Brussels is one of the most famous gastronomic destinations in the world, known for its specialties such as moules, frites and chocolate. Yet it actually has one of the highest concentrations of Michelin stars in the world and many innovative new dining spots. We have rounded up 10 of the best places to eat and drink in Brussels, to wet your appetite. It’s a great place to spend a luxurious weekend.
1 – San…for innovative bowl food
One of the rising stars of the Brussels dining scene is SAN. The particularity of San’s two restaurants, on Rue de Flandres and newly opened Rue Joseph Stevens, is that all the food is served in bowls. It’s part of their philosophy of simplicity, although the food is anything but basic. Executive Chef San Degeimbre is of Korean-Belgian origin and has two Michelin stars at his restaurant, L’Air du Temps in Liernu, Belgium. His former sous-chef, Toshiro Fujii, is at the helm of SAN. Feast on a Jackson Pollock inspired medley of Spring vegetables, whilst you watch him and the other chefs at work behind the counter.
2 – Gramm…for Eurasian delicacies
This restaurant is popular with locals and is located in the Flemish speaking area of Brussels on Rue de Flandre. Rest assured though that all languages are spoken at Gramm. In fact head chef Erwan Kenzo Nakata is half Japanese and half Breton. He’s entirely self-taught and specialises in unique fusion dishes. Their 5 course evening menu is a delight – try it with their selection of organic wines for the best effect.
3 – Comptoir des Galeries…for a trendy vibe
Comptoir des Galeries has a great central location next to the famous Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. With a clean, contemporary decor, it’s a good choice if you need a break from sightseeing. There’s a restaurant and a more casual bistro, Le Petit Comptoir. Both will impress with their simple but delicious dishes including the homemade croquettes and their dessert waffles.
4 – Au Vieux Saint Martin…for Belgian specialties
This Brussels institution is always full of locals and has a vibrant atmosphere. Located on the Place du Grand Sablon, it serves up Belgian specialties like carbonnade flamande, a tasty beef and onion stew cooked in beer. The farmhouse chicken vol-au-vent is equally flavourful and there’s an extensive wine list.
5 – Chalet Robinson…for a fairytale setting
For the setting alone, Chalet Robinson is hard to beat. This picture-perfect restaurant is situated on its own island in the Bois de la Cambre. Reaching it by boat is all part of the fun. The menu is surprisingly reasonable, given the gorgeous location and the interior is a contemporary contrast to the traditional exterior. Their specialty, the meatball temptations, are not to be missed – especially the meatballs with caramelized chicory, served with the obligatory fries.
6 – Bocconi at Hotel Amigo…for authentic Mediterranean dishes
Bocconi, located within the Hotel Amigo is a great place to come for Italian cuisine, featuring the best Belgian ingredients. A favourite with politicians and celebrities, it has a very relaxed atmosphere. Try the panzanella and mozzarella di bufala salad, or the vitello tonnato. When it’s warm, you can dine on their alfresco terrace.
7 – La Villa Emily…for old school charm
Housed in a historic building, La Villa Emily oozes charm and class. From the chandeliers to the table settings, everything spells refinement. Yet it’s not at all stuffy and you can eat downstairs at the bar if you want to see head chef Mathieu Jacri and his team at work. They specialize in French cuisine with Italian influences, using the freshest seasonal produce.
8 – Brussels Beer Project…for beer of course!
This collaborative venture is revolutionizing the beer scene in Brussels with its innovative ideas. The Brussels Beer Project was established in 2013 and now supplies beer to over 150 bars and restaurants in Brussels as well as 20 countries. They are supported by 2,000 crowdfunders who participated in their#BeerForLife campaign, with each person paying €160 and receiving 12 beers every year for the rest of their life – what a great initiative! Their Dansaert brewery also has a funky café where you can come and taste their regularly changing beers. They have quirky names such as Red my Lips and Baby Lone.
9 – Laurent Gerbaud…for chocolate
Laurent Gerbaud is a master chocolatier who runs chocolate making workshops from his shop on rue Ravenstein. He uses what is known as couverture chocolate, the best professional quality, and the results are clear to see. In the workshop, you’re taught how to make chocolates using moulds that you then decorate with a mixture of dried fruit and nut – and you get to take them home with you!
10 – Maison Dandoy…for waffles
It would be rude to come to Brussels and not try a waffle, wouldn’t it? Maison Dandoy is famous for its Speculoos ginger biscuits and its waffles and has several locations close to the Grand Place. Established in 1829, they use 100% natural ingredients. Try the chocolate waffle with a warming hot chocolate drink – the diet starts tomorrow.
Have you ever been to Belgium? What best places to eat and drink in Brussels would you add to this list? Do check out our tips on how to spend a luxurious weekend in Brussels too.