This atmospheric restaurant, located in a converted sculptor's studio, is perfect for a romantic dinner or an illicit meeting. Set near an ivy-covered courtyard, the restaurant features black walls, and only candlelight and dim recessed lighting offer illumination. Shadowy alcoves provide private seating, and statues scavenged from old churches add character. The food at Amadeus is equally intriguing. House specials include caramelized spare ribs and beef carpaccio, but non-meat eaters love vegetarian lasagna and ricotta and spinach tortellini. Options are both a la carte and prix fixe, and homemade nut bread is served with every meal.
Who could imagine that this most elegant of restaurants was once a tavern where Karl Marx drank and where the Belgian Socialist Party was organized? Today, polished walnut walls are hung with original Brueghels, and uniformed waiters provide extremely professional service. The cuisine is traditional French and Belgian and includes roasted pheasant, steamed turbot in hazelnut-mint sauce, and veal sautéed with fresh wild mushrooms. The 70,000-bottle wine cellar is guaranteed to have an appropriate vintage to complement your meal. The spot is popular with lunching business folks, so dinner reservations might be easier to come by.
Elegant in the extreme, acclaimed chef Jean-Pierre Bruneau's superbly refined French cuisine and romantic restaurant have earned him two Michelin stars and kept him at the forefront of the Brussels dining scene for many years. Using only the freshest ingredients (the caviar is imported direct from Iran), his creations are always innovative and constantly searching for new taste experiences, but not in the off-the-wall manner of some of today's top food architects. There is always a nod to tradition too. Closed in August and early February.
It's worth taking the long taxi ride out to the "three colours" to sample its exquisite and delicate gourmet French creations. The dining area is spacious and uncluttered, with a beatiful terrace garden at the back for al fresco dining in summer. The unobtrusive service is as impeccable as the food, and the wine list a match for almost any in town. As near Michelin-quality as you'll find, but with the added bonus that the lack of stars stops the menu prices going through the roof.
"The Hardware Store" still boasts its original giant clock, wood paneling, and walls of storage drawers, designed in gorgeous Art Nouveau style by Victor Horta's students. The place is especially popular with local businesspeople, who pop in regularly for the three-course "What the Bosses are Having" lunch special. House specialties include a seafood platter and oysters; heartier choices include baked ham and duck with lime. The menu changes each week to take advantage of the freshest ingredients, and the house wine is an excellent, crisp Sancerre.
As the name suggests, this building was a leather goods factory in a former life. Now, the only leather that's available covers banquette seats, which are pulled up to wood-and-stone tables. Hardwood floors and exposed ductwork give the restaurant an industrial, comfortable feel. Outside, a quiet courtyard provides warm-weather seating. The food is a fusion of Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. Salmon carpaccio, dim sum, sushi with couscous, and ostrich filets with mango and green pepper all appear on the seasonally changing menu. An excellent wine list and an occasional piano player also please the fashionable crowd.
Authentic Belgian beer cuisine is the specialty at this classic cafe, which was originally a stagecoach inn built in the mid-1700s. The simple tiled floor and plain tables suit the country cuisine. Rabbit stewed in beer and a sausage hotpot are among the house specialties. More than 100 artisanal beers are available – the owner can help you choose a few to suit your palate and complement your meal.
Located in beautiful Galeries Royales St-Hubert, this traditional French bistro has ambiance to spare. Cozy, marble-topped tables are nestled close, and the floor is freshly sanded each morning. The food is a bit more sophisticated. Grilled sweetbreads are served with zucchini gratin, and scallop and prawn stew is topped with a spicy sauce. Budget-conscious diners should consider the always-excellent plat du jour, which is significantly less expensive than ordering an entire meal à la carte. Though the wine list is extensive, the restaurant specializes in beaujolais varietals.
Reserve a table two or three months in advance if you hope to dine at Brussels' most famous French restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night. If time's tight, consider a lunchtime reservation, when the restaurant is less busy. Chef-owner Pierre Wynants takes great pride in his restaurant's three-star Michelin rating. He maintains it with culinary surprises like sautéed lobster with truffles or memorable roasted lamb. Only one item is always available: Wynants's house special, filet of sole with white wine mousse and shrimp. Meals may be ordered as set courses or à la carte. Closed in July.
It's somehow fitting for such a chic restaurant to be located in the city's fashion district. Bonsoir Clara serves eclectic cuisine that ranges from traditional Belgian to Italian to Asian. As a result, it's a great spot to bring a group for dinner. Typical entrees include caramelized duck, broiled fresh fish, and roasted lamb. Be sure to take in the restaurant's back wall, which is fashioned from squares of colored glass.