Gastronomes will be in heaven in here. Belgian food is frequently quoted as the best in Europe and Brussels has no shortage of acclaimed restaurants, including Comme Chez Soi and Sea Grill.
Traditional Belgian recipes are hearty, rich concoctions of meat, potato and vegetables and good dose of seafood too, thanks to the North Sea coast. And, happily, there are plenty of restaurants in the capital which showcase classics such as waterzooi (eel/ chicken stew), stoemp (mashed potato with vegetables), and moules (mussels). In the last five years or so, however, there’s been a significant increase in restaurants offering lighter, healthier options — see Rouge Tomate and Soul.
A few additional tips
- The majority of restaurants, except those in the tourist hotspots, close in the afternoon — usually between 2pm and 6pm.
- In comparison to the rest of Europe, the Belgians eat relatively early — most dinner reservations are set for around 7pm or 8pm.
- One of the best ways to trial upmarket restaurants is to visit at lunchtime when they’re unlikely to be fully booked and most offer money-saving ‘lunch menus’.
- It’s customary to tip at least 10 per cent in restaurants if you’re happy with the service.
- Restaurants in touristy areas will have menus in English, but several of the ‘local’ places I’ve listed only have them in French. Don’t worry, the waiters usually speak enough English to help you with your selection.
- Vegetarianism is a fairly new (but growing) concept, which means you might have limited options in some establishments.