12 Cool places for lunch in Mechelen

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Mechelen is a small city located between Antwerp and Brussels. A quintessential Flemish town that has managed to keep its local charm, despite a steadily rising number of tourists flocking to the city each year. The city is young, hip, and very dynamic. New places for lunch in Mechelen mushrooming up weekly. Here are a few of my favorite.

For the longest of time Mechelen was a persona non grata on the tourist itinerary, with a reputation for petty crime and run-down architecture it was just about the last place on any Belgium itinerary – that is supposing it even made it there in the first place.

Thanks to a strong shift in policy, with a clear focus on the integration of the various nationalities living in Mechelen, the city started blossoming. The successful turnaround of the city is heralded across Belgium and as such has ensured more funding for the city.

The funding was put to good use: existing infrastructures are permanently being improved upon (the new train station will have direct high-speed connections to London, Paris, and Amsterdam); new museums are opened and a fund to support local innovations was founded.

To cut a long story short, the city is booming and new cool concept shops & high-quality restaurants are mushrooming up every day. All lunch places mentioned in this guide have vegetarian options, some have vegan options on request.


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Visit Mechelen Belgium
Visit Mechelen Belgium

Food tours in Mechelen

Visiting Mechelen and curious about what the city has to offer? Why not delve in headfirst with a food tour run by passionate locals who can show you where to go, and most importantly what to eat! goodies.

Try out the Maneblussertjes (biscuits or chocolates in the shape of a moon) from Vanderbeek bakery and order a glass of delicious Gouden Carolus beer (brewed locally in Het Anker brewery), available in any bar in town.

 


Relevant articles: Things do to for a weekend in Mechelen


12 places to go for a good lunch in Mechelen

Walking around Mechelen will raise your appetite, after all, exploring requires plenty of energy! Fear not, if there is one thing there is no shortage of in Mechelen it is bars and restaurants. Some restaurants are conveniently located off the main shopping streets, while others are well hidden – sometimes even for locals!

Below you will find a list of 12 lunch spots in Mechelen to satisfy whatever craving you might have.

The healthy lunch in Mechelen

Belgian cuisine is known for being fairly rich in calories: Sauces made of cream, mayonnaise richly spread across just about everything and not to mention the extensive dessert menu with ample opportunity to try dishes made from Belgian Chocolate.

Yet the last few years there has been a strong trend to eat healthier with a focus on using local ingredients and plant-based recipes. Mechelen is rapidly catching up to Brussels and Antwerp when it comes to healthy lunch offerings.

Kind Coconut Mechelen

Kind Coconut

Plantbased, gluten-free and free of any nasty sugars, this place is your go-to for a healthy lunch in Mechelen. The menu contains a list of delicious smoothies, smoothie bowls, and poké bowls. Looking for your Matcha or Kurkuma late fix? This is your place!

All materials used are compostable and thus not only your belly but also the environment will be happy! The restaurant offers both dine-in and takeaway options. The space is small, so if you are popping by during the weekend there is a chance you might have to wait for a little while to be seated.

– Vegetarian & vegan lunch options are available
– Not open for dinner

Address: Geitestraat 23, 2800 Mechelen
Menu & latest opening hours: Website


Lief Mechelen restaurant
Copyright: Bynoushka

Lief

Your go-to place for lunch in Mechelen if you are looking for a spot that works with local ingredients and boasts zero palm oils or refined sugars in their food.  My personal favorite is the quinoa salad or a cheeky green smoothie bowl.

The restaurant offers dine-in or takeaway options. You can also pop in for a coffee, Tumeric late, cold-pressed juices, or Kombucha.

Lief is a big proponent of zero waste. One of their initiatives is providing warm drinks to go in a reusable billie cup that can be used/returned in various restaurants around the city – pay one euro deposit or 2,5 euro if you want a cover and get the money back upon returning the cup.

– Vegetarian & vegan lunch options are available
– Not open for dinner

Address: Count of Egmontstraat 5, 2800 Mechelen
Menu & latest opening hours: Website


Bar Marie Mechelen
Copyright: Bar Marie

Bar Marie

Bar Marie is one of the best places in Mechelen for lunch if you are looking for a cozy interior combined with delicious salads or a warm soup.  The menu changes seasonally and uses nothing but fresh ingredients cultivated by a local farmer who produces his crops as naturally as possible.

Located a few hundred meters away from the main train station of Mechelen, it is the perfect spot to grab a coffee while you wait for your train.

– Vegetarian & vegan lunch options are available
– Not open for dinner or during the weekend

Address: Stationsstraat 55, 2800 Mechelen
Menu & latest opening hours: Website


Best on-the-go lunch in Mechelen

The city of Mechelen has a surprising amount of green spaces either in the city center or within walking distance. When the sun comes out locals prefer to hang out in the park and catch some much-needed – often slightly elusive – rays of sun. Grab lunch on the go and do as the locals do.

Frutsi

Frutsi is conveniently located on the main shopping street of Mechelen, the Bruul. They offer a wide variety of different smoothies and juices as well as different types of salads and sandwiches. There is a (small) store in you are in the market for some quality food products.

Frutsi offers either take away or dine-in option though the dine-in space is rather limited. My personal preference is to order something to take away and sit on one of the benches lining the Bruul to enjoy my lunch while indulging in some good old people watching.

– Vegetarian options available, vegan available upon request
– Not open for dinner

Address: Bruul 91, Mechelen
Menu & latest opening hours: Website


Bar Bib Mechelen

Bar Bib

Sandwiches are prepared on the spot. For those that read Dutch, a large panel at the entrance highlights the more than 30 different types of sandwiches you can choose from. Otherwise, simply tell the person behind the counter which ingredients you do/ do not want on your sandwich.

Address: Vijfhoek 6, Mechelen


Delicatessen Gina

A no-nonsense butcher shop that serves the best takeaway sandwiches in Mechelen. Do not let the somewhat outdated storefront fool you, on a sunny day locals flock here to grab a quick bite to eat.

Sandwiches are prepared on the spot. For those that read Dutch, a large panel at the entrance highlights the more than 30 different types of sandwiches you can choose from. Otherwise, simply tell the person behind the counter which ingredients you do/ do not want on your sandwich.

– Vegetarian options are available
– Not open for dinner

Address: Vijfhoek 6, Mechelen

Weather permitting grab your lunch on the go and head over to one of the many parks in Mechelen for lunch: Kruidtuin, Vrijbroekpark or the Stiltetuin

Restaurants to have an indulgent bite to eat in Mechelen

Enough with the healthy options, sometimes you are just craving for something a little more indulgent. Mechelen has plenty of cute places that will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Gra

Nestled in a very central location at the end of the main shopping street and right on the market square. Gra not only offers the perfect indulgent lunch in Mechelen, but it is also one of the best people-watching spots in town that serves a decent cup of coffee.

This corner coffee bar serves a wide variety of dishes ranging from shakshuka to a wonderfully indulgent French Toast. Portions are generous, décor is very hip and the location is unbeatable. Incidentally, a perfect spot to plonk yourself down, read the newspaper and watch the world go by

– Vegetarian options are available
– Not open for dinner

Address: Bruul 1, 2800 Mechelen
Menu & latest opening hours: Facebook


Foom

This little gem is located on the backside of the St Rumbold’s cathedral. If you are looking for an indulgent lunch in Mechelen, this my friend is the place to be. With the cities best pancakes and a great view over the cathedral, Foom tends to fill up quickly, especially in the weekends.

If you are a late riser, why not indulge in the special formula of High Tea which is served Wednesday to Saturday between 15.00 and 17.00 and on Sunday between 14.30 and 16.30.

Tip: Foom does a special Sunday brunch. It runs from 09.00 until 14.00 and costs 21€ per person. It includes bread, fruit, granola, wraps, pancakes…enough to feed an army really. They also cater to gluten and lactose intolerance, if you let the team know in advance!

– Vegetarian options are available
– Not open for dinner

Address: Sint – Katelijnestraat 2, 2800 Mechelen
Menu & latest opening hours: Website


Kato Gateaux

Kato Gateaux is a plant-based coffee bar in the heart of the city. If you are looking for a light, yet still indulgent lunch in Mechelen this just might be your spot. Kato works together with local producers and will serve you delicious – handmade- (vegan) cakes, cupcakes, and waffles.

Incidentally, this place also serves one of the best espressos in the city. The menu is small, there is ample seating space with a soft cushion that will make you forget the stress of the day. A perfect place for a sneaky little slice of pure indulgence.

– Vegetarian and vegan options are available
– Not open for dinner

Address: Korenmarkt 11, 2800 Mechelen
Menu & latest opening hours: Website

Spots to eat lunch in Mechelen and catch up for hours

While most places mentioned in the above list are cozy, some are just too small to spend hours talking away and catching up. The below selection of lunch places is perfect for just that.

Lunch in Mechelen at Noen Mechelen
Credit: Noen Mechelen

Noen

One of the coziest places for lunch in Mechelen is a little place called “Noen”. All the food is handmade, and so is the interior!

This place has a more traditional Belgian take on brunch (eggs, bread, yogurt, fruit) with impeccable ingredients and a really fun vibe. The (luxury) brunch offer for 2 people costs around €33 and will leave you filled and ready to go explore the city.

– Vegetarian options are available
– Not open for dinner

Address: Leermarkt 24, 2800 Mechelen
Menu & latest opening hours: Website


Sister Bean

Sister Bean has been around in Mechelen for a couple of years and is a very popular spot for breakfast or lunch. They have ample seating space, are located on the iconic ever-buzzing fishmarket. It makes for the perfect place for a long and leisurely catch-up lunch in Mechelen.

Tip: On the weekend they do an all-you-can-eat brunch which is definitely worth getting out of bed for. It runs from 09.00 to 14.30 and costs €25 a person.

– Vegetarian options are available
– Not open for dinner

Address: Vismarkt 26, 2800 Mechelen
Menu & latest opening hours: Website


Coffice Mechelen
Copyright: Coffice Mechelen

Coffice

Coffice is a hip coffee bar that serves a good (light) lunch. Their signature flautillas (sandwiches) are tasty albeit small, if you are hungry consider ordering two. Salads and a variety of breakfast items are also available.

Good to know: Coffice is a great place to get some work done: Plenty of tables, fast internet and drinkable coffee. The first floor has a dedicated co-working/meeting space if you are looking for some more peace and quiet. Ask for more details at the bar

– Vegetarian options are available
– Open for lunch

Address: Ijzerenleen 33, 2800 Mechelen
Menu & latest opening hours: Website

Where to stay in Mechelen

Hotels in Mechelen

Most romantic hotel in town – ($$) Martin’s Patershof

I love a hotel with character and a story to tell. Martin’s Patershof used to serve as a church before being turned into a cozy hotel. Breakfast is served in the old native of the church with the original stained glass lighting up the room.

Location: 5 min walk from the main square
Parking: Available (subject to additional charges)


Coolest Hotel in town – ($$) Brouwerij het Anker
Het Anker is the award-winning Brewery of Mechelen. Part of the brewery has been rebuilt to house the very first brewery hotel in Belgium. The hotel is comfortable, offers a tasty breakfast, and is just around the corner from the quaintest part of Mechelen (the beguinage)

Location: 15 min walk from the main square & the main train station of Mechelen
Parking: Available on-site


Locally run B&B – ($$) Porta Superia

A locally run B&B with a heck of a lot of charm. The interior of warm and inviting, the service absolutely impeccable and the hosts are very charming. Conveniently located right by the main train station!

Location: 6 min walk from the main square
Parking: Available (subject to additional charges)

MORE TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR BELGIUM

Best places for lunch in Mechelen
Three Days in Mechelen
20 Beautiful places in Belgium for your bucketlist
Unique Places to Stay in Belgium
Castle hotels in Belgium

Cool places for lunch in Mechelen: Pin it
Lunch in Mechelen
Lunch in Mechelen

Caroline Muller

Thanks for dropping in! With this blog I hope to harness the power of travel to do good in the world. Think connecting with local cultures, sustainable tourism and in-depth guides to known and lesser-known adventures. 

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