Bubble and Chic: Cosy restaurants in Brussels
As relaxing as cosy nights at home can be, it's even better when someone else cooks. Faye Cardwell picks her favourite restaurants in Brussels for a cosy or romantic night out.
There's nothing like a cosy night in with that special someone, sipping a (large) glass of red wine in front of a log fire. But its even better when someone else does the cooking.
For those nights out in Brussels when you want to have the intimacy of a home dinner, quiet ambiance and a nice glass of wine to wind down from a long week, I head to places where the menus are written on boards, the flavours change with the seasons and the lights are dim enough not to have to dress up, especially if it's been a hard week.
Here are my top four choices for a cosy night out in Brussels:
En Face de Parachute
En Face de Parachute was recommended by a friend and became my firm favourite spot on a Friday night to wind down, enjoy some good food and catch up time. On Chaussée de Waterloo, the restaurant takes its name from the sports attire shop just opposite. It's small with dark wood bookcases to the ceilings and seats made from old tram benches. Perfect for two, you may need to reshuffle (or book ahead) if there are four of you at a table.
The menu is based on fresh produce, chalked up on a board. French inspired – rich sauces, amazing roasted potatoes, great meats – this is a place where you need to leave your diet book at home. The wine list has a nice selection: champagne and good South African wines.
Chaussée de Waterloo 578, 1050 Ixelles
Le Fruit Défendu
Close to the Chatelain area, Le Fruit Défendu is home to a rather extraordinary chef who is famous for his foie gras and – although not a meat-eater myself – I'm told it's to die for. Cosy in the sense of a little packed in, if you really are there for a romantic tête-à-tête you may want to ask for a table on the terrace, where there's just a couple of two-person tables and it's a bit quieter than the main hall; if it's a special occasion you'll get a chocolate mouse served in an espresso cup with a candle on the house. If you're undecided on the menu (meat, fish, mainly French inspired) listen to the chef's wife – she's very attentive and very good at recommending what's heavier or lighter, and what you will probably love. The wine list has a good selection.
108, rue de Tenbosch 1050 Ixelles
Not far from the chic quartier of Sablon, Orphyse Chausette is another place where you need to book early to get a table. The owner Philippe Renoux, originally from the south of France, came to Brussels decades ago for love (don't we all?) and he serves delicacies of his native land. The wine list also reflects that with an excellent selection of Languedoc Roussillon wines, as well as a great selection of French wines from all areas.
Charles Hanssensstraat 5, 1000 Brussels
L'Idiot du village
This cosy restaurant in Brussels has a rather eclectic feel to it – well-fitting for the area – and is nestled up a little side street from Rue Haute. The crockery is all different and the place is decorated with colourful candle holders and glass lanterns. The food here is French Belgian and everything on the menu (this time written rather than chalkboard) is beautifully cooked. There's a nice choice for people who, like myself, don't eat red meat and the fish is excellent.
Ons-Heerstraat 19, 1000 Brussels
Having lived in five different countries, Faye Cardwell enjoys sharing her travel adventures and experiences of life as an expat on her hobby blog Bubble and Chic. She has been working in the world of wine for almost 10 years, and travels the globe organising trade fairs, events and promotions for consortiums and regional promotional bodies.
Published 2013; updated 2016.
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