It’s not all about the French fries
Although you probably haven’t heard much about Belgian cuisine except for the notorious Belgian waffle, the world’s best chocolate or the tasty French fries (and they’re not even French), once you will arrive in this small land of heaven you will be surprised by the number of gems Belgian gastronomy has to offer. You just have to know the right places. Now let’s get this party started, shall we?
Mamy Louise in Saint-Gilles is a great option if you are looking for some typical Belgian relishes. The restaurant is very chic and stylish, perfect for a lunch in the center with friends. They serve tasty dishes such as the quinoa salad with duck and asparagus (my favourite). If you have a sweet tooth don’t hesitate to try out some of their cheese cake and perfect baked goods accompanied by some freshly made coffee. Make sure to go there early and reserve beforehand, the place is packed with locals!
I would also highly recommend the Chalet Robinson, located in the center of Bois de La Cambre. To reach the restaurant, you will need to jump on a small ferry and cross the charming waters that are home to beautiful fish and birds. The food overall is delightful and the service is very friendly and welcoming. You can enjoy brunches, their excellent Caesar salad, or the mouth-watering roasted Bastogne chicken with apple compoite. It is a great spot to come with your family or friends and enjoy the cozy atmosphere and nature…it truly is a chalet!
Vincent is one of the most authentic, oldest restaurants of the city. Located near Grande Place, this place gives off an extraordinary brasserie atmosphere, and offers excellent old school food (the mussel Parmesan plate is fantastic!). To accompany the delicious food, there is also a wide range of wine selection. The waiters tie in perfectly with the classic, traditional atmosphere — all very charming. For an old-world experience, this is the perfect place to go to.
If you are looking for a breathtaking ambience, Belga Queen is the best option you have in the city. This restaurant used to be a bank, meaning that when you come in, be ready to have a “wow” moment. The architecture is breathtaking and the food satisfying. The staff is a dream team — helpful, friendly and efficient. This restaurant really is a one-of-a-kind experience.
If you are looking for something less luxurious but that still gives a taste of Brussels, Chez Leon is the typical Belgian brasserie. Although the restaurant and its atmosphere are quite simple with its traditional and rustic feel, the food will not disappoint. Their mussels or their dish of fish with a Belgian beer will give you a glimpse of heaven. Its popularity is large, so make sure to reserve!
As an Italian, you can imagine I have quite high expectations for a delicious dish of pasta or a thin and crusty pizza. Saco in this case remains one of the best pizzas I have ever had. This restaurant is located in Schaerbeek, so a bit further from the city center, however it is definitely worth a try. The atmosphere and interior design is rustic and traditional, therefore do not put too much effort on your appearance. The pizza is thin, large and crusty, served with local, genuine ingredients exported from Italy. The one I aways get is the bufala, served with authentic “mozzarella di bufala”. If you want to give this place a try, make sure to reserve in advance as it fills up fast!
Also, If you’re like me and are often in need to indulge your carnivore cravings, a juicy burger is the best way to go. My personal favorite is Marcel’s, although more on the pricey side, the Ixelles restaurant will not disappoint. Although not as exquisite, check out Manhattan’s burgers, perfect for those who after a long shopping day on Avenue Louise, are looking to finish the day off with a burger in a New York’s inspired restaurant surrounded in good company.
If you find yourself in the Auderghem area and wish for something oriental, Arc En Ciel is the perfect option. The restaurant itself is simple and decorated with Asian lanterns, but the food served will just leave you perfectly fulfilled. This Thai cuisine offers everything from fried rice, pad thai, soups, juicy meat and flaming desserts. This was my to go restaurant where I would go almost every week with my family!
Since I was a child, I absolutely adored going to le Balmoral in Ixelles. This restaurant brings back American 80s diner vibes, and if you are lucky enough you may even get to see the waiters glide through the tables on roller skates. This is the perfect place for brunch, either sweet or salty, (I loved the pancakes or the pain perdu with maple syrup). However, their burgers definitely need to be savored at lunch time with some large, roasted potato fries. For a quick dessert, I recommend the brownie smoothie, which I can assure you, is appreciated by everyone!
These are only a few of the infinite possibilities Brussels has to offer in terms of food! Enjoy.