Category Archives: Food & Drink

Spotted by Locals

So the nice folks over at Spotted by Locals are sharing the Brussels love this week. Their City of the Week is Brussels and to celebrate they’re offering their iPhone app guide for free until Friday (usually costs $3.99). I downloaded it yesterday and gave it a little test run. Here are the results.

SpottedbyLocals

The app is easy to use, with lists of places around Brussels sorted by categories like bars, restaurants, music, shopping, etc. You can also view the featured locations on a map or by searching nearby. Each entry has a short review from the Spotted by Locals team, address, hours and other useful info.

SpottedbyLocals app             SpottedbyLocals app

The list of bars is pretty decent and includes some popular spots like Bar Beton, Chez Franz and L’Ultime Atome. The restaurant list is okay with reviews of places like Kokuban, Ici and Toukoul but is missing some of my favorites and generally more up-scale eateries.

I like that they have a list dedicated to coffee & tea, as a good cup of coffee isn’t always easy to find. There is also a list of spots to relax around Brussels, including parks, squares and other public spaces. The shopping list is rather limited but they make up for it with the more complete overview of arts, culture and music venues.

SpottedbyLocals app            SpottedbyLocals app

Overall the app is useful and allows you to make a selection of your favorites. This week Spotted by Locals is also offering free city apps for London and Berlin so get’em while they’re hot. If you roll old-school style, you can always download the PDF version of the Brussels city guide for a reduced price of $0.89.

There are several other smartphone apps for Brussels out there, many of them for free, which I posted about here and here a little while back. This latest one is a good addition to the mix!

P.S. and be sure to also check out The Spotted by Locals list of top Brussels blogs posted yesterday. Best of Brussels made the cut!

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Foodie Fridays – Brussels in Loft

How cool is this idea? A pop up restaurant designed by the owner of Le Show Room with top European chefs. And they throw in some live music to top it all off!

Brussels in Loft

Brussels in Loft, organized by Open Kitchen, is a temporary restaurant set up for eight days at the end of March / early April. The concept was first launched last year with local chefs (including a good friend!) and musicians. For this second round the hosts have invited pop up restaurants chefs from across Europe. Each evening will have a different city theme from Lisbon to Prague and several places in between.

Brussels in Loft

Tickets are 60€ per person and there are only 40 places available for each night. It’s not quite clear from the website what you get for your money, but I’m assuming the best and expecting a few courses and some decent wine.

Brussels in Loft

I’ve bought tickets with friends for the dinner on 5 April which will feature two German chefs, Max and Felix. They run the Reinstoff restaurant in Berlin that has two Michelin stars so I’m sure we’ll be in for a treat! The music will be courtesy of Marie Warnant, who has her third electro album coming out in March. This isn’t exactly my style, but I’m sure it will make for some interesting entertainment over dessert.

Hope to see some of you there!

Images via Brussels in Loft.

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Foodie Fridays – El Turco

If you work in the Place Luxembourg area, you are likely already familiar with El Turco. Having just started a new job in the neighborhood, it was a welcome discovery after years of cafeteria eating. Located on Rue du Trone just around the corner from Place de Londres, El Turco is a cross between a high-quality deli, restaurant and bar. Similar to others in my office, I’ve quickly become a fan, stopping by at least once a week.

As the name suggests, the food (and I’m assuming the owner as well) is Turkish. Laid out in a self-service buffet, the various cold and hot dishes change daily and offer a wide variety of choice. The website describes the food as “Mediterranean cuisine with Ottoman influences”. Sounds pretty good to me.

El Turco Brussels

I’m partial to the humus, grilled aubergine, fresh salads and usually go for one of the hot dishes, like chicken or lamb on the side. They also have delicious prepared items like feta cheese in pastry and vegetable tarte which are hard to resist. They even have typical Turkish bread like you would find sold on the streets of Istanbul.

Once you’ve filled your plate, or take-away box, and reached the cash register, the payment is simple – the cost is based on weight. They have a selection of drinks and a few desserts to choose from as well. If you decide to eat in, you can always go back for seconds, which is tempting as everything I’ve tried to date has been delicious. In total, I usually pay around €10, depending on how hungry I am on a particular day. :) Not cheap for lunch, but worth every bite.

El Turco Brussels

If you’re looking for something different for a meeting (who else never wants to see an open-faced sandwich again?), El Turco offers catering and lunchbox delivery. The cold mezze buffet is €12 per person, with a supplement of €3 per person for hot food. The lunchbox is a pretty good deal at €9 per person, which includes 5 cold mezze and 2 warm dishes (minimum of 5 boxes for delivery).

The kitchen is open all week for lunch and also for dinner from Wednesday to Friday. There’s currently a special deal running for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights – an all you can eat buffet for €20. They also can open on Monday and Saturday nights for group reservations (minimum 30 people).

El Turco Brussels

As mentioned, El Turco also has a bar, which is located in the back of the restaurant (or via Place de Londres entrance). I’ve not yet gone for an after work drink, but it would be a good place to stop between the office and the metro after a long day. They have live music on Friday nights to liven the mood. Check out their Facebook page for upcoming events.

Afiyet olsun! (That’s bon appetit in Turkish, at least according to Google translate :))

73 Rue du Trone (6 Place de Londres), 1050 Ixelles
Tel: +32 2 503 3648
Open: Kitchen – Monday to Friday, 11am-3pm, Wednesday to Friday, 6-10pm; Bar – Tuesday to Friday, 5pm to late

Images via El Turco.

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Sweet Treats

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope that was sufficiently enthusiastic? Today is not one of my favorite holidays (and I know I’m not alone here). But despite my belief that Valentine’s is a commercially driven celebration, JessinBelgium has convinced me otherwise with her research on the subject. So with a positive view on all things love, here are my top picks for where to find a last-minute sweet treat for your sweetie (or yourself) in Brussels.

The no-fail option – Pierre Marcolini. Although they are a bit more expensive than your average box of chocolates, Marcolinis in their sleek black packaging are top-of-the-line Belgian chocolates and will always impress. The regular variety box includes classic and more adventurous flavors (like Earl Grey tea), and I’m sure they have some special offers for Valentine’s Day. Besides the flagship store on Sablon, you can also find them at Rob supermarket, the Midi train station or the Marcolini stores in Uccle and Woluwe.

Pierre Marcolini

1 Rue des Minimes, Place du Grand Sablon, 1000 Brussels
Tel : +32 2 514 12 06
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 10am-7pm, Friday and Saturday, 10am-8pm

Something a little different – Laurent Gerbaud. This up-and-coming chocolatier has gathered inspiration travelling through Asia, especially China, and incorporates several unusual flavors and ingredients with Belgian chocolate to make for a unique treat. Located in a small shop across from BOZAR, Laurent is often in the atelier himself, whipping up a fresh batch and chatting with customers. Another recent discovery is Alex & Alex, a champagne and chocolate bar just off the Sablon. They do lovely pairings of bubbly and hand-made chocolates, which in my book would make a great Valentine’s gift.

Laurent Gerbaud

2D Rue Ravenstein, 1000 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 511 16 02
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 10:30am-7:30pm

For non-chocolate lovers – Maison Dandoy. If you’re looking for something sweet that isn’t made from cocoa, cookies (biscuits) from Dandoy are the way to go. Set up in 1829 by Jean-Baptiste Dandoy, the original shop is still located near the Grand Place and filled to the brim with different flavor speculoos and other types of cookies. There are six other locations around the city, including Brugmann, Sablon and Uccle. Another good option is a box of macaroons from the famous French pâtissière Ladurée. Although we don’t have a shop in Brussels, the store People Concept downtown (14 rue du Lombard) sells them. The Paul bakery chain also does a nice assortment of macaroons.

Dandoy

31 Rue au Beurre, 1000 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 511 03 26
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8:30am-7pm

So enjoy something sweet today and spread the love!

Images via ETVonWeb, Discover Kiosk and New York Serious Eats.

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