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Mussels in Bruges

Hi all,
Looking for recommendations for the best places for mussels in Bruges. We will be there the first part of September, so would especially like a place with outside dining.

Posted by
38 posts

Sorry, we're looking for the same info. We just want to be updated on the replies you get.

Posted by
8293 posts

In Paris we always go to Leon de Bruxelles and if I were in Brussels I would also.

Posted by
12040 posts

I would say, someplace outside the ring road, or failing that, just go anyplace that strikes your fancy. Here's why:

I usually don't completely agree with the dogma that you should avoid obvious tourist restaurants. Yes, the food will be somewhat dumbed-down to meet the general expectations of visitors. But it's probably decent food, and if tourists are eating there, it's a good guess that the restaurant has a good view. But if you specifically want good mussels, this is a different story. Despite it's reputation as being the quintessential Belgian meal, mussels usually have a very limited season in the country. In-season, you can almost guarantee luscious, juicy and tasty bivalves. Outside of the season, though, they tend to be small and somewhat stringy. That's the reason why restaurants that aren't catering to tourist expectations usually don't offer them out of season.

The season varies somewhat each year. September may or may not be the right time. In the tourist-heavy center of Brugge, it will be kind of hard to tell, because they often serve mussels all year, regardless of quality. If it's the right time of year, you can probably just pick the restaurant with the prettiest view. Mussels are a pretty basic, easy-to-prepare meal, so there's not likely to be much variation in quality.

Posted by
2004 posts

In addition to Tom’s info. Mussels are not from Brussels, but in Belgium come mainly from the Netherlands. They grow in parts of the Waddenzee and the Delta Region, but as the trade is concentrated in the province of Zeeland, they are often advertised as “Zeeuwse Mosselen” as an indication that the quality is okay.

The season starts somewhere in July and as it is one of the favorite dishes in Belgium it gets always attention on television, and ends somewhere in April the next year. If of interest more info see (select English): I think the quality doesn’t differ much in September than in July as the mussels are not harvested in one go, but is spread all over the season, depending the weather.

Have no personal experience with eating them in Bruges, but there are plenty of outdoor places to enjoy a meal. Actualy you can eat them wherever you want as the majority of restaurants has them on the menu, so if you are for instance in Damme, there are enough outdoor places too. To my opinion it’s best to wait depending the weather till (early) evening when the crowds are gone and Bruges becomes a more quiet place.

Ironically a big name in Belgium is Philippine in the Netherlands, close to the border north of Ghent. According the Belgians there is something special about the taste you can’t find in their home-country. As they are very serious about enjoying food it must be truth as this tiny village is still very popular among them since many decades.

Posted by
12 posts

Hello again and many thanks for all the replies. Great info!