Brussels in Belgium is considered the capital of the European Union, but when families plan their travels to Europe, it seems to be overlooked.
The city of Brussels has plenty to offer families, and I consider it a perfect 2-day excursion when visiting more popular European destinations such as Paris (under 2 hours by train or a bit longer by car, as we did during our road trip) and Amsterdam (under 3 hours by train)
Yes, there are beautiful sites to visit in Brussels, such as Le Grand Place, one of the most beautiful squares in all of Europe; but what should bring families here is the food.
It’s a great place to either introduce or educate children as to the origin of some of the most quintessential dishes we have almost every day.
Food to eat when in Brussels
Frites, commonly known as ‘french fries” are a Belgian creation. In Brussels, the whole experience in having these delectable fried potatoes is taken up to another level.
First, they are prepared crispier than any you will probably have. Second, and here is where the fun comes for the kids, they have endless toppings ranging from simple mayonnaise to all sorts of curries. The combinations are endless.
One of our favorite evenings spent in the city was stopping at Fritland, a popular destination near the Grand Place and we purchased fries and strolled through the cobbled stone streets at night when most of the tourists have gone, and were able to get a clear photo in front of the famous Manneken-Pis.
Moules Frites is probably the most famous dining option in Brussels if not all of Belgium. It would be the equivalent of getting a steak in Texas.
Mussels, for many, take more of an acquired taste than the paralleling dish I mentioned, but once acquired, few meals are as satisfying. If you or your children have never had them before, this is the place to start.
Prepared very simply, usually “Au Vin Blanc” style (steamed in a butter, leek, and wine broth) and served with fries, it’s the subtleness from the use of the best mussels and simple ingredients and usually served in a cast iron pot, makes the dish the perfect hybrid of poor man’s food and sophistication.
Our recommendation for the best place to have Moules Frites is a traditional Belgian Restaurant named, La Maree.
You may not find it on every “best of” list, but it is where our Airbnb host recommended. When we sat, we were definitely the only “non-locals’ there. It made for an unequalled authentic experience.
Chocolate plays an important role in the Belgian culture. The country is historically (since the 17th Century) one of the most important producers of the confection.
With over 2,000 chocolatiers both large and small, there is no shortage of excellent chocolate. The Belgian appreciation for chocolate is something unique.
Mind you, experiencing a chocolate shop and its services is not to be equalled to an M&M’s store. Nothing against the mega chocolate producer, the boutiques in Brussels are a different breed.
Bring the kids to a chocolatier named, Mary of Brussels, where they have been making the most luxurious, mouthwatering treats since 1919.
A family can spend quite a bit of time choosing from the large array offered. The best part, no matter what the price, or how much you purchase, you will be treated to the same white glove service. Which made our daughter, Bailey, feel quite special.
Belgian Waffles are probably an item we have all had at some point. The one’s made in Brussels are the best we ever had, they simply have been making them for so long that they have that expert hand that only comes from experience.
There are many waffle stands in Brussels, and most of them offer an excellent plain waffle with some powdered sugar for just 1 euro. A little more if you want whipped cream, chocolate, or ice cream.
If your kids are just like mine, you’ll definitely be paying more than 1 euro, but according to my kid, it was worth the extra.
For the parents: Poechenellekelder for Belgian Beers
Now that the kids have had their share of sweets, treat yourself to a Belgian Beer. The Belgian monks have made some of the best beers through the centuries. One of the best places to enjoy a drink with the family in tow is, Poechenellekelder.
It’s a wonderful puppet theater bar. Our daughter explored the place, filled with vintage marionettes, while my wife and I sipped away on some excellent raspberry lambic ale.
Next time you and your family are planning a trip to Europe, try to carve out some time for Brussels. This lovely little city is a treat for the eyes and the stomach for all families to enjoy.
Plan your trip to Brussels
Have you visited Brussels? What were some of your favourite food to eat in Brussels? Any other tips?