Edited by Holly Jenson
With over 170 languages spoken, Brussels really is a diverse place. All the different neighbourhoods mean that as well as Belgiums national dishes, the city is full of international cuisines. Arabic, Jamaican, South American, Asian... the list goes on! I have lived here for 11 years and love trying the new restaurants. My picky eating habits have made sure that you will have the best local experience of what to eat in Brussels, Belgium.
Vegetarian Food at Meme Cafe
Mémé Café is one of my favourite restaurants in Belgium, the food in here is just amazing. This is a very small spot just a couple of minutes away from the Grand Place which is famous for its vegetarian dishes. I like it in here as there is a very local feel to it and the chef cooks in front of you; you get to know the staff really quickly! With so much variety on the menu, vegetarian food is never boring in here. This cosy restaurant is the perfect place to relax and enjoy some Belgian dishes after a busy day of sight-seeing in the centre.
Stoemp at C'est Bon C'est Belge
C'est Bon C'est Belge serves some of the most popular food in Belgium. One thing you absolutely need to try here is Stoemp. Originally made by poorer people from what was left in their cupboards, Stoemp is usually potatoes mashed with leeks and carrots served with a sausage on top. I cannot tell you how delicious this meal is, its one of Belgium's traditional dishes and a must-try while you're in Brussels. C'est Bon C'est Belge is popular with both locals and visitors for its friendly atmosphere and authentic cuisine and is a great place to get a real taste of food from Belgium.
Moules Frites at Mer du Nord
Our Atlantic coastline in the north of the country means that seafood has become one of the national foods of Belgium. For the best fish in town, head to Mer du Nord in the popular neighbourhood of Sainte-Catherine. One delicacy you have to try here is Moules Frites. Mussels cooked in a white wine sauce, garlic and herbs served with golden Belgian Frites, it's no surprise that this dish is one of the most popular foods in Belgium. I love Mer du Nord as its a really casual place where you can enjoy a huge variety of seafood tapas. You stand at your table here and enjoy an ice cold bottle of champagne with friends; its one of the best things to experience in Brussels.
Vegetarian Buffet at Dolma
Dolma is an excellent veggie buffet offering alternative things to eat in Belgium. I bring my non-veggie friends here all the time and they love it. With a huge selection of locally grown organic food, this is a great place to try some of the best ingredients our city has. The chefs here use really creative flavours and tastes to give each guest a memorable dining experience. Near quartier Flagey in the south of the city, visiting Dolma will show you the real Brussels and where locals like to eat in the suburbs. With its cosy tables and wooden beams, Dolma feels like you're having a home-cooked meal with friends.
Authentic Italian Pasta at Nuovo Rosso
I know that when you're thinking of what to eat in Brussels, Italian food isn't what springs to mind, but Nuovo Rosso is one of my favourite restaurants and I recommend it to everyone. Hidden in trendy Saint-Gilles, this place is famous for its fresh Italian pasta dishes. The restaurant is small and authentic; with candle-lit tables and a really cosy feel to it. As it is so popular you will need to book in advance before coming here, but it is so worth the effort! Nuovo Rosso is nicely located for a relaxed meal after exploring our famous breweries.
Fresh Ingredients from Marché de Tanneurs
Without a doubt, the Marché de Tanneurs has some of the best food in Belgium. This is my local market and where I buy all of my fresh produce every week. They only sell organic and locally produced food which means that everything you buy supports the Brussels community too. They have vegetables, cheese, bread, rice and so much more here, its perfect for home-cooked meals. They even have an organic bakery that sells unique breads made with lots of different kinds of flour. I recommend coming here on a weekday morning as weekends here are crazy; if you leave it until too late in the day then there can be a queue of over 150 people! Take a trip to this market for an experience of local Brussels.
Vietnamise food at Yaki
Yaki is one of my favourite restaurants in the city. I have been lucky enough to spend some time in south-east Asia and I can honestly say the food here tastes exactly the same. They serve authentic Thai and Vietnamese food to perfection and have become so popular that there are three restaurants in Brussels alone! One of these is off of the Grand Place and is the perfect place for a heart-warming meal after a day sightseeing in the centre. Asian food isn't necessarily top of everyones list when they think of what to eat in Belgium, but Yaki is a true representation of Brussels amazing multi-cultural community.
Meatballs at Ballekes
Ballekes is the best place in Brussels to try some Belgian street food. Specialising in the local delicacy of meatballs, this place is famed for its accompanying sauces; cherry beer flavour, truffle, cream and mushroom... there are so many varieties to try. There is always a sauce of the month that us locals love to go in and try, it's a real treasure of our city. All the meatballs are served with traditional Frites or Brussels sprouts and are made with only organic ingredients. This means that you can indulge and eat healthily at the same time! You can wash everything down with one of the local craft beers and relax with your friends; the atmosphere in here is always warm and inviting.
Frites at Beer Mania
Beer Mania is the best of both worlds. They serve over 400 types of beer, making it one of the best places to try Belgian beer, and as if that wasn't enough they happily serve them with the best frites in town (in my humble opinion). Surrounded by floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with traditional Gueuze and local craft beers, there is a small restaurant that serves the best frites in Belgium. Made with all organic ingredients, the frites in here are always crispy and amazing. Beer Mania is one of my favorite places to come with friends as it is always very chilled out and welcoming. Naser, the in-house beer expert, is really passionate about his craft and knows what he's talking about; he can recommend the perfect pint for you. This is another great place for a truly local experience of Brussels.
Belgian Waffles at Contrebande
Contrebande is a well-loved bar famous for its savoury Belgian waffles. This cosy brewery is found in the south of the city and serves a variety of craft beers, traditional geuze as well as light bites. My favourite thing from here is the tartine; toasted bread with pate, marinade and salad, its just delicious! The bar has some vintage decor, lots of exposed brick and wood on display which gives it a really warm feel. They also serve charcuterie, Buddha bowls and cheesecake that you can tuck into. If you want to try our other national delicacy, lots of the desserts are made with creamy Belgian chocolate. Go for the waffles, it would be rude not to!
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