What to eat in Brussels
Find the best seafood, waffles, chocolate, beer and more
Words by Ute Junker
Photo by Tony Lee on Unsplash
Originally published in Delicious
Belgium’s capital is a city of many moods. From its grand medieval heart to its comic strip murals (hello, Tintin!), its elegant art nouveau buildings to its cutting-edge fashion, it packs a lot into its many neighbourhoods. And everywhere you go, there are delicious things to eat. Few people seem to eat as often – and as well – as Belgians. Here is our pick of Brussels’ must-try munchies.
Fresh from the sea If the Belgians have a national dish, it must be moules et frites, mussels and chips. A heaped bowl of these shellfish steamed in white wine and herbs is a must for any visitor; however, seafood fans will find plenty of other fresh treats on offer, from razor clams to eel, sole to swordfish.
For those who like to keep it simple, La Mer Du Nord, in Brussels’ bohemian St Catherine quarter, is where local foodies chow down on freshly-grilled seafood while standing at al fresco tables. For a classic moules et frites, try the old-school brasserie, Au Vieux Bruxelles.
True brew What do you call a country that has over 450 varieties of beer? Belgium, of course. The Belgians are serious beer nerds; many of the brews are even served in specially-shaped glasses. Dedicated beer bars are a great place to learn the difference between brown, white and geuze beers, among others. The local specialty in Brussels is lambic, a spontaneously fermented beer made with no added yeast – it is fermented by airborne strains of wild yeast found only in this region.
Moeder Lambic in St Gilles is a cosy bar with wooden interiors and an impressive array of beers. The friendly bartenders will steer you towards something that will suit your palate, and also offer cheese and cold cuts for those who like to nibble while they sip.
On the run You may never have considered waffles a snack food, but once you give it a go, you will realise why locals love to munch on these between meals. The local Brussels waffle is different to the more familiar Liegeois waffle: crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, served hot and dusted with icing sugar.
You can pick up a waffle to go at the many waffle stands that dot the city; if you want to rest your feet while you eat, try the Maison Dandoy tea rooms. Dandoy is a haven for lovers of sweet treats: while you are there, try their freshly-baked speculoos biscuits or their speculoos spread – a great alternative to Nutella.