Brussels

BXL - a selection of hot spots discovered and recommended by Kevvy-Kev, Yannick, Beeradvocate, and our airbnb host, José.

Bars:
  • **Poechenellekelder, at Manneken Pis.  I just love this place.  Settle in with a beer, meat & cheese plate, and the puppets.
  • Delirium Café - an overwhelming beer menu book - not for the indecisive!  Impasse de la Fidélité 4, 1000 Bruxelles.
  • Celtica
  • Au Bon Vieux Temps, Impasse Saint-Nicolas 4, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgien.
  • **A La Bécasse, for local beer & snack, a cozy, traditional pub, one of the oldest in downtown BXL and steps from the Grand Place.
  • Mappa Mundo - SUNDAY BRUNCH!!  There are quite a few Thai restaurants on the same street; try Fanny Thai.  Rue du Pont de la Carpe 2-6, B-1000 Bruxelles.
  • Halles de Saint-Géry, 1 Place Saint-Géry, Bruxelles 1000. Best bars and terraces inside and around the former market hall of Saint-Géry. Don't forget to go inside the market hall itself: nice bar with comfortable chesterfield seats and city exhibitions.
  • *Moeder Lambic, 8 Place Fontainas, Brussels 1000.  José's favourite place for Belgium beers. Sunny terrace till end of the afternoon.  Oder: Moeder Lambic Original, 68 rue de Savoie, 1060 Bruxelles.
  • Bellone Café, 48 Rue de Flandre Brussels, Brussel Hoofdstedelijk Gewest 1000.  Go for a drink on this great street full of nice bars, shops and restaurants. Ask at La Bellona if it's possible to have a look in the inner court. You will be surprised.
  • Greenwich, 7 Rue des Chartreux, Brussels, Bruxelles 1000.  Greenwich is a beautiful café where all the decoration has been restored to the original 19th century setting, including the bathrooms downstairs.  Kevvy used to play chess here - check, mate!  Unfortunately, it seems its old-world charm was washed away during the renovation - no more old lady bartenders or old local dudes playing chess... BYOB - bring your own board - if you want to play.
  • Place de la Liberté, City of Brussels, Brussels 1000.  Nice square with two good terraces offering Belgium beers. Nice to sit down, relax and enjoy the architectural setting of this 'Parisian' Brussels square. Ideal on a nice weather afternoon/evening.
  • **Brasserie Cantillon, 56 Rue Gheude, Anderlecht, Brussels 1070.  Famous Brussels brewery.
Cafes:
  • Top floor restaurant/bar at Museum of Musical Instruments for city view & coffee.
  • Le Fontainas, 91 Rue du Marché au Charbon.  José's favourite terrace in town. Nice Young friendly crowd. Most are into design and other arts. Nice music inside and best terrace when sunny weather.
  • Le Plattesteen, 41 Rue du Marché au Charbon, Brussels 1000. Great terrace, friendly service. Good to sit down and see the folks pass by.
  • Place du Jardin aux Fleurs, Brussels, Brussels 1000.  Nice tourist free terraces. Great in the afternoon for coffee and sandwich. Try new venue called Prom, friendly service
  • *Café Belga, 18 Place Eugène Flagey, Ixelles, Bruxelles 1050.  Great art deco building with original interior. Nice trendy local people. Big terrace. Great to combine with my favourite French Fries stall and to walk afterwards along the lakes up to the medieval abbey of La Cambre. It lies on a beautiful setting.
  • I kept discounting Le Pain Quotidien as just another chain when perusing organic cafes in BXL, only to discover it originated in Brussels!  Though it's now headquartered in NYC, at least it remains privately owned.

Cheap Eats:

  • SINstreetfood is a vegetarian and vegan food truck located on Van Mennen, St Gilles, Brussels 1050.
  • La Marmite is open weekdays for lunch.  Choose what to pay for the vegetarian eats and wash it down with some local beer that runs €2 a pop.  304 rue Haute, 1000 Bruxelles.
  • Ozfair is a fair trade shop that contains a little cafe with large portions of vegetarian food that can be enjoyed at the outdoor tables.  Avenue J. Volders, 9, 1060 Bruxelles.
  • *EXKI is another Brussels original with fast organic food to-go or eat-in available at many locations throughout the city.
  • I want to take my Mr. Falafel to the veggie buffet and load him up!  53 Bd Lemonnier, 1000 Brussels - not far from Manneken Pis.
  • Bio Lounge is an organic sandwich shop for dining in or taking it on the run.  Rue de l’enseignement, 116-120, 1000 Bruxelles.
  • **Lasagneria (sandwich shop near Petillon metro stop)  One of the most heartbreaking journeys I experienced was a 2 hour trek though Brussels, on a cold and rainy day in February.  It started out fine - I was wandering with the vague aim of rediscovering this sandwich shop.  It was a small adventure since I didn't know the exact location.  I arrived starved and cold, only to find it was closed - for the only 3 days I was in town.  Therefore, I will note its address (Avenue des Volontaires 44) and telephone number (+32 2 733 21 63) for future reference since the shop is not on the line.  Before then, I had only excellent experiences with these delectable sandwiches.  It is right near where Kevvy-Kev went to school while in BXL.  Actually, a second bad experience was when Kevin was supposed to pick up sandwiches for me, Marlie, and Sam for our train ride to Amsterdam, but ran out of time after class.  Talk about disappointment...  It turned out alright in the end, because in Amsterdam we encountered an equally fantastic sandwich shop...
  • José's favourite *French fries*: Place Flagey, Ixelles, Bruxelles 1050.  Yes indeed:  José's favourite French fries. It's hard to get here. You will have to queue for this street stall. The service will be appalling (is part of the experience). But these fries make it worth! Ideal to combine with a drink at Café Belga and a walk along the small lakes up the the medieval setting of Eglise Notre Dame de la Cambre.
Restaurants:
  • **Soul Resto sounds amazing!  Organic restaurant with delectable and creative combinations that run about €16-20 for a main.  It's only open Mercredi au samedi de 19h à 22h - Dimanche de 19h à 21h so a reservation might be a good idea: +32 (0)2 513 52 13.  Rue de la Samaritaine 20, 1000 Bruxelles.
  • *Rachel, 100 Rue du Marché au Charbon, Brussels, Brussels 1000.  José's favourite homemade hamburgers and BAGELS in town. Real nice food and friendly, artistic ambiance. Ask for Ferran and say your are staying at my place!
  • Nuetnigenough, 25 Rue du Lombard, Brussels, Brussels 1000.  Good Belgian cuisine. Value for money.
  • Novo, 37 Place de la Vieille Halle aux Blés, Brussels, Brussels 1000.  Christian, Contia, Kevvy, & I had a nice meal in the backyard garden of this place even though half the menu was unavailable on a Sunday night "after a busy weekend."  No one could get their first choice!  The drink prices were ok, though the food was slightly overpriced.  José likes the tea shop next door.
  • Amadeo, 28 Rue Sainte-Catherine, Brussels, Brussels 1000.  The place for spare ribs (as much as you can eat). They've got also grilled fish and a vegetarian dish. International crowd. Meanly eurocrats and alike. Friendly service.
  • Houtsiplou, 9 Place Rouppe, City of Brussels, Brussels 1000.  Same owner than Belgium's chicest restaurant at the other side of the square but affordable menus. Perfect terrace with sun all day.
  • Place Sainte-Catherine, Sint-Katelijneplein, Brussels, Brussel Hoofdstedelijk Gewest 1000. Great terraces & bars. Try De Markten, Roskam, and go into La crèmerie de Linkebeek for the best cheese in town.
Sightseeing:
  • Interparking sa-nv, 1 Bisschopsstraat, Brussels 1000.  A must. Go on top this parking building. You will have a roof top view of Brussels city centre for free.
  • Église du-Béguinage, City of Brussels, Brussels 1000.  Beautiful baroque church in great surroundings. If you get inside you will remark the oversized baroque angels & cherubinis looking to you… amazing.
  • Place des Martyrs, City of Brussels, Brussels 1000.  Square and monument dedicated to the uprising giving birth to this country. A nest of peace and beauty in the middle of the business and shopping area. Worth certainly a detour.
  • Ascenseur des Marolles, Brussels, Brussels 1000.  Free public transport lift to bring you up the hill to enjoy one of the best views over Brussels. You will see the Atomium, Koekelberg Basiliek, Town Hall, etc.
  • Climb up the Arc de Triomf, 3 Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels, Brussels 1000.  José's secret tip: Climb up the Arc de Triomf. How? Get into the Musée Royal de l'Armée et d'Histoire Militaire (Free entrance). Ask at the entrance how to get up to the arch. Recommended!
  • Parc d'Egmont, Bruxelles, Bruxelles 1000.  José's secret parc in centre Brussels. Difficult to find the entrance of this park but a reward is waiting inside. Relax lying on the grass, looking the palace and enjoy a meal in the Orangerie (the former winter garden of the palace).
Shops:
  • Les Tissus du Chien Vert, 2 Rue du Chien Vert, Bruxelles (Molenbeek-Saint-Jean), Brussels 1080. A textile and fabrics shop. A paradise of designs colours and forms. 
  • Herboristerie Desmecht,10 Sint-Katelijneplein, Brussels 1000.  Old fashion herbal and traditional health remedies store. One of the best in Brussels.
  • Flamant Home Interiors, 36 Place du Grand Sablon, Brussels 1000.  José's favourite home decoration and design store.
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