One thing is certain when visiting Belgium, and that is when you eat in Brussels you will discover some incredible foodie treats. Neighbouring France might have a stronger international culinary pedigree, but the Belgians are up there with them.
Brussels is a city with a world-class dish around every corner. It impresses before we even mention their beer, which is famous the world over. It really is quite remarkable how such a small country can have so many internationally recognisable and iconic dishes.
Want to taste all the great flavours here? Get yourself out on a big walk of the city, work up an appetite and get stuck into the seven best things to eat in Brussels…
The Best Things to Eat in BrusselsHow do these rankings work?
Walk down any main shopping street or into public spaces where people gather in Brussels and your senses will be hit by the aroma of freshly cooking waffles. The locals call them gaufres, and they are an absolute delight.
Unlike many other countries where they come laden with toppings, they are best enjoyed plain in Brussels. The sweet, sticky and chewy texture makes them the perfect treat to eat in Brussels while walking down the street.
Vital Gaufre has been making them since 1998 and you’ll find them all over the city. They use a a homemade dough, exclusively using natural ingredients whose quality and traceability are strictly controlled.
You probably think you’ve had good waffles in restaurants or cafes but the true experience is having one on a Brussels street. It’s an experience you will be pining for long after you leave.
2. Belgian Frites
The whole country worships their frites and it’s not hard to see why as soon as you taste them (we found the The 7 Best Places For Frites In Belgium if you are spending time in the country). They are often served from small stands in the street, where you’ll see locals queuing in all weather for their fix.
Even deciding on what they are called is a tough one (Frites? Chips? French Fries? Belgian Fries?). The good news is that whatever you call them, this little country is packed full of stunningly good frites.
The Belgians have defined what good fries are all over the world, so make sure to eat them at least a couple of times when here.
Café Georgette is neither a chip house, nor a restaurant, nor a café… It’s a mixture of all three.
They cut all their own potatoes on the premises and double fry them before serving with some classic brasserie style cooking. The frites are so good you could easily have them on their own with just a simple sauce.
3. Belgian Chocolate
This is a city that is absolutely obsessed with chocolate. They eat it on special occasions, at lunchtime, in the morning for breakfast and pretty much any other time you can think of.
For chocolate lovers, walking into what are effectively high-end boutiques packed full of chocolate goodies is a dream come true. There is no other city in the world that does this chocolate shopping experience as well as Brussels.
This is one of the prettiest chocolate shops, not just in Brussels but in the entire world. It is so beautifully fitted out it could be a high-end fashion retailer.
They serve a beautiful and tasty selection of pralines, ganache and truffles. The only tricky part for you is narrowing it down to the ones you want. Thankfully, the super knowledgable staff are on hand to guide you through the process.
This is a sandwich with the literal translation of a “submachine gun’. It consists of a half baguette loaded with frites and then topped with a spicy tomato and mayo sauce called sauce Andalouse. Some people choose to have it topped with meat.
The sandwich is popular with students, revellers on their way home from a night out or people who want a sneaky and affordable lunchtime treat.
This is also one of the places to get the best frites in Brussels, but their Mitraillette is what has people queuing down the street. They absolutely load it with fries and that wonderful spicy tangy sauce.
Find yourself a nice place to sit outside and enjoy watch the people of Brussels go about their day as you eat one of the world’s best sandwiches.
5. Mussels (Moules)
Wherever you go in the capital you will see locals and tourists alike eating huge pots of mussels. They come from the Zeeland area and are wonderfully plump and tasty.
They are served very simply cooked with celery, onions and a touch of white wine. Although there are other sauces and varieties available, the vast majority of people like to eat them plain. They are served with frites and a local beer or white wine.
This is a spot where they are redefining seafood and serving it up street style. While they have the freshest produce and a whole host of great seafood dishes, the mussels are what you are here for.
Sitting outside on the terrace in the warmer months sampling their mussels is hands down one of the best things you can eat In Brussels
6. Carbonnades Flamande
You’ll find this dish all over Belgium; it is essentially a sweet and slightly sour beef strew that is made with beer. It is wonderfully wholesome and especially good during the colder winter months.
Like many of the great dishes in Brussels you should eat it with frites and a good glass of Belgian beer. Simple, but perfect.
Located on the historic Grand Place, this restaurant has a wonderful terrace outside for the warmer months and an atmospheric room with a low ceiling. Everything about the place is classic in style, including the friendly waiting staff.
They serve other classics like mussels, steaks and vol-au-vent, which are all on this list but their real house speciality is the Carbonnades Flamande. You won’t regret it.
You’ll find vol-au-vents all over the world, but the standard in Belgium is at a whole different level. Seriously – these are the real deal.
The puff pastry casing is filled with a chicken and mushroom creamy sauce with a lid placed on top. There are other fillings you choose, but the classic is always the best. You’ll find them everywhere from small local cafes up to high-end Michelin starred restaurants.
Au Vieux Saint Martin is a super traditional Belgian restaurant in the wonderful Sablon area of the city.
If you are lucky enough to snag some of their outdoor seating in the summer you are in for a real treat of a view, watching the world go by.
While the menu is full of great Belgian classic dishes the vol-au-vent that they serve (above) is a real work of art. One of the best things you can eat in Brussels.
Other Great Things To Eat In Brussels:
While the local food is fantastic and all of the above taste amazing, here are some great alternatives…