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In need of restaurant ideas-Brussels

j
jl0328 Aug 7, 2008 02:36 PM

I just found out that I will be in Brussels at the end of the month (8/25-8/28) due to my boyfriend's job. We will be staying at the Sheraton (center city-I think). We both love food and are willing to try anything and everything. Mostly looking for moderately priced places, but could splurge on an over the top night also. I will be on my own for most lunches so any single diner places would be appreciated!

  1. k
    Kelly Aug 9, 2008 02:52 AM

    There's been a fair bit of discussion about Brussels recently on this board, so you might want to do a search and see what you come up with. That said, here are a few of my favourites:

    Downtown
    Le Fourneau - "small plates" with very good ingredients in a suave setting
    Yaki - very bare bones Thai (good for a fast solo lunch); be sure to ask for sticky rice with the curries
    In 't Spinnekopke - specialising in cuisine a la biere, in a 17th-century building
    Chez Vincent - physically near but, in terms of quality, far removed from the tourist traps on the rue des Bouchers; solid brasserie cooking (this and Spinnekopke are my standard "Belgian" go-to's).
    Re-Source - haven't been yet but have heard from people this might be a good option for your splurge; very creative cooking
    Le Perroquet (bar) - between the Place du Sablon and the Palais de Justice; if it's sunny, this is ideally situated for an afternoon drink on the terrace.

    A bit further afield (but still less than a 10-minute cab ride/30-minute walk from downtown)
    Yamato - tiny Japanese noodle bar with great gyoza and katsu don next to Place St-Boniface; good for solo lunches. If it's nice out, follow up with a beer or a divine fresh raspberry juice on the terrace of L'Ultime Atome
    Le Fils de Jules - excellent Basque cooking near the Place du Chatelain (this is my home turf and it's packed with dining options); might be another idea for a slight splurge. You can also enjoy a glass of wine and plate of charcuterie at El Vasco, their sister wine bar just across the street.
    Quentin - nice little wine bar in the same area; good for solo lunches.

    Actually, if you're going to be around on a Wednesday afternoon/evening, that would be the time to visit the Place du Chatelain. It's the day of the weekly market, which might be a bit slower than usual as it's late August -- but currently, it's still heaving with people and with some lovely stalls. Good for a wander followed by a drink and dinner.

    Hope you'll get good weather - enjoy your stay.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Kelly
      m
      michaela Jul 29, 2009 02:11 PM

      Kelly -

      Thanks for posting. I'm not sure if it's a time delay or a just a different taste, but I took my family to Chez Vincent after finding maybe my first ten ideas closed (summer holiday, Tuesday night, etc.) and we were pretty uniformly disappointed, sorry to say.

      Chez Vincent feels like those seafood houses all around the square - just like those in Montmartre in Paris, at the Rialto in Venice, or at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. And I think it basically compares to the rest: totally uninspired cooking, in a nice old-school red-leather-and-brass-tacks atmosphere.

      But our food was really pretty bad and left us all with a bad idea about food in Brussels. The best part of my meal was my frites, and there weren't even that great. And I ordered one of their menus with shrimp croquettes and then sole - nothing off the beaten track. This was after having some amazing sole in Brugges, among other things.

      I will say that I found a new beer that I liked quite a bit there: Cinet. So all was not lost!

      1. re: michaela
        c
        ColD Aug 17, 2009 01:11 PM

        Hello- I just moved to Brussels a few weeks ago for a 6 month or longer assignment for work and am having fun discovering the restaurants and pastry shops.

        As Kelly mentioned, the area around Place du Chatelain is great--tons of restaurants and cute shops. I ate at Olea last weekend and although it wasn't to die for, it was very good and reasonably priced with cute outdoor garden seating. I have a bunch of other places on my list to try in the area--Cafe Panisse in particular looks like it has a nice menu. I've also had good dinners at Rouge Tomate on Avenue Louise. This is a bit pricier, but the food is very good and on the lighter side. They have delicious gazpacho. I like going here because you can go out, but not leave feeling stuffed. If you like Thai food, I had a great dinner at Tom Yam. They have nice garden seating as well. For solo lunches, you could go to Pain Quotidian -- there are a bunch of them around town and they are really good. I'd try the one at the Sablon and then get dessert at Pierre Marcolini down the street. I also had a really good sandwich at Charli on rue St-Catherine. It is a small bakery with sandwiches and pastries. That area is a fun area to walk around and do some shopping along rue Antoine Dansaert. I live in Ixelles--if the weather is nice, you could head down there in the morning to check out the Flagey market (except I think it is closed on Mondays), walk around the Etangs d'Ixelles and then maybe have lunch at Sucre Sale--a cute bakery cafe at Place Ferdinand Coq along the Chausee d'Ixelles. If you don't get dessert there you can walk over to the Chausee de Charleroi to check out Zaabar...very cool chocolate shop with lots of unusual flavors and lots of samples. Enjoy your stay!

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