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Mussels around Brussels square

We will be at Brussels square for a few hours and would like to eat mussels. Want to eat right on or shortly off the square due to time constraints. Worried about a tourist trap, any suggestions?

Posted by
6788 posts

The whole square is a tourist trap. You're a tourist. You're going to the epicenter of mass tourism in the country. And you're doing the #1 most touristy thing possible.

Don't fight it, you might as well embrace it and cross this off your list of things to worry about. I think any of the places around the square will have more or less about the same mussels or waffles or french fries. Follow your nose and trust your gut. Life is short and this is not something one needs to overthink. The biggest challenge is getting the combination of food cliches right, in the correct order. I'd suggest mussels + fries + beer first, followed by the waffle course (then go for a nice long walk to burn off those calories). It's all yummy and satisfying, you only live once (and by itself, this won't kill you) so go for it.

Posted by
4574 posts

I went to Brasserie de l'Ommegang with some friends posted in Belgium. They hadn't been there long, so might have been caught in the tourist trap but regardless, it was comfortable, didn't seem riotous and raukus, and the moules & frites were really good. It reminded me of a Quebec Brasserie - not something designed for tourists. I would go again.

Posted by
1005 posts

I haven't found any mussels joint near the Grand Place that isn't touristy, so good luck with that. The most famous is Chez Leon. If you want to have a great meal near Grand Place and are willing to skip mussels, Pre de Chez Nous offers an excellent prix fixe deal.

Posted by
11350 posts

We were in Brussels on business and the local staff there took us to the Fish Market area. Our restaurants only served mussels. Fabulous! Worth a taxi ride.

Posted by
5634 posts

All the restaurants close to the Grand Place are pretty touristy. I’ve eaten at Chez Leon several times. If you stick to the basic mussels and frites, your meal will be fine. It is kind of hard to screw up mussels, particularly in a place where that is practically all they serve.

Posted by
26 posts

I loved Brussels. Went there on business back in 2006. A few of us ate at a small restaurant just off of Grand Place, on Les Rue des Bouchers. The food was OK, but the bill was astronomical and well beyond the prices on the chalkboard. I wouldn’t eat on the street, bit definitely worth a stroll if you are nearby.

Posted by
55 posts

Thanks you all, will try Chez Leon, may as well go to the most famous tourist trap. menu looks good

Posted by
11507 posts


In Brussels !!

Love the sound of that lol

Posted by
8293 posts

If the Chez Leon menu looks good and prices suit you, then it is not a "tourist TRAP". It is a restaurant known to and popular with people from elsewhere. A tourist trap is one that lures you with false expectations.

Posted by
7489 posts

I have not eaten on the Rue des Bouchers, but there are vast archives of reasonably credible reports of rampant, abusive bill-padding there. Although less so than in the past, note that Mussels are slightly seasonal, and might be better at some times of the year. And of course the restaurants purchasing and storage standards make a difference.

Remember that Europe is about "slow food." Demanding speed usually reduces quality, and marks you as someone who cares less about their food . (Fairly or unfairly.) I'm not criticizing you, sometimes I'm in a hurry to. But I try to settle for a premade sandwich on a long roll - even if ... shudder ... unrefrigerated.

Edit: Gee, Norma, I can tell the difference between (most) seafood frozen and fresh. I don't see any point in having "Nordsee" mussels next to the North Sea unless they are fresh-caught. Can you really freeze mussels in the closed shell??

Posted by
8293 posts

Tim, I can buy frozen mussels in my supermarket so I imagine seasonality in Brussels is not a consideration.

Posted by
11294 posts

"Mussels In Brussels !! Love the sound of that lol"

Many do, which is why it's become such a tourist cliche.

Posted by
616 posts

The best place would be:
Aux armes de Bruxelles,
Rue des Bouchers 13
1000 Brussels ( not very far from the grand place and the wonderful galerie St Hubert)
tel:+32-(0)2 511 55 50

You might like also to taste the following Belgian delicacies not so well known among foreigners but really loved by Belgian people.
With the apéritive:
Take either
PlateaudesArmesdeBruxelles.................................. ....58,75€
Assortiment d’huîtres 9 pièces, moules parquées, crevettes grises, crevettes roses, caricoles et bigorneaux (For 3-6)
Or if just 1-2
A bowl of caracoles or bigorneaux

1) Tomato filled with grey prawns with Belgian mayonnaise (Tomate aux crevettes grises mayonnaise)
2) grey prawns coquettes (croquettes de crevettes grises) (this is a real must have for me)
3) Salade « Veulemans » (1/2 salade de crevettes grises et 1 pièce de croquette aux crevettes)
4) Salade de chicons au roquefort et lardons fumés ( chicory: chicon in Belgian French is a true Belgian veggie)
5) Tête pressée maison aux aromates sauce tartare (Belgian love sauce tartare)
6) Tartines de pain complet au plattekees et garnitures (radis,oignonsverts) bread with fresh cheese with radish and onions is very typical for supper or sometimes as a quick something after a long walk. I love them.
Second Plate you can choose among all these specialities:

Brussels Beer:
Kriek (cherry beer)

Mussels and Fish
Mussels ( all of them)
Lobster Waterzooi (Healthy Belgian fish & lobster Soup)
Waterzooi de poissons Aux Armes de Bruxelles ( fish soup)(cabillaud,sole,saumon,crevettes grises)
Soles in various ways:
Sole de la mer du Nord « bonne femme »
(champignons, sauce vin blanc, fines herbes). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38,50€
Filets de sole de la mer du Nord « Dugléré » (tomatefraîche,saucevinblanc,persil).............................38,50€
Filets de sole de la mer du Nord maison (champignons,crevettes,moules,homard,crème)

Cabillaudpoché,beurrefonduetmoutardedeGand.................. 26,75€
Ailederaiemeunière,saucetartare................................. 27,55€
and one river fish dish:
Anguilles au vert (au vert because it is traditionally cooked in 3 green vegetables:

Vol au vent de poularde ( this is the typical menu we used to have for communions, weddings, big family gatherings)
Waterzooi à la gantoise ( Healthy Belgian poultry soup, with chicken, vegetables, lemon, cream)
Poulet à la bruxelloise (chicken with cream, we love cream)
Carbonnades de bœuf à la flamande, frites fraîches ( beef stew cooked in beer)
Côte de veau « élevé sous la mère » sauce Blackwell, frites fraîches. . . (This is typical Brussels dish, I know I liked it very much but I forgot how it is done, should go back to Brussels with friends some day. Elevé sous la mère means the calf (veau) has always been fed by his mother the cow and was not separated from her. This kind of meat is mellow, tender.
If you like raw meat, you should try this:
Filet américain (steak tartare) avec frites fraîches
Stoemp du jour et viandes mixtes ( stoemp is a mix of vegetables and mashed potatoes, du jour meaning that the vegetables change everyday, it is usually eaten with sausages or pork meat, sometimes beef also).
Chicon au gratin (chicory with cheese)
chicon au gratin ( chicory with cheese and ham)

Posted by
616 posts

For deserts, one of those:

Chocolate mousse (Belgium is very famous for its chocolate)
Gaufres de Bruxelles (I’d rather have this for a 4 o’clock goûter meal with cream, coffee or hot chocolate)
Crêpes « Comédie française » flambées en salle à la Mandarine Napoléon ( typical Belgian alcool)
Crème brûlée aux cuberdons .( cuberdon is a famous Belgian sweet made of cherries, violets, raspberries, strawberries, a famous place for it is Koksyde on the seaside)
Glace chocolat et truffes au chocolat.
Tarte au sucre et à la cassonade servie tiède (cassonade is a blond or brown sugar and this tart is a real treat)
Café liégeois (another treat, full of cream of course)
Bodding de Bruxelles au coulis de cerises (cherries)
various Belgian cheese.
(Drink beer with it)

Now enjoy your meal in Brussels and spend the night in Brussels, you will love it.
If you can afford it, go and spend the night at the Metropole, a wonderful place just off Place deBrouckere. I just saw an offer on 13th March for 160 euros a night