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Top 6 Restaurants in Brussels – Summer 2014 Edition

By - September 5, 2014 (Updated: October 24, 2018)

This entry is part 9 of 12 in the series Best Restaurants in Belgium.

Where to eat in Brussels, BelgiumToday we share our Top 6 Restaurants in Brussels, Belgium of summer 2014, including a Michelin 2-star, Italian, Fusion, French, Vietnamese, and sustainable restaurants in Brussels.

As we mentioned in our summer round-up of restaurants around Belgium, Andrew and I ‘challenged’ ourselves to try a new restaurant every Wednesday over the summer. The result – we found lots of places worth sharing (as well as a few duds that shall remain nameless).  So, without further ado, here are our Top 6 Restaurants in Brussels of summer 2014.

Restaurant Jef, Sablon

We actually discovered Jef, in Sablon, just before we started our restaurant challenge. We had decided at the last second to check out Pei & Mei (listed below) but they were fully booked. (Moral of the story – make reservations!)

We wandered down Rue Rollebeek, and, coming up empty, we were about to give up, when we spotted Jef.  The menu looked tasty and the tiny interior was inviting so we decided to give it a shot.

Restaurant Jef in Sablon, Brussels

Restaurant Jef in Sablon, Brussels

Jef’s menu is short, seasonal, and creative. My goat cheese salad looked unassuming when it arrived but the flavours popped. Our main courses were hearty,  homey, and served on vintage flora plates, giving the feeling of Sunday lunch at Grandma’s but much, much better than Grandma ever cooked (Sorry Grandma!) Moral of the story – sometimes it’s good NOT to have reservations!

Restaurant Jef's cosy interior with lots of wine corks!

Restaurant Jef’s cosy interior with lots of wine corks!

We Especially Loved: The warm and friendly service and the wall decorated with wine corks.

Restaurant Jef – Rue Haute 20, 1000 Brussels

Peï & Meï, Sablon

We did eventually make it to Pei & Mei, in fact, it was the ‘official’ start of our restaurant challenge – and what a way to start. We could understand why it is regularly fully booked. In this gastronomic bistro, you’ll find traditional Belgian favourites as well as international flavours, all presented with precision and the utmost freshness.

Restaurant Pei & Mei's tasty surprise menu

Restaurant Pei & Mei’s tasty surprise menu

The 5-course ‘menu surprise’ is a bargain at €55, considering the quality and attention to detail. The flavour combinations were truly unique and I found myself ‘mmmming’ over things I don’t normally enjoy (pickles anyone?) The service was exceptionally friendly and helpful, despite the restaurant filling up quickly. Be sure to reserve your table at this one!

We Especially Loved: The surprising takes on traditional dishes and flavours.

Restaurant Peï & Meï – 15, Rue de Rollebeek, 1000 Brussels

Restaurant Bon Bon, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre

Andrew’s ‘splurge choice’ for our Restaurant Challenge was two-star Michelin Bon Bon in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre. This was a gastronomic marathon! It wasn’t cheap, but it was an once-in-a-lifetime foodie experience (for us anyway.) We’re still talking about our favourite course, the Jewels of ‘White Pearl’ oysters with Corsican mint and Vodka-tonic gels.

Our favourite dish from Restaurant Bon Bon

Our favourite dish from Restaurant Bon Bon

You can read our full review and see photographs of our entire menu on our Restaurant Bon Bon Review.

We Especially Loved: The take home menu ‘booklet’ listing all of our courses.

Restaurant Bon Bon – Avenue de Tervueren 453, 1150 Woluwe-Saint-Pierre

Pho Pho, Boniface

The restaurant challenge is not all about fancy food and Michelin stars. In fact, we love it when we find a great, fresh, tasty restaurant that is still budget-friendly. (We’ve got a post in the works of our favourite cheap eats in Brussels coming soon!) I had been hearing about and wanting to try Pho Pho for ages and the restaurant challenge was the perfect opportunity.

Cheap and delicious Vietnamese from Pho Pho

Cheap and delicious Vietnamese from Pho Pho

Pho Pho calls themselves Vietnamese fast food but this is so much fresher and tastier than fast food as we know it. You order at the counter, and choose from a variety of soups and starters, then take a seat in the brightly coloured and comfortable seating area. Then you sit back and wait for the steaming bowls of goodness to arrive.

I love big bowls of Asian noodles (as you can tell from my rave review of Samourai Ramen) and Pho is my all time favourite. Pho Pho’s soups are HUGE, fresh and delicious. If it was located just a bit closer to our house, I’d probably be there every day. I can’t believe I waited this long to try it out.

We Especially Loved: Being able to add the fresh elements to our own soups so they taste just the way we like.

Pho Pho Vietnamese Fast Food, Rue de la Paix 27, Ixelles, Belgium (New location at Boulevard du Jardin Botanique 6, Brussels)

La Piola, Chatelain

Like Jef, La Piola wasn’t part of the restaurant challenge. I’ve actually been their several times as one of my favourite foodies is married to a member of the staff. When our evening plans cancelled at the last minute, Andrew and I were scrambling for a place to eat. I remembered Andrew had mentioned wanting to try La Piola, so we called to see if they could fit us in. It was a hot night, so we enjoyed Aperol Spritzes on the terrace while we waited for our delicious Italian food to arrive.

La Piola is almost my favourite Italian restaurant in Brussels. (It actually ties with La Mamma but La Mamma is only a few blocks from our flat.) I love the service (and not just because I know a member of the staff), the portions are huge, it’s affordable, and has a young and friendly atmosphere.

Lovely Italian food from La Piola restaurant

Lovely Italian food from La Piola restaurant

But the number one reason – Hot. Melted. Cheese. Seriously, if you go, order the Scamorza. You’re welcome.

We Especially Loved: Did you not just hear me rave about the melted cheese starter?

La Piola Italian Restaurant – Rue du Page 2, 1050 Ixelles.

Chez Oki, Ixelles

I’ve saved my favourite for last (because that’s the kind of gal I am.) It wasn’t the most expensive and it doesn’t have Michelin stars (although I for one would give them a few.) Chez Oki has been on my restaurants to try in Brussels list for years. It’s been around since 2004 – old age for a fine-dining restaurant in Brussels. For some reason, we just never seemed to make it there.

Chez Oki is French and Japanese fusion, something that can go horribly wrong. However, here, it is done so right; it seems like a match made in heaven. Chef Haruki Oki was born in Japan and trained in Michelin stared restaurants in Paris. He marries both of these culinary traditions seamlessly in his dishes.

The Zen interior of Chez Oki

The Zen interior of Chez Oki

We were taken on a surprise 4-course culinary journey from Tokyo to Paris and back, while remaining seated in the perfectly Zen dining room of Chez Oki. A blur of foie gras, sushi, tartar, dumplings, and lamb, were presented to us with care and precision. Every dish was familiar, yet innovative at the same time.

French and Japanese fusion at Chez Oki in Brussels

French and Japanese fusion at Chez Oki in Brussels

It may have taken us 9 years to get to Chez Oki, but we won’t be making that mistake again!

We Especially Loved: Two of our favourite cuisines being married seamlessly

Chez Oki  – 62, Rue Lesbroussart, 1050 Ixelles

Foodie Guide to BrusselsWe still have plenty more restaurants on our ‘must visit’ list and a few more weeks of our Restaurant Challenge to go.

For more great restaurants in Belgium and beyond, check out our Restaurant Review page. Or pick up a copy of our book, the Foodie Guide to Brussels. More than just a restaurant guide, we’ve shared the best Belgian dishes, shops to buy quality, locally made products, and even museums and festivals for foodies.

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Alison Cornford-Matheson
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian travel writer, author, and photographer. She is the founder of, a website dedicated to slow and sustainable travel, off-the-beaten-path destinations, and cultural awareness through travel. She and her husband, Andrew, are the founders of RockFort Media, committed to helping entrepreneurs tell their stories online. Alison has visited over 45 countries and, after living in Belgium for 11 years, now lives full-time in a Bigfoot motorhome named Yeti with Andrew and their well-travelled cat.
Alison Cornford-Matheson
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