One Day Foodie’s Guide to Brussels
You’ve got one day in Brussels, a lot to see, and not enough time to check out all the delicious spots to eat all, let alone, research it all.
Well, say hello to the One Day Foodie’s Guide to Brussels!
– pin now, eat later –
I went to Brussels just a few weeks ago to check out its frivolously fun Christmas market, but of course, had to venture outside the market too to get a taste of the local scene from sweet treats to savory traditional dishes.
So here’s your foodie’s guide to Brussels mashed up from all the different places I ate at on vacation!
- Belgian Waffles at Maison Dandoy’s Tea Room
- Fresh Seafood at de Noordzee
- Carbonnade à la Chimay (beef stew with beer) + Jambonneau à la Moutarde (pork knuckle with mustard) at Fin de Siècle
One Day Foodie’s Guide to Brussels: Maison Dandoy
What better way can you start your morning in Brussels than by eating some light, airy, sweet, and decadent waffles?
Good morning Maison Dandoy and all your cute, gold polka-dotted displays of homemade cookies!
Before walking in, I was a bit skeptical. Maison Dandoy got 4.5 stars across the board– Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, you name it.
Was this just an ok waffle house located in a very convenient location where tourists from all over the world come to eat at and give it a great rating because they don’t know of better local waffle shops in the area?
At the best, I was going to get some authentic Belgian waffles that lived up to its almost 5 star status online, or I was going to get some overly sweet, unrefined waffle topped with loads of sugar.
But no big deal, sounded like a win-win either way. I love sugar!
There are two Maison Dandoy locations.
One is a takeaway spot where you get your waffle and eat it right there on the street because why not?
The second one is the tea room where you can have tea (surprise!) and coffee, and eat your waffles with a fork and knife to be a little bit more civilized.
In addition to the two locations, there are two different types of waffle: the Bruxelles and the Liege waffle.
The Bruxelles waffle is light and airy and tastes almost like cake batter. It’s great as a base for whatever toppings your heart contents like mine with strawberries and ice cream.
Definitely get this if you go. The waffle is fluffy and chewy while being crispy and crunchy at the same time! I love it when foods have contrasting textures like that.
Oh, and the strawberries were delicious. They were the small kinds, which tend to be sweeter, and cooked in a bit of sugar. They were nothing like other strawberry jam toppings I’ve tasted that tend to be too sugary and over-gelatinous.
The strawberries and
cake waffle paired perfectly with ice cream as the ice cream offered a contrast in temperature with the waffle. Also, this ice cream was the best ice cream I’ve had in a few years– so smooth and rich in flavor.
The Liege waffle is dense, tastes more like a pancake, and has noticeable bits of coarse sugars in it. It’s great eaten by itself with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, but of course, we had to make it sweeter and opted for chocolate syrup.
Between these two, I liked the Belgian waffle better. It was like eating a pillow.
Maison Dandoy Tea Room
Karel Bulsstraat 14
Phone:+32 2 512 65 88
One Day Foodie’s Guide to Brussels: de Noordzee
This spot is a fun place to have a quick lunch while jumping from site to site.
You go up to the counter where it seems like everyone and their mom is ordering seafood and wine from them. Then, you grab a spot at a standing table on the sidewalk with your wine in hand and wait ’till they call out your name for your food.
Finally, you grab your seafood and enjoy it while sipping white wine and people watching on the streets.
Because of the novelty of being immersed in the city and eating fresh seafood while drinking on the streets, this place gets very high reviews.
As for the food, it didn’t live up to the 4.5 star ratings, which I imagine included the whole ambiance of the city streets.
However, I’d totally recommend any tourist coming here to get the experience of this place.
I’m just being a snob. The food gets a 4 (rounded up from a 3.7562892734), not too far off of its 4.5 stars.
We got the soup of the day, which was some type of fish stew in a tomato based soup, escargot, seafood croquettes, and scallops.
The star of all four of these dishes was the fish stew! All the herbs of the soup blended together so well with the tomato base. Plus, the fish in the soup was very tender and almost melted in your mouth with each slurp.
The scallops and the escargot were both slightly overcooked. I’d probably have taken it off the stove about 30 seconds earlier, but still, the flavors were great.
What I realized immediately about Brussels is that they don’t overdo it on the salt (something I’ve found challenging in moving to Amsterdam and going out to restaurants– too much salt). Instead, they focus on a complementary balance of herbs and spices to really highlight the flavor in foods.
This is true for a nice, sit down restaurant or quick, takeaway spots like Noordzee.
I asked my husband to take a photo of me eating for my blog. Here’s what he got- a really creepy, bug eyed person who looks like she’s going to choke on your escargot… haha.
I loved the broth that the escargot was in, but if the escargot was cooked slightly, slightly less, it would’ve been perfect. Sorry, not sorry, for being a perfectionist!
Lastly, we got the seafood croquettes based on a TripAdvisor review. Although they were really great for what they are, I don’t think I’m a croquette person so they were my least favorite food out of the four.
All four of these items amounted to 29 euros, which for fresh seafood and great blends of flavor isn’t too bad!
Again, not the best seafood I’ve had at a takeaway style market (particularly thinking back to this calamari I had at a market in Italy), but it was a really fun experience, and I’d 100% go back for that fish soup again.
Rue Sainte Catherine 45
Phone: +32 2 513 11 92
One Day Foodie’s Guide to Brussels: Fin de Siècle
Of course, a one day foodie’s guide to Brussels wouldn’t be complete without some traditional Belgian food (aside from the waffles). To satisfy this criteria, try the Fin de Siècle for dinner for the traditional beef stew and ham dishes.
On our walk to Fin de Siècle, we stumbled upon a street with disco balls hanging every couple of meters, which was really fun for me since I love dancing and disco balls. They’re so shiny and pretty!
Luckily, this street with the disco balls had Fin de Siècle on it. The shininess of these disco balls led me right to where I needed to be.
I loved everything about the decor of this place starting with the curved panels around the windows on the outside to the tall ceilings and rustic look of the inside where there’s a menu written in French on the walls.
Don’t worry– the servers all speak English and will happily translate anything on the menu for you!
After a short 10 minute wait, we jumped right in and ordered the entrees we had come for: the Carbonnade à la Chimay (beef stew made with beer) and Jambonneau à la Moutarde (pork knuckle with mustard).
When I want a beef stew, this is exactly what I’m looking for. The flavor is rich, and the beef is super tender. There’s an ever so slight hint of beer that adds a unique flavor to the stew.
I’ve never had pork knuckle, but of course, I loved it. The ham falls off the bone easily so you barely need that sharp knife they give you with it. The mustard is fully of tangy grains that pair oh so well with the ham.
So I finished my half of the beef stew but was too full to finish my half of the pork knuckle, which my husband so lovingly finished for me. But, of course, I wasn’t too full for dessert.
I got the speculoos tiramisu, which was soooo delicious. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to tiramisu so usually like random flavors to please stay the fck out of my tiramisu, but this wasn’t even tiramisu. It was a dessert on its own level. I highly recommend it… obviously.
The price at Fin de Siècle is very good. For everything we got plus a water and two beers, our bill came out to 50 euros.
In addition, I loved the servers. Everyone there is so nice and accommodating especially to tourists unknowing of all the menu items in French. 7 years of studying French just somehow didn’t pull through, but it was ok!
Fin de Siècle
Rue des Chartreux 9
There were two other places I wish I could’ve added to this foodie’s guide to Brussels, but I didn’t have the chance to so thought I’d share them anyways. If you’ve been or go to these places, let me know how they are and what you got to eat!
— Bouchery is an upscale, French restaurant that focuses on slow food ingredients, which is basically high-quality and locally sourced ingredients.
— Au Bon Bol is a Chinese restaurant that makes fresh noodles from scratch by a woman who stretches, pulls, and basically, magics the shit out of dough.
We found this place simply by walking around (GASP— no previous searching the web and checking reviews before heading in?).
When passing by the restaurant, we saw this woman muscling the heck out of a large amount of dough, then magically transforming it into long strings of noodles. She’s basically like David Blaine, the world renowned American magician.
Anyways, silly us forgetting that European restaurants close between lunch and dinner time. We missed lunch time by 15 minutes.
For some reason, I thought the Chinese restaurants would stay open at whatever time they wanted regardless of norms just like the Chinese restaurants in other parts of the world do, but Chinese restaurants are running on that European chill schedule here!
As a note, all the reviews for this place will be 3 stars on and under, which in my book is usually a ‘don’t even think about it’ rating, BUT that’s because the service is notoriously bad, which is kind of expected of a Chinese establishment.
But the true food reviewers said the noodles were good, and if you’re a true foodie, you know you go for the food, not the service or ambiance.
Well that’s about the whole day for you. Now all there’s left to do is head to Delirium Café for a beer and decide which one of 3,000 you want to drink.
Oh, and just in case NO ONE told you (I bet everyone already told you…), there’s about 1 bajillion chocolate stores everywhere. Eat ’till your hearts content!
Thanks for checking out this One Day Foodie’s Guide to Brussels! xo.
Have any spots where fellow foodies could eat at while staying in Brussels?
Share your tales from a fork by commenting below!