Few cities have such a high concentration of high quality restaurants. But maybe you are getting a bit tired of the many good Belgian, Italian, French and other continental cuisine restaurants the city has to offer and you feel like trying something new… Here are just a few tips for a culinary break in Brussels:
- Slovenian House – ok, this still counts as “continental” food, but it’s a first step towards trying something new without going too far into the unknown. This restaurant / tourism office (the venue serves as both, which might make it seem a bit odd) offers traditional Slovenian dishes, many of which are reminiscent of Italian cuisine (no doubt related to the geographical proximity). Expect simple, everyday food (no haute cuisine or lavish creations) but the portions are generous and although it will not be a life-changing experience, the meal will keep you satisfied and happy you tried something new. (The seafood servings in the seafood dishes are more generous than in most other restaurants!). Main dishes range between EUR 10-15. Every now and then there is live music, sometimes from bands from Slovenia (I was there one night when a Slovenian jazz band was playing and they were quite good). Traditional Slovenian honey, salt and wine are also for sale at the restaurant. Neighborhood: Place Jourdan.
- Shuka – Persian fast food set-up with an option for dining in (what locals would call a “snack” place). The options are not enormous, but the food is good and authentic. The owner is Iranian and in addition to the standard menu, there is a dish of the day. I would recommend the beef kebab and/or koobideh (a thin grilled steak and a strip of grilled ground beef, respectively), any of the rice dishes (zereshk polo is excellent if you like sour tastes – it’s rice with barberries- but you’ll have to special order it), and kashk-e bademjan as an appetizer (an eggplant spread). The food is good, but just order for take out as there is nothing to say for the decor (most customers do take out, except a few who know the owners and go there to hang out with them). Neighborhood: Porte de Namur.
- Arirang – Korean BBQ in an agreeable setting (yes, this restaurant is “date-approved” unlike the others). The restaurant attracts many Korean businessmen, which already says a lot for the quality of the food (bulgogi beef – great pick). If you order a BBQ dish, the meat is brought to your table raw, so you can cook it to your taste (there is a grill in the center of the table). The restaurant is medium-sized – there are several booths next to the bar and regular tables as well. Reservations: 02/ 649 22 43. Address: Avenue Louise 337. (Note: On http://www.resto.be the restaurant is still listed under its old name “Korean barbecue“)
UPDATE: Apparently Arirang is now closed. No indication of whether this is permanent or not. (February 2010)