Lunch, Dinner and Brunch in Brussels, with Chocolate for Dessert!
Updated: Nov 29, 2022
Brussels is a lovely surprise. It's a real city with a diverse population, art galleries and chocolate shops of every corner, incredible street art, and of course - great food.
Belgium invented the 'French fry' (sorry France), the waffle, the praline, not to mention the spectacular array of Belgium beers.
Honestly, what more is there to life? - waffles, fries, beer and chocolate.
With everything that the place has to offer, It's one of those cities that seems to be constantly overlooked for its tourist clad neighbors, Bruges and Ghent. But Brussels has a definite local quality that allows you to feel like you blend in with the scenery.
Hanging out on the Grand Place and taking in all the gothic facades of one of the most beautiful squares in Europe is a wonderful idea - but if you want to get away from the crowds and out of the bubble, I have you covered . . . for lunch, dinner and brunch anyway. . . and dessert bien sûr!
Lunch in Brussels
Woodpecker is all about the ambience. The twinkling lights among the trees really gives it a magical vibe. It's located here in the Parc de Bruxelles with its green space dotted with fountains and a cute kids park. It unfolds in front of the Royal Palace (photo op!) and is a great spot to wander around and let the kids enjoy a bit of freedom.
They have a good range of food and drinks. The hot dogs have crazy names like 'The Dog Father', 'Chilly Dogzales' and 'No Diggity Dog'. And the 'Kevin Bacon' sandwich is just funny. They have salads as well, or if you are there for an aperitif, cheese and saucisson plates.
Their slogan states: 'We cause hangovers. We fix hangovers.'
It's a fab place for lunch, happy hour, or just coffee and desert. The kids can run wild while you enjoy all of the above too - bonus!
Dinner in Brussels
You know what it's like - you want to find the perfect spot for dinner when you are only in a city for one or two nights, while not succumbing to the tourist trap spot due to lack of forethought when everyone is tired after walking all day and doesn't care anymore! Been there?
Little Tokyo is what we found when trying to be proactive in the dining department. It's here in an area just southeast of the city centre. Although, when walking through a busy shopping district in order to find it, we were a little concerned that we'd messed up and would be having dinner with a view of Uniqlo or Primark.
Then, however, we made a turn and around the corner lay the most perfect square complete with the spectacular backdrop of Saint Boniface Church.
Little Tokyo is a warm friendly place with a hip, bustling atmosphere. We enjoy Japanese food and usually try to find a good sushi spot most places we go. Our son is a fan as well (thank goodness) and enjoyed the food while entertaining the wait staff with his drawing.
If Japanese food doesn't rock your world, there are an assortment of lively restaurants with perfectly lit outdoor seating surrounding the square. To include:
Ultime Atome - French-Belgium Brasserie
Mano à Mano - Italian
Les Marmites du Monde - French
Koku Ramen - Japanese Ramen
Deuxième Element - Thai
Le Clan des Belges - Belgium
Brunch in Brussels
There's a little oasis away from it all for a pause, a lovely brunch, an aperitif or a gorgeous brunch. La Fabrique is the perfect spot to enjoy it all, and even sits in a small green park that the kids can enjoy while you sip on a mimosa (Bucks Fizz).
It's situated in Egmont Park, between another perfect spot - Le Sablon, and Boulevard de Waterloo. Open from 9am to 6pm, it's grand sun drenched terrace or lofty interior provide the perfect relaxed environment (with enough buzz to keep it fresh).
Breakfast is served 9am - 11am, lunch 12pm - 3pm and book for brunch on the weekend 10:30am - 3:30pm.
Also, make sure to have a good look at the Peter Pan statue in the park. It symbolizes the friendship between British and Belgium children who played in the park during the First World War.
"Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?" — J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Dessert in Brussels - mainly chocolate!
There's really no better place for dessert than in Belgium. Hot waffles drenched in all sorts of delectable toppings tempt you at every corner, and the Belgium speculoos cinnamon flavoured biscuits (Maison Dandoy) are perfect with a cup of coffee, but it's the chocolate that's the winner for me — all the chocolate.
"When you walk into a chocolate store, suddenly the most difficult decision you will ever have to make in your life, is which chocolates to pick! It is pure torture! Especially when you are in Belgium surrounded by Belgium chocolates!" — Author: C. Joybell C.
Neuhaus, founded in 1857, is credited with inventing the praline, specifically Jean Neuhaus II. Many thanks Jean! I know that these chocolates can be expensive, but I think I'd rather eat one amazing bite than let's say, an entire Mars bar. It's seriously worth it.
The great thing about Neuhaus, is that after you are finished hand picking your tasty treats, they offer you a free chocolate for your trouble. It's always such a lovely gesture and magical surprise. BTW my absolute favorite chocolate in the world is Neuhaus' dark chocolate Figaro praline.
Pierre Marcolini is a relative newcomer to the chocolate scene compared to Neuhaus. He does it, however, with panache, and is one of the few chocolatiers to roast his cocoa beans himself. With a commitment to sustainable, ethical chocolate production, he's been following his passion for over 20 years. The result is perfectly packaged, classy chocolate with extraordinarily different flavors. The beautifully presented boxes make fancy gifts too.
In short, Brussels is a culinary delight for pretty much every meal. From high end expensive tastes to a steaming cone of fresh 'Belgium fries' with mayonnaise, there's something for everyone. But it's no doubt the chocolate that's the ultimate cherry top for a treat that can't be beat. Bon Appétit!
A great resource for finding dining with style is Brussels' Kitchen. The site features a huge collection of excellent recommendations. If only there were time to sample them all!
Note: We stayed at The Hotel - it's luxurious but surprisingly affordable with fantastic views of the city. Located close to Le Sablon on Boulevard de Waterloo (shopping).
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-This is not a sponsored blog post. All opinions are my own.-