Check out the fabulous Restaurant Vincent in Rue des Dominicains, where you walk through the kitchen to be seated.
No hidden secrets, the best steaks and the finest moules. Try the steak tartare, if you dare, prepared at your table with the freshest ingredients - and with amazing flair.
Practice your French and hone your ability to out-barter even the most masterly merchant in Europe, at the flea market on Place du Jeu de Balle.
Pick up a priceless rarity you never knew you needed, meet the locals and exhaust your euros surrounded by classic Belgian architecture, the shouts of stallholders and a unique, animated atmosphere.
Of course, when you can haggle no more, you can collapse at a local café with a glass of red and some sumptuous Belgian food.
I just moved to Munich - what a wonderful city! Fantastic mixture of historic tradition and anarchic alternatives, accessibly modern and suprisingly friendly. From the moment you arrive in the well-designed (of course!) airport -they check your passport and you pick your luggage up straight at the gate - right the way through to literaly hundreds of independent bars and restaurants it's one the nicest cities in the world!
Best bars are in the Glockenbachviertel. For good restaurants try Schwabing and Liehl. Great beer gardens everywhere.
Try the Mappa Mundo bar in the Saint-Gery area of the centre of Brussels (2-6 rue pont de la carpe).
It's a great cosmopolitan bar, with a very nice atmosphere, it's not too expensive, and it serves lots of good Belgian beers (try my favourite... Faro.) and great food.
Plus it has a nice terrace , so it's perfect for warm days!
Avoid the mass produced Belgian "tourist" chocolates and head for the Pierre Marcolini chocolate shop that opened last November on the Place du Grand Sablon.
Pierre Marcolini manufactures his grand cru chocolate himself, using cocoa beans that he selects personally.
He is among the last five craftsmen working this way in Europe. Truly amazing chocolates, pastries, ice creams and sorbets - look out for the chcoclate squares with Earl Grey or Assam tea ganache!
Watch the Son et Lumiere show in the Grand Place. Make sure you get there early and take an outside table in one of the bars on the Grand Place,
buy a Belgian speciality fruit beer and savour both the beer and the show.
And when it finishes, take a short walk to Chez Leon (rue des Bouchers) for the speciality of the house - Mussels and Chips - 14 different mussel speciality meals to choose from.
nb Children under 12 accompanied by parents are entitled to a free meal.
Bar Paralle - If you fancy something quieter (and friendlier) than Place Saint Boniface go down Chausée d’Ixelles to Bar Paralle (Place Fernand Cocq 27), which has great salads, or to L’Amour Fou (Chaussée d'Ixelles 185) which is a nice restaurant that again tries so hard to be trendy they forget to serve you.
Escape Brussels for a few hours and head 7.5km east to Tervuren.
A stroll in the expansive grounds of the Royal Museum for Central Africa is a joy in any season. You could describe a visit as quirky but it does give you a snapshot of Belgium's colonial past albeit from one side.
Then either continue by bus to the historic university town of Leuven or relax in a Tervuren bar or restaurant before catching the number 44 tram back to Montgomery where you connect with the Brussel's underground system.
If you’re enjoying the delights of Brussels, then we’d recommend taking some time out in Leuven.
One of Europe’s oldest university towns, a short hop from Brussels by train, it offers grand architecture alongside quiet gardens, café-lined squares, great shopping and a slower pace of life.
Try out Café De Werf, (for the best breakfast you’ll have anywhere), or nearby Domus, boasting an on-site brewery alongside many other Belgian beers and fine Flemish food.
The peaceful Begijnhof and botanical gardens are not to be missed, and on Saturday mornings the artisans’ food market is a must.
You must go to A La Mort Subite on rue Montagne-aux-Herbes Potagères.
The name comes from a game they used to play called 421. Back in the day, employees of a local bank would while away their lunch hours playing 421 – and the loser, of course, was “sudden death” itself.
The room is enormous yet somehow each table provides intimacy (away from those crowds). As in a relaxed community of little tables holding hands.
Order a plate of cheese, salami and pickles and slosh back a fruity beer. Perfect when Brussels turns dark. The light in there is almost golden.
You might expect something special on ‘The Sacred Isle’ (Ilot Sacré), the area around Brussels’ Central station.
Among the many bars and restaurants surrounding the Grand Place is The Toone Theatre, 66 rue du Marche-aux-Herbes, providing three unique Belgian delights under one roof.
You can sample a rare local speciality ‘Plattekeis’ (cream cheese with radishes) accompanied by a choice of over 20 beers, including ‘trappiste’ monastery brews.
But the real treat is enjoying these while sitting on raised wooden benches being entertained with a puppet show, in traditional dialect, from the famous Toone Marionettes, whose performances date back to 1830.
My favourite café in Brussels is called 'L'Ultime Atome' 14 Rue St-Boniface, it serves the best tart tatin I have tasted.
After you’ve eaten it there’s then a great opportunity for a post-prandial walk around the more interesting bits of Ixelles.
Brussels gets extremely hot and sweaty in the height of summer. If you are there at this time of year and happen to be in the vicinity of the European institutions/Rond Point Schuman, you could do worse than pick up a picnic and head to the Parc du Cinquantenaire for a relaxing afternoon.
When evening falls, head back into the centre and go for a beer at the sinister ultraviolet coffin bar (Le Cerceuil, Rue Harengs, off the Grand Place). Oh, and the best chocolate is Leonidas.
Try the injera. It has a curious texture that some people don’t like and has a lemony tang as the batter is left to ferment like sourdough.
If you can’t stomach the injera, there is plenty of pasta available because the Italians occupied Ethiopia for a time. Vegetarians won’t have any problem as the Ethiopians fast frequently, which for them is doing without meat.
Country inn offering comfortable accommodation and good food. The Inn has been refurbished in the last couple of years to provide five clean and comfortable rooms above a traditional bar and modern restaurant.
The food was very good, made from local produce and good value. Located in a small very quiet village close to Betws-y-Coed and within easy reach of Snowdonia and north coast.
Well worth the effort to seek out.
The Lion Inn Gwytherin Ltd
Restaurant In den Wittenkop run by a truly enthusiastic couple. Not an encyclopaedic range of beers but great advice and what they do have is worth trying.
Work up through the Rocheforts over some great food. Talk whisky after dinner and weave a merry way home. For chocs go to Pralinette, you can watch them being made in the back of the shop. Get the orange peel in chocolate!
Lovely big rooms in Hotel De Tuilereën, super spa facilities and winner of best breakfast in Benelux! Nice people, nice place. Oh, it’s got canals and museums as well.
This restaurant was part of the excellent hotel we stayed in, Die Swaene. We decided to try it out for supper, not expecting the gastronomic feast we had in store.
The food was simply delicious, the service was excellent, and the surroundings beautiful. I highly recommend this restaurant. Our selection was the five-course Menu Romeo & Juliette.
This was also one of the most expensive meals we've ever had, close to €300 for two adults and a child. This price, however, included two decent bottles of wine from the Margaux region, early 90s. We felt that the quality of the food, wine, surroundings and service made this meal well worth the price.
Die Swaene Hotel, Steenhouwersdijk, 8000 Brugge, Belgium,
From Burg Square, exit on the south and cross the river, take an immediate left (north-east) and the hotel will be a block up on your right. It's a five-minute walk.
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