Back at the end of January Takeaway Boy and I set out on our first of many euro foodie adventures planned for the year (the others being Berlin, Copenhagen and San Sebastian). Our aim? To sample as many local delicacies in each country and report back on the best places to drink and dine that we discover. So here are six of our best (and worst) finds in Brussels…
1. Drug Opera
A 19th-century French Brasserie with Old English Style Décor serving traditional Belgian and international specialities.
Our first food stop and first faux pas. Although the interior was charming and staff friendly, the food was disappointingly average. Being that we were in the motherland of moules-frites I didn’t expect to have the worst moules I’ve ever had. Despite a giant portion of the moules, it lacked a giant amount of flavour. Simon had a croque-monsieur €7.95 and also wasn’t impressed with the quality of ingredients and seasoning.
Price point: €€
Address: Grétrystraat 51, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 229 16 66
2. Café Bizon
An intimate, brick-walled bar offering regular blues gigs, cocktails & a large choice of Belgian beers. European spirit measures helps account for the higher prices.
We stumbled across this fantastic bar on our first night and we didn’t leave until the early hours. The interior was captivating; expressive painted portraits of legendary blues singers and a vintage motorbike precariously hanging from above a horseshoe-shaped bar central to the room. Both the bar team and the punters were very welcoming, recommending several beers Simon should try. The favourite? A bottled, Bersalis Tripel. Not for the lightweight drinker mind you, weighing in at a 9% alcohol volume. Also and as a side note, but naturally not of bother to us at all, we’re pretty sure this was a gay bar.
Price point: €€
Address: Rue du Pont de la Carpe 7, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 502 46 99
3. In’t Spinnekopke
A homely bar-restaurant in an 18th-century white-washed cottage with wood panelling, Flemish cuisine & Belgian beers. Very pricey.
Our Air B&B host recommended this spot for dinner, so expectations were high. Restaurant interiors don’t need to be fancy to feel comfortable and this place certainly wasn’t, but the food does need to hit the bar. With the price of just over €90 euros for two courses (one shared) and a carafe of wine, it didn’t.
The meal began with a complimentary basket of bread and a very typical Belgian delicacy – Boudin Blanc – which is a delicate white sausage served with mustard as an appetiser. I found this dish vapid and something neither of us would order again. For our first course, we opted to share the Fondu au Fromage de Maredsous – €11.50. We had a surprise when it came as we were expecting a big pot of melting cheese. Instead what was served was melted cheese encased in a breadcrumb coating. The biggest disappointment was the fillet steak we both ordered, which despite being served medium-rare, as requested, was tough, chewy and not melt-in-the-mouth as the cut should be if left to rest. The lack of music also provided very little ambience.
Price point: €€€
Address: Place du Jardin aux Fleurs 1, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 511 86 95
4. Kombi Bar
Simple traditional Belgian cuisine and great value for money.
We stumbled across this bar after a long walk away from the city centre and what a pleasant surprise it was. We ordered more than we really needed because of our state of famish, but everything was delicious. My French onion soup rivalled any homemade attempt and came with cheesy toast with a great crunch. The frites were piping hot, without a trace of grease and presented in a paper cone. Simon had the charcuterie platter, which was good but not a patch on what you’d find in Italy.
Price point: €
Address: Rue Haute 60, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Phone: +32 486 76 54 27
5. ‘T Kelderke
In a prime location, on the Grand Palace this restaurant offers regional delicacies, including horse steak, in an intimate, vaulted 17th-century dining room.
After my first dire experience of moules mariner in Brussels, I was hesitant to give them another go here, but having been promised great things of this restaurant via our friend, I had to give them another go. The difference was incomparable. The mussels came piled high in a gorgeous copper bowl to ensure they stayed piping hot and swimming in a rich cream and white wine sauce, which could have easily worked as a soup too it was that tasty. Simon ordered meatballs in a tomato sauce – €14 which came as three huge balls on a plate with fresh parsley seasoning. This was one of the best dining experiences of the whole trip. Very friendly staff (plus a lovely chef who let me peak inside the kitchen) and excellent traditional Belgian cuisine. It’s my top recommendation and ‘must visit’.
Price point: €€
Address: Grand Place 15, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 513 73 44
6. Le Roi Des Belges
A relaxed 2-story cafe-bar on a corner with outdoor seating, a spiral staircase & DJs playing music.
Now if like me you find yourself eating way too much in the evenings and are looking for a lighter breakfast, this is your ideal spot. Coffee, tea and juice are served with two fresh croissants, plain and chocolate, and a selection of jams.
Price point: €
Address: Jules Van Praetstraat 35, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 513 51 16
Where else in Brussels is a must for dining and drinks? I love to hear about your favourite spots too. Having just 48 hours to explore, I’m sure there were many other spots that we missed!
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