Hands up if lockdown made you realise how much you’ve missed going out for a drink or a bite to eat 🙋 2020 turns out to be the year I get to spend A LOT more time discovering my own country (sounds familiar?). That is why I recently dedicated a blog post to Brussels and what to see and do there. But to also add my favourite places to drink and eat there would have meant a post that is wayyy too long, so I split it up. Allow me to share with you my preferred places to eat and drink at in Brussels! I would be more than happy to hear about yours in the comments!
And just let me get the Big Four out of the way:
Fries: my favourites are the chip shop on Place Flagey or the one on Place Jourdan. But the one located most conveniently is probably Fritland by the Bourse.
Waffles: I usually just get them from one of the chains selling them on pretty much every corner in the city centre. But I have heard great things about the waffles at Dandoy (if not waffles, try their biscuits and speculoos!)
Chocolate: first of all: any Belgian chocolate is nice, so if you are looking for quantity just pick up lots of different ones in the supermarket. If you are looking for something a bit more special get something from the chocolatier at Wolf (see below) or if you are willing to splurge some cash: Pierre Marcolini.
I have divided my suggestions by municipality – you can find them displayed on this map:
- Chicago café: quirky place, great for breakfast/brunch/lunch and family friendly.
- La fabrique en ville: schedule a catch up with a friend you haven’t seen in donkey years, splurge a bit on your Sunday brunch and prepare to sit here for hours to eat ALL the food from the buffet.
- Les Filles: bio & local produce and the feeling as if you’re having brunch/lunch/dinner is someone’s (very nicely decorated) living room.
- De Markten Café: located at the community centre De Markten smack bang in the middle of the city, it has a lovely terrace and nice lunch options (limited menu, so less of ‘you choose, you lose)
- Gaston: in love with their ice cream and their logo font.
- Wolf: opened with a bang in December 2019 and since then I’ve been a few times to this food market/lunch place/bar/all the coolest eateries in town gathered in one place. Convenient for groups also so everyone can chose the type of food they want.
- Makisu: not the cosiest place to dine, but great sushi for a good price. Take away is very popular as you can imagine.
- Expresso sandwich: around the corner from where I used to work and offering a fusion menu of Polish and Mediterranean food – what is not to like?
- Caberdouche: I like the square this bar is located on and the nice terrace it has. But also inside – if you manage to score a spot in the Chesterfield sofa’s, go for it!
- A La Mort Subite: I like taking people here to show them this bar with its original 1920s decor – and for their outstanding selection of beers, of course.
- Bar des Amis: only when writing this post did I find out this bar is actually a chain – but I really like the atmosphere in the Brussels one, so plenty more to go try out!
- Piola Libri: bookshop bars and cafés are an ideal combo – but what makes it even better? Aperitivo with free snacks!
- Delirium Café: touristy without a doubt, but I can’t help I it – I like having a beer in their basement and just eyeballing the walls, ceilings and other visitors while sipping one of their record number of beers.
- Flamingo: a very large bar and restaurant, so you won’t have trouble finding a spot. I highly rate the terrace, the vibe, the food, the happy hour specials …
- Toukoul/Kokob: not one but two options if you are craving some nice Ethiopian food! Kokob didn’t take cards last time I went, so make sure you have cash on you.
- NONA: a personal favourite when it comes to pizza, and not just mine! Luckily pizza is served quick – Neapolitan style – so the wait isn’t too long.
- Kumiko: yummy Japanese food in a great setting – get yourself a spot in the courtyard if you can!
- Balls & Glory: mash and meatballs – welcome to my childhood! Also the perfect meal on a rainy day in Brussels.
- Rachel Bagels & Burgers: does exactly what is says on the tin and does it well.
- Bia Mara: Bia Mara launched when I moved back from the UK (the first time) and I loved getting my (albeit Irish) fish & ships here. Now you can find them in two spots in Brussels, Leuven and Antwerp.
- Fin de siècle: usually no reservations – sharing tables and only cash payments if I remember correctly, but corona did change that it seems. But I’m sure it doesn’t change the lovely selection of Belgian dishes and drinks they have on offer.
- Como tapas: Pintxos and tapas meet sushi conveyor belts. You’ve gotta see it to believe it or, even better, taste it.
- Sint-Goriksplein/Place Saint-Géry: if you like people watching then pick a spot on one of the terraces on this square, sit back and enjoy!
- Caffeelatte espressobar: most Italians I know complain about the coffee in Brussels/Belgium, and this place always has a queue of Italians inside/in front of it, so you know it’s worth a try.
- El Turco: great place for lunch and entirely vegetarian. If you are a fan of hummus and falafel you definitely need to head that way.
- Can Tho: a neat little place with some good Vietnamese food. Good lunch option around the European Parliament.
- Café Tulipant: another gem I spotted on Instagram that I wanted to go see for myself. Lovely atmosphere, both for an afternoon coffee with a sweet side, or drinks with friends in the evening.
- Le Pantin: a more traditional Brussels pub where different generations gather, just of Place Flagey.
- Café Belga: a large bar with a big terrace, yet sometimes it’s still hard to find a spot! Go check out the atmosphere yourself.
- C’chicounou: great Middle-Eastern cuisine and which it’s known for – we went on a weekday evening and the place was rammed! So make sure you book ahead.
- Ami: another nice veggie find we stumbled across for dinner. Also vegan and gluten free options available.
- Sint-Bonifaasplein/Place Saint-Boniface: if you are not sure what you fancy for dinner/lunch then this is a good square to meet at: Italian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Greek, Korean, Japanese, Belgian or chicken, ramen, poké… Take your pick!
- Oma: old school brunch! It’s a cute place with a lovely brunch buffet that does not disappoint!
- Chana Pakora & Falafel: the name alone makes me want to go back! If you like Indian/Middle Eastern food then you should definitely give this one a try.
- Café Flora: One of the many great places at Sint-Gillisvoorplein/Parvis de Saint-Gilles – which is a neighbourhood I really like. I spotted this one on Instagram when it opened and went to check it out with a friend. Charming place for drinks!
- Café Maison du Peuple: I like meeting up with/taking people here for a drink – there is always space. I even hosted my birthday drinks here!
- Boentje Café: Lovely little café with a very positive vibe: zero waste, local produce, decorated with recycled goods and, of course, cake!
- Copain: Cosy bar where we stopped to have a drink before visiting Le Zinneke. I would definitely go more often if it was nearer to me!
- Le Zinneke: I took my boyfriend here for his birthday. It’s not cheap but definitely worth it for a celebration – or just if you like mussles. Because mussles is what this place does WELL.
- Au Chapati: a convenient lunch spot when I used to work in the area. While I was living in Birmingham I got so used to having plenty of good Indian eateries nearby, but here in Belgium that isn’t the case. Happy I could go to this one once in a while.
- New Saigon-Bangkok: I’ve been here for lunch and dinner and have yet to be disappointed. The flavours immediately transported us back to our holidays in Vietnam and Cambodja a few years ago.
- Grand Central: a tad overpriced (you’re in the European quarter) but worth a visit for the architecture and layout of the bar, if nothing else.
- Cook & Book: Bookshop meets restaurant – do I need to say more?! Themed rooms and everything … can I move in?
This is not a final list obviously, but these are my suggestions at the moment. Going through them also made me think of all the other places I would like to check out! Let me know what is missing from my list and a must to visit.
If you’d like to check out some other Belgian hot spots, why not read my blog posts on: