Our top 10 Slow Food Restaurants in Brussels, Belgium, embrace the movement’s guiding principles of Good, Clean, and Fair in delicious ways.
What is Slow Food?
We mention Slow Food often. If fact, we even have a whole section on CheeseWeb dedicated to it. But what exactly is Slow Food and why do we strive to eat this way?
The Slow Food movement started in 1986, in Italy, as a reaction to McDonald’s proposal to open near the Spanish Steps in Rome. (Thank you Italians!) In 1989, the International Slow Food Movement was founded, in Paris, to protect local food cultures and traditions, and to counteract the industrialisation of food. Today, the movement is active in over 150 different countries and is based on three principles:
- GOOD: quality, flavorsome and healthy food
- CLEAN: production that does not harm the environment
- FAIR: accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for producers
From the Slow Food International Website. (See also their Slow Food Manifesto for Quality)
Eating Slow Food is also about biodiversity. Factory farms focus on producing vast quantities of only one or two species of produce. The myriad other species risk being lost altogether. To combat this, the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiveristy has created The Ark of Taste.
The Ark of Taste travels the world collecting small-scale quality productions that belong to the cultures, history and traditions of the entire planet: an extraordinary heritage of fruits, vegetables, animal breeds, cheeses, breads, sweets and cured meats…
Currently, there are 2303 items on the list and 12 products are from Belgium. These include: Boudin, Herve cheese, traditionally grown witloof (endive), Lambic Beer, and Horseback-fished Brown Shrimp.
Slow Food is important to us, personally, because we love good food. As travellers, we believe one of the best ways to understand a new culture, is through its culinary traditions. Meeting people who are passionate about producing and eating good food is one of the things that drives us.
Slow Food Restaurants in Brussels
But you don’t have to travel the world to find Slow Food, just visit your local farmer or farmer’s market and start talking to people. As interest in Slow Food grows, more and more restaurants are catching on to the demand.
Here in Brussels, we’re fortunate to have an active branch of the Slow Food movement. Every year, they rate restaurants around the city who agree to offer local, clean, and sustainable food.
We’ve tried a number of these restaurants for ourselves and here are our 10 favourites:
- Bon Bon – When we saw the chef head into the terrace herb garden and gather a handful of fresh greens, we saw how ‘local’ some of our ingredients were going to be at this Michelin two-star restaurant. (Read our Restaurant Bon Bon Review)
- Comme Chez Soi – This restaurant is a Brussels Michelin Starred legend. What we didn’t realise is they focus on Slow Food too; with organic produce, a seasonal menu, Belgian wine, and artisanal products like Herve cheese and syrup from Aubel.
- La Buvette – Of all the restaurants on the list, this was quite possibly my favourite dining experience. Not only was the menu creative and elegant, it features many traditional Belgian products I had never seen anywhere else. (Read our La Buvette Restaurant Review)
- Le Café des Spores – Run by the same team as La Buvette, it’s no surprise to see Belgium’s only mushroom restaurant on the Slow Food list. This is a unique and tasty night out and you’ll never look at ‘srooms the same way again. (Read our Café des Spores Review)
- Le Max – This Sardinian restaurant in Schaerbeek holds a special place in my heart as it’s where I first met our Social Media Diva in person. It’s also a great place to experience the Brussels Slow Food scene, as the chef is a long time supporter and honorary president of the Slow Food Convivium in Brussels.
- Le Mess – In addition to being a fun, quirky place to dine, inside a former prison, Le Mess focuses on traditional Belgian dishes. There is a strong emphasis on sustainable seafood and the organic lamb comes from the Gaume region of Wallonia. They even offer a ‘Veggie Thursday’ featuring a vegetarian lunch.
- Les Brigittines – This cosy restaurant wins points for old-school Art Nouveau character, as well as great traditional Belgian food. The chef also highlights local beers from Cantillon and the Brasserie de la Senne both alongside and even in some of his dishes.
- Les Filles – This bustling restaurant near Place Sainte-Catherine offers a traditional family-style dining experience. Not only do you eat from communal dishes, whatever happens to be the meal of the day, you sit with strangers (who may even become friends). The organic food is a bit like Grandma’s comforting meals – but Grandma never served such good wines! Book your tables at Les Filles online.
- Mo Mo – This Tibetan restaurant has quickly become one of our new favourite ‘Cheap Eats’ in Brussels. The delicious dumplings are all made by hand. Served with warming bowls of soup and delicate steamed veggies, you can eat as much as you want without feeling guilty. Book your table at Mo Mo online.
- Wine Bar Sablon – Last (but only alphabetically) is one of our long-running favourites. With a name like ‘Le Wine Bar’ it goes without saying the wines are phenomenal, but the food is also excellent. Many of the products hail from the owner’s region of Pays des Collines in Wallonia and the charcuterie is out of this world! (Read our review of Le Wine Bar). Book your table at Le Wine Bar online
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the Slow Food Movement in general and what your favourite Slow Food restaurants are, in Brussels and beyond.