The Foodie's Guide to Brussels
Brussels is, perhaps one of the most underrated culinary destinations throughout all of Europe. Belgium's dining experience is mainly attributed to its chocolate, beer, and fries, but you may be surprised to hear they take their food very seriously, particularly in Brussels. Borrowing from neighboring countries such as the Netherlands, France, and Germany, they've created their own distinct culinary culture that will likely impress and surprise the taste buds of casual culinary fans and foodies alike.
We’ve put together this guide for the top 10 spots and dishes to sink your teeth into in Brussels, Belgium.
1. C'est Bon C'est Belge
C'est Bon C'est BelgeLink opens in a new tab is well-known for serving some of the best food throughout all of Belgium. One dish on their menu you should definitely try is their “stoemp”. Stoemp is a Belgium classic that came right from the poorer citizens, originally cooked with scraps of whatever was sitting in their pantries.
Today, it's typically made with leeks, mashed potatoes, and carrots, with a nice helping of sausage to top it all off. It's hard to truly describe how delicious this dish is, and is ordered by tourists and locals alike. If you want a true taste of Belgium, you can't pass up this stoemp.
2. Meme Cafe
Mémé CaféLink opens in a new tab is a tiny little spot that sits just a few kilometers away from the Grand Palace, and it's a famous vegetarian joint in Brussels. Pretty much everything on their vegetarian menu is excellent, and the chef even cooks your meal right in front of your face. Being that the place is rather small, it feels much more personal and local than a big restaurant chain. After you've spent the day out seeing all of the cool attractions in Brussels, stop by and give this place a whirl.
3. Mer du Nord
Food/Dish: Moules Frites
This country gets a lot of its cuisine influence from the Atlantic Ocean to the north, giving Brussels a seafood-heavy culinary experience. Look no further than the Moules Frites at Mer du NordLink opens in a new tab, located in the bustling neighborhood known as Sainte-Catherine. This dish is an absolute delicacy, with mussels cooked with a white wine sauce, herbs, and garlic, and then offering golden Belgian Frites on the side. It's one of Brussel's most popular dishes for a reason.
If you're not in the mood for mussels, the rest of the seafood menu is equally as delectable.
Food/Dish: Vegetarian Buffet
DolmaLink opens in a new tab is a place where you can even bring your non-veggie friends and family, and they will still likely love almost everything on the menu. All of their food is grown locally and is as fresh as it gets, and their chefs really like to experiment with spices and recipes (and they almost always deliver on the quality), giving you a dining experience that will stand out from most other vegetarian restaurants. Dolma is located in the south part of the city, fairly close to quarter Flagey, and it's quite casual -- A great place to drop in.
5. Nuovo Rosso
Food/Dish: Italian Pasta
When you came across this article, I'm willing to bet you weren't contemplating all of the authentic Italian hotspots in Brussels. Even still, you should strongly consider making a visit to Nuovo RossoLink opens in a new tab. This small, authentic little restaurant comes complete with the Italian ambiance you come to expect with fine dining. Candles, soft ambient music, high-quality service -- it's all there.
This place is so popular you're going to need a reservation to get in, so make sure you call in advance. Also, this is conveniently located near some of the famous local breweries, so plan a whole day if you're a fan of beer AND Italian food.
6. Marché de Tanneurs
Food/Dish: Pretty Much Everything
Marché de TanneursLink opens in a new tab is actually a fresh food market, rather than a restaurant, but trust us when we say they have some of the highest quality fresh foods in all of Belgium. Everything is produced locally and wholly organic, including the bread and various different kinds of flour! This place can get pretty crazy in the morning, so plan your trip accordingly.
YakiLink opens in a new tab is a city-favorite Vietnamese restaurant, that tastes EXACTLY like the food prepared in Vietnam. They serve both Thai and Vietnamese cuisine and after opening up shop, they quickly gained so much popularity they had to open additional stores just to keep up with the demand. Much like the excellent Italian food mentioned previously, this might not be what people are thinking of when they travel to Belgium.
The great thing about Brussels is that it's a cultural epicenter (with over 175 languages spoken). Yaki is a great representation of the flourishing multicultural environment within the city.
If you're looking for top-tier Brussel's street cuisine, look no further than BallekesLink opens in a new tab. This restaurant has a particular specialty -- meatballs. They offer a dizzying variety of sauces to accompany their meatballs, such as truffle, cherry beer, cream and mushroom, and much, much more. They have a sauce of the month that the locals love to come and try, and the meatballs can either be served with Frites or Brussel sprouts, giving you a healthier option if desired.
9. Beer Mania
Beer ManiaLink opens in a new tab is hard not to love. Not only does it serve some of the best Frites in the city, it also offers over 400 different types of beer. This means if you're looking to try some of Belgium's famous beer this is the best place to go. Their Frites are all made with local ingredients and cooked with as much care and love as their beer.
Food/Dish: Belgian Waffles
We have all heard of Belgian waffles, and ContrebandeLink opens in a new tab is known for having some of the best out there. It's actually a bar, with an assortment of delicacies such as cheesecake and Belgian chocolate. They will serve you some of their excellent beer and treat your stomach all at once!