It’s not hard to eat well in Brussels, Belgium, but with thousands of choices and more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else; deciding which restaurant to choose is the hardest part.
One of the best things about dining in Brussels is the range of options. You can find just about any world cuisine represented in the city and prices range from very affordable to astronomical. The following are five of my favorite Brussels restaurants in a wide range of styles, prices and cuisines.
Jaloa – If you are looking for a restaurant with style and wonderful French food, Jaloa is the place for you. Not far from the over-priced tourist traps surrounding Grand Place, Jaloa is located in the St. Catherine area, the former fish market of Brussels. The ingredients are seasonal and of the highest quality. The décor is simple and elegant and the service is impeccable. There is also a lovely garden terrace available in the summer. There are set menus ranging from a 3 course market menu for 38€ to the 80€ prestige menu which includes wine.
Place Sainte Catherine 5-6-7
Soul – Good vegetarian options can be difficult to find in Europe and Brussels is no exception. One of my favorite restaurants however will cater to both the veggies and carnivores in your group. Soul is a macrobiotic restaurant – meaning the food is organic, without preservatives, refined sugar, cream or butter. This may sound entirely boring but, I promise, you won’t feel you are missing a thing. The food is fresh, delicious and filling. Each week there is a “mood menu” that has “a specific effect on your body, mind or soul.” Starters are 6.50€-12.50€. Mains range from 15€-21€.
20 Rue de la Samaritaine
La Kasbah – If you are in search of something a little more exotic, La Kasbah may be the place for you. Entering this Moroccan restaurant will make you forget you are in Europe. The ceiling is decorated with beautiful red lanterns and lush fabrics. The menu consists mainly of grilled meats and tajines (Moroccan stews) served with flat breads or couscous. Prices range from 12.50€ for a vegetarian tajine to 19€ for the Kasbah Royal (with lamb, chicken and sausage). On weekends you can even enjoy a belly-dancing show while you eat.
20 Rue Antoine Dansaert
Mamma Roma – Ask anyone living in Brussels where to get the best pizza and you will undoubtedly hear the same refrain – Mamma Roma’s. Pizzas here are baked on large rectangular trays which are displayed on the counter. You simply point to the pizza you want and the server will cut you a chunk with a large pair of scissors and heat it in the pizza oven. You can sample as many different kinds as you like and you pay by weight. The toppings are at the whim of the pizza cook so you can find anything from your basic Margarita to potato and truffle pizza. Because it is always busy, the pizza is always fresh.
There are currently 3 locations – Place Chatelain, Place Flagey, and Place Jourdan
Tasty Corner – I almost hesitate to give this little secret away, as it is my local weekend hangout. It is always busy with the office lunch crowd on weekdays. Tasty Corner is a small, family-run, Lebanese restaurant that makes everything from scratch. Their menu includes falafels, wraps, kebabs, Tabbouleh and a weekday special. Everything I’ve had there is fresh and delicious. Tasty Corner is the perfect fresh alternative to the normal greasy take-away. (Warning – Don’t confuse it with the similarly named but horrible take-out window next to the Art-Loi metro station.)
Chaussée de Louvain 86
The most important thing to remember when choosing a restaurant in Brussels is to do a bit of research first. There are a lot of foodies here and restaurant reviews are easy to find on-line. Avoid the tourist traps in Grand Place and Rue des Bouchers and trust the crowds of locals. Bonne Appetite!
More on this Guest Blogger
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian garden and travel photographer who has lived in Brussels, Belgium for the past five years with her computer-geek husband and three spoiled house-cats. She writes about Belgium, expat life and European travel on her blog, CheeseWeb. She writes about photography and displays her photos on ACM Photography. In addition to photography and travel, Alison loves good books, good food and good wine.
Thank you, Alison, for sharing your favorite restaurants!