These are some of the traditional Belgian dishes:
- Moules frites (mussels and chips): Mussels are the most popular dish served in Brussels and in some restaurants you can choose what size you want: either 500 gram or 1 kilo of mussels accompanied with a side dish of delicious Belgian chips. You can also decide if want them “marinière”, “nature”, “a la crème” or “à l’ail”.
- Carbonade flamande: a stew made with beer, beef and onions. It doesn’t taste of beer and is accompanied with chips.
- Waterzooi: chicken or fish stew made with various vegetables. It is typically from Ghent.
- Filet Américain: minced raw beef which is usually served on a piece of toast.
Belgium has the world’s leading brewer and over 180 breweries in the country, making this alcoholic beverage world famous. It is the most popular drink in the country with Belgians drinking nearly 100 litres of beer each year. Some of the most renowned beers include: Stella Artois, Leffe, Chimay and Duval.
In most bars you’ll be given a plate of crisps or nuts with the glass of beer, but you can also order a cheese board with a bit of mustard and spices.
One of the best-known desserts from Belgium are the Belgian waffles (called Gaufres in French). There are two varieties, the ones from Liège are smaller and crunchier and the ones from Brussels are much larger and thicker. You can normally choose from a selection of toppings like chocolate, whipped cream, etc.
In Brussels the waffles usually cost €1.50 and if you visit Liège 90% of the stands sell these delicious delicacies.
Since the nineteenth century the chocolate industry has been extremely important in Belgium and is now, like Switzerland, renowned worldwide and is one of Europe’s most important producers. If you are a fan of this treat, you can either buy a box of chocolates from specific shops like Leonidas, Neuhaus or Godiva or if you prefer to buy some in a supermarket we recommend Côte d’Or, the largest commercial brand in Belgium.
Chips, fries or French fries are originally from Belgium and play an important role in the country’s traditional dishes. Moreover, Brussels and other Belgian cities are packed with “frites” stalls where you can buy a large portion of chips accompanied with a sauce or two. You can’t leave Brussels without having tried the best “frites” in the world, so why not have some for an afternoon snack or after a long night out? - Most stalls are open until late.
When to eat?
Restaurants in Brussels are fully adapted to the needs of tourists and you’ll find most bistros open until approximately midnight, especially in the city centre.
Although Brussels is in general quite expensive, eating out can be relatively cheap, spending as little as €3 for a large sandwich (which is prepared on the spot), to visiting some of the best Belgian restaurants where it will cost approximately €60 per person.
The average price in a centrally-located restaurant is approximately €20 per person, but it is also possible to find a three-course menu for around €10 (even for dinner!).
The city centre of Brussels is full of restaurants, but one of the most popular areas is the Grand Place and the Rue des Bouchers. Even though these two areas are very touristy, they offer a wide selection.
Around the Grand Place restaurants tend to be more expensive while in the Rue des Bouchers you’ll find restaurants to cater for all, including a 3-course meal with a drink for €12.