Two weeks in Benelux
I second Maastricht. Moved here a year ago for the food and atmosphere (from Rotterdam). The hilly province of Limburg is the most foody in the Netherlands, and has many regional specialities, and even some good wine (f.e. Riesling by Apostelhoeve).
The 2000 year old city is a gem. And the food capital of the Netherlands. Simple places serve good food, and on he high end the town has most stars, more than Amsterdam.
Regional dishes are amongst else:
- Knien in ut zoer (rabbit stew, in vinegar, though many varieties are sweetened by apple sirup, often plums are added, and spices like cloves).
- Zoervleisch, also a stew, bit like the rabbit, lots of onions
- Huitschvleisch (translation?)
- Tete de veaux (originally French, localized)
- Vlaai: kind of pastry, can contain fruits like black plums, cherries, apricots, gooseberry, or even rice
For food shopping go visit Adriaan (local wild honey, mustards etc., truffle mayonaise), definitely visit the Salonard, for pastry, bread, cheese, brownie!! - heavenly!
For vlaai go to the Bisschopsmolen.
in the street called Koestraat there is a very nice deli, het Fransche Huis.
Excellent, yes excellent coffee: Blanche Dael
The most typical local spot for dinner is Cafe Sjiek. Fantastic place. Very crowded, no reservation, can be up to an hour waiting time (at their winebar, with some pate or oysters). Good affordable wine (Henri Bourgeois Sancerre, Deux Roche Saint Veran, a very nice Cairanne).
Great terrace under a huge tree. Have asperagus (classic style)!
For fine dining: Beluga is outstanding (2 star, 19,5 GM)! Toine Hermsen is the soulfood of fine dining. For Rotisserie on very very high level go Tout a Fait. Nice classical lunch and affordable 1-star is Chateau Neercanne, a place of great beauty...if you dont eat there, just go have coffee or champagne.
Very nice innovative but true to the classics is Rozemarijn. Best fish is 'O'. If you would want Asian food, go Thai Ichi, where also sushi/sashimi is great (chef is a Thai who lived in Japan).
For simple salad nicoise in relaxed surrounding, de Moriaan.
Feel of France in Maastricht: Petite Bonheur.
Italian like you are in Italy: Gio
Most classical Maastricht lunch: de Bobbel (onion soup!, many regional dishes)
Just outside of town at the river, very good food at Sofa. In a nice suburb: Villeneuve and Bisjop.
We will be traveling by train. We are open to staying for dinner in any of the cities we visit for day trips, but would be just as happy to dine in our "base" cities of Amsterdam and Brussels.
Two full days in Amsterdam, then a day trip to Maastricht ending in Luxembourg.
A full day in Luxembourg (Wednesday, Market Day).
Three full days in Brussels - first night, Thursday, dinner reservation for Comme Chez Soi.
Day trips to Bruges and Ghent, staying in Brussels.
Return to Amsterdam for day trips to Antwerp, Haarlem,The Hague, Rotterdam, all while staying in Amsterdam.
We are (unfortunately) not beer drinkers, so we are primarily interested in local food specialties or personal favorites.
If you like yoyr wines then visit Vyne & have dinner next door at Envy
"first night, Thursday, dinner reservation for Comme Chez Soi"
Why did you prioritise CCS? If you are going for one up-market meal in Brussels, you will probably have a better experience at the Sea Grill which is also two star - neither of these are cheap however.
There are however several one star restaurants with better cost/value ratios. Try Brasserie de la Piax, Bon Bon, Challet de la Foret or Chez Marie.
Someone recommended CCS to us. My son and I will follow your suggestions and, at the very least, investigate your suggestions. With five weeks to departure, the anticipation is building and everyone's suggestions are motivating me to exercise more now so that I can try as many of these delicacies as possible!
Many, many thanks for your time.