Brussels' best mussels
Belgium’s favourite bivalves
A steaming casserole of plump, juicy mussels with crisp golden fries to dip in their aromatic juices: as legendary pairings go, it’s up there with Antony and Cleopatra or cheese and wine.
Where to find the best mussels in Brussels
Rue des Bouchers 18, 1000
It’s a tourist favourite, but for good reason: five generations of the Vanlancker family have been wrangling mussels since 1893, so you’re in the safest of hands.
If your initial portion of frites looks a bit undersized, don’t panic – seconds, and even thirds, come as standard.
Aux Armes de Bruxelles
Rue des Bouchers 13, 1000
King Leopold III was a regular customer (opting for sole meunière and a plate of mussels), so you’re in illustrious company in this Brussels institution, all starched napkins and stained glass.
Try escargot-style mussels (oven-roasted with garlic butter), invented here by founder Calixte Veulemans.
Quai aux Briques 2, 1000
The Place Sainte-Catherine is swimming in fish restaurants, but François is a cut above: a restaurant and neighbouring shop where locals pick up the freshest fish.
It’s a family affair. The current owner’s great-grandparents started out serving mussels – washed in a bathtub – and hand-cut fries.
Taverne du Passage
Galerie de la Reine 30, 1000
Located in the beautiful 19th century Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert shopping arcade, the Taverne du Passage, virtually unchanged since it opened in 1928, is a lovely spot for a treat: white-coated waiters serve Belgian classics, including perfect moules marinières, in a beautiful Art Deco room.
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From comic books to Dutch masters, art nouveau style to ultra-modern, delicious chocolate truffles, hearty ales, Brussels is a city of curious contrasts.