Restaurants around Grand' Place, Brussels
Too many people have been sucked into this seafood street only to leave with an unfair impression of Belgian cuisine character! This street is a total trap.
Unique Suggestions: If you go there, restrict your choices to Aux Armes de Bruxelles or Chez Leon. These are the only 2 reputable ones.
Fun Alternatives: Better yet, walk 10 minutes to the other side of Boulevard Anspach and go to Place Ste. Catherine where you have an abundance of seafood restos with better price and quality.
In my opinion the only recommendable restaurants in the Ilôt Sacré (rue des Bouchers and petite rue des Bouchers) are Aux Armes de Bruxelles and, out of season at least, Chez Léon, plus the bar Delirium. Steer clear of all those restaurants with tempting displays outside - they are fun to look at but locals would never eat there.
Unique Suggestions: If you have to, make sure you study the menu carefully, and ASK whether there is a cover charge ("couvert") - I have never paid one in 25 years in this city, but apparently they sometimes appear on bills in this area. Note that merely having a menu in languages other than French and Dutch does not denote a tourist restaurant, it's quite widespread practice in Brussels.
Fun Alternatives: Nearby restaurants in the Galeries St. Hubert are fine, e.g. La Taverne du Passage, and L'Ogenblik in the Galerie des Princes.
It is funny that in a street named “Butcher street” you mostly will find fish restaurants!
Anyway, except for a very few this street is only to look at, take pictures of, but not to go inside the restaurants itself.
I have been in there once on invitation and first of all the waiter was ignorant about my guest asking not for pork as he was a Muslim.
First entry they brought was … right ! Pork. So he complained but got no alternative in return.
As we just were sitting there finishing the big fish dish but mostly chit chatting, the waiter came impatiently asking every 15 minutes if we had finished. It really innerved my guest and me to the limit. After a remark the waiter left us at ease for a little more.
I wondered why he wanted to press us as there were hardly any other people in the restaurant, so making room for new customers was really not the reason?
Maybe pure bad manners?
The bill was higher then expected too, I still think they added something that was not consumed. Anyway it was far too pricey for what we got and this was sure the first and last time I had dinner there. It was just that I didn’t knew Brussels well but I think I know better now!
Unique Suggestions: NO no!!! don't go at all :)
just walk along and take your pictures!
If you want to try it... then first look at the menu card and prices first and see they are not cheating on you.
Fun Alternatives: Go somewhere else and study the menu card carefully before you go inside.
The tourist trap begins when walking in the street left from the Maison du Roi (Breadhouse).
Looking for a cheap restaurant? Then do it!
Very narrow, very cosy, very inviting, but also very similar. Almost all the restaurants offer the same food. Most of them have an inconvenient stand outside showing fish, meat, plastic and real fruit, wine and filled plates, showing the dishes you can choose. All these stands are similar, and they turn the street in a colorful spectacle.
Around noon waiters will come outside to draw your attention and to lead you inside.
The food is cheap and tastes cheap. Quick service. Your seat needs to be cleared for other customers.
"Rue des Bouchers" is a very nice, picturesque street close to the Grand'Place. The narrow cobbled street is packed with restaurants that compete for the tourist trade with hard-sell waiters and displays piled high with all manner of marine delicacies.
It is very nice looking but please do not eat there. They regularly have problems with the food inspection and are way too expensive!
It is tourist trap nr 1 in Brussels!
Fun Alternatives: Go to the Place Sainte-Catherine if you are looking for delicious seafood. ( see restaurant tips)
the Rue des Bouchers is a tourist
trap. Expensive for the quality they give, some have pbs with hygiene
For seafood, better go to Place Sainte- Catherine and Marché aux poissons
(Vismarkt). Metro: Sainte-Catherine (Sint Katelijn or Katarina, not sure).
Imagine a very narrow street with restaurants and terraces on both sides. Not too sure how to call this function but each one has a waiter waiting outside and trying to grab you inside (I hate that !)
Of course their only purpose is to trap the numerous tourists... You'll pay twice the price of an other restaurant for more than average food (lots of seafood)...
Unique Suggestions: I had lots of fun yesterday, walking through this street, looking in the plates of the trapped people and thinking I had had much better food than them ;-)
Fun Alternatives: I've never tried it but "Aux Armes de Bruxelles" is the exception in this area.
If you want decent seafood, I'd rather go to one of the many restaurants on the Place Ste Catherine...
Near Galeries de la Reine and Galeries du Roi, you will find a crowded street full of "seafood" restaurants with seafood stalls. The famous "(Petite) Rue des bouchers". Avoid them as food there is as not exceptional as its prices.
However, attractive layouts and stalls of seafood... Beware! For fresh seafood in Brussels, go to Place Ste-Catherine (also downtown)... Something to know, many of those restaurants share same underground dirty kitchens. They have problems with Hygiene Inspection (some rats were found in there). So, noone living in Brussels would advise you going there, so wouldnt I.
Unique Suggestions: If you really want to have this experience, Aux armes de Bruxelles (local cuisine) and Karim restaurants (for Maghreb tasty dishes) are exceptions to my warning!!
Pricey but quality food!!
Fun Alternatives: For alternatives, see my other Restaurant tips. Or go to local Chinatown for low price Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian standards... (Quartier de la Bourse). Convenient location.
OR, for cheap food near Grand-Place, go to "Pitta street" (rue du March? aux Fromages), just around the corner of Grand-Place. It's about Gyros pitta and variations on it. With fries (frites). Not top quality food at all but you could eat for 5 euros there (pitta + fries + soda/water). If you want, you could even order your meal and eat outside where is sunny (Grand-Place or Rue March? aux herbes). Strange enough, this street attracts locals as well (esp. students).
Anyways, for me, both Cheap Asian in Chinatown and Pittastreet (especially) restaurants serve as last resorts (open late and dead cheap). !!!!
For fresh seafood, rather go to Place Ste- Catherine.
ask yourself why. I've got a fireman friend who has seen some of the kitchens. Yuk! Only go to the recommended ones
Unique Suggestions: If you really like the look of a place, sit down and order a drink first. Use your fellow diners as guinea pigs .. if their order comes out really quickly, theres probably a conveyor belt of dishes of the day being microwaved out the back ...
Fun Alternatives: Great selection of restaurant (rated by customers) available on www.resto.be
Although this street has the most restaurants of teh city, it is actually a tourist trap. You'll recognise the streets by it's many bright lights and advertisements and the fish on display outside. I've been told that only tourists come to eat here, and noone from Brussels will eat there.
Most restaurants, cafes and bars around the main city centre tend to charge relatively a lot of money for their drinks and food. They are frequently packed with tourists and the prices also reflect that. I have never eaten in the area myself, but I should imagine it's not the highest quality. To be brutally honest, if you are in town for more than one day and have time to go elsewhere, try to venture outside the city centre.
Fun Alternatives: Try the area around the church "Saint Boniface" in Ixelles/Elsene where you will find interesting small restaurants. My favourite is 'Le Deuxième (II) Element' (7, rue Saint Boniface, 1050 Bruxelles, tel: 02 502 0028, closed on Sat and Sun lunch time). It's a Thai place, but not a traditional Thai at all, but more like a fusion with a modern deco and non-oriental staff. A booking is highly recommended - even for a lunch, since it gets absolutely packed with people who work in the offices nearby. English is spoken. The prices are very cheap - around €10 / maincourse during lunch hours.
Other places include a very cosy non-smoking restaurant called 'Le Tartisan' (Rue de la Paix 27, 1050 Brussels, tel: 02 503 3600, Closed on Sundays) (just around the corner from the "II Element"). They've got very delicious warm quiches, salads and lovely looking sweet pastry.
According to their website, this place is also gay-friendly.
You can get to the area by metro. The nearest station is "Porte de Naumer/Naamseport". It is useful to have a map with you, as the blocks and roads in Brussels are not as straightforward to find as for instance in New York.
The Casa Manuel is a Portuguese/Spanish restaurant on the Grand'Place - or rather its address is given as the Grand'Place but the actual restaurant is accessed off a side street from the Grand'Place. They try to push Portuguese and Spanish wines off at high prices, with very little information about what type of wine they are.
Unique Suggestions: Take a house wine - it is cheaper than the wines that they try to push excessively and is probably a safer and cheaper bet.
Fun Alternatives: Try going out to the Place St Catherine - the prices are cheaper and the food better value.
there are a lot of restaurants there and the tourists are really the biggest target of this area...it is maybe cute to see...nice narrows streets, colorful, etc but is it not necessary the best place to eat! And the prices are not always justified...
Unique Suggestions: Just walk there...smell the kitchen odours...of just go and see the toon cafe...a typical brussels cafe.
The Rue des Bouchers/Beenhouwersstraat behind the Grand' Place/Grote Markt used to be the place to be for good restaurants, mainly seafood and mussels. Nowadays however, quality is poor, prices are high and it's almost impossible to walk through this small alley without all the hasslers from the many restaurants trying to lure you inside. Once you're in their restaurant they forget you or try to sell you their very special menu, which in the end turns out to be out of stock. Avoid this street!!
Unique Suggestions: But there are still some good places. Aux Armes de Bruxelles remains a classic.
Fun Alternatives: Brussels is really FULL of outstanding restaurants that are not too expensive at all.
Rue des Bouchers is a famous street full of restaurants. I advice you, though, not to eat in one of those restaurants. They are a real tourist trap. Prices are way too high and the hygienics are not always conform standards. I've already heard a lot of negative comments, so be warned.
Unique Suggestions: Enjoy the lovely seafood displays on the street.