So here is! If you love food but also want to eat healthy during your trip, or you are concern about sustainability as I am, here is my “balanced foodie guide” for Brussels.
AUX BONS ENFANTS (Belgian friterie)
Belgians love fries. We were surprised how much they love them when we found people queuing for a fries sandwich, bread with fries (literally). I will not recommend that place, but we definitely wanted to give a try to the Belgium fries, so we happy we found Aux Bons Enfants. A very cozy brasserie in Place du Grand Sablon, specialized in French fries and Belgium-style croquettes. Also using compostable pots! 😉
Advice: Very recommended to stop for the lunch break and enjoy a portion of fries with a beer, specially on a sunny day!
BIA MARA (Sustainable Fish & Chips)
Living in England and having tried fish and chips a few times, it sounds bad to say that I had the best fish & chips in Belgium, but I honestly did. I LOVED the ethos, the food and the service: I chose the Classic Panko Cod (caught of the day) and we loved it. Sustainably sourced fish served in a wood box, with seaweed salted chips and homemade tartar sauce in a compostable pot, totally plastic-free. I’m glad we asked the waiter for more locations and he told us there is actually another restaurant in London with the same new-school fish & chips concept, Hook (I can’t wait to go). Vegetarian-friendly, good atmosphere and craft beer. 10 points to Bia Mara.
Advice: if the weather is nice, try to have a table outside. Although is nice inside, obviously is fried fish, so it does smell a bit.
NONA (Organic Neapolitan Pizza)
If you are a pizza lover as I am, NONA is a must. Proper Neapolitan pizza with organic ingredients from local Belgian farmers. The result: heaven. We had to queue outside for 15 minutes but I actually enjoyed looking through the window seeing the pizza makers stretching the dough. Reasonable prices, amazing pizza, and very gentle waiters. A drawback? The music taste, also a bit loud.
Advice: I always recommend to order a Margherita as the best way to judge a Pizza restaurant… This is not an exception!
BAOGO (Bao burgers)
We freaked out when we ran into this place. Bao burgers! I love bao buns and the idea of having a Bao Burger was too tempting to not try it. I know it sounds weird but this asian style burgers served with slaw, pickles and homemade sauces work so well!. I particularly liked how they served, in a Bambu steamer. You can choose your fries and extra sauce, we opted for sweet potato fries and Siracha Mayo (spicy).
Good choice if you are walking around the city center, also vegetarian-friendly, good quality-price and very creative burgers.
JAT CAFÉ (Work-friendly café)
If you are looking for a work-friendly café to to spend hours working with your laptop, I recommend you JAT café. Limitless free wifi, good coffee, juices and healthy food. We arrived a bit after breakfast time and left after lunchtime. We only had a coffee but many people came from the offices nearby and had salads and the bagels looked really yummy. Although there is a negative side: they use plastic for the ready-to-eat food, it is very busy at lunchtime and the electronic music doesn’t really help you concentrate.
LUXEMBOURG CAFE (A lunch in the European quarter)
Located in the heart of the European Quarter, very close to the European Parliament, there are a few cafes with terrace where you can chill out and experience a lunch-break outside how the locals do. We randomly picked Cafe Luxembourg but there were many others (we made a great choice though!). They offer a nice range of salads with a base of organic quinoa or organic bulgur wheat, starters and sharing plates, some vegetarian. After trying the Belgian cuisine specialities (fries, chocolate and speculoos). I was so happy with my salad bowl!
Advice: Better to go early to have a table at lunchtime, apparently it is always very crowded on weekdays. We didn’t order our food on time and they ran out of the bowl of the day! 🙁
RESTO À LA BÉCASSE (Authentic Belgium Tavern)
One of the oldest taverns in Brussels, this is a good place for a Belgium beer testing experience. Two steps away from the “Grand Place”, it’s down a little alley, not easy to find. They have a wide selection of beers including the famous lambic, gueuze and kriek. It is good for beer but I don’t recommend the food, although they have some small plates and snacks if you’re feeling hungry.
CAFE CABERDOUCHE (Seasonal Chef food and Craft beers)
A fancy cafe in place de la liberté, Cafe Caberdouche offers a selection of craft beers and organic wines. The food is homemade, local and the menu changes every day in line with the season. I wasn’t hungry to try the food but the plates looked really tasty and pretty, carefully prepared by the Chef.
LE ZINNEKE (Organic Belgian Food and Moules Frites)
I must confess that not everything was perfect on this trip, I didn’t go to Le Zinneke! And I really wanted to. Le Zinneke is a Belgian Bistro where you can try the famous Moules Frites and in many different ways, 69 recipes exactly! But also other dishes of the traditional Belgium cuisine, very good reviews and the most important, with a respect for nature. Reading the reviews, reservations are strongly recommended. Well, I guess now I have a reason to come back! Next time I will not miss this one!