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“Innovative ideas led to an excellent meal!”
Review of Refter

Refter
Ranked #242 of 716 Restaurants in Bruges
Price range: $33 - $131
Cuisines: Belgian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
general
Level 6 Contributor
172 reviews
116 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Innovative ideas led to an excellent meal!”
Reviewed May 25, 2014

Preface: I don't like to contribute to tripadvisor unless the site is an obscure one found in my travels, or it receives a strongly varied response from previous reviewers to which I feel I must contribute my experience.

We would have liked to visit De Karmeliet, its 3-star parent, but didn't have the budget. We had read the reviews on Tripadvisor and didn't know what to expect. We got a superb meal.

Among other things, this meal answered a question I had never though to ask: when they breed special pigs to be raised on special diet for the famous (and costly) Jamon Iberico, what happens to the rest of the pig? Answer: they sell it to restaurants such as Refter, which offered me a pork chop which melts in the mouth, including the fatty portion I would normally cut off, together with seasonal vegetables well prepared.

However, the first course was mixed.While I had a superb veloute based on fresh seasonal green peas, my wife had an also-seasonal asperges a la flamande that was no better than one that local friends had served us a few days before.

The restaurant was less than a quarter full, and we were seated near the kitchen, where we could watch and hear the front and back staff with their repartee across the serving window. This is a restaurant where the (young) staff are having a good time, too! We felt part of a party.

Is this experimental? Yes, with its up- and downsides.
Is it value for money? Yes.
Would I return? Yes indeed!

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank AfricaAsiaTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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397 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    112
    137
    64
    51
    33
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Not worth your money”
Reviewed April 4, 2014

The restaurant is a sister restaurant of a renowned De Karmeliet and is located literally around the corner from the latter. It is owned by the same chef and supposedly his son operates Refters, but the father has a significant influence. Association with the De Karmeliet was a selling point for us. It was my birthday, and we had no chance to get into the De Karmeliet on a short notice, so we decided to settle for similar quality, maybe a notch lower. It turned out to be a wrong decision. Things got to a wrong start almost immediately: I ordered martini as an aperitif. When waiter brought the drink, I realized that we might be having cultural misunderstanding – obviously martini in the US and in Europe are two different things. In Europe martini is just a glass of vermouth with ice and lemon, which is perfectly understandable and nothing to complain about, but when I asked to replace the drink – THEY REFUSED and started an argument, that they poured exactly what was ordered and even offered to show the bottle, but outright rejected replacing the drink. For any restaurant that would be an extremely bad practice, but for a restaurant living in the shadow of the De Karmeliet it is just disgraceful. As a dinner proceeded, I continued to observe the service….I noticed, that when people would order wine, the waiter will bring the bottle to the table, show it and…then leave to another desk to open, come back and start pouring….No offer to taste the wine, no cork demonstration ….no usual etiquette that is supposed to be followed when serving wine. On the other hand, if they refused exchanging simple drink, would they accept a patron sending back a bottle of wine not to his taste ???? I SERIOUSLY doubt !!
Food was mediocre at best. Silverware was not changed after each course, fish knifes were not provided for the fish dish. And the bill was hefty.
Overall experience was BAD, and considering expectations just TERRIBLE.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Jake-elephant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durham, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
351 reviews
219 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 231 helpful votes
“Very fatty pork”
Reviewed March 31, 2014 via mobile

Had been recommended this place and could only get booked up for first sitting at 6.30pm.

We had the pork dish, this was very fatty with more fat than pork, and the meatballs (sausage meat) which came with a creamy tomato sauce. Both meals were accompanied by salad and creamy mashed potato.

For dessert we had panna cotta and chocolate mousse.

The two courses were on a set menu costing 25 euros.The food was okay but you did not get a lot for the price.

Plenty of friendly staff and, probably because we were the first sitting, the service was quick.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank durhamd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Braine-l'alleud, Belgium
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Delicious food in a very noisy setting”
Reviewed March 19, 2014

Our food was absolutely delicious. However, the restaurant was so crowded that we might as well have been having dinner with the table next to us. The volume became louder and louder as the evening drew on, not aided by the constant scraping of chair legs on the mosaic floor. The service was extremeley rushed and the wine menu exceptionally overpriced. Having said that, the food was lovely. Wouldn't return because of the decibel problem sadly.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Dee1973_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Level 6 Contributor
82 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Food good; service bizarre”
Reviewed March 6, 2014

Had high expectations which were not met. The food was very good and well prepared. The service style was nothing short of McDonalds. Our hotel made the reservation for us and advised us that there are only two seatings - 6:30 and 9:00 pm. We booked the early seating and arrived to find a long line of other guests waiting to check in. Once everyone is seated the race is on. Servers scurry about and seem to want to rush you into ordering and have no regard for your possible desire to relax and have questions answered. From our table we could see the culinary staff working diligently to plate up multiple orders at once and then wait for service staff to pick up the food. Food is dropped at your table and then staff does their best to get the rest of the guests served or moved out for the late seating. All in all not a pleasant experience and I would not return.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank VolvanaWhite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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