Area codes: Frederik Vercruysse’s Antwerp

Although Frederik Vercruysse is a fairly new resident of Antwerp, this city and all its nooks and crannies have found a way to his heart. He grew op in Staden, a village near Roeselare, went to college in Ghent and made the move to Antwerp just five years ago. He knows his way around now and feels right at home, although some street names are still a bit hard to remember.
As a top-notch still life and interior photographer, his work often leads him out of his hometown, to places all over the world. His latest exhibition is now at play at Graanmarkt 13. Tempo Polveroso is the outcome of his stay at the Tuscan Villa Lena, where the surroundings – marble quarries and misty scenes – proved to be as interesting as the villa itself.

Photography by Eva Donckers (c)

frederik vercruysse by eva donckers3

I enjoy going out for breakfast on the weekends, but my favourite spot is still here: in my own house, on my own terrace, enjoying those first rays of sunlight. When I do take time to leave the house in the morning, I like going to Life is Art (20 Sint Jorispoort 2000), a really nice breakfast bar. It’s situated on the Mechels Plein, a very cosy square with lots of nice little shops and second hand stores. BLT (Lange Lozanastraat 292 2018), is a nice one too, and really close by. They serve very neat sandwiches and other snacks, in a pleasant, calm setting. Klein (23 Braziliestraat 2000) is also a stunning new addition. They do brunch some weekends, and it’s definitely worth the trip up north.

There are quite a few good options in the city when it comes to lunch or dinner, but the very best is still Graanmartk 13 (13 Graanmarkt, 2000), a restaurant, shop, exhibition space and B&B in one. Everything about this concept works: the kitchen is superb, with an unbeatable quality. They serve star quality dishes, but without too much hassle. And for a reasonable amount of money as well.
When we‘re looking for a bite in our neighbourhood, we often go for Italian. A Tavola (282 Lange Lozanastraat 2018), is really good; perfect when you have an evening to spend. Brusketta (67 Jan van Rijswijcklaan 2018) also serves decent, classic Italian food. For a piece of Italy at home, Sette Piatti (231 Lange Lozanastraat 2018) is a good stop. They have ready-made dishes, burgers and sandwiches but also stock a nice collection of Italian products, like charcuterie or pasta.

Further off, near ‘t Zuid, Yam Thai (76 Volkstraat 2000) and Izumi (Beeldhouwersstraat 44 2000) are perfect getaways when you’re looking for some more oriental flavours, serving Thai and Japanese food respectively. Also Asian and located in this area, thought not suitable for eating is Ibasho (67 Tolstraat 2000), a brand new gallery specializing in Japanese art. I haven’t been able to visit yet, but heard great things so I’m really curious. The are quite a few galleries here in Antwerp that are worth visiting. Spaces like Ingrid Deuss (11, Provinciestraat 11 2018), Zeno X (15 Godtsstraat 2140), Base Alpha (12 Kattenberg 2140) … have become classics, but they’re always good.

frederik vercruysse by eva donckers8

I’m not a big shopper, but there are a few gems I like to pay a visit in the centre. Luckily they’re all not too far away for each other, so they fit right into one nice walk. My wife’s office was located near the docks – she’s part of Initials LA, but they recently moved – so I often took off there, making way to the Kloosterstraat. There are a few good discoveries neighbouring The Recollection (Kloosterstraat 54 2000) . I don’t know its name – I don’t even know if it really has one – but there’s this quaint little gallery, with a peculiar but interesting collection. There’s also a very charming bookshop here, with a great art and photography selection.
Also on the Kloosterstraat is Jespers (16 Oever 2000), one of my favourites too, mainly because of the atmosphere hanging here. It’s like going back into time. The owners are super friendly, making it the perfect grocery store when you’re in need of some coffee or a few slices of ham. Next stop is the Steenhouwersvest. ‘t Stad Leest (16 Steenhouwersvest 2000), is a very nice bookshop, located near a bunch of interesting interior shops. Helder (13 Vrijdagmarkt 2000), is also a really good stop for interior accessories and objects. Around the corner here, you can find Camino (4 Muntstraat 2000) the perfect place for some drinks and a small snack.

I try to go for a run when I can. It clears my mind, giving me a welcome break. I usually do a tour through some of Antwerp’s nicest green spots: Park den Brandt, Nachtgalenpark (Floraliënlaan 115 2020), and Middelheim (61 Middelheimlaan 2020). It’s the perfect combination between sports and art. The artworks and pavilions, the castle and the scenic views make it and ideal route to have a look around while running a few laps.