Earlier this year I finally gave in and purchased my first iPhone. I know I’m a bit late to the game but I’m definitely making up for lost time. It’s so easy to spend way too much time Instagraming, tweeting and checking the weather forecast, but an iPhone (or other smartphone) can come in handy when you need a map to navigate the streets of Brussels or look up an address. I’ve recently discovered a couple of new apps for Brussels, some which are rather helpful for finding somewhere to eat.
I briefly wrote about the Yelp website last year went it went live on the Brussels market. Well I’ve now discovered the Yelp app and it is a good one! You can search for restaurants, bars, cafés and much more in a variety of ways – what’s nearby, per category, neighborhood or price. You can then browse location listings that have loads of details including opening hours, reviews, photos, a map and directions.
I especially like the Nearby function, which can come in pretty handy when you’re not sure what’s in the area. (I should have used this last night to pick a restaurant but instead went with a recommendation which didn’t turn out well :)) You can also try the Monocle search, which, somehow through the magic of an iPhone, can show you in a compass-like view where the closest places are and the distance to each. It lists bars, restaurants and even your friends if they’re checked-in somewhere (which I find a bit creepy).
Overall, it’s an extremely useful app, helpful for not only finding a spot for dinner or a drink, but also loads of other locations around Brussels. The listings include everything from dentists to art galleries to clothing stores. The categories are fun to browse too – who knew there were 18 pawn shops in Brussels and a Hungarian restaurant in Schaerbeek?
There’s another new smartphone app called Brussels Close Up from travel writer Kimberley Lovato. This one’s probably more useful for tourists, but could also come in handy for locals. For eating out it isn’t as good as Yelp (the restaurant and cafe listings are a bit lacking) but does include some of the better places in Brussels. For example, the Food & Drink category for Flagey only includes Cafe Belga, Chez Marie and Mamma Roma (all good picks, but definitely not exhaustive).
This app also has information on all sorts of locations like museums, hotels and some stores. There is a Top Attractions list which would be helpful for visitors. You can also search on the map and look at photos and reviews.
I’ll mention one more app though not related to food. 🙂 The Expats in Brussels Guide has developed a smartphone app in partnership with the Brussels-Europe Liaison Office. Free to download, the app divides information into categories, including settling, mobility, schools, shopping, socializing, services and SOS. Very helpful if you’re just moved to Brussels or are looking for the nearest bank, police station or tram stop!
Also be sure to check out my previous post on the Visit Brussels app which displays restaurants, bars, cafes and much more in a list or on a map.