Wondering what to eat in Brussels? Whether you’re spending a few days, a week, or more I have created this compilation of the most famous foods in Brussels that you should try.
Along with the Belgian classics, I’ve also included some lesser-known dishes that might be fun to track down at the local brasseries, bars, local bakeries, or traditional Belgian restaurants.
In addition to seeing all of the impressive architecture and historical sites a big part of your Brussels itinerary will focus on trying the best foods in Brussels.
So let’s get to it so you can stop wondering what to eat in Brussels!
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1. Frites (Belgian Fries)
What would a list of the best foods to try in Brussels be without the most famous food in Brussels, the Belgian Frites. They are not only one of the most traditional foods in Belgium but are renowned worldwide for their unique taste.
Authentic Belgian frites are made from fresh potatoes such as the Bintje because they are high in starch and low in moisture so when fried they have a fluffy interior and a crispy shell.
Before they are fried the potatoes are usually hand-cut into thick or thin strips, depending on personal preference. They are often prepared on-site in small batches to ensure freshness.
A few particular elements that make Frites stand out are the double-frying technique which is traditionally done in beef tallow for the flavor and aroma that it gives.
You won’t even have to try to find Friteries (fry shops) as they are everywhere in Brussels. They’re also served as a side with many Belgian dishes as sit-down restaurants.
If you want to combine trying frites with other famous foods in Brussels you should check out this Brussels Walking and Tasting Tour where you’ll get to sample freshly fried frites, waffles, chocolate, and Belgian beer. It is one of the most popular food tours in Brussels and costs 68.50 EUR ($74 USD) for a 2 to 3-hour tour.
2. Moules-frites (Mussels with fries)
One of the most famous foods in Brussels is Moules-frites. It’s a delicious combination of flavors and textures that showcases the region’s love for seafood and potatoes
This dish is usually prepared using fresh, locally sourced mussels and is usually steamed or simmered in a flavorful broth made with ingredients such as white wine, garlic, onions, celery, herbs, and sometimes a touch of cream. This broth infuses the mussels with rich flavors and creates a fragrant aroma.
Belgian fries (frites) are usually served alongside the mussels with a side of mayonnaise or aioli for dipping.
Enjoying a bowl of moules-frites in Brussels is not just a culinary delight but also an authentic Belgian experience so it has to be on your list of things to eat in Brussels!
3. Boulet à la Liégeoise
Boulet à la Liégeoise is a regional specialty of Liège, and it consists of meatballs (boulets) served in a sweet and savory sauce, often accompanied by frites (Belgian fries). However, it’s possible to find this dish in some Brussels restaurants that offer a diverse Belgian cuisine.
I ended up stumbling upon the Arcadi Brasserie near the Royal Gallery and discovered Boulet à la Liégeoise on their menu so I had to order it and I really enjoyed it!
The main component of Boulet à la Liégeoise is the meatballs. These meatballs are typically made from a mixture of ground beef and pork, seasoned with various herbs and spices.
The sauce for Boulet à la Liégeoise is what sets it apart. It’s a sweet and savory sauce made from a combination of ingredients like onions, brown sugar, and vinegar. The sauce has a sweet and sour flavor profile, with a hint of tanginess from the vinegar. It often has a rich, caramelized texture and a deep, brown color.
If you’re craving comfort food, Boulet à la Liégeoise has to be one of the best foods in Brussels!
4. Belgian Beer
Belgian beer has a long and storied history that can be traced back to ancient times. Particularly in Brussels, you’ll find a vibrant beer scene that caters to a wide range of tastes.
These different styles include Trappist ales, Abbey beers, lambics, gueuze, witbier (white beer), saisons, Belgian strong ales, Dubbels, Tripels, Quadrupels, and more.
Lambic beers are a traditional specialty of the Brussels region so it’s definitely one of the best foods to try in Brussels. These are naturally fermented beers, often aged in wooden barrels, and can be used as a base for other beer styles like gueuze and fruit lambics.
Gueuze is a blend of young and old lambics and the result is a sparkling, sour beer. Fruit lambics, such as kriek (cherry) and framboise (raspberry), are also popular choices.
The Belgian beer culture is deeply ingrained in Brussels’ identity. Beer is not merely a beverage but an integral part of Belgian life, often enjoyed with food and in social settings.
While in Brussels joining a Belgian beer tour is the best way to try several variations and discover your personal favorite! I would recommend this Belgian Beer Tasting in Brussels because it includes between 12 to 13 samples from local bars and pubs for just 38 EUR ($41 USD). Plus, learn from your guide what sets Belgian beer apart from other beers.
Brussels also hosts various beer festivals throughout the year, such as the Belgian Beer Weekend and the BXLBeerFest in September. If you happen to be visiting during these events you will have even more opportunities to sample different brews.
One of the best foods to try in Brussels is the ever-so-famous waffles. To my surprise, I learned that there are a variety of delicious waffle variations in Brussels. Here’s a look at the two main types of waffles that you can eat while in Brussels:
- Brussels Waffle (Gaufre de Bruxelles) The Brussels waffle is perhaps the most iconic Belgian waffle. It’s known for its large, rectangular shape with deep pockets and a lighter, crispier texture compared to other waffle styles. Traditionally, the Brussels waffle is served with a dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream.
- Liège Waffle (Gaufre de Liège) The Liège waffle is denser and sweeter than the Brussels waffle. It’s smaller and has a more irregular, rounded shape. The key feature of the Liège waffle is the use of pearl sugar, which caramelizes on the outside, creating a sweet and crunchy exterior. Liège waffles are typically enjoyed plain, as the caramelized sugar provides ample sweetness and flavor.
To be honest, this wasn’t one of the foods in Brussels I expected to be impressed by, however, when I took my first bite of a Liege Waffle I was amazed of the chewiness and flavor! I treasured every bite!
Waffles are one of the most famous foods in Brussels that you must try during your time in this city. You can choose to explore the city’s numerous waffle stands and cafes, eat one on a food tour, or join this waffle making workshop where you’ll be taught how to make the dough from scratch!
The best part about this tour is that it only costs 32 EUR ($35 USD) and you don’t need to have any previous cooking skills – even kids can do it!
6. Chocolates and Pralines
When compiling my own list of what foods to try in Brussels, Belgian chocolate was easily at the top of my list. I’m not overexaggerating when I say that Belgian chocolate is the most delicious chocolate I’ve tried to date – it’s definitely one of the most famous foods in Brussels for a reason!
Chocolate has been enjoyed in Belgium for centuries, with cacao beans introduced to Europe by the Spanish in the early 17th century. By the 19th century, chocolate was being produced in Belgium.
There are many different types of chocolates variations made in Brussels but the most popular are Truffles and Praliné.
Truffles have a soft, ganache-like center made from chocolate and cream, often infused with flavors like Grand Marnier, raspberry, or coffee. The truffle center is coated in a layer of cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.
A classic Belgian praline is made with a filling of caramelized and finely ground hazelnuts or almonds. The result is a creamy, nutty center encased in milk or dark chocolate. The Manon praline has the same base but is often blended with vanilla or coffee.
Coeur à la Crème is another delicious choice filled with a creamy mousse. Other popular fillings inside of Pralines include ganache, fruit, speculoos (#8 on this list), or nougat.
After some research, I decided to purchase chocolate from Laurent Gerbaud because of the high-quality ingredients, unique flavor combinations, and vegan options! While this would be my personal recommendation there are plenty of other chocolatiers to buy from in Brussels.
If you’re interested in trying chocolates from various chocolatiers without breaking the bank I’d recommend this Chocolate Tasting Tour because you get to sample different 12 types and learn about the history and production of Belgian chocolate. This premium tour costs 76 EUR ($82 USD) for 1.5 hours of chocolate eating!
If you want to get hands-on go for this Chocolate Making Class led by a chocolate expert! You’ll get to make both truffles and mediants and yes, you can sample the chocolates as you make them!
7. Croquette au Crevette (Belgian Shrimp Croquettes)
Croquette aux Crevettes, also known as shrimp croquettes, is a classic Belgian dish known for its delectable combination of creamy shrimp filling made from a mixture of fresh North Sea shrimp, a flavorful white sauce, and a crispy breadcrumb coating.
This savory appetizer or snack is beloved in Belgium and can be found in various Belgian restaurants, bistros, and even as street food. Croquette au Crevette is an underrated food to try in Brussels so you should definitely add it to your list if you enjoy seafood!
Speculoos, also spelled speculaas, is a type of spiced biscuit or cookie that is popular in Belgium and the Netherlands. These cookies are known for their warm, aromatic spices and crunchy texture.
While Speculoos may not have originated in Brussels specifically, it is an integral part of the culinary heritage of the entire Low Countries region, including Belgium and the Netherlands. Today, Speculoos cookies and Speculoos spread are enjoyed throughout the year but hold a special place during festive occasions and the holiday season. They are not only a delicious treat but also a connection to the rich history and traditions of the area.
The spices used in Speculoos are reminiscent of the spice trade that flourished in the region during the Middle Ages. The blend of spices, especially cinnamon, gives Speculoos its signature warm and aromatic flavor.
9. Blackpudding (Blood Sausage)
The primary characteristic of black pudding is the use of blood, typically pig’s blood. It was a way to make use of all parts of an animal and reduce waste. The blood coagulates when cooked, giving the sausage its characteristic dark color.
While this may sound off-putting, in Belgium, including Brussels, black pudding is a well-loved culinary tradition. Belgian black pudding is seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices and then fried, grilled, or roasted. It can be enjoyed as part of a hearty breakfast, in stews, or as a main course.
While black pudding may not have a specific origin story in Brussels, it is a part of the broader European culinary tradition, with each region adding its own unique touch to this classic blood sausage. If you visit Brussels, you may find black pudding on the menus of traditional Belgian restaurants.
10. Witloofsalade (Chicory Salad)
Witloofsalade, features Belgian endive as its main component, which has its origins in Belgium, particularly in the Brussels region.
It is said to have been discovered by accident in the 19th century. The story goes that a Belgian farmer accidentally left chicory roots in his dark, cool cellar, and when he rediscovered them later, he found that they had sprouted pale, tender shoots. These shoots were the first Belgian endives.
Witloofsalade typically consists of thinly sliced raw Belgian endive leaves, which are known for their crisp texture and slightly bitter taste. It is common to dress witloofsalade with a vinaigrette made from ingredients such as olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Chopped apples, walnuts, or crumbled blue cheese, are popular add-ins to add more texture and flavor.
11. Tarte au Riz (Belgian Rice Tart)
Tarte au Riz, which translates to “rice tart” in English is a delightful dessert known for its creamy rice pudding filling enclosed in a buttery pastry crust.
Tarte au Riz is typically enjoyed as a dessert following a meal or as a sweet treat accompanied by a cup of coffee or tea.
When in Brussels, you can often find Tarte au Riz in traditional or specialized Belgian bakeries, patisseries, and restaurants that celebrate the rich culinary heritage of Belgium.
It’s definitely a top food to try in Brussels that isn’t so well known to tourists!
12. Flemish Asparagus (Asparagus with Scrambled Eggs)
Flemish Asparagus is a popular and delicious dish in Brussels and throughout Belgium, especially during the asparagus season, which typically occurs in the spring months. This dish is a celebration of fresh, seasonal ingredients and is often enjoyed in Belgian restaurants and homes.
The white asparagus is often served with creamy, softly scrambled eggs. The eggs are lightly beaten, cooked gently with butter, and stirred to create a velvety texture. dish may be seasoned with salt, pepper, and sometimes a touch of fresh herbs like chervil or parsley for added freshness and aroma.
Flemish Asparagus is typically served as a warm, comforting dish, making it a popular choice for brunch, lunch, or a light dinner. It’s often enjoyed with a slice of fresh bread or toast to soak up the delicious egg and buttery juices.
13. Waterzooi Brussels
Waterzooi is a traditional Belgian stew that originated in the city of Ghent but is also popular in Brussels and other regions of Belgium. There are two main varieties of Waterzooi: one made with fish (often referred to as Fish Waterzooi) and another made with chicken (known as Chicken Waterzooi).
Common vegetables used in Chicken Waterzooi include leeks, carrots, celery, and sometimes potatoes.
The stew is typically cooked in a flavorful broth, which can be made from chicken stock or a combination of chicken and vegetable broth. The broth is seasoned with salt and pepper and herbs like parsley, thyme, and bay leaves.
Heavy cream or a mixture of cream and egg yolks is used to create the creamy consistency that characterizes Waterzooi. It adds richness and a silky texture to the stew.
If you’re looking for a fun fruity sweet to try in Brussels let me tip you off to Cuberdons! They are often referred to as “noses” because of their shape.
Cuberdones are a traditional Belgian sweet that originated in Ghent but are found all over Belgium, including Brussels. They have a slightly firm, chewy exterior and a soft, gooey, and intensely flavored filling. The most popular Cuberdone flavor is raspberry blackcurrant.
If you want to try some for yourself they are commonly sold in street markets, candy shops, and at festivals and events.
4 Best Food Tours in Brussels
Belgian Beer Tasting in Brussels – This one is for craft beer enthusiasts! It also happens to be the most highly rated food tour in Brussels with over 1,100 5-star reviews! You’ll spend 2.5 hours sampling world-renowned Belgian beers and learn what makes them different from other beers around the world. To me, what makes this tour so great are the enthusiastic guides who are passionate about Belgian beer. The price of this tour is very affordable at just 38 EUR ($41 USD).
Brussels Walking and Tasting Tour – This tour is an excellent way to see popular sites around the city while trying local foods! Your guide will take you to their favorite places in the city for waffles, fries, chocolate, and beer, and there is no skimping on the sizes! How does a 6 piece sampling of chocolates and a 4 beer flight sound? There will be great explanations of the history as you walk past notable landmarks including Grand Place, Mont des Arts, Manneken Pis, and the Royal Gallery. It is priced at a reasonable 68.50 EUR ($74 USD) per person.
Hungry Mary’s Famous Beer and Chocolate Tour – Combine two of Brussels specialties; beer and chocolate! It is a walking tour so you will see many popular sites and learn about the city’s history in between stops. You’ll visit numerous specialty chocolatiers and try up to 12 different chocolate varieties before heading to Grand Place to try at least 6 unique Belgian beers from the bar and pubs. Also included are cheeses and cured meats for you to nibble on. For 90 EUR ($97 USD) you will surely get what you paid for!
Chocolate Tasting Tour – Want to focus on the chocolate scene in Brussels? On this tour, you’ll taste 12 different chocolates from the best chocolatiers in Belgium! This chocolate-tasting tour is led by a trained chocolate expert so you will learn things like how cocoa beans are transformed into decadent truffles and bars and how to properly taste chocolate to bring out its full flavor. Highlights include exploring shops inside of the Royal Gallery and Sablon neighborhood. This premium experience is priced at 76 EUR ($82 USD). If you want to try some of the best chocolate in the world what are you waiting for?
Final Word on What to Eat in Brussels
Thanks for reading this yummy compilation of up to 14 different traditional foods to try in Brussels. My hope is that after reading this guide you won’t have to wonder what to eat in Brussels!
From internationally loved classics like Belgian chocolate and waffles to true lesser-known dishes such as the Witloofsalade or the satisfying Croquette au Crevette, there is a wide range of foods to try in this European city. Good luck choosing what to eat in Brussels first!
If you’re traveling in Belgium check out my other related guides below: