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.
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.
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.
Rou des Bouchers is a attractively looking street full of restaurants but you better go to other restaurants in the Brussels City centre such as "Fin De Siecle" - "Mirante" around the stock exchange area "La Bourse" of just take a walk around Rue Dansaert or got to the Place St Katelijne for a wide range of fishing restaurants.
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.
Pitta Street is just behind Grand Place and is full of ... well, pitta places. It's the Eastern equivalent of Rue du Bouchers. Lots of Greek/Moroccan/Turkish/etc places with lots of same stuff. It's noisy, it's dirty, it's crowded (beware pick-pockets), and is nothing much. You are one of many, there is nothing individual about it -- it's the typical tourist assembly line.
Unique Suggestions Keep going!
Fun Alternatives Sumela, which is not that far (on the other side of the De Brouckere). See my tip on it.
There's a street next to the gran Place where you can find only restaurants. They are tourist resaturants, mainly offering mussels (the typical Brussels dish).
The fact is that each restaurant has one or more than one waiters standing outside and trying to pull you inside thier own restaurant.
This I find very unpleasant, but it seems to be one of the more touristic attraction of the area!
Unique Suggestions Well....just don't hesitate to go ahead....
Fun Alternatives Let me suggest to go to "Chez Leon". It's located in this street too, but as it is a very famous restaurant they don't need to have a witer standing outside.
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
............... A street plenty of restaurants: expensive, horrible food, disgusting kitchen... Don't go to have a eat in this street. You must see this but walk away...
Unique Suggestions Laugh about the guys who eat in... and go away to find a pretty and good restaurant somwhere else!
Fun Alternatives All the rest!!
The Rue des bouchers near Brussels grand' place is a definite tourist trap. Every restaurant on the street offer great prices but the food is not as fresh as you'd like it to be. The waiters tend to be very kind and inviting, but it is only to compensate on the meal that is not worth the money.
Fun Alternatives If you like seafood i suggest you go to ostend and buy it in the street stands where it is way fresher and cheaper too, but the ambience is of course a little less inviting.
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.
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.