Yes, you have good reasons to live in or emigrate to Spain. And just to be clear, the drizzly weather and showers that fall on your neck every so often are not part of that. No, give me the 320 sunny days a year that the Costa’s offer. As a native Spaniard, who has dutifully mastered the local mores and customs, you naturally love vino and tapas. And yet. Even the most detached Fleming sometimes daydreams of golden fries with a dollop of mayonnaise. From coffee cakes on Sunday mornings. From a good old-fashioned Belgian day dish. Whether or not of the liquid variety that Xavier Waterslaeghers regularly pours down his gullet.
That’s okay. Just because you’re enjoying your spot under the Spanish sun right now, doesn’t mean you should impose a stew ban on yourself from now on. Everyone misses home from time to time. The good news: when homesickness rears its head, you have more than enough options to find a piece of Belgium in Spain. A whole host of Flemish entrepreneurs are ready to make you feel as if you are not in sunny Spain, but somewhere on the sackcloth ground between the coast and Maasland. But where do they fry the best Belgian fries? Where do they serve the frothiest Bolleke Koninck? We asked Flemish people on the Spanish costas for tips.
What better way to silence the homesickness than with a nice pack of fries? All worries are forgotten from the moment a Belgian hears the oil crackle and he can choose his favorite snack from a meter-long refrigerated counter. In Spain, any right-minded countryman is sure to get his due: there is even an importer that imports all fry products. Especially on the costas, where many Belgians live and take vacations, you will regularly encounter a Belgian chip shop. These are our readers’ favorites.
Avenida Rei Juan Carlos I 61, Jalón
Inland from Calpe, Sara and Andy have a chip shop in Jalón, where they serve generous portions of Belgian fries with a smile. Fresh stew meat, all the sauces your heart (and your cholesterol) could want and Belgian beers are also available here. The proprietors rotate ice cream themselves, in case you’re not satiated after your big grab. Opening hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday 11am-23pm. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
French fry La Patata
Calle Bizet 5, Torrevieja
They also come into their own in Torrevieja, compatriots who fell into a cauldron of frying fat as children and have since had an irresistible urge to walk into any fryer. At La Patata French Fries, the fries are made fresh and you will find a wide selection of snacks – such as satay, frikandel spécial and cervela. The samurai sauce suddenly transports you to the homeland. Bicky Burgers are also on the menu, as well as stew and mussels in pickles. In addition, you can pick up your free copy of the CostaKrant here, the Dutch-language newspaper with news and events about Costa Blanca South. Open from 5 pm.
Calle Vientos del Sur Riviera 2, Mijas
On the Costa del Sol, between Marbella, Torremolinos and Malaga, Wim and his father-in-law Pierre serve delicious Belgian fries. The taste of Belgium in a cone bag. At Boem Patat
you could also go for all kinds of deep-fried snacks – the variety is greater than in some fryers in the homeland – and mussels the Belgian way. Even the Spaniards can taste the Belgian gold. “They come in sparsely now, because they don’t know the concept that well. Spaniards are often of the hour-long table,” said manager Wim. “Once inside, they love the currywurst and we let them taste all the sauces.” Attention: recently, Boem Patat announced the closing of the doors of the business in Calahonda. Information about a project in a new location will follow. Spanish fries fans are crossing their fingers.
Bread and coffee cakes
Avenida Cortes Valencianas s/n (parking Mercadona Aguas Nuevas), Torrevieja
Admit it: on a weekend morning, little beats a nice coffee cake with chocolate and pudding. Sitting on the terrace in your peignoir for a long time, with a cup of coffee and a newspaper… Delightful. Flemings living in Torrevieja should not miss any of that dreamscape. This is because the Belgian hot bakery Panadería Delipan provides the necessary goodies from the oven, from bread to coffee cakes. They also provide pastries for events. Or settle down on the terrace to devour all these delicacies on the spot. Whether you fancy an éclair, a panhandle, a sandwiches or a full breakfast. Open Monday through Saturday, 8am-4pm.
Belgian beer and Flemish food
Calle Misionero Vecancio Ortiz 28, Rojales
In the hinterland of Torrevieja, on the Costa Blanca, you can eat steak with fries, tomato shrimp, blind finch or chicken with potatoes in the sunshine at this Flemish bar. Prices for the daily specials are more than democratic, with meals starting as low as €6.50. Flushing can be done with a Jupiler, Leffe, Grimbergen, Kriek Lindemans, Duvel, Omer, Papegaei, Westmalle, Pirate, La Chouffe or Kwak. The operators are from Torhout. Closed Sunday.
Bar San Remo
Calle Guindi 10, El Chaparral (Torrevieja)
Very cozy and hospitable pub where not only lovers of Belgian beers will find what they are looking for. The operating Antwerp couple also serves tapas and cocktails. And already organizes a dance night where the legs can be thrown loose. Here you can also watch Belgian or foreign soccer, although the choice often falls on Antwerp FC.
Plaza Nueva 2, Albox
A Flemish cook makes in Albox, in the province of Almeria, the traditional food of ours: vidé, cod, endives in the oven, steak with fries, Zeeland mussels and you name it. You can get a Maes van ‘t barrel or pick a heavier beer from the extensive beer list. On lost Mondays, apple buns and sausage rolls are available at El Mirador, also to take away. The prices are correct, the atmosphere cozy and Evita and Peter, the Flemish couple who run this place, welcome you with open arms.
Bar San Pedro
Paseo del Mediterraneo 443, Mojacar
This café is world-famous among Flemish cyclists and cycle tourists on good-weather training on the Spanish coasts. Nico Mattan, among others, came here in the past. The selection of Belgian beer is very large, including Hoegaarden, Grimbergen, Leffe, Westmalle, La Chouffe, and less commonly available barleywoods such as Delirium, Kwaremont, Kwak, Viven, Geuze Boon, St. John’s, and others. Feuillion and Saint Bernard. The bowl of nuts with the beer completes the picture, although you can also feast on Belgian ‘tapas’ such as bitterballen, shrimp croquettes and curry sausages spécial. Those who are less sporty, but love the race, come and watch the spring classics on a big screen at San Pedro. The proprietor strikes up a free keg every time a Belgian is allowed to throw their hands in the air. Opening hours: noon to late.
Bistro d Costa
Carrer Vall de Biar 4, La Nucia
Bitterballen, mussels the Flemish way or Belgian waffles: you’ll find it all at this eatery run by Philip and Inge near Benidorm. The ribs are also always in high demand.
Avenida 11 de Marzo, San Juan de los Terreros
At this Belgian eatery, Annie has been stirring the cooking pots with love and dedication for many years. Together with her husband Danny, she spoils guests with Flemish toppings such as chicken breast, steak tartare, balls in tomato sauce or – inevitably – fries with curry sausage spécial. The large selection of Belgian beers is not to be missed.
Avenida Europa 1, Calpe
Some residents of Calpe call their town the eleventh province of Belgium, so many compatriots enjoy spending time there. At times it is easier to find a Belgian there than a Spaniard. No wonder you can find all the pleasures of living in Belgium in Calpe: from Belgian bakers and leg holders to cafes and fryers. A classic is El Babaron, the restaurant run by West Flanders couple Franky and Fabienne. Not far from the beach, the café is “a meeting place for Belgians, where they drink their trusty Jupiler or Duvel and have a chat,” the couple said. “Some also come to us to speak their minds. Then we enjoy listening to their small or big problems and try to help them.” In addition to a listening ear, customers can also go there for tasty portions of mussels or a Belgian waffle.
Calle de la Pau 32A, Calpe
Tip from Gold Estates founder Bruno De Troch: Kaffee Rudi is a brown café, small and cozy, where Flemish and French speakers fraternize over Belgian soccer and beer. Here the Brussels cafe owner Rudi serves quasi all kinds of barley beer from the homeland and he does it with an eternal smile. When the weather is nice, the terrace is also a pleasant place to be.
Carrer Rocafort 9, Barcelona
A Belgian beer store in Barcelona where owner Henk, born and raised in Belgium and fond of Orval, sells a whole arsenal of trapist, abbey, wheat and lambic beers. If you don’t find your liking here, then it’s best to bring your preferred beer from home. In fact, chances are you won’t find it anywhere else in Spain. For the adventurous drinker, there is a small selection of Catalan beers. In the neighboring bar, open every day from 5 to 11 p.m., you can preview on site, including during tasting sessions.