Note: Not necessarily in order of preference. Also keep in mind that during the summer the quality of the food may vary significantly as the main chefs go on vacation and their replacements do not always live up to the standards.
1. Belga Queen
Ultra-trendy restaurant, oyster bar, and lounge just right next to the opera house La Monnaie, this bank-turned-restaurant is an impressive and hip dining venue, offering good Belgian food, albeit at relatively high prices. There are menus around EUR 30-45 and drinks are rather pricey, but the spectacular ceiling and decor are worth it. Not the best place for groups, as there is a lot of echo in the restaurant (it was designed to be a bank, not a restaurant after all…) and it can get quite loud, making it difficult to hear each other. Food quality is sometimes excellent, other times a bit disappointing for the price, but the french fries are if not the best, among the best I have had in the city. Reservations definitely required for dinner. During the week, there is a special lunch menu priced at EUR 15.
Skievelat is a lower-key, more casual restaurant, possibly offering a much better deal in terms of price-quality than any of the other restaurants on this list. The restaurant, located a few steps away from the Grand Sablon, as you go down rue Joseph Stevens, offers excellent meat dishes, and of course, the traditional Belgian fare. The food is cooked in a simple, not sauce-heavy way and is just tasty. Most dishes range between EUR 10-15.
3. Belgo Belge
Conveniently located in the Saint Boniface restaurant hub (just behind Porte de Namur) is this popular Belgian restaurant, which serves all the traditional Belgian dishes and does a good job at it. The ambiance is nothing out of the ordinary (just your standard restaurant, really) but the food is good and reasonably priced. In the summer, there is outdoor seating, and all year-round, they deliver through the RestoPresto service (delivery is rather slow though…).
La Quincaillerie is a restaurant with character, located a few roads from the popular Place du Chatelain. Both service and food are excellent in this restaurant that used to be a hardware store (you can still see all the small drawers/small compartments that were used to store all the hardware) and was built by Victor Horta’s disciples. This restaurant is a bit pricier (main dishes range EUR 20-25 but also go well beyond that) but the menu offers a good selection of meat and fish. Expect to spend around EUR 80 for a meal with wine.
My picks: For a simple, relaxed, but good meal and evening with friends go to Skievelat. For a fancier meal and more intimate setting, I’d go to La Quincaillerie. For a business meal or to impress out-of-towners, Belga Queen – it always works and people love it.