Ever since I moved back to my hometown Tilburg 3,5 years ago, people often ask me what my favorite restaurant in Tilburg is. I always find it difficult to answer as each restaurant has its own positive aspects and it also really depends on what mood you’re in. You can find all restaurants in Tilburg that I’d recommend on my Tilburg food page. But if I had to choose one, I would go for De Houtloods. De Houtloods really stands out and would be reason alone to visit Tilburg. That’s why De Houtloods is probably my favorite restaurant in Tilburg.
You can find De Houtloods in De Spoorzone, the area right behind the Central Station of Tilburg. This area used to be used to repair trains but since a few years it’s going through a huge renovation. Several restaurants, the famous Lochal and new apartments have opened up in the Spoorzone in the last few years. But De Houtloods was the first restaurant to open up in this area. The building is actually the oldest still existing building in the area. It was originally build as a wood storage; hence the name Houtloods (it means ‘wood warehoudse’). They’ve kept the original brickwork and build a glass facade inside of it. This way they keep the original look and feel of the industrial building, but it’s also a comfortable, modern restaurant.
The best seat at De Houtloods, if you ask me, isn’t at a table but at the bar. The bar is attached to the open kitchen, so you can see how the chefs prepare the dishes. You can see how well they’ve prepared everything in the morning and how much work they put into each dish before it leaves the kitchen in the evening. So many actions are being performed before a dish is ready for a guest. Different structures, ingredients, colors… it’s all put together with minuscuul precision.
De Houtloods doesn’t have a menu with starters, mains and desserts. The menu is divided in flavors. There are 4 flavors: light, herbal, rich and sweet. Each flavor has three options; one with meat, one with fish and one vegetarian. The size of each dish is between a regular starter and main. You can order them a-la-care or you can go for the 4, 5 or 6 course chef’s menu where the chef serves you dishes from all the flavors. A vegetarian chef’s menu is also possible.
As a matter of fact, De Houtloods was the first restaurant in Tilburg who took vegetarian dishes to a higher culinary level. When the Houtloods opened up, other restaurants in Tilburg didn’t serve much more than a goat cheese salad or a pasta pesto as their vegetarian dish. At De Houtloods the vegetarian dishes are just as spectacular as their meat or fish companions. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, I’d recommend you to try some vegetarian dishes at the Houtloods to see how tasty vegetarian food can be.