Brussels, a city to experience great food as a family

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) 

Food in Brussels

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

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.

frites brussels

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

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.

food brussels moules frites

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

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.

Belgian chocolate

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.

Belgian chocolate

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

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.

brussels with kids

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.

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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

Accommodation in Brussels

  • Booking.com has 150+ properties in Brussels including hotels, apartments, and guesthouses. You get free cancellation on most rooms, and a best price guarantee.

Flights to Brussels

  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline (no extra fees).

Car Rental in Brussels

  • RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.

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Brussels

Have you visited Brussels? What were some of your favourite food to eat in Brussels? Any other tips?

16 thoughts on “Brussels, a city to experience great food as a family”

    1. Andrew Tolentino

      Taj: It tastes even better than it looks. Now that you mention it, I’m hungry too. Thanks for reading. – Andrew

  1. Not a whole lot to see in Brussels compared to many other European cities, but the food is fantastic. One thing I learned about Belgian waffles. When you buy them from a street vendor, they’re likely to be reheated and not very appetizing. Freshly made in a restaurant, however, is heaven.

    1. True, Billy. Not much to see, but a perfect weekend and a good excuse to eat throughout town. Just for that, I think it’s worth the visit. Also Grande Place is just beautiful. – Andrew

  2. Mmm…the food looks amazing! I have never visited Brussels but, I took a similar trip as a teenager to the Netherlands with my parents and brother. We tried all kinds of new foods and I think my brother and I spent all our money on kibbeling (small fried fish). The frites there also came with an array of yummy sauces.

    Great post thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Sarah. Yes, Brussels is special to me as it was one of the first European cities I ever visited. I’ve been many times, mostly for the food. I find great comfort there for some reason. Best, Andrew

  3. It’s funny cos I ended up going to Brussels last year in a surprise birthday trip. It was supposed to be a little bit “meh” considering it is not super touristic or an “wow” city but it turned out to be amazing. The food was great and cheap. I am not a chocolate fan but how can you resist it there? They are amazing and of course, the beer. I spent most of my birthday drinking lots and having fun. 🙂

  4. Those American potato free from McDonalds is actually Belgian frites.
    The history tells us that when USA army had won Nazi Germany in Belgium during The Second World War citizens of Brussels wished to gratitude american soldiers and presented their frites for FREE. And from that moment Brussels frites is called potato free in USA.
    Just a small historical hint.

  5. Heading to Brussels at the end of September for 6 nights. It will be my first time in the city so I’m excited to explore. After reading this post, I’m now looking forward to trying those fries and eating lots of chocolate and Belgian waffles!

  6. Brussels has some nice places like cosy bars, summer festivities & lovely shops only the locals seem to know. Forget about the Grand Place or the typical highlights, they are way overrated. You have better options in Belgium and Europe if you want to see historic buildings or architectural monuments.
    As for Brussels, mingle in the heart of the city and discover the real gems! Our frites and moules are fantastic though 🙂

  7. Ever thought about visiting Ghent in Belgium. As a Belgian, I don’t like Brussels too much actually. Ghent is a much smaller, there is more art and a better atmosphere. I personally call Ghent the Paris of Belgium, because of its great vibe and atmosphere.

    Everybody knows about Bruges and Brussels in Belgium, but forget about Ghent or Antwerp.

    Follow-up my Travel blog after next Xmas, so let’s say in the beginning of 2018. I will start writing about the beauty of Ghent around that time. You are going to love my local tips & tricks, photography and Ghent city guide that’s coming up around that time.

    -> https://www.unnavigated.com

    – Kind Regards,
    Matthias

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