Go ahead and explore the iconic attractions in Brussels, but stay clear of restaurants located within the vicinity, as these tend to be tourist traps frequented by travellers. It's highly likely that the food items you get there are pricier and mediocre-tasting – which explains the absence of locals at these dining spots. For authentic Belgian fare, like crispy fries, pipin' hot waffles and good ol' beer, venture to these well-loved spots favoured by locals in the city:
1. Frit Flagey
Fries are a well-known treat in Belgium, so it is impossible not to get your fix of these savoury delights during your sojourns in Brussels. There is one problem: with so many places selling fries in the city, it can be difficult to decide where one should head to to enjoy this iconic dish.
When in doubt, just follow the locals. If you do, you are likely to end up at Frit Flagey. The fries served here are perfect – crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. A long, snaking queue of locals lining up for a serving of fries at Frit Flagey's is a sure testament to the store's popularity. This means that you will have to bear with the queues, no matter what time of the day you arrive at the store – but when you sample the fries, you will find it well worth the wait.
Like fries, waffles are an ubiquitous treat in Brussels. Many locals get their waffle fix from stands located all over the city, but one of the stands that stands out from the rest is Belgaufra, a Belgian chain churning out Liege-style waffles. Two options – sugar glazed and chocolate flavoured – are available, but no matter which flavour you go for, it is likely to delight your palate. Eat as the locals do, and enjoy your Belgaufra waffles on-the-go as a takeout snack!
Noordzee, known for its fresh seafood dishes, draws a crowd of locals keen on savouring plates of fresh oysters, cripsy calamari or delectable shrimp croquettes along with wine. There are no seats available here, so diners will have to contend with the jostling crowds and stand-up dining – all minor inconveniences that are forgetten as soon as plates of scrumptious seafood arrive at the table.
4. Au Vatel Bakery
It is not hard to see why Au Vatel Bakery is a local favourite, for it dishes out some of the best patisseries in the city. Pastries, croissants, cakes or tarts – the sweet treats at this bakery never fail to delight. Prices of the goodies sold here are higher relative to other bakeries, but rest assured that every penny spent will be well worth it. Stop by for a late brunch or mid-afternoon snack, and your sweeth tooth will be well-satisfied.
5. Mamma Roma
When the cravings for pizzas hit, Mamma Roma is the place of choice for locals in the city. Pizzas here are sold by weight, so diners will have the option of trying a variety of toppings and flavours. The pizzas here have even won over Italian visitors, so you can be sure that you are getting nothing less than authentic, quality fare.
6. Home-dining Experiences
When it comes to tucking into a spread of authentic Belgian dishes, nothing quite beats the experience of a home-cooked meal. Home-dining experiences offering a Russian, Mediterranean or Belgian brunch, a spread of oriental Moroccan dishes or a breakfast of Belgian waffles will please a variety of palates.