After all that talk of exercise yesterday (just typing about it makes me tired), I think we’ve earned a nice dinner out and a movie. Here are my recommendations for cinema and restaurant pairings, and a few comedy film choices on the side.
Toison d’Or and Ars Vinorum
Go – Toison d’Or is the busy UGC run movie theatre located between Porte de Namur and Louise metro stops. With 14 screens, they show most major English and French language releases. Friday and Saturday evenings are crowded, but they have recently installed several automatic ticket machines, which help with the lines. You can also buy tickets for UGC cinemas online or by phone.
Eat – For dinner, head down Rue de Namur and take the first left on to Rue de la Reinette to find Ars Vinorum. This is a good little Italian restaurant and wine bar that’s open until 11pm, perfect for a post-movie-going meal. The food is decent, the wine choice is excellent and the service is relatively quick (for Belgium).
See – The Guard staring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle. Some Irish friends said that it is laugh till you cry humor. But then you might have to be an Irishmen (or be married to one) to get all the jokes.
Vendôme and Asian (two options)
Go – Also in the Porte de Namur area is the Vendôme cinema, which shows art-house and indie films. Originally opened in 1939, it now has seven small auditoriums. No large concession stands or big comfy seats, but this is a great place to see really good, off-beat cinema.
Eat – If you’re not in a hurry, Yamato is a Japanese noodle restaurant just around the corner from Vendôme next to Place Saint Boniface. They serve soup, ramen and gyoza – no sushi. There is always a queue for one of the stools is this tiny spot, but as many people will tell you, it is worth the wait.
Eat – Another good (and speedier) choice is Le Deuxième Elément. They are open as of 7pm and serve good, cheap Thai food. The wine is atrocious so stick to beer. I’ve loved this place for years – it’s always reliable and you can get in and out in under an hour. Reservations recommended on weekends.
See – I’m curious to see two films currently playing at Vendôme. La Fee (The Fairy), is one of the selections of the Belgian film project Cinevox Happenings. According to the Hollywood Reporter, this “sprightly slapstick comedy is both insightful and irreverent”. The second is The Trip featuring comedian Steve Coogan. Watching the trailer it appears to be a funny, British version of the road trip movie Sideways. Hey, The New York Times gave it a good review.
De Brouckère and La Fin de Siecle
Go – The other large multiplex cinema is De Brouckère downtown on Boulevard Anspach. Also run by UGC, it has 12 screens and shows all the blockbusters. Not as nice as Toison d’Or, but less crowded and sometimes has movies not playing anywhere else.
Eat – If you haven’t already, try La Fin de Siecle for a great meal and down-to-earth atmosphere. One of the most popular restaurants in town (and for good reason), they serve Belgian classics (sample the Stoemp), as well as African/Asian/European inspired dishes. It’s about a 10 minute walk from De Brouckère on Rue des Chartreux next to Place Saint Géry. This place is too cool for reservations, credit cards, Coca-Cola or a website.
See – For a good laugh, catch Horrible Bosses. I saw this while back in the US this summer – it is a riot.
Little tip – this is the best site to look up movie times for all cinemas across Belgium.
Hope everyone enjoys the weekend!
Images via Atrium, Ars Vinorum, Cinema Treasures, MyBurger, Salles-Cinema.