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Apr 27, 2009 11:54 AM

Belgium and the Netherlands for a budget gastronomist type

Hello. I am a college aged fellow, about to go to Brussels for a month, there to make detours to Amsterdam and the Hague and maybe Gouda (or wherever; undecided, actually) in the Netherlands before heading back down to Belgium, and probably checking out a few trappist breweries and the Ardenes and what not. I am staying in Hostels and such things; I have little money. Any advice regarding beer, chocolate and good eats would be much appreciated, especially with a budget-minded fellow in mind.

As for me (as a new member) I have read chowhound quite often. I am a somewhat dreadful cook, but have a great and uncontrollable fascination with food, generally making plots for meals way excessively in advance.

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  1. I work in Brussels frequently and in fact I'm heading there this weekend. The only downside to your request is the lack of money aspect, given that it isn't an inexpensive town. The best chocolate for me is Pierre Marcolini, which you can purchase by the individual piece in the Sablon or in the Conrad Hilton. Even if you have just one piece, you will have tasted heaven. Highly recommend the violette flavor - my personal favorite. In terms of good eats, you really can't go wrong. There is an embarrassment of riches in terms of good eating establishments. I love Porte des Indes for Indian food, La Kasbah for Moroccan, and Aux Armes des Bruxelles for Belgian. There are too many places to mention in fact. One thing you might consider is going to the Place du Chatelain on a Wednesday afternoon and visiting the marketplace - lovely treats at affordable prices.

    2 Replies
    1. re: isabellaflynn

      Any recommendations for pancakes? I was thinking I would spend more time in Bruges, Antwerp and Gent than Brussels, by the way.

      1. re: cugel

        Foodies traveling to Amsterdam often ask about pancakes. And to be honest, I usually advise against them. I think people like the idea because pancakes are authentic local food in the Netherlands. But at the end of the day, no pancake place ranks high on my list of food experiences.

        Having said that, I do think pancakes are a good fit if you're looking for budget food. I do have pancakes occasionally and my favorite place in Amsterdam is Pancakes! in the Berenstraat, one of the “9 straatjes”: It’s a small, friendly place with some interesting sweet and hearty pancake options.


    2. Thank you. I have bookmarked your website. What about this place?

      3 Replies
      1. re: cugel

        Are good burgers available widely in Belgium?

        1. re: cugel

          Are good burgers available widely in Belgium? No. Wouldn't waste my time on a search, either.

          I'd recommend you try filet américain or toast cannibale if you're keen on some red meat. It is raw, and it is wonderful. Sandwiches with this filing are widely available but vary in quality.

        2. re: cugel

          The Pancake Bakery is good, too. It's much bigger than Pancakes!, has every imaginable combination of toppings on the menu, is located in a brilliant canal house not far from the Anne Frank house and will have a fair share of tourists.


        3. I would definitely appreciate any recommendations about where to find the best horse meat; burgers, tartare, steaks, whatever.