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Belgium

  • l

Will be visiting Brussels and Bruges in early March. Can any kind Chowhounders give us some "don't miss" places for food, drink, and fun?

Thanks!

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  1. b
    Bride of the Juggler

    I sure can! We went in September, and these are the places we wouldn't miss for the world if we went back. Let me know if you want our list of top beers that are hard to get outside Belgium. Thank you.

    Poechenellekelder
    next to the Manneken Pis, Brussels
    Beer bar with huge list of on tap, weekly specials, bottles.

    A la Becasse
    Rue de Tabora 11, Brussels
    Lambic bar with lambics and geuze, tap and bottles

    Le Tartisan
    27, rue de la Paix, 1050 Bruxelles (Ixelles)
    Artisinal savory and sweet tarts, try Cassonade for dessert

    Maison Antoine
    Place Jourdan, Brussels
    Great frites with many sauces

    In 't Spinnekopke
    1 Place Du Jardin Aux Fleurs, Brussels
    Food made with beer, great beer list, this is the place!

    De Garre
    end of alley off Briedalstraat (links Markt to Burg), Brugge
    Beer bar with huge list of bottles

    Brasserie Belge
    Philipstockstraat 23-25 Brugge
    Fine belgian food - Best meal we had in Belgium

    Sweertvaegher
    Philipstockstraat 29 Brugge
    Best chocolates we had in Belgium

    4 Replies
    1. re: Bride of the Juggler

      Thanks sooo much for your recommendations, Bride! It was very kind of you to take the time to write out that list.

      Yes, I would absolutely be interested in your top beer selections. Some hoppy, and some not hoppy (wheaty, perhaps?), so that we'll both be hoppy - er - I mean happy!

      Thanks again, Bride!

      1. re: Linda
        b
        Bride of the Juggler

        Here you go. Honestly, it's hard to go too wrong with Belgian beer. Try everything! Thank you.

        Top Beers (all strong dark Abbey beers):
        Rochefort 8
        Maredsous 8
        Maredsous 10
        Westvleteren 12

        Lambics, krieks and geuze:
        A La Becasse Lambic Deux
        A La Becasse Lambic Blanc
        Liefman Kriek
        Geuze Mort Subite
        Kriek St Louis
        Geuze Belle-vue

        Wheat beer:
        Brugs Tarwebier

        Saisons (hoppy style):
        Saison Dupont
        Saison Silly

        And the rest...
        Westmalle Dubel
        Brugge Tripel
        Gulden Draak
        Garre de la Tripel
        Rochefort 10
        Ciney Brunne
        Leffe Radieusse
        La Chouffe
        Ramee
        Karmeliet Tripel
        Westvleteren 8
        Affligem Paterswat 2004
        Bon Secours Myrtille [blueberry]
        Westmalle Tripel

        1. re: Bride of the Juggler

          (Here you go. Honestly, it's hard to go too wrong with Belgian beer.)

          Except "Jupiler", which is the mass-produced Michelob/Coors/Bud equivalent. And somehow was the 1st of 44 different beers we sampled on our vacation.

          -=$>Dave<$=-

      2. re: Bride of the Juggler

        I would LOVE your difficult to find Only in Belgium Beer List!
        thanks!
        michelle

      3. I've been living in Brussels for two years, and have several goodies to recommend, but most are outside the city center, so either get a good tram/bus map or a taxi. Congrats, by the way, on being one of the few to consider a trip to Belgium, which in my opinion is an underrated travel gem.

        In the city center, on Rue Antoine Dansaert, a wonderfully inventive tapas place called Comocomo puts Basque pintxos on a sushi-style conveyer belt. (www.comocomo.com) We started going when we first got to Brussels and it had just opened and was undiscovered. Now, you might need a reservation. (I should get commission for all the people I've sent its way!) It is, however, not very expensive, depending on how much you eat. It's also a good place if you don't want to spend 3 hours at dinner. Great Spanish wines.

        In the St. Gilles commune of Brussels, there is a place devoted to the mushroom, Cafe des Spores (www.cafedesspores.com), and if you like mushrooms, this is a can't-miss. It also has a great wine list and a helpful sommelier.

        In the Ixelles commune of Brussels, there are several good places to choose from, and our favorite is En Face de Parachute on the corner of Chausee de Waterloo and Rue Washington.(http://www.sensum.be/guide-english/re...) It is truly divine. They offer a tremendous filet of beef topped with an entire fois gras liver. Also, they only take cash! The wine of the month is often a great bottle at a good price.

        Near Place Chatelain in Ixelles is Le Mangeur d'Etoiles, for good Belgian/French and Belgian/Italian food at a very reasonable price. (http://mmmm.free.fr/scripts/script_de...) If they are full, go around the corner to La Trattoria, a fantastic Italian place on Rue Americaine. (http://www.resto.be/ware/details.jsp?...) You'll know it by the Vespa hanging in the window.

        Also in Ixelles, but a different part of it, is Vini Divini, a great wine bar tucked away off of Chausee d'Ixelles. (http://www.vini-divini.be/) It's quite difficult to find, but once you find it, it's great. Only 24 places, so make a reservation! Might also be cash-only.

        For seafood/mussels, Bij den Boer on Place St. Catherine is the best of the bunch. (http://www.bijdenboer.com/) Stay away from the rue de bouchers! The street with all of the restaurant touts and neon signs is not where you want to spend your money! Go to St. Catherine instead.

        Sorry I give you mostly wine-related recommendations... I guess you know where my heart is! But it's so cheap to get great wine over here...

        Remember, service is included at all restaurants. I generally round up a few euros extra, but a lot of natives don't leave anything extra at all.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Will

          Second the Comocomo suggestion - I went a few months ago and had a blast! Try to sit close to the open kitchen area and if itÂ’s not too busy, the cooks will make up what you request from the menu. Keep an eye out for the fries.

          I also enjoyed dinner at La Tsampa, a vegetarian restaurant (109, rue de Livourne). The menu of the day was very reasonable and the chocolate dessert was delish.

          In Brugges, I had a very nice lunch at Lotus (Wapenmakersstraat 5). Another mostly vegetarian spot. Although it sounds Asian-inspired, the cuisine is not!

          1. re: Anne

            Thanks so much for your recommendations, Anne. We're certainly interested in trying a nice vegetarian spot after serval rounds of substantial beers!

            Cheers!

          2. re: Will

            Will, I think you've mentioned at least three of my favorite things - food on conveyor belts, tapas, and mushrooms! I certainly will do my best to frequest the restaurants you mentioned.

            A question - how can I tell if service is included? Will it be clearly marked on the bill in English, or should I consult my French (or Flemish) phrase book for "service included?"

            Thanks again!

            1. re: Will

              Thanks for the excellent report - BTW we are heading there in a few weeks and really looking forward to it - any updates to this list? Are the places outside the city included in this post?
              Looking 4 mostly bistro quality food, but would like to splurge one night on A Michelin one or two starred place - any ideas.....?

              1. re: Will

                I second En Face du Parachute. The service was terrific and the food was devine. Memorable food and the best example of French fusion. I wish I still lived in Brussels.

              2. My top bar in Brussels is L'Atelier on rue Elise in Ixelles. I hope it is still open.
                Top Beers are as follows:
                1. Ciney Blond on tap, possibly the best blond of this style in the world, possibly only available in Ciney.
                2. ADA (Abbaye d'Aulne) the whole range
                3. Floreffe, the whole range
                4. Foudroyant Geuze
                5. Chimay, the whole range, for continuing to make quality.

                1. Hi Linda, I live in brussels for quite some time, a dedicated foodie and wine drinker :). Some of my favorites restaurants and beers are on my blog www.onfoodandwine.com. There is very little you can go wrong with in Brussels food and beer wise! A don't miss list:
                  food - most of the places named by fellow foodies. There is also the Chez Oki, a firm favorite, although a little expensive.
                  beer - L'Atelier is great. I love Belga as well, beer and fantastic atmosphere on the weekend. Bier Circus.
                  wine - I personally love La Piola. But you'll find a list of quite a few wine bars on my 'Glorious Wines' site.
                  Hope you'll enjoy Brussels - don't forget the parapluie :)

                  1. Do not miss Comme Chez Soi - you will thank me -
                    around the grand Platz = Chez Lyon --touristy but I never miss it for mussels and a cold beer/