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5 Must Eat Restaurants in Brussels

By alison - April 16, 2012

This entry is part 1 of 10 in the series Best Restaurants in Belgium.

La Kasbah, Brussels, Belgium

La Kasbah, one of our 5 Must Eat Restaurants in Brussels

We can’t believe how often Brussels is overlooked on lists of great foodie cities. If you’ve spent any time on CheeseWeb, you know we are huge fans of the culinary scene in Belgium.

If there’s one thing that makes us even crazier than Belgium being ignored by the foodie press, it’s when we read an article recommending restaurants we know are substandard.

We cry a little bit inside, when we see people recommending Rue des Bouchers as an ‘authentic’ place to dine in Brussels. We shudder at the thought of people paying ridiculous prices for mussels and beer in Grand Place.

So, even though we’re not The Guardian or The New York Times, we want to offer you our suggestions for 5 places you MUST eat in Brussels and we guarantee none of them are on Grand Place or Rue des Bouchers.

Le Coin des Artistes

[Edit: Unfortunately, Le Coin des Artistes has closed since our review was posted. We wish the chef and staff all the best in their next endeavours.]

This little restaurant near Place Flagey sums up everything I love about restaurants in Brussels. Like many of the best places to eat in the city, it is completely unassuming from outside. Inside, it is small, seating only about 20 people, cosy and a little bit shabby, in a well-loved sort of way.

There is no printed menu at Coin des Artistes; a chalk-board, with the evening’s specials written on it, will be brought to your table. One wall is dominated by another huge chalk-board wine list containing some fabulous, yet affordable, wines.

The food, cooked by Chef Jean-Yves Pletsier, is seasonal French cooking at its best. In the winter, the dishes are hearty and warming. In the summer, they are light and fresh.

The service is always warm and friendly and at the end of the evening the chef normally stops by your table for a few words. Coin des Artists is exactly what a neighbourhood restaurant should be, even if it’s not in our neighbourhood.

Le Coin des Artistes [Closed]
Rue du Couloir, 5
1050 Ixelles

La Mamma

La Mamma, however, IS in our neighbourhood, although we didn’t know it for quite some time. In fact, we walked by its vine covered facade for two years before we ever set foot in the restaurant. It wasn’t until we saw it in a guide of where to enjoy good wines in Brussels we ventured inside. We were certainly glad we did.

Delicious pasta at La Mamma

Delicious pasta at La Mamma

In addition to a terrific Italian wine and grappa list, La Mamma features traditional Italian pasta and meat dishes. Many of their ingredients are imported from Italy and there are always seasonal menu selections. The portions are hearty too and we never quite make it to the scrumptious looking desserts.

The atmosphere is so cosy, you almost forget you’re on the bustling Place St. Josse. With Italian being spoken in the kitchen and a heaping plate of Italy on the table before you, you are transported to la dolce vita.

La Mamma
9, Place St. Josse
1210 Brussels

La Kasbah

For those who don’t want to venture far from Grand Place, there are still many wonderful dining options. La Kasbah will transport you all the way to Morocco, without ever leaving Brussels.

We were drawn into this restaurant by the 120 colourful lanterns hanging from the ceiling. We return for the delicious food, fun atmosphere and affordable prices. We take most of our visiting guests here and La Kasbah never disappoints.

La Kasbah, Brussels, Belgium

La Kasbah; come for the lanterns, stay for the food

The menu features couscous, tagines and grilled meats. There are options for vegetarians and carnivores alike. The portions are big enough for sharing and you can even accompany your meal with some Moroccan wines. The atmosphere is festive and the service is always friendly.

La Kasbah
Rue Antoine Dansaert, 20
1000 Brussels

Jaloa

There are a few great options for dining on Place St. Catherine, but our favourite has to be Jaloa and the Jaloa Brasserie. We first discovered Jaloa through the Atlantic Canadian Lobster Festival and when people ask us where to go for seafood in Brussels, this is first on our list.

Jaloa itself is higher priced fine dining and a wonderful experience if you are looking to splurge. The restaurant only seats 25 people and features tasting menus of four, six or nine courses.

The Jaloa Brasserie is more cosy and affordable but with the same high level of quality. The menu is a la carte with the exception of a monthly tasting menu.

Both the restaurant and brasserie feature seasonal, local ingredients and have hidden terraces you can enjoy, during the warmer months.

Jaloa
4 Quai aux Barques
1000 Brussels

Brasserie Jaloa
Place Sainte-Catherine 5 – 7
1000 Brussels

Noordzee / Mer du Nord

If you are looking for a uniquely Brussels foodie experience, you absolutely can’t miss Noordzee / Mer du Nord; Even the name is in two of the official Belgian languages.

Noordzee / Mer du Nord on Place St. Catherine

Noordzee / Mer du Nord on Place St. Catherine

This seafood counter has no seats but that doesn’t stop locals from flocking to this ‘seafood bar’ at lunchtime. Noordzee isn’t even really a restaurant but a fish-seller that happens to sell some of the best seafood snacks in the city.

The fish soup is incredible on a cold day. The mussels, shrimps, calamari and oysters are all as fresh as it gets and washed down with a chilled glass of white wine or champagne. The menu depends on the season and the catch of the day.

In the summer you can enjoy your lunch in the square while you people-watch or do as the locals do and enjoy a snack while you wait as your seafood order is prepared for you to take home.

Mer du Nord / Noordzee
Rue Ste Catherine 45
1000 Bruxelles

In our humble opinion, Brussels has some of the best food on the planet, as long as you don’t trust ‘top lists’ that send you to Rue des Bouchers. Follow the locals and expats to their favourite foodie haunts and we guarantee you’ll have a meal that’s not to be forgotten.

Want more restaurant recommendations? Check out our full restaurant Review listing. Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter for more top tips on Belgium and Europe!

What’s your must eat restaurant in Brussels? Leave your favourites in the comments for us to discover.


Alison

Alison

Big Cheese at CheeseWeb
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of Cheeseweb.eu She landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about this quirky little country. She loves to discover Belgium's hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She loves to travel the world with her husband, Andrew, and spend quiet nights reading with her cats and a glass of red wine. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison
Reason 592 why you NEED to go to French Guiana - FOOD! If you love exotic fruits, spicy dishes, and creative... http://t.co/6l08sWbGtr - 20 hours ago

10 comments

  1. Comment by EurotripTips

    EurotripTips April 16, 2012 at 11:56

    Can’t wait to be in Brussels in October and try them out! :-)

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison April 19, 2012 at 14:20

      If you need any tips for your visit, don’t hesitate to drop me a note!

  2. Comment by Stavros

    Stavros April 16, 2012 at 17:53

    Hey Alison,
    Mer du Nord / Noordzee has open its first restaurant at City2 Bruxelles! I can confirm the fish soup is one of my favorites!

    Cheers

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison April 19, 2012 at 14:20

      That’s great news Stavros! I’m not a huge fan of City2 but it’s good to know there’s something to look forward to if I have to go there :)

  3. Comment by Christine Casteels

    Christine Casteels May 2, 2012 at 21:05

    Hi, being from Brussels I have some you can try out: “Mamy Louise” in the Louise area for the Brussels classics with a refined touch – “Park Side” near Shuman great food and then somewhat outside Brussels but worth the detour is “Orange” in Nossegem, Leuvensesteenweg, classy landlady – wonderfully tasty food. All of these have websites to check out. And I agree, avoid the ‘tourist traps’ although “Royal brasserie Flanders” in rue de Flandre (place st. Catherine) is very good – never had a bad meal there, and the service is very friendly!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 3, 2012 at 11:42

      Thanks for the great tips Christine! We are always looking for new places to try out :)

  4. Comment by Tania Borloo

    Tania Borloo May 15, 2012 at 09:23

    Try the Brussels Tram Experience till end of this year.
    Take time to go to “Alexandre” Rue du Midi (1* Michelin Guide) and “Bleu de toi” Rue des Alexiens 73 where you can eat a lot of special “bintjes” (patatoes) & lobster.

    Do not hesite to eat in a ” fritkot” in Brussels.

    Have a nice day !

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 15, 2012 at 09:58

      We loved the Tram Experience Tania and you can find a post about our visit on CheeseWeb. We haven’t yet visited the other two but I’ll add them to our list!

  5. Comment by Georges Bolle

    Georges Bolle August 23, 2012 at 17:05

    Another must >>> Brasserie St. Georges, Chaussee de Waterloo. Small parking but gorgeous cuisine. Specialities : fries with 5 different fat, you can compare ! Happy hour at dessert time : 2 for 1. Paris-Brest to stay on the train, creme brulee licks your tongue. With my wife we ordered both, so we had 4 for 2…..mmmm. fabulous patisserie and normal things, perfect sauces too.

  6. Comment by Georges Bolle

    Georges Bolle August 23, 2012 at 17:07

    ANTWERP ‘t Mosselhuis, Koolkaai. Mussels prepared in 40 ways, excellent fries.

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