There are plenty of food festivals to choose from in Belgium, but it’s safe to say, we have a favourite. At the EAT! Brussels Restaurant festival, held each autumn in Bois de la Cambre, you can sample your way around the Brussels restaurant scene, in one easy location.
We attended the first edition of EAT! Brussels last year and were duly impressed. It was a hot and sunny Sunday; the perfect time to stroll the festival with a glass of champagne and sample plates of goodness from new (to us) restaurants from around the city. We hoped the festival would be popular enough to become annual and our wish was granted.
So this year, when we had the opportunity to attend the press opening of EAT! Brussels, we jumped at the chance, and brought along our dear friends from Married With Luggage, who happened to be in town.
If you’ve not yet attended the festival, EAT! Brussels works like this: 25 Brussels restaurants have booths at the festival, where they offer a few small dishes (normally 3-5) in exchange for tokens. Each token = 1€ and can be bought individually or in packages, on-site or in advance on-line. Buying a package will give you a reduced rate and includes extra goodies like tickets for champagne, coffee and ice cream.
In addition to the restaurants, there are several bars, sponsor tents, and eight world regions, also offering food and drink tastings and sometimes products for sale.
Our first stop was the region of Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer, in Morocco. The four of us are discussing Morocco as a future destination so we were eager to sample the food and take some notes.
Then the Canadians spotted the province of Quebec, so of course we had to show our ‘true patriot love,’ for our home country. We eagerly discovered the Kanata on-line shop, delivering wonderful Quebecois products to Europe.
From there we found a wonderful Basque delicatessen and sandwich shop in Brussels, called El Vasco. With such good food and friendly service, we can’t wait to try out their shop in Ixelles.
I have never been able to walk by a truffle, so when I spotted, La Truffe Noir, I had to stop. We tried two dishes, covered in truffle goodness. We still haven’t had the opportunity (or budget) to dine at La Truffe Noir, but after our experience with Dinner in the Sky and here at EAT! Brussels, it’s definitely at the top of our splurge list.
Warren was also craving Italian and discovered one of my new favourite restaurants in the city centre, Ricotta & Parmesan. The duck was tasty and the pear risotto was super cheesy.
Finally, because we just couldn’t get enough of Morocco, we has a taste of Bab Dar from right here in Brussels.
I know it will come as quite a shock to our regular readers, but we also had a few drinks at the various EAT! Brussels bars, (in the interests of research of course). Champagne is always well received in our books. We also enjoyed sampling a variety of gin and tonics presented by Miraflor Spirits. (We’ll definitely be checking these guys out in the future!)
With an early morning start for Warren and Betsy, and very full bellies, we called it a night. The 2013 EAT! Brussels festival was even better than the 2012 edition. We still have some tokens in our pockets so we may just have to pop back over before the end of the weekend. See you there!
[Editor’s Note] We realise this post is not following our typical Tuesday/Friday schedule, but we wanted to give you time to visit this year’s event. So we aren’t bombarding you with too many posts, we’ll return to our regular schedule on Friday.
For more great restaurants in Belgium and beyond, check out our Restaurant Review page.