If you're looking for the best meal in Bruges, Belgium, at a backpacker-friendly price, look no farther than Brasserie Medard.
Let's face it, Belgium is full of amazing places to eat. But this place sticks in my mind as outstanding - for quality, atmosphere and price.
A guy at the hostel I was staying at recommended this restaurant - actually he told me if I went anywhere else for dinner I was an idiot. So I headed over, ravenously hungry, after a day of sightseeing and cycling.
The best thing to order is the spaghetti. It costs only 3 euros for a small bowl, and the portion size is enormous. The guys I ate with ordered the large portion and couldn't finish it, despite an impressive effort. The spaghetti was perfectly cooked to al dente and topped with a liberal dollop of rich, hearty bolognese sauce and loads of parmesan cheese. Local wines and a large selection of Belgian beers are offered, also at extremely reasonable prices.
Brasserie Medard is a family-owned and run restaurant with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. We were seated and served by the owner, Martin, who laughed at our travel stories and recommended places for us to visit in Bruges. The laid-back, homey vibe made it completely natural for us to strike up a conversation with the man at the table next to us.
We left satisfied, and returned the following evening for another enormous spaghetti dinner. The menu does have a lot more than just spaghetti. A woman at the table next to us on our second visit had a delicious-looking sandwich stuffed full of meat and cheese. I just couldn't bring myself to branch out when I knew how amazing the spaghetti was.
On warm nights, there are four outdoor tables in front of the restuarant that offer the added bonus of people-watching while you eat.
It's a backpacker's dream come true: a great meal in a clean, comfortable restaurant at a price that won't leave you feeling guilty for going over-budget.