Life in (and around) Brussels…

Random tips on things to do and places to go in Brussels and beyond

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Brunch at La vita è bella 

Savory menu includes eggs, bacon, vegetables, potatoes, lasagna; sample of homemade cakes

UPDATE 2017: The brunch has been discountinued permanently. 

There’s a great new brunch in town – an Italian brunch run by Italians in a wine bar/restaurant just off Place Jourdan on rue Froissart. 

The restaurant seats about 35-40 people and is decorated in a simple and sleek way with large windows that let lots of natural light in (nice even in autumn’s grey and gloom…)

But on to the food… You basically have two different brunch menus: a sweet buffet breakfast (€12) that includes:

  • Buffet bar of bread, croissants and other pastries
  • A selection of homemade cakes 
  • A basket of butter, jam and Nutella
  • An orange juice, hot drink (coffee or tea) and a cold drink

The second option is the savory menu (€22) which includes all of the above, plus:

  • A plate of hot food including eggs of your choice (frittata pictured below), a selection of seasonal vegetables (all cooked. The tomatoes were amazing!), bacon, and salmon (which we did not order)
  • A small portion of homemade lasagna

(I think that was it but can’t be 100% sure as there was no written menu yet to be found and I’m not sure I followed the whole description of the brunch concept…) But anyway, we went for the big menu and were happy we did so because although the sweet items are good (don’t miss the delicious cakes!), what really stands out and sets this place apart from others is the quality and the generous portions of the savory items. It almost feels like your Mamma or Nonna is making breakfast for you at home. And for the price, which unlike many other brunch venues in town already includes drinks, this is a really good deal.

The place is also perfect for families with small children: the staff is very friendly and accommodating, the food is healthy and homemade, and small kids eat for less (or for free if they’re under 5, which makes sense unlike in other places like the popular La Fabrique, which charges full price to tiny kids who will barely eat!). On top of that, La Vita e Bella also has some high chairs and a changing station for babies.

Maybe we were extra lucky because we went during the opening weekend and they were trying to impress, but I will certainly be going back to this Sunday brunch which has instantly become one of my favorites in town!

La Vita è Bella – rue Froissart 43, 1040 Brussels

Sunday brunch from 10:30 to 15:30, on select Sundays only. See Facebook page for more details and scheduling. 

They also open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from Monday to Friday, and do catering and private events. 

View of the restaurant from the back

drinks, bread, butter, jams and nutella

sample platter of homemade cakes (chocolate, apple, some other fruit)

my eating buddy couldn’t eat the lasagna after finishing this…



Top 5 Sunday brunch list

UPDATE 2017: The Sofitel brunch only takes place now on special occasions (e.g., Mother’s Day) . Aux pays des merveilles is now a different restaurant. 

I have spent the last few months trying brunch spots around Ixelles and here is my list so far:

Photo credit: Gaudron

Photo credit: Gaudron

1. Sofitel Crystal Lounge – Expensive at 49 euros, but you will not leave hungry. This is really a brunch in the true sense of the word, as they serve hot dishes, including fish and seafood, which makes it a real meal and best value despite the price.

2. Cafe de la Presse – Good brunch with generous portions and a good variety of hot and cold dishes. The only downside is the somewhat chaotic service and that it is hard to get a table. It is also a bit loud, so not great if you have a big group and want to chat.

3. Chez Franz – Nice terrace and friendly service at a much more reasonable price than other brunch spots in this neighborhood, ranging from EUR 6 for a basic brunch (hot beverage, juice, bread and jam and other spreads) to EUR 18 for a large brunch (basic brunch, plus riz au lit, eggs, cold meats, cheese, pain perdu). My personal favorite is the oriental brunch for EUR 15 which includes a fantastic hummus, tabouleh, spiced chicken with onions, and carrots, in addition to the beverages. Nice atmosphere and very friendly service. Arrive early, as no reservations are accepted. A plus is that they also have brunch on Saturdays, not just Sundays. Available 10h to 16h.

Chez Franz

Chez Franz

4. Au pays des merveilles – This is not as much of a brunch place, but they have great-value bagels and the service is always so nice that it deserves being on the list.

5. Gaudron – I really have mixed feelings about this place. The quality of the food is sometimes great, other times nothing outstanding. The service can be a put off, but this is somewhat of an institution and their fresh juice cocktails are fantastic. Somehow, I am still drawn to it and would go more often if it were a bit more affordable. It is in the top five because the quality of the food is pretty decent.

Also tried but did not make it to the top five: Ici (nice, but on the pricey side), Pain Quotidien, Workshop Cafe.

Agree? Disagree? Have other suggestions? Please share!