Print Send via e-mail GPS Facebook Twitter
Get directions from | to | via this address
Here is a selection of good restaurants in Brussels that share a taste for fresh produce and traditional recipes, all less than ten minutes’ walk away from the new museums.
Belgium Taste in The Sky, the Atomium restaurant
This is not Belgian humour, but not far off. The Atomium is a “big” tourist machine, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year (see our article). Which is why I did not have great expectations of the catering offered by its restaurant, called Belgium Taste in The Sky, whose very name evokes a certain genre of film… What a mistake, and what a pleasant surprise! To get there you take the lift from the ground floor to the Lola Bobesco sphere, where you will enjoy a fantastic panorama of Brussels and the surrounding area. Incredible but Belgian: the Atomium restaurant is a gourmet brasserie disguised as a sort of self-service restaurant. You walk with your tray around the central axis of the sphere but, from starter to dessert, you are served. Designed to cope with the large crowds in the high tourist season, this “snack bar” is every bit as good as a number of well-regarded restaurants. Officiating in the kitchen is a man of experience, Thierry Déom, who has worked in Michelin star-rated restaurants and in Africa for Sabena. His credo is clear: place the emphasis on good fresh produce, Belgian artisans and traditions. He proclaims it loud and clear: “you will never see any tinned food in here”. Indeed, the colourful and crisp root vegetables, such as the famous Créance carrots and Ratte potatoes, are very enticing… For starters, let yourself be tempted by this typical Belgian speciality, terrine of anguille au vert (eel flavoured with herbs) – "homemade", if you please! For the main course, there was vol au vent made with real poule au pot (chicken casserole), chicken supreme "Sambre et Meuse" style, and even char. For dessert, nothing but homemade pastries, such as meringue with fresh fig jam or a light fromage blanc on a bed of Spéculoos biscuits.
"Starter, main course, dessert" menu at €20.*
Located in the Sablon district, this restaurant is five minutes’ walk from the Belvue Museum and Royal Museums of Fine Arts.
The son of winegrowers in Baixas (northwest of Perpignan), Philippe Renoux knows the land of Languedoc-Roussillon like the back of his hand, even though he has travelled the world. His “bistrot gastronomique”, as it says on the menu, could teach the best a thing or two about flavour, freshness of produce and respect of the seasons. Here, nothing but Mediterranean tuna, Limousin lamb, suckling calf from Corrèze, duck from the Gers… The dishes include Basque pig’s trotter ravioli, panful of chanterelles, fillet of veal with horn of plenty mushrooms… The dessert menu is a delight, with its Soliès figs poached in citrus fruit soup, its dark chocolate moelleux, salted butter caramel, ice cream with mint infusion, and Rum baba (made with old rum). With a southwest and southeast bias, the wine list is remarkable both for variety and price, while avoiding the overrated big names. There are discoveries to be made among the numerous vins de pays from the Hérault and Côtes Catalanes. As for the name, “Orphyse Chaussette”, it was the name of Philippe Renoux’s great-grandmother, an authentic cook whose spirit still lingers in the kitchens… “Lunch” menu at €13.50 and €16.90. For à la carte, reckon on between €40 and €50.
Le Pré salé
This restaurant is three minutes away from the Centrale Electrique (power station).
This traditional Brussels restaurant is one of the gourmet mainstays of the Sainte-Catherine district. The large tiled dining room, wooden tables, banquettes and open-plan kitchen (long before this was fashionable…) give it a touch of the popular fish market that we love. On the table, you will find nothing but hearty produce and recipes to match. Moules marinières (mussels), frogs, anguilles au vert (eels), stoemp (potato and vegetable purée), carbonade (beef casserole), fish from the North Sea and a good selection of beer. The boss comes to greet each table – regulars, tourists and families alike. Reckon on between €20 and €30.
This restaurant is three minutes away from the Centrale Electrique.
As you may have guessed from the name, this modern restaurant in the Sainte-Catherine district allows you to make up your own dishes by choosing the ingredient, cooking style, sauce and trimmings: thus the scallops, langoustines, pheasant or sea bass will be steamed, grilled or baked, and served with olive oil, butter or soy sauce. The same goes for the vegetables. Short cooking times and preparations made while you wait allow this sophisticated “machine” to work. Although the concept is appealing for its lightness and fun aspect, the dishes are somewhat lacking in character.
The "starter, main course, dessert" menu costs €28.
*One euro is worth approximately GBP0.67.
Belgium Taste in The Sky at the Atomium, Sphère Lola Bobesco, Square de l'Atomium, B- 1020 Bruxelles. www.belgiumtaste.com
Starter, main course, dessert menu at €20.
Rue Charles Hanssens 5, 1000 Bruxelles.
Reservation preferred. Closed: Sunday - Monday
Tel: 02 502 75 81
Fax: 02 513 52 04
Le Pré salé, rue de Flandre, 20; 1000 Bruxelles,
Tel: 02 513 65 45
Fax: 02 513 56 14
Le Switch, rue de Flandre, 6; 1000 Bruxelles,
Tel: 02 503 14 80
Fax: 02 503 14 80