list but the waiter said he would suggest things to us.
We both had some wonderful food and that would have been enough for us but the few beers I had were very good as well.
Although the food is pretty expensive, as far as fine dining goes in Brugge, this has to be at the top or very close to it.
01-08-2008 20:30:43 | More by ggaughan
4.88/5 rDev +27.4%
I will say this now to get it out of the way: I have traveled all over Europe, and this by far had to be the best dinner I have ever had in my entire life. On 3/25/07, my wife and I stopped in here right at 6:00 pm to make reservations for that evening. The host was very gracious and said he could accommodate us that evening. After a quick drink at Erasmus, we arrived at 8:00 and were promptly seated. The atmosphere in this place was fantastic, my wife said that she was extremely (and pleasantly) surprised at how nice this restaurant looked. The menu looked awesome, we we both went with the 3 course meal paired with beer. We received a nice little plate of small appetizer tasters with our house blonde ales we ordered separate. My meal consisted of braised veal cheeks paired with a Belgian dubbel, lamb chops and a potato/eggplant side with a Chimay Rouge, and a cheese plate with an Abbey des Rocs. My wife had four different oysters with a Gueze, baked sea bass, and a cherry crumble, both paired with beers also. The meal was finished off with a selection of chocolates and sweets. This meal lasted about 2.5 hours, but we had so much fun just savoring our meals and discussing the beers, etc. If you are in Bruges for any amount of time, you "must" eat dinner here one night to really see how cuisine de la biere should be done. This was an exceptional restaurant.
03-29-2007 16:36:20 | More by morebeergood
Den Dyver in Brugge, Belgium
88 out of 100 based on 13 ratings.