A Shopping, Eating & Drinking Guide to: Brussels

Frit fabuleux at Frit Flagey

Going to Brussels always means a heavy to-do list, too many interesting museums, too many delicious treats, too much odd yet good beer awaits the traveller in this city. People told me, normally Brussels suffers from an endless grey sky, not so when I was there couple of days ago. Sunny sunshine, very blue skies and warm temperatures made my stay very pleasurable and I can’t wait to come back. Also to compile even more tips on this fascinating city, for now, here are my favorites from last week:

Eating

Frit Flagey
A guide to Brussels needs to start with a main cultural asset: excellence in making fries. Frit Flagey, a small stall on Place Flagey was recommended to me by a very trustworthy person, hence I accepted the long line in front of it and queued. And it was worth it – double fried deliciousness served with Sauce Andalouse, a mayonaise with onions and tomatos. PLACE FLAGEY

As delicious as it looks, a waffle at Wittamer
As delicious as it looks, a waffle at Wittamer

Wittamer
Second on my to-eat-list for Brussels were of course Gaufre, Belgian waffles, and again my source proved to be very trustworthy: the Gaufre de Bruxelles (discernible by its square form, in contrast to the oval form of the Gaufre de Liège) served with whipped cream and powdered sugar costed me a crazy amount of money, but was the best waffle I’ve ever had. Ever. Website, PLACE DU GRAND SABLON 6

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Boulangerie Charli
When it comes to bread, I always ask Malin Elmlid for advice and was not disappointed once again – she sent me to Boulangerie Charli where I bought a perfect Clafoutis Rhubarbe et Fraise and a Figue et Noisette bread. Website; RUE SAINTE-CATHERINE 34

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Crèmerie de Linkebeek
Just around the corner from Charli lies a picture-perfect little cheese-store, where you can buy fresh and dainty baguettes with cheese to devour on the beautiful and lively Place Ste Catherine. RUE DU VIEUX MARCHÉ AUX GRAINS 4

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Pierre Marcolini
There are about 500 or more chocolatiers in this city and while the big names like Neuhaus, Godiva and Léonidas can be found at every corner offering a mass-market product, there’s also a lively scene of smaller and bigger chocolate houses selling more quality chocolate products. Like Pierre Marcolini, who’s internationally renowned for being a “chocolate-artist”. His chocolate stores look like fancy boutiques with beautifully designed pralinés, chocolates and macarons. Website, RUE DES MINIMES 1, (PLACE DU SABLON)

Frederic Blondeel
Not as known as Marcolini, but equally good, this chocolatier has his workshop in Beauvoorde and a fairly new store where all the chocolatiers are – at Grand Sablon. They also offer a super delicious chocolate spread. Website, RUE DE LA PAILLE 32

Toukoul
Due to an extensive program I didn’t have enough time to explore the restaurant-scene of Brussels (and will need to come back). On Saturday night I enjoyed dinner at this Ethiopian restaurant just off Place Sainte Catherine, proving the good quality of international cuisines in Brussels. Website, KASTANJEBOOMSTRAAT 1

Drinking

Le Tigre
Belgians have a huge affection for alcohol, seeing people having a pint of a very strong Belgian beer around 1pm on a weekday is nothing unusual and so the cities of course has loads of bars and places to drink. Le Tigre is a laid back bar just off Place Flagey in the very hip district Ixelles (comparable to Prenzlauer Berg, while St. Gilles is more like Kreuzberg, I heard) that I seriously recommend. RUE DE LA BRASSERIE 117

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Barbeton
Another quite perfectly styled bar with a quite laid-back atmosphere, this time on Rue Dansaert just off Place Sainte Catherine. Website, RUE ANTOINE DANSAERT 114

Booze’n’Blues
I needed quite some time to understand the name when my friend told me about this bar and needed quite the same time to figure out this bar. Filled with fortuneteller machines and a juke box, this joint attracts seniors looking for a last coffee as well as youngsters looking for a last and often unnecessary beer. RUE DES RICHES CLAIRES 20

Shopping

Isabelle Bajart
You can spend days and days shopping in Brussels, especially vintage shops are spread all over the city and feature a very nice selection of high fashion clothing as well as stunning 50s and 60s dresses. Isabelle Bajart offers the former with pieces by Dries van Noten, Versace and Missoni amongst many others for very affordable prices. Website, RUE DES CHARTREUX 25

Gabriele Vintage
Bring some time when you want to explore this vintage boutique just next to Isabelle Bajart – tons of 50s, 60s and 70s day dresses, cocktail dresses and gowns (imagine 60s lace wedding dresses), hats, skirts, shirts, blouses and so much more want to be discovered. Website, RUE DES CHARTREUSE 27

Idiz Bogam
Mixing vintage clothing, furniture and objects in an almost all-black interior with pieces of their own collection, this store is loaded with atmosphere. Which has its price, though, but you shouldn’t miss it anyway. If you’re in buying mood: just next door is a 2nd hand boutique selling rather random pieces for just 15,- a kilo and the parallel street Rue Blaes features more interesting vintage stores. RUE HAUTE 180

Flea market at Jeu de Balles
Happening every day from early morning hours till around 1pm (3pm on weekends) this big flea market offers porcelaine figurines as well as carpets, clothing, photo cameras – if you’re in the mood to dig through piles and bargaining your heart out, this is your place.

Dries van Noten at Stijl
Dries van Noten at Stijl

Stijl
The most important (and first, opened in 1984!) fashion store for Belgian designers is located on Rue Dansaert and offers a big selection of Dries van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester and Raf Simons, amongst others like Rick Owens and Haider Ackermann. Website, RUE ANTOINE DANSAERT 74

Hatshoe
Just on the other side of the street from Stijl lies Hatshoe, featuring beautiful shoes by Chloé and Dries van Noten. RUE ANTOINE DANSAERT 89

Maison Martin Margiela Boutique
The second ever boutique of Maison Martin Margiela is located in Brussels, not too far from Stijl. Of course in all-white, building as well as boutique, they feature a selection of the Maison’s brands as well as their gorgeous shoes. Website, RUE DE FLANDRE 114

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Hunting & Collecting
The coolest concept store of all Brussels is called Hunting&Collecting and was recommended to me several times. It seriously is a cool boutique with brands like Kenzo, Soulland, A Kind of Guise, Carven, Stine Goya and Anntian to just name a few. Furthermore there are books, jewelry and loads of fashionable events making this place a hang-out for all, ehm, cool kids. They also have a great online store. RUE DES CHARTREUX 17

Smets
This store is unique in the world thanks to its location – in a completely unfashionable area of Schaerbeek, Smets erected a black temple of contemporary high fashion. In an unbelievable huge store all important fashion labels are presented, from Balmain to Mary Katrantzou, Givenchy to Isabel Marant, men’s fashion as well as women’s, cosmetics, shoes and accessories. You’ll need to especially travel here to shop, but if you’re interested in contemporary fashion design and have a little time on your hand, this is well worth it. CHAUSÉE DE LOUVAIN 650-652

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  1. Katja on

    Reply

    Next time definitely hit up Moeder Lambic. Pretty much the only nonbranded beer bar in town!

  2. FancyBeast on

    Reply

    Die Waffeln in Brüssel kann ich wirklich Empfehlen ;-)

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