Top chef Willem Hiele received his first Michelin star and made it to onto The World's 50 Best Restaurants’ list at #77 in 2021. This year, he moved his restaurant from Koksijde to the picturesque Oudenburg. Restaurant Willem Hiele is housed in brutalist premises designed by artist and architect Jacques Moeschal. This historic building is tucked away among the centuries-old polders of the Keignaert, a nature reserve with meadows, ditches and fields right outside Ostend.
The chef grew up in a fishing family in Ostend and Koksijde and only uses fish from the North Sea. The sea, earth, polders, and fire are all deeply embedded in his DNA. Willem Hiele lives and cooks according to the rhythms of the seasons. Nature designs the dishes. There is only one menu, with meat, fish, seafood, and seasonal ingredients.
The restaurant also offers seven rooms for guests. When you look outside where the polders beckon, sometimes sunny and sometimes less so – thoroughly Belgian. The windows frame the surroundings in a picture-postcard view. Is it a Permeke landscape or Monet’s gardens? Come see for yourself.