Monthly Archives: November 2011

Foodie Fridays – La Canne en Ville

So anyone who has visited or lives here will tell you we are spoiled for good restaurants. And now it’s official – Brussels was just ranked number one among major European cities for the diversity of its restaurants, for both price and type of cuisine. 

With over 1,700 restaurants for a population of just under 2 million, the choices are nearly endless. The problem with all these options is deciding where to go for dinner on Saturday night.

One of my top recommendations – La Canne en Ville. This is a sweet little restaurant, located on a quiet corner between Place Brugmann and Chausseé de Waterloo. The building used to be a butcher shop and the owners have kept all of the original wall and floor tiles, which give the place a charming and down-to-earth atmosphere.

Open for 28 years, the restaurant is run by Corinne Noël and the kitchen by her partner Christian Schmit, who both clearly love what they do. They are always welcoming and have great customer service, rare sometimes in Brussels.

The cuisine is classic French, with an emphasis on artisanal dishes and seasonal ingredients. They offer a good selection of quality, and good value, wines to complement the dishes. I’ve had several great meals here and always enjoyed the food. Corinne takes time to explain the menu, and very kindly translates for non-French speaking guests.

I prefer to sit in the cozy front room which has lots of windows, so would suggest asking for a table in this section when booking. There’s also a second room in the back with a fireplace, which is lovely on a chilly winter evening or for a private group. During the summer, take one of the tables outside on the terrace.

The price is fair for the high quality of food and service. They also offer a daily lunch special (starter and main) for €16. Looking at their current menu, I can’t wait to go back and try les noix de coquilles St Jacques (scallops) and le canard sauvage aux girolles (wild duck with mushrooms). Oh and maybe la tarte tatin flambée et glace vanille (apple cake with vanilla ice cream). 🙂

22 Rue de la Réforme, 1050 Ixelles
Tel: +32 2 347 29 26
Closed Saturday lunch and Sunday, and weekends in July and August

By the way, loving their cute logo – the cane in the city!

Images via eating.be and La Canne en Ville.

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Ticket Giveaway!

It’s time for another Best of Brussels contest! I’m giving away two free tickets to the Flagey Chamber Music concert next Tuesday, 22 November, at the lovely Sainte-Croix Church next to Place Flagey. The concert will feature the Vlaams Radio Choir and Jan Michiels performing Liszt’s later piano and choral pieces, including his extremely difficult arrangement of ‘Ave Maria’.

For your chance to win, just leave a comment for this post and I will select a winner at random. The contest closes at midnight tonight. Good luck!

P.S. Classical music is cool, I promise 🙂

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‘Tis the season (almost)

I just came back from the US and over there Christmas is everywhere. Decorations, music, gift promotions – enough to make you sick of the holiday before it actually comes around. While I don’t believe Christmas should be a two-month long holiday, I am starting to get into the spirit of the season. And just in time, as the Christmas lights are going up in my neighborhood and the many Christmas markets and fairs around Brussels kick off this weekend.

The American Women’s Club of Brussels will host its 46th Annual Holiday Bazaar and Charity Tombola this weekend at St John’s International School in Waterloo. Although a bit outside Brussels, the bazaar will include 100 vendors from across Europe, so there may be some interesting gifts, Christmas decorations and food on offer. The event also includes children’s activities, a charity raffle and a brocante (flea market). The bazaar is running on 19 and 20 November.

The International Montessori School in Tervuren and the British and Commenwealth Women’s Club of Brussels in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre are also holding a Christmas fairs this weekend.

The biggest Christmas market in town is part of Brussels Winter Wonders (Plaisirs d’Hiver) festivities taking place downtown, which also includes ice skating and a ski slop. This market, which stretches over two kilometers between the Grand Place and Place Sainte Catherine, is made up of 240 little chalets selling gifts, food and drinks. I wouldn’t say this is the best Christmas market I’ve ever been too, but it’s a good one if you don’t want to leave the city. Avoid popular times like Saturday and Sunday as it can get very crowded. Starts on 25 November and runs through the 1st of January.  

 

Head down to the Sablon on 24, 25 or 26 November for Les Nocturnes – the annual event when stores and antique dealers stay open until 11pm and the square has a lighting of a giant Christmas tree. If it’s not too cold, this is a great way to explore all the shops on the Grand Sablon and surrounding streets. There will also be exhibitions, drinks, music and carriage rides to give you some Christmas cheer.

Next Saturday, 26 November, will also be the day for the annual Association Femmes d’Europe Christmas Bazar held in Auderghem. The Association, presided over by the wife of the President of the European Commission, brings together products from all 27 EU member states (plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein) at this annual event. All profits go to finance humanitarian projects focusing on the education, training and health of women and children. I think I’m going to check this one out for some Christmas ornaments as gifts (and maybe for myself too).

Every first Sunday of the month, Brussels Vintage Market takes place at K-nal. The next edition on 4 December is all about Christmas and will have interesting and creative gifts available from young designers in Brussels. Visitors will be greeted by a glass of mulled wine and carols.

If you’re still looking for more options, this is a good site for a list of Christmas markets in other Belgian towns and elsewhere in Europe.

More to come on the Christmas theme in the next few weeks…

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Freedom Festival

The 8th annual Festival of Freedom starts this week in Brussels, bringing together various art forms to shine a light on human rights issues around the world. Running from 17 to 26 November at the National Theatre and the KVS (Royal Flemish Theatre), the festival will include a mix of concerts, plays, debates, documentary films and exhibitions. This year’s theme is “Deconstructing myths, making utopias real”.

The documentary film competition is a highlight of the festival, showing about 30 films from around the world, including a number of award winners from other major festivals. The aim is to present an overview of the state of rights and freedoms throughout the world, as well as an homage to all those who resist and act to make their utopias real. Many of the films will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker.

The festival will kick off with a concert with Marianne Faithfull on 17 November and conclude with George Clinton on 26 November.

Check out the schedule for a listing of other events, including plays, exhibitions and debates.

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