Built up by merchants linked to the Senne river during the early 12th century, fortified Brussels links up the waterways (and thus the economic routes) of Europe.
The capital of Belgium retains much of its early-modern characteristics and mercantile aura. La Grand-Place, for instance, stands tall in a market square that has remained important for over 800 years. A world heritage site, UNESCO deems its gothic white-stoned features “an architectural jewel”.
However, these brilliant, first-rate surroundings should not distract visitors from Brussels’ excellent culinary culture. Go beyond Belgium’s traditional treats (chocolates, waffles, frites) and don’t miss out on the 16 best restaurants in Brussels, some of the greatest Europe has to offer.
For further European city inspiration, our guides to some of Italy’s best restaurants and things to do in Dublin Ireland provide great news and stories on how to spend an ideal weekend eating out. Chat to an expert on restaurants for best advice on how to obtain a favourite seat.
1. La Braise
A self-appointed “temple of grilling”, La Braise is light and bright and sparkling when it comes to red meat dishes. The location is special. Parallel to the Rue de la Victoire, this popular eatery takes Belgian identity in its stride, combined with the bar-and-grill style typically found in the US. With non-stop positive reviews online, this is definitely among the best places to eat in Brussels.
2. La Table De Mas
For a luxurious lunch, head straight to the winding stone-cobbled roads of Oud Korenhuis. La Table de Mas is fine-dining made easy. From their exquisite creativity to their fine presentation, La Table de Mas offers guests award-winning lunches in a cool environment. Perfect for midday treats.
3. Midtown Grill Brussels
Who would have thought American cuisine could receive a Belgian twist? Sitting snug in a cosy hotel lounge visitors are free to choose the best of the US over 3,500 miles away. Dip into all the favourites from gold glazed spare ribs to black angus steak and chips on a stool by the bar at Midtown Grill Brussels.
4. Le Wine Bar des Marolles
An intimate coffee-and-cream interior invites visitors into one of Brussels’ most sophisticated establishments. It is a service restaurant with many names — “a cave à manger, un bar à vins avec à grignoter au Sablon”, as cool as a wine cellar, as charming as a stage actor.
Taste a wine and drinks menu that comes with a wry sense of humour: the “To forget you mother-in-law” forgets the wine and only advertises gins, whiskeys, and hard liquors.
5. Pasta Divina
A step away from some of the best sights in Brussels, Pasta Divina serves up food and recipes usually found a thousand miles from Belgium’s borders. Squid ink pasta, fresh red prawns, and hand-made Italian specialties are all on offer in this cool establishment, housed in a quaint baroque building.
6. Le Rossini
At home in a pink marbled façade, Le Rossini boasts both style and quality. Seafood paired with wines is readily available as the menu dips in and out of plates and plates of tasty, savoury, and thoughtful chef specials. Aubergine caviar is probably as unique as they come.
High-level cuisine is what Umā offers the Brussels culinary table. Umā, which roughly translates as “delicious” in English, advertises itself as a bistronomic establishment — a combination of haute cuisine methods in dishes that are not too hard on the guest’s wallet. The expert team brings a plethora of different styles to the table, blending multi-national traditions from both Spain and France for an experience that feels like a world tour.
8. L’Ancien Bruxelles
Ten minutes away via tram, visitors can enter a more laid back environment for afternoon refreshments. The Belgian flag is ubiquitous in the fine old-school building that houses L’Ancien Bruxelles. Taking on a historic feel, this café serves full courses, particularly chunks of salmon or chicken fricassee with mushrooms.
9. Aux Armes de Bruxelles
Well-established, Aux Armes de Bruxelles has been a main player in the Brussels restaurant scene for over a hundred years. Visitors entering its doors may feel like they’ve stepped into a time machine — but rest assured this eatery is very much set in the present day. As the Michelin Guide outlines: “The varied menu is rich in traditional Belgium favourites: tomatoes and shrimps, vol-au-vent, stoemp, mussels, and chips — scrumptious!”
10. Yummy Bowl
It’s fresh, it’s sweet, it’s plain fun — it’s Yummy Bowl! This one is easy to love with its simple but effective one-bowl takes on traditional vegetarian recipes. Grab a bowl and have whatever you wish inside, from coco falafels to fresh feta.
11. The Blue Restaurant
A mere ten minutes from Le Grand Palace, the Blue Restaurant is conveniently placed for a comfy evening exploring the city. Guests often remark upon the food’s exquisite presentation, while a fine beer and ale selection is simply hard to beat.
12. Fin de Siecle
A snazzy, close-fitting wood interior promises wide delights at Fin de Siecle. Fin de Siecle’s passionate team delivers on all the good stuff. There are dishes cooked in a variety of beers to excite the palate — rabbit with kriek, Flemish stew, and chicory chimay sauce.
13. L’Atelier de Willy
Among the best restaurants in Brussels L’Atelier de Willy has a hearty and glorious skill for first-class food presentation. Fish dishes in sumptuous sauce glitter like a sunny lake. Cheese platters are the colour of liquid gold. Such span, spiff, and splendour make L’Atelier de Willy a top place to eat in Brussels and to book a table now.
14. Restaurant Vincent
The dining-room’s wall art — bright, colourful, immediate — is reason enough to visit this city centre venue. Founded in 1905, Restaurant Vincent’s frescoes are indeed unique — and so is the service. With flambe sauce and meat cut straight from the bone at table, what more could visitors want?
15. San Sablon
Chef Sang Hoon’s second restaurant is recommended by the Michelin Guide. Novelties such as serving food only in bowls are part of the customer journey, a unique experience that for every taste bud to relish. All the vegetable based dishes, served with gusto and pride, are the choice members of this local Brussels’ favourite.
Seeking where to eat in Brussels’ city centre? The national tourist board handpicks Monk as a first choice. A trendy gastropub, adorned in a smart wood interior, serves amazing beers paired with traditional bar favourites — hearty meat dishes, succulent pastas. This is a great spot to relax that feels quintessentially Belgian.
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