Eating, drinking and sleeping, here is the trinity of survival during a stay and here, we give you the report of all our addresses visited during our weekend in Brussels. For the less vital but no less interesting things, find all our other articles on the Belgian capital, but for now, it's the reptilian brain talking: Where to eat in Brussels? Where to go out and have a (several!) drink? Or sleep ?Practical information ✓
Getting to Brussels
(I.e. in TRAIN: Count about 1h30 from Paris Gare du Nord, 35 min from Lille Europe station (SNCF prices). Arrival at Brussels Midi Brussel Zuid main station (15-20 min walk from Grand-Place).
✈️ by plane : You can compare the prices of plane tickets on lastminute.com. Brussels airport is to the North-East (12km from the Grand-Place, 20 min by car).
🎟 Anticipate your visit
Little tip: if you want book your tickets in advance for your visits, you can buy pre-sale tickets skip-the-line tickets for the Atomium✓. This way, you are sure to avoid the always too long queues.🍽 Casse Ta Croute… in Brussels once! Where to eat the best fries in Brussels?
THE big question!! How to go to Belgium and not want to eat the best fries once? After a weekend spent in Brussels, I will try to enlighten you by sharing with you my experience of the fried thing.
But first of all, why is the Belgian fries so famous? Because it's the best. Yes but why ? So what is the “mystery ingredient”? Contrary to what we do to ourselves by frying the potato in sunflower oil, in Belgium, the potato parallelepiped undergoes a double cooking in beef fat. Result: a crispy fries on the outside and a tasty flavor.
First attempt in the middle of the evening (after the aperitif at Poechenellekelder which did not satisfy me) at Free country, next to the Stock Exchange. The fries are good but the guy was not super nice, like an impression of disturbing him and getting yelled at when he asked me for the sauce…
Later, At Grandpa's (opposite) on the Place du Marché aux Herbes: well… nothing exceptional and the sauces there are mediocre or even bad.
➜ at Frit Flagey
In the competition between chip shops to be the best in Brussels, we find in the lead the Maison Antoine and the Frit flagey (voted “World’s Best Fries” by the New York Times!) so we wanted to check. So motivated that you still have to walk more than 30 minutes to get to Place Flagey! The reputation must hold since there is a long queue. As a result, it solves the enigma of which sauce we will choose from the 20 proposed! On the advice of the customer in front, I opted for the Andalusian (slightly spicy) and since I hadn't eaten since the morning, I took an extra burger. “A big cone and a burger?” asks me to confirm the guy, and everyone, surprised, to look at me. Yes yes. "You won't be hungry afterwards!" my adviser told me...
tomorrow, it will be salad! though…
Conclusion: I finished everything (which was not the case for my 2 acolytes) with a tight stomach. Regarding the burger, rather disgusting (like an impression of eating dog food between two slices of bread) but as for the fries, yes, certainly very good, crispy and tasty, and they are the ones that were the best of my stay in Brussels. On the other hand, it is far!! Go there by car or by metro to form your own opinion, but on foot, like us, it's not worth such a big detour (and then… it's still fries).
➜ au Poechenellekelder
Right next to the Manneken Pis, the Poechenellekelder (I let you try the pronunciation…) is a bar-restaurant in the remarkable and warm decoration a pub with lots of… brothel of antiques all over the place. Ultimately, it's mostly a place for a aperitif dinner: wide choice of beers (we were advised by the professional server, but much less welcoming than the decor…) and a few dishes or plates of charcuterie and cheese (not terrible) to eat and float in your stomach.
In the category "tourist restaurants way Saint-Michel in Paris” where the touts (but how can we still believe that this technique of tourist harassment is not super counter-productive?) pay you an aperitif (they are cute!), you have to go in the Sacred Island and mainly the butchers street, you will be delighted!
More vernacular, the North Sea (Nordzee), Place Sainte-Catherine, where you order your seafood dish before settling down at a high table under the tents with a small glass of white wine. There are also typical snails cooked in broth. I wanted to but... I didn't...
➜ Fred's Marvelous
In terms of gastronomy, the North and Belgium hold the upper hand with well-known specialties such as fries, beer or waffles and others less known but no less appreciable such as the aptly named "Merveilleux". Of course, Julie made it a point of honor to taste! The base of this somewhat rich pastry, meringue and whipped cream, all covered according to tradition with chocolate shavings. Today, the recipe is perpetuated, declined and above all can be tasted “Aux Marvelous de Fred”. Originally, it was a store in Lille which gradually became a veritable institution. Since then, it has been found in the main cities of the North and a handful of large cities in Europe (Lyon, Geneva, etc.).
Where to go out for a drink in Brussels?
➜ at the Delirium Café
ZE PLACE TO DRINK !! After several consultations with the local population to find out where to go out in Brussels, what was THE essential bar where you had to spend an evening, everyone was unanimous: “at Délirium!” . It's a bit complicated to find if you don't know Brussels, it's in a cul-de-sac called Fidélité (was this cul-de-sac used to be a hangout…?). And when we get there, we can't go wrong, the whole street is full of people full of alcohol! It's like Thirst Street but smaller. In fact, the whole street belongs to the Délirium Café but each bar has its specificity (rum, beers... the specialty being the “absinthe pipe” that several people recommended to us but we did not dare to dare, even less after the guy from the security of the hotel told us that he had seen cases of 2nd degree burns due to “unused -mastered” …). At the very end, the statue Jeanneke pis (feminine counterpart of Manneken Pis) is a good illustration of what you will do after a few hopped drinks…the day…
…the night !
It's crawling everywhere! My favorite place is undoubtedly the one at the far left, where you can go down to the basement in thehuge cellar where the human density can recall certain ferias. Ransom for the popularity of the place, it attracts parasites and that's how, while vigilant, I had my wallet pulled. In short, be safe in the city (more so than me), Brussels is a tourist capital and some people know it... It somewhat breaks the festive spirit of the evening and the weekend... On the other hand, the experience of declaring Belgian police station and the inspector who teaches me how to pronounce Molenbeek correctly (“because there is 2nd”) after talking to me about the posture of the figure of President of the French Republic with François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy is one of his improbably Belgian moments… I had warned my friend, “in Belgium, everything is possible!” It happened… at my expense.
➜ Falstaff and Parrot
If you want to dive into theBrussels atmosphere and its 1900 imprint, Julie experimented with two breweries during her “Art Nouveau route” , enjoying a coffee or a sweet Belgian beer: the Perroquet and the Falstaff. Do you like stained glass?
➜ on Place Saint-Géry
With many sunny terraces, it's the second place to go for a drink in Brussels and also the first where we drank our first beer when we arrived in Brussels (Julie particularly enjoyed her first chouffes… 😉 ). After a while, once the sun had gone down, we started to curdle a little (month of April, don't discover yourself by a thread while drinking your pils; but after 1 on the other hand... ?) and we headed back inside. The central space is reserved for the interior terrace of the bar and the edges are exhibition spaces. Different games are available: chess, backgammon… Culture of the tavern?
➜ au Mundo Map
Located on Place Saint-Géry, it is this bar that has had our favor (and two evenings in a row!) because of its warmly pub interior and its cocktails (wide choice and they don't give a damn about the customer's mouth with the quantity and quality of the alcohol chosen). Everything happens on the zinc (even if there is a terrace, but on April evenings, it's freezing! Oh, did I already tell you? So that's what marked me!!) . In short, we highly recommend it.
🏨 Where to sleep in Brussels?
➜ at the Ibis Hotel
Located on the Place du Marché aux Herbes, a stone's throw from the Grand-Place in Brussels and one of the Galeries Saint-Hubert, thehôtel Ibis Brussels Off Grand Place has the advantage of being in the heart of the Belgian capital (which was very very practical with the very… changeable weather!). After more than 7 hours of driving, traffic jams due to an accident, we no longer wanted to give up our heads so we took advantage of the municipal car park just below (15 € / 24h).
Bruxelles by night © Edward's Eye / Instagram 📷
The welcome was super nice and everyone (and especially the security guard, as impressive as he is professional and ultimately very friendly!) went out of their way to satisfy our stay (especially after the inconveniences of my stolen wallet). From my room, I had view of the square and the spire of the Hôtel de Ville and, at night, it's really nice. As a result, I was never disconnected from my visit, in permanent immersion in Brussels. That's good, that's what I came for! ➜ rates and booking
Another hyper profitable point that makes you find yourself there financially (in addition to the geographical advantage), breakfast !! As much as I generally have very little appetite on waking, as much there, I cracked my stomach. In fact, we find… EVERYTHING!! (except wild boar from the Ardennes). Rather greedy, even gluttonous, I went from salty (bread, egg, ham, bacon, cheese…) to sweet (fruits, jams, honey, pastries…) by bringing it all down with coffees and fresh fruit juices. In short, no need to eat all day! Just enough to arrive just in time at aperitif time in town...
If you are looking for a hotel room in Brussels,
you can look on booking ✔︎
➜ at the Youth Hostel?
Another popular place to sleep in Brussels is the traditional Youth Hostel. But in Belgium, they don't blow their noses: 20€ per night! (see: 23€ at Cork). So, when you know that the price is per person to sleep in a dormitory on bunk beds with snoring guys and you see the difference in service with a hotel (cf: Ibis above), it's totally unprofitable! Even if it means having to put money into accommodation, you might as well go to the hotel where the price is per room (therefore divisible by 2) and is justified.
➜ in a shared apartment in Anderlecht
Thanks to my friend the “good” tips (…), we also tested the shared accommodation of Belgian musicians in the Anderlecht district and that was very nice (just like the Belgians who are always super welcoming). However, I will keep the address secret… 😉