If you know who we are, you know how we feel about Brussels. With an office at a stone’s throw from the Atomium and a history with the city that goes deep, our capital continues to inspire and amaze us every day. Its eclectic mix of neighborhoods, nationalities and cultures is unparalleled. We figured that some pointers by locals might come in handy for those unfamiliar, so we asked our teams in Rue des Chartreux and Place Stephanie for some of their favorite spots.
Sure, we could tell you to buy some Belgian chocolates and go see Manneke Pis but obviously, there’s so much more than that. Then again, a statue of a little fella peeing is a pretty cool concept. As mentioned, Brussels has a variety of different neighborhoods and areas, all with their own character. We’ll mainly be focusing on downtown Brussels (where our Rue des Chartreux store is) and the Toisson d’Or/Louisa area (home to our Place Stephanie Flagship store). Here we go.
If you love doing as the locals do, we’d advise you to wander around between the flea market stalls at Place du Jeu de Balle, to buy some fresh plants and flowers at the marché du Midi or to visit the Saint Boniface neighborhood, which is full of small shops, bars and restaurants. After that, go out and enjoy a drink on of the many terraces Parvis de Saint-Gilles has to offer.
Downtown, everyone loves Place Sainte-Catherine, with its wide range of places to eat and drink. Nothing beats sitting down and just watching life in the city unfold, but if you’re in the mood to do some purchases you can buy plants and vintage furniture at Brut, or vintage clothes at Think Twice and Mademoiselle l’Ancien where you’ll find restored/transformed pieces, both for men and women.
When in Brussels, it would be a shame not to head out for a fresh beer at some point. Some of our favorite spots to do so include Monk or Bar des Amis. These are both local institutions. Monk also serves a mean spaghetti by the way.
If you’re a fan of cocktails (preferably with a view), we have what you’re looking for: Perché. On this rooftop bar above the JAM hotel, you can sip your gin & tonic while enjoying a beautiful view of the city, or you can lounge around the swimming pool.
For a nice afternoon or evening in a relaxed atmosphere, go to the guinguette, in the Parc Royal. It’s a lovely kiosk where drinks, food, culture and music meet. The atmosphere is cozy and multicultural. If you’re lucky there might even be a band playing.
More of a wine person? That’s cool, we have some ideas for you too. Our absolute favorite is Rubis, a small wine bar right by Place van Meenen, run by Pierre, a man with a true passion. He’ll gladly help you make the best choice, whatever your desires. Not enough? We’d recommend La Trinquette and L’Étiquette too. At all of them, don’t hesitate to accompany your glass with some cheese, cold cuts or tapas… The best combo!
If you love good food – and honestly, who doesn’t? – then Brussels will serve you well. As it goes with big, multi-cultural cities, there’s something for everyone.
If you’re trying to keep it 100% Belgian, head to Fernand Obb. Their prawn croquettes have been elected the best ones in town. But that’s not all, you’ll also find a cheese version of those croquettes, a boudinburger and much more. A must-try!
Then there is Le Cheval Marin, an iconic brasserie in the heart of town in a building that dates back to 1680! Great food, special beers & cocktails. And a nice terrace if the weather allows. As a bonus you get the cool Sainte-Catherine neighborhood where you can have a digestive stroll. Right in the same area, Noordzee is the perfect partner for the best seafood. You can eat right there, with a glass of white wine in hand or take away.
For those that prefer local and seasonal products, opt for Le 203, our absolute food crush uptown. Run by a couple that has travelled the world and thus has gotten inspired by different cuisines, their menu is based on seasonality and fresh produce. The warm atmosphere will make your dinner even more memorable. Don’t forget to make a reservation.
Don’t know about you but we love oriental dishes! Try SemSom and its delicious Lebanese specialties, or My Tannour, a Syrian restaurant which won the POP prize issued by Gault & Millau in 2019. Last but not least, there’s Dierendonck. According to our teams, this is the best Belgian butchery. Good to know if you’re a meat lover.
If, after reading this article, you decide to plan a trip to Brussels, you’ll obviously need some ideas for a place to sleep! Here’s a few:
Vintage Hotel– For its central location and the caravan which you can sleep in. Cool, right? Plus, it’s right next to our Place Stéphanie flagship store! If our international colleagues or partners come visit, this is where we put them.
Le Berger Hotel– For its atypical rooms: a throwback to the past, in modern times. They also have their own Italian restaurant and bar.
Here’s hoping this city guide has inspired you and will be helpful whenever you visit Brussels. We’ll be doing more of these city guides soon, all focused on cities that have Bellerose stores. Stay tuned.
Pictures : Louis Vielle
Words : Charlotte Tuts & Bjorn Dossche