Brussels undeniably boasts an extremely varied offering of world food restaurants. It is indeed a major and long-standing trend which mirrors the cosmopolitan character of the city and its residents. And if the variety is indeed almost infinite, there is definitely no shortage of quality and authenticity. As a matter of fact, today more than ever, it has become a key asset of Brussels’ culinary offer. It is hardly surprising therefore that several Brussels starred restaurants shy away from the traditional French-Belgian cuisine, and reach beyond national borders to explore different cuisines. It does however not only apply to gourmet restaurants, quite the contrary!
There is no doubt some good addresses have earned their place in the sun decades ago. In recent years, however, we have observed the emergence of a new generation of eating houses serving simple, remarkably authentic dishes prepared with high-quality ingredients. This buoyant vitality takes centre stage in all cuisines and you can often enjoy it in cosy and budget-friendly eateries, ranging from food trucks to neo-canteens, micro-restaurants, delis with their own tables d’hôte or other original and sometimes most unlikely places.
Nowadays, as a sign of maturity of the city’s gourmet scene, long-established cuisines such as the French and the Italian witness a series of eating houses hitting town with highly appealing regional specialties.
To help you find your way around the many world food restaurants in Brussels, here is an overview – by no means exhaustive – of some highly recommendable addresses.
Heavily represented in Brussels for over half a century, the Italian gastronomy is up to a major comeback. So, you will have no trouble finding an array of new and very tempting canteens, such as Gazzetta, launched by the owners of Caffè Al Dente, Vini Divini Aperitivo, nestled in the very voguish Hôtel du Berger and run by Vincenzo Marino who operates his famous Enoteca right next to the place. Italian regional cuisines are increasingly present. Examples are Via Balbi which turns the spotlight on the Ligurian cuisine with a small deli on the side, Osteria Agricola Toscana, a particularly captivating project initiated by Tuscan farmers wanting to breathe new life into their activity and Osteria Bolognese which puts its heart and soul into introducing Belgians to the genuine ‘pasta bolognese’! And if you want to remain faithful to the old pizza, stop in at Bottega della Pizza and you will fall in love with its pizzas unlike any other… provided you have booked your table well in advance.
Among the timeless true classics, famous establishment Notos has been defending the colours of Greek traditional cooking brilliantly for the past twenty years. Here there are no fake marble effects to be spotted. What you get are infinitely refined dishes concocted by a very endearing chef in the person of Constantin Erinkoglou. And, while you are at it, let yourself be enthralled by the Hellenic wines available à la carte. Kafenio, Strofilia and Ergon, worthy representatives of Greek cuisine as well, have won the heart of many aficionados.
Oriental / African
If you are looking for a taste of something different, you can choose for dishes from other than your average run-of-the-mill countries. In the vicinity of Grand-Place, the best Scandinavian cuisine, Up North, rubs shoulders with a surprising small Iranian restaurant, Caspian, or two temples of the Ethiopian gastronomy which are Toukoul and Kokob. Without leaving the African continent, the duo Babdar and Kif Kif are an attractive addition for all lovers of North-African food.
Even if we consider Asia with its longstanding presence in our city – take for example Thailand, Vietnam, India or China, bright and zesty newcomers spring up to cater to locals and tourists alike and offer a regional take on their cuisine, such as Mo Mo and its Tibetan dumplings and soups, spanking new Knees to Chin and its Vietnamese spring rolls, the Korean kimchis and other bulgogis at Hana, Seoul or MaRu, the ramen bars Menma and Yamato or a dinner at starred restaurant Kamo.
Spain is not outdone with the outstanding Leonor which first set up shop near Porte de Halle and has now moved to the more upscale neighbourhood of Saint-Gilles. Still in the Hispanic vein, but across the Atlantic Ocean, King Kong is the latest hot spot which transports you all the way to Lima without ever leaving Brussels.
If you fancy taking your taste buds on a trip across the Channel, then delicious new eateries such as Bia Mara (serving fish and chips) and God Save the Cream (offering British cuisine and brunch) provide the best of British cuisine!
And, last but by no means least, our very own Tram Experience lines up a whole posse of prestigious international chefs who will take their passengers on a gourmet journey far beyond the limits of Brussels’ confined tram network.
Rue de la Longue Haie 12 (1050)
Vini Divini Aperitivo
Rue du Berger 24 (1050)
Rue de Namur 80 (1000)
Osteria Agricola Toscana
Avenue Livingstone 20 (1000)
Rue de la Paix 49 (1050)
Bottega della Pizza
Avenue Ducpétiaux 39 (1060)
Rue de Livourne 154 (1000)
Rue Stévin 134 (1000)
Rue du Marché aux Porcs 11-13 (1000)
Rue du Parnasse 1 (1050)
Rue de la Violette 26 (1000)
Rue de Laeken 34 (1000)
Rue des Grands Carmes 10 (1000)
Chaussée de Charleroi 85 (1060)
Square de Biarritz 1 (1050)
Rue Defacqz 27 (1050)
Knees to Chin
Rue de Livourne 125 (1000)
Rue Saint-Boniface 21 (1050)
Rue Capitaine Crespel 14 (1050)
Chaussée de Waterloo 510 (1050)
Avenue des Saisons 123 (1050)
Rue Francart 11 (1050)
Chaussée de Waterloo 550a (1050)
Rue Saint-Bernard 1 (1060)
Chaussée de Charleroi 227 (1060)
Rue Marché aux Poulets 41 (1000)
God Save the Cream