Northern France Tourism : official website

The façade of Kasteelhof tavern lit up in the evening

A tradition that is alive and well

The ‘estaminets’ are places symbolising cultural heritage and regional cuisine. They exude the authenticity, simplicity and warmth of Nord-Pas de Calais. Meaning a pillared room (from the Walloon word ‘staminé), a place where you go as a family (from the Flemish word ‘stamm’) and drinking a glass quickly (from the Spanish expression ‘esta un minuto’), the ‘estaminets’ began as popular cafés located mainly in Flanders. They are a place to stop off on the way to or from work, to drink a good beer, to eat a meal that warms the body and soul or just somewhere to spend some quality time. Today, ‘estaminets’ are found throughout Nord-Pas de Calais. Some are more authentic than others, but all continue a long-established tradition.

View of Het Blauwershof tavern with its red, white and green shutters
  • The village of Godewaersvelde has no less than five ‘estaminets’ of which the most well known is Blauwershof
  • © Tourisme Nord-Pas de Calais

A welcoming décor

The ‘estaminets’ of Nord-Pas de Calais from La Côte d’Opale to the Lille metropolitan area and the hills of Flanders (where they are most numerous) differ from other restaurants by their friendly atmosphere and homely feel. Their décor is always busy. Roasting pots and garlands of hops decorate the ceiling, old pictures and enamel signs decorate the brick walls, the tables and chairs are wooden; and then there are the traditional games that can be enjoyed as a family or with friends during or after the meal: Toad in the Hole, puff billiards, Dutch shuffleboard and table hockey, etc. The emerging ‘cafés rando’ (walkers’ cafés) have adopted the décor and traditional cuisine of the ‘estaminets’.

A family enjoys themselves playing traditional games in an ‘estaminet’
  • Playing traditional games in the ‘estaminets’ can extend an enjoyable mealtime together
  • © Samuel Dhote
‘Carbonade flamande’, chips and beer in a Flemish ‘estaminet’
  • ‘Carbonade flamande’ (sweet-sour beef and onion stew made with beer) is one of the traditional dishes served in the ‘estaminets’ of Nord-Pas de Calais
  • © Samuel Dhote

A hearty cuisine

The traditional dishes of the ‘estaminets’ are ‘carbonade flamande’, ‘potjevleesch’ and ‘waterzoï’