Tag Archives: restaurants

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 smartphone apps

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.

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Foodie Fridays – EAT! & Gouter Bruxelles

Brussels supposedly has more restaurants per capita than any other European city. It would take years, maybe a lifetime, to sample them all, but there are two culinary events taking place in the coming days that can help give you a head start.

First up is EAT! Brussels, a new festival dedicated to Brussels restaurants. I went yesterday evening for the opening night along with fellow bloggers Jess from JessinBelgium and Maxcie from WhyIamNotSkinny and we had a great time. The organizers have done a wonderful job with a sophisticated set up of white covered food stalls and bars tucked in between the trees in Bois de la Cambre. Everything is bright pink and green, including the tokens for food and the carpets lining the walkways.

From now through Sunday, 16 September, more than 30 restaurateurs from across Brussels are offering up samples of some of their best dishes at the event. Looking at the map I spotted a few well-known places, some I’ve never heard of and others that I’ve been wanting to try. The city of Brussels is also using the festival to promote cuisine from partner cities and regions around the world, including Québec, Sichuan, Katanga, Budapest, Beijing, Kiev and Sofia. 

The three of us scoped out the choices, and with a glass of champagne in hand, I went for beef teriyaki from YuMe, foie gras from the Budapest stand and nems from Hirondelle d’Or. The food from YuMe was particularly tasty, and very nicely presented. I also had a chance to sample a bite of the spare ribs from the Sichuan stand that were gooey and delicious.

Access to the event is free of charge and you can choose how much to spend on different dishes. We pre-purchased tickets online for €35, which included 3 €10 tokens (pink ones) and tickets for two glasses of Laurent-Perrier. You can also purchase tokens on-site for €1 each (green ones). The dishes range from €6 to €12, and three was enough for a meal.

If you don’t make it to the Bois this weekend, then be sure not to miss Goûter Bruxelles (Taste Brussels) taking place from 17 to 23 September. 

Organized by the Belgian Slow Food movement, the week-long festival will bring together chefs, independent food and drink producers, local shops and gardeners. You can go for a meal at one of the 70 participating restaurants that will offer one or more courses, products, menus or drinks with the Slow Food stamp ‘good, clean and fair’. There are also opportunities to join an educational food walk or attend a free organic gardening lesson.

The restaurants and amazing food choices in Brussels are truly one of the best things about this city so get out and enjoy a taste! Happy eating 🙂

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Foodie Fridays – Brunch in Brussels

Writing about Easter yesterday inevitably got me thinking about Sunday brunch. When I was young we always went out for a special brunch on Easter Sunday, which seems like a good tradition to continue. As mentioned before on this blog, brunch was difficult to come by when I first moved to Brussels. Lately, however, it seems that there are more and more options springing up all around town.

If you’re looking for somewhere to go this weekend, here are my top picks for Sunday brunch in Brussels. I’ve tried to list them by “style” to fit different tastes. And don’t worry, they’re all open on Easter (I’ve called to check). 🙂

Fashionable – Head to Gaudron, a deli and restaurant open every day of the week on the posh Place Brugmann. I recommend the eggs Benedict, Gaudron sample plate or club sandwich. They also usually have a good daily soup. Expect to pay around €20 per person.

3 Place George Brugmann, 1050Ixelles
Tel: +32 2 343 97 90
Brunch – Sunday 7:00am-7:00pm

Artsy – Check out Bla Bla & Gallery, a restaurant in the Marolles area, which is great for a Sunday stroll. As the name suggests, it also hosts a small art gallery and live music on Friday and Saturday evenings. Every Sunday they offer a continental brunch special for €22.50, which includes a choice of pastries, eggs, salads, warm dishes, fruit, juice and hot drinks. Stop by one of my favorite shops nearby afterwards.

55 Rue des Capucins, 1000 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 503 59 18
Brunch – Sunday 11:30am-4:00pm

Trendy – Café de la Presse on Avenue Louise is the place to be these days. What looks like used, retro furniture gives this popular coffee-house a warm, vintage charm. For €16, you can choose from buffet dishes, bread, fruit and pastries, along with juice. Wifi and newspapers available.

493 Avenue Louise, 1000 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 644 48 03
Brunch – Sunday 10:00am-3:00pm

Bookworm – Cook & Book should be on your list. This is a great book shop near the Woluwe Shopping Center that was ranked one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. They serve a warm and cold buffet (with drinks) for €19.50. Reservation required so call ahead. There’s a great selection of books to browse while you wait.

1 Place du Temps Libre, 1200 Woluwe-Saint-Lambert
Tel: +32 2 761 26 16
Brunch – Sunday 11:30am-3:30pm

Nature lover – L’Orangerie du Parc d’Egmont is a perfect spot. My blogger friend Alison posted a helpful review of this restaurant and cafe a few months ago. It’s a bit on the pricy side (€28 per person) but is a lovely place to enjoy a relaxing brunch with friends. Located in the somewhat hidden park behind The Hotel on Boulevard de Waterloo.

Parc d’Egmont, 1000 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 513 99 48
Brunch – Sunday 10:30am-4:30pm

Happy brunching!

Images via Gaudron, Bla Bla & Gallery, Cafe de la Presse, Bookstore Guide and Wikipedia.

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