If there is one thing Andrew and I love about Belgium, it’s the food. We are spoiled for choice for restaurants here with great fresh and local ingredients. Dining out is affordable compared to other European cities and the variety of cuisines is endless.
Below I’ve listed some of our favourite restaurants in Belgium (mainly in Brussels as that’s where we are based). The list includes places we’ve been once and really enjoyed, as well as places we return to regularly. Restaurants marked with three stars *** are ones we’ve been to more than twice.
Please keep in mind restaurants can change over time and we’ve not been to some of these places recently. Some restaurants have been removed from my old list, because we’ve been disappointed in their recent quality.
If you’d like to read more about food and dining in Belgium and beyond, check out the EAT category.
If you are interested in our thoughts on restaurants (and hotels) beyond Belgium, you can read through our Trip-Advisor reviews.
- *** Le Coin des Artists – If I had to pick just one restaurant as a favourite in Brussels (and believe me that would be very, very hard for me) this might just be it. Totally non-descript on the outside, you’d be forgiven for walking right on by. Inside, the restaurant seems trapped in a time gone by. It’s just shabby enough to look well-loved rather than worn out. The chef/owner is a big, jolly Frenchman and what he does in his kitchen is nothing short of a masterpiece. The food is seasonal and the menu is written on a chalkboard each day. There is an extensive wine list as well. This is truly one of Brussels hidden gems.
- Le Zinneke – The first thing people ask us about when they come to Brussels, is where to get mussels, or moules frites. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big mussel eater, due to a shellfish allergy, but Andrew loves them. His advice is to steer well clear of Grand Place and Rue du Bouchers (good advice at all times really) and head for Le Zinneke. They’ve been making mussels for over 70 years in many, many different flavour combinations.
- Le Mess – Been dreaming of dining in a former prison? No? Well you should. The glassed in terrace of Le Mess is particularly lovely. Nice food and good service in a unique setting.
- *** Le Wine Bar – While this may sound like a bar, rather than a restaurant, it is actually both; Cosily located in a wine cellar in Sablon. In addition to a fantastic wine list, the French owner makes his own charcuterie. The menu is short and heavily meat based but the food is superb. We’ve had nothing but excellent service here as well.
- Café Des Spores – If you don’t enjoy mushrooms, skip ahead. If you think fungus is as delicious as we do, this is your restaurant. Everything on the menu features mushrooms of all varieties. We loved the Creme Brulee of Foie Gras and Cepes and the cepe ice cream was better than it sounds.
***Belga Queen and Midi Station – I’ve added these restaurants as one entry as they are owned by the same people and have a lot of similarities. Both are trendy, expensive and have excellent food, particularly seafood. The both also feature clubs with DJs and live music. If you are looking for a special night out, one of these might do the trick. My personal preference is Belga Queen as it seems a bit more intimate that the huge open area of Midi Station.
- Le IIIème Acte (The 3rd Act) – As you may have guessed from the name, this restaurant has a movie theatre theme. The dishes are primarily meat based and very French in style. The duck I had was lovely. It’s worth a trip for the fun, quirky atmosphere.
- La Canne en Ville – We were taken to this restaurant by friends who go there often and we were instantly charmed. It’s a bit like eating at your wealthy auntie’s house. The chateaubriand blew our minds and the portion we were served was enough for 8 people rather than 4. We’ll definitely return.
- *** Jaloa and Jaloa Brasserie – We first visited Jaloa for the Atlantic Canadian Lobster Festival, before the Brasserie existed. We fell in love with the food, service and atmosphere. Now the Brasserie is my go-to spot when I’m recommending some place to eat in St. Catherine.
- *** Meet Meat – This is actually an Argentinean steak house but they’ve mastered the Belgian Frite as well. If you want a big hunk of steak and your idea of a vegetable is a French fry, this is your place. They have great new world wines as well.
- *** Les Deux Frères – This restaurant is a bit off the beaten path, unless you happen to live in Uccle, but it’s worth the trek. They do a potatoes dauphinoises to die for. Fun, Quirky atmosphere and really great food.
- *** ‘T Cuyperke – This was our ‘local’ (ok it’s in Zaventem but close enough) hangout when we lived in Flanders. The service is great. The food is whatever is in season. The portions are big and you always get a little amuse bouche to start with. My favourite is the Scampi van de Huis (Scampi of the house – grilled shrimp in a lobster cream sauce with pasta – delish)
- Caméléon Citron – Right next door to T’ Cuyperke, in Zaventem, this restaurant is a bit less casual but with equally good food. They even have two real chameleons in a terrarium!
- *** Nostra – Literally just up the street from our old house sits Nostra in a converted barn. The interior is beautiful with exposed beams and lovely neutral décor. The food is hearty, meaty and delicious with a side of Belgian Frites.
La Broche – This restaurant is #1 on Trip Advisor for Dinant and we couldn’t agree more. The food was delicious and the presentation was beautiful. Warm friendly service and great wine too.
- De Kraanbrug – We were a bit put off by the dated decor of this restaurant in Mechelen, but luckily the food was great. In the summer you can sit on the barge that double as their terrace.
- Heliport – This restaurant on the water had a Michelin star when we visited, so it was priced accordingly. The food and the ambiance were fantastic, although our service was a bit scattered. I think our waiter was new and he messed up a few of our courses. In the end, we were given a free course to compensate, so we couldn’t complain. It’s definitely worth another visit.
- Het Pomphuis – As the Flemish name suggests, Het Pomphuis was originally a huge pumping station for the dry dock. In 2002, it reopened as a modern bar and restaurant. This trendy Antwerp restaurant maintains its original high ceilings and industrial feel, while serving a high standard of delicious food in a warm atmosphere.
- Ariane – This hotel restaurant in Ypres was a big surprise. The menu was fresh and seasonal, the portions were generous and the presentation and service were great.
- Restaurant Delcoeur – This is another great option in Eupen. The wine parings were excellent as was the price/value ratio. The portions are large, yet beautifully presented and the ingredients are regional. The staff is friendly and we had excellent service.
- Brasserie Pakhuis – This restaurant in Ghent is a great option for an enjoyable evening. The decor inside this old Art Nouveau warehouse is stunning. The atmosphere is noisy and bustling and if you sit upstairs, you have a great view of everything that’s going on in the restaurant below. The food is hearty and quite meat-centric and is perfectly prepared. There is a wide variety of wine and beer, including the house brew. A fun, delicious place for a meal.
- As Ouhes – This is a perfect lunch spot for a sunny afternoon on the terrace, in Liege. The food is typical Belgian Brasserie fare done to quite a good standard. The dishes are casual classic and the service is friendly, if not the promptest in the world. The price/quality ratio is good and the restaurant is often filled with locals and tourists alike – a good sign.
Lunch & Brunch Restaurants
- *** Les Trouvailles de Louise – We love this little tearoom and specialty shop. The baked goods are to die for and brunch is really a bargan. The monthly theme nights are a lot of fun too. Read our full post on Les Trouvailles de Louise.
- *** Cook & Book – This is a collection of restaurants and bookshops under one roof. You can read my full write up here. The 4 cheese ravioli with truffle oil is divine. They also have a big Sunday Brunch.
- L’Orangerie – If you’re after the ultimate brunch in Brussels, this might just be it. It’s not cheap but you certainly won’t leave hungry. Read our full review of L’Orangerie here.
- *** Arcadi Cafe – Always crowded and loud… for good reason. It’s cheap and it’s good. Great quiches and pastas and they have a few resident cats that may come and sit with you.
- *** Vespa Cafe – This is a nice little lunch spot with an Italian flair. Good pastas and antipasti in a bright bustling atmosphere.
- *** Cafe Novo – I’m a big fan of this place and I’m not alone; it’s always crowded. It’s close to Grand Place but off the tourist trail. It’s bright and cheerful and the food is fresh and tasty. Carnivores and Vegetarians will both be happy here. I love their Carbonnade a la Flamand as much as their Falafel.
- *** Le Thé au Harem d’Archi Ahmed – For a hearty lunch, this quirky restaurant in my neighbourhood is a fun spot. The food is a combination of French/Belgian cuisine and delicious Moroccan dishes. Even the salads are big so go hungry.
- ***APDM – Short for “Au Pays des Merveilles” this cafe serves marvellous bagels. In fact, they were the only place we knew of in Brussels to get a decent bagel for quite some time. You can even get fresh bagels to go.
- Cheese and Wine Café – It may seem odd to see a wine bar in the brunch section, but this cafe actually has a great little buffet brunch. The atmosphere is cosy and the food is fresh. We hope to go back and try the wine soon too.
- De Foyer – I’m adding this Antwerp cafe more for its atmosphere than its food, although that’s good too. The cupola of the theatre makes a stunning place to have brunch or even just a coffee.
- *** Comocomo – Ok this isn’t the world’s best tapas, but I still like this place. It’s great if you don’t want a whole lot to eat. The tapas goes by on a conveyor and you pick off what you would like. When you’re done, they count up the plates and you pay. They do have a great Spanish wine list here as well.
- El Pintxo – This is actually an Antwerp restaurant and a bit on the pricy side for tapas but it is well worth it. The food is divine and the atmosphere is friendly. Great wine here too.
- Etiquette – I wasn’t entirely sure where to put this, as it is a wine bar, more than anything else. However, they do serve a tapas menu and have a nice selection of charcuterie. Check out our full review of Etiquette.
- *** Mamma Roma –The pizza at this restaurant is great and sold by weight instead of by the slice. The downside is you never know what kind of pizza they will have when you get there … the upside is you never know what kind of pizza they will have when you get there. My favourite is the potato and truffle pizza. Yum!
- *** La Mamma – I walked by this restaurant for 3 years before I ever set foot in the place, and even then, I was only on the recommendation of a wine guide I had just purchased. Boy was I missing out! This cosy little restaurant on Place St. Josse not only has a great wine list, but also has some of the best Italian food I’ve had outside Italy. The menu is seasonal and fresh and the service is excellent.
- Mi Tango – This tiny restaurant serves a combination of Argentinean Steak and Italian dishes, which would seem odd in any other city. In Brussels, it just works. The food and service is lovely and the huge salads are a great choice for lunch.
- Pizza Lilo – This little pizza spot is a favourite of friends, who shared it with us. The wood-over pizza was excellent and the service was warm and friendly.
- Zoff – Zoff calls itself ‘The Catchy Italian Bar.’ This trendy little spot in Leuven is a great place to grab a snack if you’re shopping on Mechelsestraat or to enjoy a late evening meal in a trendy setting. The huge tapas-style plates are great for sharing and the extensive Italian menu will leave even picky eaters happy.
- Sale Pepe Rosmarino – This is a typical little hidden away Brussels neighbourhood restaurant serving excellent Italian food. The pasta is hand-made and silky smooth. The portions are generous and the flavours are perfect. The service is friendly and helpful. It is small and intimate with a minimal decor. The emphasis is all on the excellent food.
- Dolma – Dolma was our most recent find on the Brussels vegetarian scene. It’s been around a long time and came highly recommended from many veggie friends. Each night they have a buffet of veggie and vegan treats, many with an Asian flair. You can check out each evenings menu on their Facebook Page. They also have a small bio shop on site. This will definitely become a regular spot for us.
- Lukemieke – This vegetarian restaurant is in Leuven and is like eating at a friend’s house. You get a little bit of everything and it’s all tasty. They also have a nice little patio in the summer.
- *** Soul – This restaurant is macrobiotic rather than strictly veggie but they have a great selection of veggie and meat dishes. The food is always fresh and very good and the daily menu always has something interesting on offer. I really love the lentil dishes!
- Safraan – This restaurant takes a little effort to find but it is well worth it. Safraan is located in Oud-Heverlee in a beautiful old house. There are typically two set menus each evening, one that is entirely vegetarian and one that contains fish or meat. The food is fabulous and the setting is worth the trip.
- *** Porte des Indes– Andrew and I love Indian food and used to get Indian take-away often. Gradually either our standards got higher or the quality of Indian restaurants in Brussels went downhill. (I think it was a bit of both). These days I usually cook Indian dishes myself, but if you are looking for an “Indian dining experience” I would recommend Porte des Indes. It is quite expensive but the food is good and the atmosphere is … well, a bit over the top really but lovely (ladies get an orchid to take home). The best thing about Porte is the buffet (I know, I know… thoughts of heat lamps and crusty deep fried food – but it isn’t like that at all). The food is fresh and delish. It’s a great way to try new menu items without paying out for something you may not like (haven’t found anything I didn’t like yet though).
- *** Blue Elephant – Run by the UK company that owns Porte des Indes, Blue Elephant is the Thai version. All the same comments apply, including the buffet.
- Les Larmes Du Tigre – Right behind the Palace of Justice, this restaurant is surprisingly large when you enter. The décor is bold and interesting and there is a wide variety of dishes on the menu. Reasonable prices and tasty food make it a must try.
- Mam-Mam – If you’re looking for good and affordable Thai, we enjoyed this restaurant, not far from Grand Place (but far enough, if you know what I mean). The noodles were tasty and the curry was spicy.
- Kumquat – Tucked away near the Belgian government buildings, this restaurant offers Vietnamese and Thai at reasonable prices. It’s a nice lunch spot and the service is friendly.
- *** Sushi Shop – We’ve had a hard time finding good, affordable sushi in Brussels (we have found good but expensive). Sushi Shop is far from authentic but it’s tasty, reasonably priced and they deliver. Then there is the foie gras sushi – trust me, try it before you mock me.
African and Middle Eastern Restaurants
*** La Kasbah – Very fun atmosphere (I want their lamps) and great food with huge portions. The couscous is great and the chicken tajine I’m sure has a whole bottle of olives in it. Yum! Great service and reasonable prices.
- *** Tasty Corner – Right around the corner from my house, this little lunch spot has the best fresh Lebanese food I’ve ever had. Everything is home-made and their hummus is practically a religious experience. Read more about Tasty Corner in my Brussels Foodie Secrets post.
- Le Palais des Délices – We walked by this Moroccan restaurant in Saint-Josse every day for years without stopping in. We finally went for lunch one day and were so glad we did. The food was excellent, as was the service. The portions were huge and the daily special is a great value. In addition to the typical tajines and couscous dishes, they specialise in Moroccan pastries, so you can even stop in and just pick up a box of sweets to take home. A must-try!