I agree with the previous rater fully. The cafe was a sinful disappointment after the monastery visit. I was literally in tears walking through the sublime atmosphere of the monastery, especially when able to sit down by the legendary fountain. A huge fan of archaeological ruins, I spent much time (several hours) with the exhibits and the site. Afterwards, I was looking forward to the liquid sustenance to correspond with the spiritual sustenance but felt like the cafe is a deliberate antipode to the monastery! The decor is horrible, but that could be forgiven if everything else was in order. Service was indifferent, and occasionally rude. Food is good when you consider that they have the three different monk cheese made at the monastery (so you don’t have to buy a whole kilo yourself) but otherwise the menu is uninspired. Worst yet, the beers (especially the bottles) are served way too cold. What are they thinking?? There was no ceremony, no reverence for the beer at all. It was a great honor to come for the Petite Orval but the lack of both atmosphere and sincerity left a bad taste in the mouth.
Oakes (805) Vancouver, British Columbia | March 22, 2014
This is a cafe near the monastery. The monastery itself is glorious, huge, old, ruins, big crates of beer and bricks of cheese. The cafe just down the road is kind of a let down. It has the atmosphere of a university cafeteria, with the disinterested service to match. You come here for the Orval Vert on tap, which at this point is just about the only way to get that beer. They also have some aged bottles of regular Orval, so theoretically you could put together a really cool tasting. But they haven’t really organized anything like that. What do I want? Atmosphere - like let me look at the monastery. Service - show some passion. These people are clearly jaded after so many tour buses. They have completely forgotten that they are in a beer pilgrimage site, serving one of the greatest beers ever made.
The infamous Orval restaurant is located just a few hundred meters up the road to the grandest Trappist abbey. The restaurant is actually huge, on 3 or 4 levels with enormous windows. Surprisingly modern like most Trappist abbeys attached restaurants. While we visited on a weekend, this one was particularly touristic, even attracting a bus of Japanese despite the fairly remote location. The fresh Orval was served 4 months old, I’d have been curious to try it younger, but it was not possible. The diluted version is worth the curiosity and still a great beer by any standards, but inferior by a fair margin. While we ate well in all Trappist restaurants, L’Ange Gardien will hold a special place in my heart. The menu is very varied and interesting. I had an excellent Orvaliflette for a mere 9.30 euros and my girlfried had a foie gras and seasonal wild mushroom tagliatelle meal that was plain sublime. In the last few weeks, we’d had similar plates in many tables including Toqué, generally acknowledged as the best in Montreal and the Ange Gardien plate was actually tastier. The portion was huge, not even considering its 13 euros price tag and trust me none was leftover. Exceptionally photogenic areas. The beautiful surroundings including lakes, fountains and ruins can be visited for 5.50 euros, a no-brainer. If you’re going to visit one Trappist, pick Orval.
The trappist Abbey is a must visit for all beer geeks although it is a bit outside the beaten track in Belgium. The Orval beer is widespread and is even easy to get in Norway! But, I came to try Petit Orval (Orval Vert) fresh from tap. A lovely beer! At Ratebeer it is listed as 3,5 % and at Ange Gardien as 4,5 %. To bad that the service was extremely slow. Sitting by a table for 10-15 minutes waiting to order a beer is way to long. The place was not crowded at all. My message: Hurry up! (Visited July 3rd 2012)
Jonge and Petit Orval. If you sit outside you can see the monastery. I was surprised how commercial it was and the number of tourists there were visitng. Bought a 12 pack of Orval at the shop for 16 Euro’s. Not the cheapest Orval in Belgium funny enough. The man in the shop told be that Petit Orval never had been bottled. I told him it wasnt true and we almost had a big embarrasing argument going on. Long away from Antwerp/Brussels (200Km). If located there it is a 1 day trip. Food at Ange Garden is delicious.
Restaurant that takes care of dining and drinking the hordes of tourists that make it to Orval. The beer selection is great, you can have old Orval (bottle), young Orval (bottle) or Petit Orval (tap) - what more can you want? The food is pretty bad, cafeteria level stuff, had some duck leg that was darn near inedible - probably should have gone with the orvaliflette, potatoes bacon and Orval cheese can’t go wrong. The service was pretty pro, nice and efficient. They have a shop with some cool merch as well, but the abbey is much better for that. Good place to drink some Orval.
My wife and I visited the abbey in hopes of trying the famed Petit Orval and exploring the monastery grounds. We did just that. The grounds are really very beautiful, and we took many pictures. We also visited the shop inside the walls of the monastery. That is the busiest place we visited in our whole european vacation! I would place money that over 100 cases of Orval left the shop in the ten minutes we were there. People were bringing dolly’s in just to take their haul out. I’m not quite sure what that is all about, but it seemed very odd to me, especially since you can buy that beer almost everywhere in Belgium, and all over the world. But on to the review of A L’Ange Gardien. It is located near the beginning of a long road that leads to the abbey itself. Very modern inside and out, with quite a lot of seating. The ability to speak some french will go a long ways here. This is about the only place we had any real language barrier with speaking English. Fortunately, though, we were able to place our order for a beer and a sampling of their cheese. Our order came out very quickly. The beer was alright and the cheese was pretty good, especially the 18 month. Pricing was decent as well. We spent less than 10 Euro on the visit. If you are a fan of Orval, I recommend making this trek and spending a couple hours.
Drank the Petit Orval here. Nice place, but the Abbey is the real attraction i would say. Staff was kind of slow over here, although the last month of june is not really crowdy to say the least. Selection, well they have the petit Orval and the normal Orval, so that’s good. Furthermore, selection is as usual in Belgium i presume. So, i give the most points for overall, cause it includes my visit to one of the most beautiful abbeys in the world.
Had the requisite Petit Orval. Cool old tavern with a nice atmosphere. The service was quick enough even though the place was packed to the gills. Snacks include ham, nice bread, Orval cheese, and various combinations thereof.
Nate (326) Indiana, Pennsylvania | February 4, 2008
Visited in summer 2004. Great little place to sit and have the Petit Orval, some sausages and cheese with celery salt, and read a book for a while. Within walking distance to the abbey.