Brussels is worldwide known to be the heart of politics and EU institutions. But this fabulous city has much more to offer. It has a vibrant multicultural community, an amazing and particular architecture, and a varied gastronomic scene, featuring Belgian and international specialties.
In this article, we want to list our top 5 recommendations of very Belgian things to eat (and drink!) in Brussels and where to find them.
1. Carbonnade Flamande
The Carbonnade Flamande is a typical Belgian dish made of onion and beef stewed in Belgian beer. It can be seasoned with thyme, bay leaves and mustard and served with fries or mashed potatoes… Just the perfect dish to warm you up during one of those Belgian winter days!
If you’re in Brussels and want to taste an authentic Carbonnade, stop at Fin de Siècle … This restaurant serves also other Belgian dishes with a fair price/quality ratio. The restaurant is located in a central area and it’s very popular… You might want to make a reservation in advance, especially if you plan to go during the weekend.
2. Belgian Waffles
The smell of fresh waffles around the city is simply irresistible! Throughout the city you’ll be able to find two types of waffles: the Liege waffle and the Brussels waffle. The Liege one is smaller and has rounded edges; it is softer inside and caramelized outside. The Brussels one is lighter, crispier and larger and has a rectangular shape. Brussels waffles are mostly served warm and dusted with confectioner’s sugar.
If you want to try the Liege version of waffles, go to Vitalgaufre and order the chocolate waffle… It is served with melted chocolate sticks inside! For the Brussels version go to Mokafe, which is located inside the famous St-Hubert’s Galeries, very close to the Grand Place.
3. Belgian Fries
Belgian fries are just perfect: golden, soft inside, crispy outside and, of course, extremely greasy (but that’s why they are so good after all!). The secret lies in the way they are prepared: they are not just fried once, but they are fried twice in animal fat.
Don’t forget to dip your fries into some flavorful sauces… You can opt for the classic mayonnaise and ketchup, or you can try some less-famous options, such as the Andalouse: a typical Belgian sauce made of mayonnaise, tomatoes, spices, garlic, peppers and shallots.
Of course, in Brussels you can find fries in basically any restaurant. But there are also many stands around the city that sell paper cones of fries to-go. Try the one in square Flagey or the one in square Jourdan… You won’t be disappointed.
4. Speculoos cookies
Speculoos (or Spekulatius) are spiced cookies made from flour, butter and brown sugar with an intense fragrance of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. They are very popular not only in Belgium, but also in Germany and in the Netherlands. In the past, these cookies were traditionally eaten only for Saint Nicolas day, but today they can be found all year round. They are perfect with a cup of tea or a cup of hot Belgian chocolate. One of the most popular brands of Speculoos is Lotus, which can be found in most supermarkets. But if you want to try the home-made version, one of the best places in Brussels is Maison Dandoy, which offers freshly baked cookies a few steps away from the Grand Place.
5. Belgian Beer
Belgium has more than 1100 beer brands to offer and it is home of around 160 breweries. You can’t leave Brussels if you haven’t tried the real Belgian beer first! Go to the Delirium Café to get a true feeling of a Belgian beer bar. This place holds the Guinness World Record for the highest number (2004) of beers offered.