Life in (and around) Brussels…

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


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Kamo: best Japanese in town (according to Michelin)

Update: October 2016. Prices have gone up considerably now that Kamo has been in its new and fancier Chaussee de Waterloo location. The lunch special is €22 and other lunch dishes are priced at €25-30 with a more limited selection. tasting menus have also increased in price by €10-15.

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I finally made it to Kamo – and once I tried it, I had to go back…

This is the only Japanese restaurant in Belgium with a Michelin star, but it is very different from all the other Michelin awarded restaurants in Brussels I have tried… so if you are looking for a fancy dining experience, look elsewhere. If you are just looking for good food, definitely put this on your go-to list!

Kamo must have earned its Michelin star solely on the quality of the food. The venue itself is your simple, small and basic Japanese restaurant with the standard sushi bar seating and about a dozen tables. It is small and relatively packed, no fancy decor, and none of the dressed up waitressing staff you would encounter in your average Michelin joint. Which is what I loved about this place: unpretentious, good food, with fast and friendly service… and good food (did I mention that?) Very good food.

Plus, what other Michelin star restaurant could you eat lunch at for EUR 15??

My tips and highlights:

  • Book in advance (Tel: +32 2 648 78 48) This place is always PACKED. It is closed on weekends.
  • The lunch special is just EUR 15, but arrive early or it might be sold out. Other lunch dishes range from EUR 18 to EUR 25.
  • There are two menus for EUR 45 and EUR 60 if you have time for a leisurely meal and want the full Kamo experience (see a full review from another blog here).
  • For me, the cooked dishes are what really make Kamo stand out and what the chef is best at. Everything I have had there was cooked to perfection, even an “unglamorous” dish, such as fried chicken.
  • If you go for lunch, go with an appetite and get a lunch set (which comes with soup and a few other side dishes) plus another dish a la carte… The food is healthy and light, so it goes down easily!
  • Wanna know more? I will let the pictures talk for themselves… (and check out also some great photos here from Brussels Kitchen)
  • Looking for other things Japanese? Take a look at the Top Japanese restaurants post and other posts.

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Delicious cooked sardines


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Sashimi


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Sashimi lunch set


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Side dish: green beans


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Seafood side dish close up


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Side dish: your simple, basic green salad with traditional Japanese mayo dressing


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Sashimi in sesame sauce and broth (two-step meal: eat half with rice, then put the other half in the broth and add rice). Delicious.


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Sushi


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Best fried chicken ever

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4 Comments

Chez Oki

Chez Oki is a very original and great French-Japanese fusion restaurant with dishes you are unlikely to find elsewhere in town (foie gras sushi is a definite favorite).

The restaurant is run by Oki, a young and friendly Japanese chef trained in France who manages to successfully combine the two cuisines to offer a savory dining experience, as well as the kind of friendly, efficient and attentive service that is not that easy to come across in Brussels. The restaurant is relatively small, so book well in advance.

Oki

I have been to Chez Oki several times and have never been disappointed. However, what I would recommend above all is picking the chef’s surprise menu (omakase, in essence, but they just don’t call it like that but rather “menu yeux fermes” = closed eyes menu). This comes in three alternatives: 3, 4 or 5-course menu. The four-course menu (EUR 40) is probably the perfect choice unless you’re very hungry, as it consists of two appetizers, a main course, and dessert.

On my last visit to Chez Oki, the 4-course menu consisted of a duck amuse-gueule, a foie gras sushi entree (three pieces, which keep you wanting for more), a perfectly thin tuna carpaccio with a sweet hoisin-like sauce and a wasabi sauce (also as an appetizer), Japanese-style sliced duck (Kobe-beef like) in a lightly caramelized sauce with a variety of vegetables, and a soft and original dessert cake, which was something of a mix between Japanese pound cake (much lighter of course) and a soft cream cheese. All four dishes were excellent and achieved a true fusion between Japanese and French cuisine – hard to explain how, you’ll just have to try it.

Of course, for those who are less adventurous or have specific diet restrictions and want to know what they’re going to get in advance, it is always possible to order from the menu, which changes every few months.
Check Oki is located on rue Lesbroussart 62, between Place Flagey and Avenue Louise. Closed on Sundays, and Sat+Mon for lunch.

If you’re looking for more traditional Japanese restaurants, check this previous post.

UPDATE (Jan 2009) – Chez Oki still offers an interesting dining experience but the quality seems to have declined somewhat, as Chef Oki increasingly does less of the cooking himself…