This restaurant has two shops, a primary shop/deli and an oyster bar. I arrived in the busy square that houses the restaurant on July 6, 2018. I found a line at the primary and moved to the oyster bar, this, on the day before the oyster bar closed for a two week vacation; sometimes you have to love your timing and luck. I promptly ordered a half-dozen oysters and a glass of house white wine. The oysters were what you would expect from a restaurant with the reputation this one has. In short, excellent. The wine, meh. The staff recommended I dust the oysters with ground pepper, something I had never even thought of. It was an excellent suggestion, though the oysters did not require this treatment. The line next door had disappeared after I finished my oysters so I moved next door to order croquettes made with grey shrimp. These were a little pricey, 13 euros for two, but this specialty of Brussels did not disappoint. There is no seating at the primary La Mer du Nord shop. They offer a counter for ordering food to eat and seafood for take away with a dozen or more high-top tables without seats in the square for eating your meal. I don’t much appreciate this practice, but the turnover it induces at this in-demand-restaurant is probably mandated by the crowds the restaurant attracts. Well-worth a meal or two.
What is bizarre is that I Yelp'd several nearby seafood restaurants on the Ste-Catherine square 100 meters away. None made 4 stars. They were handsomely adorned with white table clothes, crystal, silver, and other fineries scattered along a reflecting pool aside the church but lacked excellent ratings or even very good reviews for food. Are they a tourist trap? I did not stick around to find out.
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