Let's eat al fresco
Le Coq en Pate
Another gem in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert with a small but cosy terrace, this family-friendly place is perfect for a pleasant, light meal in a mellow setting – and reasonably priced to boot. There are two daily three-course menus that change weekly, costing either EUR 22 or EUR 37 for the three-course-plus-wine selection, though you can also conveniently mix-and-match wines with the former. The menu is an interesting mix of French, Italian and Mediterranean fare, and portions are nicely presented and, perfect for warm-weather dining, not oversized. Starters include a fresh assortment of Italian antipasto ideal for dates or for larger groups, to more exotic dishes like leek gazpacho with shrimp and artisanal pasta. Mains offer something for everyone, except perhaps strict vegans. It’s also one of few restaurants open Sundays.
Le Coq en Pate
Rue Tomberg 259
telephone 02 762 1971
Le IIeme Elément
This happening, fairly reasonably priced place near the trendy Place St. Boniface in Ixelles commune is always abuzz with activity, which is no surprise given the variety of yummy dishes and secluded garden in back. Dishes range from very mild pan-fried vegetables to duck soup, to the sizzlingly spicy scampi, coconut milk and red curry sauce. The variety of pork, scampi, duck and chicken dishes more than makes up for the skimpy vegetarian offerings.
Le IIeme Elément
Rue Saint-Boniface 7
telephone 02 502 0028
Closed Saturday and Sunday lunchtime
La Table de Mamy's terrace is a delight
La Table de Mamy
Avenue des Cerisiers 212
telephone 02 779 0096.
Closed Saturday noon – Monday
This bustling brasserie in the centre of the town near the trendy rue Antoine Dansaert is perfect for office outings or other large gatherings. The spacious modern interior in the former Delvaux leather factory has been a big draw since it opened about 15 years ago, but in the summertime the secluded bamboo-tree laden courtyard with space for at least 70 diners fills up quickly. French, Asian and international fusion dishes are nicely complemented by an extensive wine list that spans the old and new worlds (including France, California, Chile and Australia). Only the house wine is available by the glass, but fortunately there are plenty of half bottles available. There’s a two-course lunch menu on weekdays for EUR 14.
Rue Notre Dame du Sommeil 12
telephone 02 502 2525
Closed Saturday lunchtime and Sunday
Seafood restaurants in the Place St. Catherine area
For fresh seafood, skip the touristy rue de Bouchers and follow the cheerful neon lobster signs to the row of fish restaurants the Place St. Catherine. Several have enclosed terraces alongside the small reflecting pool, where fishing boats used to bring their haul until the River Senne was silted up in 1870. In summertime, it’s easy to imagine you’re on a cruise ship or along a harbour when eating on the Quai au Bois à Brûler. By far the top of the line is François, a family-owned restaurant – with an adjacent gourmet shop -- where fish is king and never forced to compete with fancy side dishes. Mix and match your fish of choice in three different sizes with preparation method and sauce. Rugbyman 1 is famous for its lobsters. Across the way on Quai aux Briques, La Marie-Joseph is easier on the wallet than François but certainly holds its own in the culinary department, whether it be surf or turf (like steak). It has its own small wooden deck below a nautical-themed blue-and-white awning; inside, the non-smoking section is a welcome rarity.
Quai aux Briques 2
telephone 02 511 6089
Quai au Briques 4
telephone 02 512 5640
Quai au Bois à Brûler 47
telephone 02 218 0596
If you have rich relatives in town who insist on treating you, or want to take your spouse out for the romantic meal of a lifetime, nothing beats the terrace at this one-Michelin starred establishment in Uccle on the edge of the Bois de la Cambre and the Foret de Soignes. No casual establishment this, Villa Lorraine is where U.S. First Lady Barbara Bush had a ladies’ night out when her husband had dinner with French President Jacques Chirac at the U.S. embassy in Brussels earlier this year. The five-course lunch menu is relatively reasonably priced at EUR 55, while the five-course lunch menu costs EUR 85 alone and EUR 130 with assorted wines. Among main courses there’s something for every appetite, from simple Dover sole to veal sweetbread and kidneys cassolette, accompanied by a wine list that spans several countries.
Chaussée de la Hulpe 28
telephone 02 374 3163
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