Keeping costs down in Brussels needn’t mean a diet of frites and waffles. Home to classic brasseries and experimental kitchens alike, the cosmopolitan city is an underrated foodie destination. We asked Metropolitan magazine’s restaurant critic (and long-time local) Emma Beddington to share her pick of the best spots to eat well on a budget. Here are four of her favourites.
A light, flower-filled space, big refectory tables and a buffet to die for: Les Filles is my idea of brunch heaven.
The mountains of bread, patisserie and cheese may be tempting, but save space for the homely and delicious one-pot main, perhaps a tajine or roast. Weekday lunches are a help-yourself bargain too: colourful shared platters of starters plus main and dessert for €19.50. Brunch, €24.
Kipkot does one thing brilliantly: slow roasting grain-fed, free-range birds (Malines hens, the Rolls-Royce of poultry) to finger licking perfection.
Belgians love their chicken with apple compote; I prefer the crispy fries and buttery roast corn sides. The vibe is rustic (lots of wood and chicken-themed knick-knacks), but the good cocktail list ticks all my urbanite boxes. Whole chicken (serves 4) €24.
Crusty pistolet rolls are a Brussels favourite. I love spying on nostalgic locals queuing for their fix in this perky red and white café.
Prices start at €4.80 for a roll filled with Ardennes ham; black pudding with Cantillon beer-infused sauerkraut is €7.60. My favourite, cream cheese, spring onion and radish sounds odd, but it’s another Belgian tradition, and delicious.
Le Local is a restaurant with a conscience. It’s local, nearly zero-waste and offers young chefs and designers a springboard to showcase their talents.
Happily, it’s also excellent: co-owner Sarah worked with Ottolenghi and whips up creative, affordable delights, with three-course menus from €20. At lunchtime try her roskas: savoury Sephardic brioches, filled with all sorts of goodies.