is plenty of good eating to be had in Brussels.... Most people concentrate
on the three classics: mussels (moules), fries (frites)
and chocolate. A few more adventurous bruxellois dishes
include anguilles au vert / palink in't groen (river eels in green
sauce) and turbot waterzooi (turbot fish in cream and egg sauce).
For dessert, try a Belgian waffle (gauffre), also available
in a square Brussels version dusted with powdered sugar, although many
prefer the round, syrup-coated version from Liège.
The matter over which
establishment serves up the best frites (locally known as fritkots)
remains a matter of heated debate. Some argue that the best frites in
Brussels are served at the fritkot near the Barriere de Saint-Gilles,
while others defend St-Josse's Martin (Place Madou) as the prime purveyor
of the authentic Brussels frite just as others claim Antoine remains the
king of the local french fry.
La Friterie de la
Place de la Chapelle, rue Haute-Hoogstraat (near Les Marolles).
Another personal choice for the best frites in Brussels: the
big chunks, fried golden, with the usual dazzling array of sauces.
rue d'Aremberg, just at the exit of "Galleries de la Reine",
in the direction opposite to the Grand-Place - a quirky
combination of old and new, the menu ranges all over the place but the
reason people flock here is the selection of over 30 sweet and savoury
pies (tartes). A slice big enough for a meal, served with
salad, costs €4-6.
Quality food is
available online in and around Brussels from various companies, including
the webportal ebistro.
restaurant gauntlet can be found in Rue des Bouchers-Beenhouwerstraat,
just to the north of Grand Place. The place has a bad reputation for
waiters imposing themselves on passer-by's, trying to lure customers into
their restaurant. The authorities are aware of this, and are trying to
take measures. Some restaurants may also tempt you with cheap prices for
the menus, but when seated, the item on the menu happens to be
unavailable, and you're forced to accept another, noticeably more
expensive dish. Often, the exaggerated price of the wines will also
compensate for the attractive menu. Knowing this however, you may be able
to negociate a better deal before entering.
A few restaurants stand
out from the crowd, though:
Aux Armes de
Bruxelles, 13 Rue des Bouchers-Beenhouwerstraat, tel +32 2 511
5550, closed Mo - basic honest food, including some very decent
18, Rue des Bouchers, tel. +32 2 511 1415. Now franchised into France
as well, but this is the original and, while it's huge and it looks
like a tourist trap, the moules are excellent and it's packed
every day. Moules, beer and a starter will set you back €25, and
kids eat for free.
Outside the Rue des
Bouchers, you may try:
Au Pré Salé,
20, Rue de Flandre-Vlaamsesteenweg (near place St Catherine),
tel. +32 2 513 6545. A former butcher shop, which explains the white
tiled walls and minimal decoration, but locals flock here for some of
the best moules in town, sold by the kilo (figure on €24) and
served up in half a dozen ways. Also serves the full range of other
Rue Henri Mausstraat 19 (by the Bourse-Beurs). Has decent food
and is open every day until 02:00, around 20-30 Euros.
Le Beau Soleil,
7, Rue Joseph Lebeau. This tiny restaurant (approx. 14 seats) looks
like a violin workshop, so you sit next to all the tools and half
finished violins. Unlike other Belgian restaurants, it is open from
9am to 5pm (Mo-Fr), 9am to 6pm (Sat,Sun), closed on Wednesday. The
menu is small, really delicious. (I had the best quiche and cheese
cake of my life!). The atmosphere is informal, so do not expect a
formal restaurant atmosphere. It is more like being invited by
friends. Tel.: 0479420382.
Rue Keyenveld-Keienveldstraat 36, Ixelles-Elsene. It's audience is
mostly made out of young couples or students. Rich choice of beer,
good quality of food. Tel.: +32 2 512 6999
Close to the Bourse
Jules Van Praetstraat (rue Jules Van Praet) is another rapidly developing
street of restaurants and bars. Those of note include:
Place Saint Catherine is
also a popular area, once the fishmongering centre of Brussels. While many
of the fish shops have moved elsewhere it is still home to many good
seafood restaurants featuring lobster as a speciality.
It is outside the
touristic centre that the best deals can be found. Here are a few adresses
in the Upper Town and Louise Area:
23, Rue de la Presse, Bruxelles. Tel. +32 2 217 3831. Closed Saturday
noon and Sundays. Innovative southern French cuisine at affordable
Chez Oki, 62,
Rue Lesbroussart, Ixelles-Elsene. French-Japanese fusion cuisine in a
modern decor. The chef has worked for prestigious restaurants in
Paris. Reasonable prices.
Belga Queen, Rue
du Fossé aux Loups-Wolvengracht 32 - a restaurant within an old,
restored bank building. Has an oyster bar, gorgeous bathrooms (with
strange stall doors), and a cigar bar housed in the old bank vaults.
The young and well-to-do seem to enjoy this place a lot.
Les Larmes du
Tigres (Tears of the Tiger), Justitiepaleis, de Wynantsstraat
21, closed Tu, tel +32 2512 18 77 - upmarket and stylish Thai
restaurant found just behind the Palais de Justice and better than
most food I've eaten in Thailand.
Dolma - a
very nice vegetarian buffet Monday till Saturday from 19 till 21h.
Chaussée d'Ixelles 329. Reservation 02/6498981
La Tsampa' -
a organic/vegetarian shop annex restaurant, closed on Saturday and
Sunday. Rue de Livourne 109.