Brussels food guide – a complete guide to what to eat in Brussels and where to find the best fries, beer, chocolate and waffles.
Belgium is known for its beer, waffles and chocolate. And to be honest I was really eager to taste them, especially the waffles.
Soon I discovered that the Belgian cuisine is a unique mixture of the food styles of Netherlands, France and Germany. Rich hearty meals, seafood dishes, crispy fries, mouth-watering waffles, Belgium has it all! It’s a must-visit destination for every foodie.
Food and drink prices in Brussels
Brussels is not a cheap destination, especially when it comes to food. Be prepared to pay about €20 for a regular meal in a moderately-priced restaurant. The price of the beer varies depending on the brewery and the beer itself. The same applies to chocolate. The prices for decent chocolate start from €10 (for 100gr).
Here is what you’ll pay typically for:
- coffee – €3
- waffle – €3
- fries – €3
- a glass of beer – €5 – €10
- meat dish – €20
Tipping in restaurants is not expected. However, if you enjoy the food or the service, you can round up the amount of the bill. For example, if it’s €76, you’d leave €80.
Brussels food guide – What to eat in Brussels
What is the best food in Brussels? Where to find the best waffles and fries? In this Brussels food guide, I bring you the most popular foods to try and the best places to taste them.
11 must eat foods in Brussels
Fries or Pommes Frites as they are called here is the national food of Belgium. This dish is popularly known as French Fries in the rest of the world. However, don’t call it French Fries while in Belgium. It is disputed whether France or Belgium is the homeland of this delicious meal.
The secret to the Belgian fries is in the way they are prepared. The potatoes are always freshly cut (no frozen stuff) and they are fried twice. The result is a perfectly cooked golden fry – soft inside and crispy outside.
Although you can get them at almost every single restaurant, it’s best to taste them from a fry shop (friterie). The fries are usually served in paper cones with your choice of sauce. The variety of sauces is huge (most of them are mayonnaise based). To try the Belgian fries in a traditional way, choose mayonnaise. This is how the Belgians eat them.
Where to find the best fries in Brussels
I did a lot of research to find the best Belgian fries in Brussels. Although there are fry shops almost at every corner of the city, the quality varies a lot.
For me, the best place to taste Belgian fries is Friterie Tabora. It’s a small place and the lines are usually long. However, it’s well worth the wait. The fries have the ideal combination of crunch and softness. We ordered the traditional one with mayonnaise and another one with a cheese sauce.
Address: Rue de Tabora 2
Mussels (Moules-frites in French) is another must-try food in Brussels. In the most popular version, the mussels are steamed in white wine and aromatic herbs in a pot. This traditional Belgian dish usually comes along with fries.
Where to find the best mussels in Brussels
The best place to eat mussels in Brussels is Le Chou. This small authentic restaurant offers 30 kinds of mussels! Besides the traditional version with white wine, you can find also mussels with beer, cream or tomato sauce.
Address: Rue de Florence 26
Flemish stew (Carbonnade à la flamande in French) is a traditional Belgian dish. Made from slowly cooked beef in dark beer, this hearty meal is the ideal choice on a cold winter day. It is usually served with fries or Stoemp.
Stoemp is a typical Belgian side dish, made from mashed potatoes and root vegetables. It is served alongside stew, meatballs or grilled sausages.
Where to eat Flemish stew
The meal is particularly popular in the traditional brasseries. Try the one at Nüetnigenough. Their Flemish stew is very tender with a rich flavour. However, the restaurant is really small, so go early or be prepared to wait (they don’t take reservations).
Address: Rue du Lombard 25
Another good place to try the traditional Flemish stew is Le Cellier. Also, their meatballs are really tasty, so the restaurant is a great option if you want to try several authentic dishes.
Address: Rue de Bon Secours 14-16
Meatballs (boulettes in French) is a must eat in Brussels, especially if you’re a meat lover. The traditional recipe includes seasoned ground beef and pork cooked in a tomato sauce. However, there are all kinds of variations, including fried, stuffed meatballs or cooked in creamy sauces.
Where to try meatballs
You can find Belgian meatball in every traditional brasserie. Yet, if you look for more interesting options, go to Balls & Glory. Their menu is focused on meatballs and they offer a wide range of balls, including vegetarian, vegan, chicken and lamb options.
Balls & Glory
Address: 35, Henri Mausstraat
This typical Belgian meal combines chicken and mushrooms in a rich creamy sauce. Garnished with parsley and served in a puff pastry bowl, this unique meal is not to be missed.
Grey shrimp croquettes
The tiny North Sea grey shrimps are part of the country’s cultural heritage. It’s no wonder why the shrimp croquettes are amongst the most famous food in Belgium. This delicacy is crispy from outside with a creamy mixture of cheese and shrimps from the inside. The croquettes are perfect for a snack or a starter.
Where to taste grey shrimp croquettes
Don’t look for this starter in a typical brasserie. To taste them you have to visit a seafood restaurant. The best place to try the shrimp croquettes is Noordzee – Mer du Nord. It’s an excellent street restaurant for fresh seafood.
Noordzee – Mer du Nord
Address: Place Sainte-Catherine 50
The fries and Belgian waffles have two things in common. First, they both are considered the absolute must eat foods in Brussels. Second, the term Belgian waffles (as French Fries) doesn’t exist here in Belgium. In fact, there are three types – the Brussels waffle, the Liège one and the Galettes campinoises. If you have the chance try both the Brussels and the Liège ones.
The Brussels waffle is rectangular, light and flaky. It is usually topped with powdered sugar, chocolate or ice-cream.
The Liège waffle is round with uneven edges. It’s sweeter than the Brussels variation, as it has crystallized sugar baked into it. This makes it denser and crunchy. I prefer this version, as it is crispy and caramelized on the outside and soft on the inside.
The Galettes campinoises are thin crunchy waffles, that taste more like biscuits. You can find them served alongside your coffee or buy them from bakeries.
For the best Belgian waffles in Brussels, go to Vitalgaufre. They offer the Liège variation and they are literally to die for. There are several options to choose from – vanilla, raspberry, apple, chocolate, and cinnamon.
Address: Rue Neuve 23-29
Whatever you do, avoid at any cost the shops that sell waffles covered in way too many toppings. They may look rather appetizing, but in fact, they are not.
Belgium is the world capital of chocolate and there is a good reason why. There are more than 2,000 chocolatiers all over the country. Not to mention the amount of chocolate sold daily.
In 1912, Jean Neuhaus invented the praline – a piece of chocolate filled with almond paste. Since then, the Belgians rule over the chocolate industry.
Where to find the best chocolate in Brussels
Where to buy chocolate in Brussels? Selecting the best Belgian chocolatier is a really tough challenge. There are a lot of great shops, so it all depends on your taste and budget.
Elisabeth is one of my favourites. Their boutique shops offer tasty artisanal sweets, chocolate and awesome meringue. And the price is really good for the quality! They have two shops near the Grand Place. One is focused mostly on chocolate, while the other sells also meringue and cookies.
Address: Rue au Beurre 43
Address: Rue au Beurre 49
Neuhaus is the place to try pralines. They are on the market since 1857. Plus, it was Neuhaus who invented the original Belgian pralines.
Address: Galerie de la Reine 25-29
For high-end chocolate, visit Pierre Marcolini. It’s one of the most famous Belgian chocolatiers. The cocoa producers they work with are selected carefully to ensure the best quality.
Address: Galerie de la Reine 21
Meringue is another must eat food in Brussels for everyone with a sweet tooth. And the best place to taste it – Aux Merveilleux de Fred. Their meringue cakes are unique and super tasty.
Aux Merveilleux de Fred
Address: Rue du Marché Aux Herbes 7
What to drink in Brussels
Drinking a hot chocolate in the capital of the chocolate is kind of a must do. The Belgian hot chocolate is creamy, warming and the taste is better than you’ve ever imagined.
The craft beer is a huge thing in Belgium! Even if you’re not a beer person, you’ll like the beer here. Most of the bars offer hundreds of options, so you’ll definitely find something to match your taste. In fact, the only problem is selecting what to try. And don’t miss the most popular beer here, the Trappist.
The brewing of beer has a long history that started in the 12th century. At that time, when generally the water wasn’t safe to drink, a low-alcohol beer was a great alternative. So the monks in the abbeys started brewing beer as a way of income.
These days, there are only 11 monasteries in the world, that still brew Trappist beer. And six of them are in Belgium!
Where to find the best Belgian beer in Brussels
Most of the restaurants have a wide selection of beers. Yet, for a real beer experience, visit a beer bar.
Moeder Lambic Fontainas
Moeder Lambic Fontainas offers a huge variety of beers, most of them local. The staff is very knowledgeable and will help you to make the perfect choice for your taste. And if you’re a little hungry, their charcuterie plates are awesome! I found a new favourite beer here – De Ranke Père Noël.
Address: Place Fontainas 8
Delirium holds the Guinness World Records for a number of beers available for tasting. They offer more than 2,000 beers! It’s a pretty good reason to visit this bar, isn’t it?
Address: Rue des Bouchers 10
More favourite places to eat in Brussels
If you look for a place for a good breakfast or lunch, check out the following suggestion.
The best place for breakfast in Brussels
For a quick breakfast, Boulangerie Charli is the place to go. The pastries are all fresh, taste fantastic and the coffee is really good. Don’t miss their almond croissants!
Address: Rue Sainte-Catherine 34
Where to get the best lunch in Brussels
For a late breakfast or lunch, Chicago Café is the ideal place. They offer an extensive variety of freshly made dishes and special lunch menus every day.
Address: Rue de Flandre 45
See the iconic Atomium and Mini-Europe with a combo ticket to save money.
Explore the rest of the country by taking a day tour to Bruges or Ghent.
Warwick Grand Place – Best for families
An elegant hotel less than 200m away from the Grand Place.
8.5/10 Rating – See hotel images and 5,680+ guest reviews
Hotel Sandton – Best for couples
A 4-star modern hotel located just next to the cathedral and the Central Station.
8.8/10 Rating – See hotel images and 2,300+ guest reviews
Apartments Chapeliers Grand-Place
Spacious apartments with excellent facilities within a 2min walk to Grand Place.
8.9/10 Rating – See apartment images and 260+ guest reviews
Don’t know in what area to book a hotel? Check out the best area to stay in Brussels.
Find self-guided tours in DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Belgium.