Going down to Brussels for New Year seem to have become a tradition. For 2 years in a row now we have been checking in to the cool design hotel Bloom for the festivities. What also have become a tradition is, after checking in, heading down to the centre and to the buzzing Vlaamse Buurt. Some of our favourite places are to be found there. Le Roi des Belges is a great café serving huge sandwiches, bowls of steaming soup and delicious Belgian beer to wash it all down with. If you fancy drinks only you should head across the street to Mappa Mundo, a popular café with cosy sofas and good music. Both places have outdoor seating which is fun for people watching. For more information check out this page for these and other places in the area.
A wonderful place for an evening meal is the close by Moroccan restaurant La Kasbah. With its dark interior, dimmed lighting and low tables, it’s definatley a place that gets the romance going. And the food is fantastic too. Loved one, who is a carnivore, is a huge fan of the lamb tajine with prunes and roasted almonds. The vegetarian option isn’t bad either. Though my favourite is the mezze kasbah consisting of a few small vegetarian dishes to share. The roasted aubergine mousse, humus, marinated beets and spicy spinach are all delicious.
In the centre of Brussel you can find some really amazing old cafés. The obvious one would be Le Cirio close to the square. This Grand café was established in 1886, still has the same interior (os so it looks like) and you might think that the waiters originate from that time too! They have a large selection of Belgian beer and serve traditional food. Our favourite is however the well hidden Bon Vieux Temps (In the good old Days) down an alley from Grassmarkt. The small place is dating back to 1695 and with its dark wooden interior and stained glass windows it gives the feeling of a chapel rather than a bar. We spent a great afternoon here drinking beer and chatting away to the locals.
There are a few (touristic or not) food things you should try out while in Brussels. You should admire Manneken Pis while eating an overpriced waffle (which I don’t think has anything to do with Brussels but nevertheless extremely popular with tourists). The choice of toppings is endless and amount of it generous!
And you should indulge in the huge variety of Belgian chocolates. Myself… I just love the pralines from the chique chocolatier Pierre Ledent that are almost (but just almost) too beautiful to eat!
And at last, don’t leave the place without having a bag of Belgian chips, called friet. They should be rather thick cut, crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside and served with mayonnaise. In Belgium theses chips are often served with mussels, another local delicacy. When in season I will buy, cook and treat you to some delicious recipes!