Aux Armes de Bruxelles
Rue des Bouchers 13 (tel 02 511 55 50. Métro: Bourse. Tues-Sun noon-11.15pm. Closed June 19-July 16. ?20-32.) Right in the middle of the restaurant district near the Grand-Place, this polished spot divides into a formal restaurant popular with the pearls-and-blue-rinse brigade, and a simple bistro with wooden benches, both of which serve old-fashioned Belgian cuisine to a very high standard. Renowned for its moules
and Flemish carbonnades
Brasserie de la Roue d'Or Rue de Chapeliers 26 (tel 02 514 25 54. Métro: Bourse. Daily 12.30pm-12.30am. Closed July 15-Aug 15. ?20-32.) This old brasserie, handily located close to the Grand-Place, serves generous portions of Belgian regional specialties, such as poulet à la Bruxelles , and a mouthwatering selection of seafood. Also recommended are the delicious lamb with mustard and the endive salad with salmon.
Chez Léon Rue des Bouchers 18-22 (tel 02 511 14 15. Métro: Bourse. Daily noon-11pm. ?20-32.) This touristy Brussels institution has been serving Belgian specialties like moules au vin blanc and poulet à la framboise for over a century. It's not the classiest of eateries, however, and has a tendency to deliver ever blander versions of Belgian cuisines - gruff service too.
L'Idiot du Village Rue Notre Seigneur 19 (tel 02 502 55 82. Tram #93, #94. Mon-Fri noon-2pm & 7.15-11pm. Closed July 15-Aug 15. ?20-32.) Behind the candle-lit, modest entrance on a narrow side street in the Marolles quarter lies a gastronomic wonderland. Intimate and dimly-lit, the simple wooden tables and low levels of noise mean that the dining experience is as discreet as it is delicious. The escargots au confit with herb ravioli are a must.
't Kelderke Grand-Place 15 (tel 02 513 73 44. Métro: Gare Centrale. Daily noon-2am. ?20-32.) You can't get more Belgian than this well-known restaurant, housed in a boisterous cellar on the Grand-Place. The impressive range of cuisine includes moules, stoemp, carbonnade flamande à la bière , and waterzooi . And while the waiters can be a little stuffy, the house beer - the 't Kelderke - will smooth things over nicely.
La Maison du Cygne Rue Ch Buls (tel 02 511 82 44. Métro: Gare Centrale. Mon-Fri noon-2pm & 7-10pm, Sat 7-10.30pm. Over ?44.) The gorgeous location overlooking the Grand-Place is enough to make this restaurant a real hit, but add to that some awesome French and Belgian cuisine and you can see why it's regarded as one of the capital's top spots. The warm langoustines and mango curry is highly recommended. Admittedly a meal here costs the earth, so it's best reserved for a special treat.
Tapas Locas Rue du Marché au Charbon, 74 (tel 02 502 12 68. Métro: Bourse or de Brouckère. Daily 7pm-1am. Under ?20.) This light, informal Spanish restaurant in a trendy area attracts a mainly youthful clientele, and servesa wide range of excellent cheap tapas at ?2 a portion. Standard tapas such as tortilla, calamares or chorizo are listed in the menu and there is a changing selection of more unusual dishes chalked up on the blackboards. Spanish wine and sangria are both ?1.80 a glass.
Taverne du Passage Galerie de la Reine 30 (tel 02 512 37 31. Métro: Gare Centrale. Daily noon-midnight. Closed Wed & Thurs June & July. ?20-32.) Popular with Belgian families, this traditional Art Deco place is well known for its excellent Sunday lunches (?37), and for serving delicious classic Belgian dishes such as anguilles au vert . There's also a number of vegetarian options including a tasty cheese fondue for only ?7. Their Belgian beer menu is also worth perusing.
Vert de Gris Rue des Alexiens 63 (tel 02 514 21 68. Métro: Bourse. Tues-Fri noon-2pm, 7-11pm, Sat & Sun 7pm-midnight. ?20-32.) A varied crowd of young and old, couples and families gathers to dine at this large restaurant, which offers up fusion cuisine with heavy Belgian and French accents. The interior is a little dark, but there's a pleasant outdoor rear terrace, with views of the pretty Eglise de la Chapelle.