The Olive Tree
An Authentic Taste of Greece in the Heart of Bruges, Belgium
If you’ve ever been to Greece, you’ll know that all good restaurants are owned by big families who welcome you like an old friend, and serve delicious home cooked food bursting with big flavours and no shortage of liquid gold, or good quality olive oil. The Olive Tree offers all of these things, giving an authentic Greek experience in the heart of Bruges, Belgium.
With a beautiful story that begins 11 years ago, The Olive Tree is owned and staffed entirely by a family and a few close friends who moved to Bruges from a small Greek island called Lesvos. The family brought with them the incredible flavours and traditions passed down through generations, as well as their number one ingredient of extra virgin olive oil, bringing a true taste of Greece to Belgium.
You can taste the passion in the food, and feel the warmth of the welcome as you step through the door. The cosy low lit dining room is beautifully decorated with natural wood ornaments and hints of olive green throughout. Candles set in wine bottles fill the windows and decorate the tables throughout, giving off a warming flicker of light and creating a calm and cosy ambiance. Laughter fills the air from groups of friends coming together around incredible cuisine. In true Greek restaurant fashion, a lady dining nearby erupts in song, joining the classic Greek ballad that fills the room.
The Olive Tree offers an extensive menu of Greek dishes, prepared with authentic ingredients and traditional cooking methods. Embark on a culinary journey with the perfectly selected set menu which begins with olives and an aperitif, followed by a selection of traditional Greek appetizers, your choice of main dish, and a delicious homemade desert served with coffee and a digestif.
The starter selection is to die for. A meticulously prepared and presented platter arrives, including a mini Greek salad, Dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), Melitzanes Tiganites (Greek style fried eggplant), Keftedes (delicious Greek meatballs), Spanakopita (melt-in-the-mouth spinach and feta pie), and Patatokefthedes (similar to potato croquettes). A variety of beautifully combined Greek dips completes the dish, with the distinct flavours of Melitzanosalata, Tirosalata, Tzatziki and Taramosalata. It’s a feast for the senses, and one that will leave you looking at flights to the country for more!
Unable to resist the Greek classic, I chose Mousaka for my main. Served with a side of fresh salad and perfectly seasoned rice, the dish did not disappoint. We also tried something a little different - succulent beef topped with Greek cheese, wrapped in a delicate filo pastry nest, and served with delicious roasted potatoes and flavourful rice.
Despite being full and quickly approaching bursting, we couldn’t resist the dessert. A melt-in-your-mouth cake served with an espresso topped off the meal perfectly. Despite it being cold, windy and rainy outside, we left smiling ear to ear and feeling completely satisfied with the delicious food and warm service.
A chat with the owner revealed that The Olive Tree has recently opened a sister company just down the street – The Olive Streetfood. Unable to resist, we made a stop the following day. Greeted with the same warm welcome and enthusiasm, the staff recommended their favourite dishes to us and we were more than happy to take their suggestions.
The Olive Streetfood serves a selection of Greek style salad boxes, wraps, and sides, along with freshly pressed juices (that are literally pressed before your eyes and into the cup you’re holding!) Vegan and vegetarian options are available across the menu, and are incredibly delicious! Of course, in true Greek style only extra virgin olive oil is used in all dishes, which definitely goes a long way to giving that authentic taste of Greece.
The shop is perfectly located between the main square and the canal, so just a few steps in either direction you can have your lunch with a view. So when you can’t stop thinking about the meal you ate at The Olive Tree restaurant the night before, you can head here for round two. As a bonus, the food is served in recycled cardboard, which is great to see from a take out shop!