Waffles, beer, chocolate: what and where to eat in Brussels
Belgian cuisine in Brussels

Waffles, beer, chocolate: what and where to eat in Brussels

Brussels is one of those cities that you can’t experience without trying the local cuisine. And although the Belgians do not promote their specialties as actively as the French or Italians, Brussels cuisine is not just about Brussels sprouts. By the way, the highest concentration of Michelin restaurants per square kilometer in the world is in Belgium.
Gastronomic map of Brussels

Street food: French fries

Belgians believe that it was they who first introduced French fries and are proud of their national dish. Potatoes here are sold in frites, with different sauces and additives.

French fries in Brussels
French fries in Brussels

Maison Antoine at Place Jourdan.

This iconic place has been in business since 1948, run by the third generation of owners. There’s always a line. For fries, this is the first place to come!

Friterie Tabora

Another popular place. In addition to fries, this place makes burgers and hotdogs, and it’s all worth a try.

One way to serve it is with chicken, hot peppers and sauce. Believe me, it is very tasty! A portion will cost 3—7 €.

Belgian waffles

Both a national dish and a street food, they can be unsweetened or dessert, in different sizes and shapes. The choice of fillings is so vast that you won’t have a whole vacation to try them all. Part of Rue de l’Etuve consists of endless shops and kiosks with waffles, where everyone will find something to his taste. They cost about the same everywhere, from 2 to 5 €.

Friterie Tabora
Friterie Tabora

Waffle Factory

The most famous waffle place, where the lines to get in don’t end all day long. Hits: salty waffles with salmon or cheese and, of course, sweet waffles with berries and whipped cream.

Le Funambule

This cafe is a stone’s throw from the Pissing Boy sculpture and offers waffles for every taste, too.

Website: Le Funambule

Belgian beer: a national treasure

Beer makes Brussels one of the beer capitals of the world, along with Munich and Prague. Almost 900 types of beer are produced here, 2/3 of which can be tasted only in Belgium: it is not bottled in industrial bottles and is not sold in mass stores. Some beers have been brewed without interruption for 400—500 years.

Le Funambule
Le Funambule

What beers to try in Belgium:

  • Abbey beer. It used to be brewed exclusively in monasteries, but now it is also brewed in modern breweries. The beer is tinged with spices, coriander, citrus zest. Of the famous brands to the abbey beer is Leffe, it comes in light, semi-dark, dark and red, with a strength of 5% to 9%. To taste Leffe in its homeland and tell how it differs from Leffe from a bottle in a Russian supermarket is a goal worthy of a trip to Brussels.
  • Trappist beer. This is a type of abbey ale, which is brewed according to a special technology exclusively in the monasteries of the Catholic Trappist order. In the whole world only 11 monasteries can brew such beer, 6 of them are in Belgium. Monks use different kinds of hops, and fermentation takes place at high temperatures, which gives the drink a rich flavor with fruity notes. The strength of beer varies from 5% to 11%. The most famous brands are Chimay, Ache, Rochefort.
  • Lambic . The natural fermentation process gives this wheat and barley beer a specific flavor. Sometimes it is aged in port wine barrels, which are purchased by the Belgians directly from Portugal. There are several varieties of lambic:
  1. Gueuze is a blend of young and mature lambic that matures in the bottle, resembles champagne and can be kept for up to 20 years: it gets better and stronger every year.
  2. Kriek is a cherry lambic. On an industrial scale, it is made with cherry juice, but real kriek, infused with real cherries, can only be tasted in Belgium.
  3. Faro — lambics with added sugar. This gives the beer a wine flavor with fruity notes.
  • White beer, or blanche , is said to be the favorite beer of the local youth, among whom drinking ordinary lagers has become unfashionable. It is a light, unfiltered light beer with coriander, cinnamon, spices, orange zest and other additives. Belgians appreciate it for its mild flavor, which is wonderfully refreshing in summer. The most famous blanches are Hoegaarden; Blanche de Bruxelles; Blanche de Bruges; Blanche de Bruges, Blanche de Namur.
  • Kwak is sweet, with a caramel aftertaste. It is served in a special glass on a wooden base. According to legend, the beer itself and the way of serving was invented by the innkeeper Pauwel Kwak: his inn stood on transportation routes and was popular among coachmen, and the laws of the time forbade coachmen to leave their horse and carriage. Kwak invented a glass and a special holder that was placed directly on the wagon and allowed the coachman to knock back a glass of beer at any time without getting off his horse.

In Brussels, you don’t have to look for a particular beer bar, but go anywhere and drink delicious beer. There are up to 50 varieties on tap, and the bartenders are sure to help you choose and give you a taste. And for each type of beer a different glass is offered. In many bars there is no food for beer, except for peanuts and saltine crackers. Often young people sit in such bars, and during the evening they change several such establishments.

Le Funambule
Le Funambule

Delirium Cafe

Mast visit is the iconic Delirium cafe (Delirium cafe). It features more than 2,000 beers on tap. There doesn’t seem to be enough life to try them all.

Website: Delirium Cafe

High art: Belgian chocolate

Brussels is the chocolate capital of the world, with more chocolate factories than any other city on the planet. There are as many candy and chocolate stores in Brussels as there are beer bars, with a choice for every taste and wallet. Almost every store offers to try sweets, and it is very difficult to leave them.

One of the world leaders in the chocolate industry, Leonidas, comes from Brussels. Their sweets can be the best souvenir from Brussels: you can collect boxes of sweets weighing up to a kilogram by yourself. There are about 50 stores of the brand in Brussels alone.

Website: Leonidas

Brussels even has a Cocoa and Chocolate Museum. The tour tells you about the history of chocolate and every half an hour there are tastings.

Brussels' most popular cafes

After fries, beer, waffles and chocolate, it’s unlikely you’ll still be able to eat anything. Still, I’ll share my list of popular cafes in Brussels that I managed to check out personally.

Bia Mara is noted by many travelers as a must-visit place. The cafe is very democratic, specializing in fried fish and chips. The fish is offered different every day, depending on the catch. A portion of fish with potatoes and sauce will cost on average 12 €. It’s so tasty and good that I went there the first time and came back three more times.

Website: Bia Mara

Noordzee is another café that is recommended to include in your itinerary. This is a fast food chain: the tables are right outside and the food is cooked in front of your eyes. The chain specializes in seafood. Everything is delicious, but the prices vary, and don’t let the fast food format fool you: read the menu carefully. A portion of soup will cost 4—6 €, and grilled prawns with a glass of wine — already 22 €.

Website: Noordzee

At Le Bistro you can taste the most delicious mussels. They are cooked in wine, cream or garlic sauce and served in a large pot. The portion weighs 1 kg, so you can order a dish for two people, it will cost 20—23 €.

Website: Le Bistro

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