“Hum, how about Portuguese? It has five stars. . . and it’s just around the corner from the museum,” I raise an eyebrow to my husband. He grips the steering wheel and leans forward. Parking in Europe, the anticipation of the unknown, stresses him out.   

“Like I said, it’s just around the corner from the museum,” I eye my phone, the Citadel park in Gent is coming up on our left.

“Sounds great,” he exclaims and smiles when he comes upon a parallel parking spot the size of a moving truck outside the STAM museum.    

We unload the kids and walk uphill towards the tram tracks – the number one. It’s the same tram we took into the city when we lived in Gent upon our arrival from Texas back in August. We have funny, sentimental ties to such things.

We walk down the road, eyeing weird antique stores with dusty storefronts but smile at La Mariposa, a little dance studio. My Dutch is about as good as my Spanish (pitiful) but I smile at the Spanish I recognize.

We find Beluso just behind the Gent Velorenkost stop on the Koritijksepoortstraat. The reviews touted it as small, but a great place for a quick bite. And kid friendly. All boxes checked.

The restaurant is cute and zesty in its black-and-white theme, perfect for a summer day. Rows of stools peek out onto the street, providing a view of the passer-bys and the tram-awaiters. Benches line the restaurant with black and white pillows and tables for groups (our pick – naturally). Tables for two are in the center.

The family sits while my husband orders at the counter. Daily specials and take-away suggestions line the walls to his right. The man behind the counter is friendly, speaks to my husband in English, and jots down our order. Within minutes he returns to our table with a tray full of refreshments.

My daughter and I sip on lemonade with sprigs of mint while my sons gulp down fresh squeezed orange juice. My husband and I order sandwiches filled with meats, pesto, and salad on typical Portuguese bread and nod our approval as we munch. Our kids devour a daily special – a board full of portuguese meats, cheese, olives, bread, and olive oil for dipping.

Portuguese Meat and Cheese Board

Portuguese Sandwiches
Portuguese Sandwiches – Presunto and Mediterranea Sandes with Pork

Signs around the restaurant brag about its authentic Pastel de Nata – a Portuguese popular traditional dessert – and how Beluso is the only Portuguese restaurant in all of Gent to recreate the delicacy. He brings the tiny cake to our table and I sprinkle powdered sugar and cinnamon atop, just as the signs suggest. It’s a flan, no a creme brulee, no but what about the crispy outer shell? It’s heavenly and tasty and hard to describe all at once. We decide we need to visit Portugal immediately.    

Pastel de Nata
Pastel de Nata

 Pastel de Nata

In all, the service was great, the food fantastic, and dessert divine. As we snapped the 2-year old into the stroller and loaded the sippie cups with fresh squeezed lemonade, we were happy for quick google searches and international foods. Spread the word – the Portuguese restaurant in Gent, Belgium is fantastic.

About Celeste Bennekers

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