6 nights in Brussels. Suggestions for dinner, please.
Unless it's to die for, we would like to stay with Belgian or ethnic food since we will be going to Paris next and will have our fill or French food there.
I recommend restaurant Vincent, near the Grand Place, in the city centre. It is a very traditional restaurant with seasonal dishes (game in winter etc.) you really shouldn't ask the waiter for ketchup with your Belgian frites. I have never managed to resist the garlic scampi. It is best to reserve a table as its not a well kept secret!
Many restaurants in Brussels would probably describe their style as Franco-Belge and it is not easy to find a local style.
Too many of the places around the Grand Place are basically tourist traps – one dinner and a walk-around is enough to confirm that most of the customers are not local and not very discriminating either. Brussels is however compact – anything that follows (personal favourites) is probably no more than 20 minutes from down town by taxi or public transport.
If you want something authentically local and where the food is good don't miss Friture René at Place de la Résistance, 14 - 1070 Anderlecht - Tel : +32 (0)2 523 28 76 – no website and they don't always take reservations ("just come, we'll find you a table") – oysters, moules frits, steak, wine list not bad – it's where the Belgian ministry for foreign affairs take visitors who want somewhere authentic and unpretentious.
Toucan and Toucan sur Mer, both on Avenue Louis Lepoutre, 1050 Ixelles – one a classic brasserie, the other for sea food. Open seven days until late (not always the case in Brussels) and dependable.
Nearby Canne en Ville at Rue de la Réforme, 22 - 1050 Ixelles - Tel : +32 (0)2 347 29 26 is a hidden treasure that I'm almost reluctant to mention – heavy on meat, steak, gibier in season but also some fish – small, popular so reserve.
Brasserie de la Paix, Rue Ropsy-Chaudron, 49 - 1070 Anderlecht - Tel : +32 (0)2 523 09 58 is not an easy reservation even for lunch (Friday night dinners only – forget it if you have not reserved at least a month in advance) – Michelin star may have allowed them to raise prices a bit more than justified but I have not quite knocked them off my list yet because David Martin's food is so good.
Chez Marie on Rue Alphonse De Witte (hidden behind the church on Place Flagey) also has a Michelin star but the fixed lunch at +/- €18 must be a bargain – gets dearer if you go for the carte but food is generally inventive, the wine list is way above average and athmosphere is memorable.