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Traditional Belgian Food in Brussels: 12 Must-Eats!

I am just back from a long weekend in Belgium and I must say, Belgian people know how to eat well and A LOT.

Having lived there previously, I already know where to eat traditional Belgian food in Brussels, and I ate my weight in food during my visit.

Because even days after my 3 days stay, I can still feel the tensioning sensation of my belt.

Indeed, traditional Belgian food is not the lightest… but definitely a delight!

Many of you might think that Belgian food is just about fries, beer, and chocolate.

Where to eat Traditional Belgian Food in Brussels, plate of raw steak with french fries, sauce and salad on a table beside a glass of wine and container of cutlery

Well, you are not totally wrong but don’t commit the mistake to think that the Belgian world of fries, beer, and chocolate is plain and simple; nothing less than that!

Let me take you on a food tour through Brussels where the art of beer brewing and chocolaterie is raised to a new level.

After living 3 years in Brussels and visiting often, I prepared this selection of my favorite places where to eat Belgian food in Brussels.

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Overview: What to eat in Brussels

  1. Belgian Chocolate
  2. Belgian Beer:
  3. Belgian Seafood
  4. Tartare
  5. Waffles

Choose among Food Tours in Brussels

    1. Belgian Chocolate (at “Chocolatier Laurent Gerbaud”)

    best belgian restaurant brussels has to offer, yellow shelf with jars of chillis and nuts and cards with abstract expressionist art and the restaurant logo in front of a small chalkboard with French written on it
    Laurent Gerbaud’s Colorful Chocolate Shop

    Laurent Gerbaud is one of Brussel’s chocolatiers that is determined to extend the classic image of fine Belgian chocolate to a creative and innovative level.

    Monsieur Gerbaud’s shop is located close to some of Brussels’ most popular sights like the Musée Magritte or the Royal Square.

    From the outside, his place looks rather inconspicuous, but as soon as you step in, you’ll realize you’re in chocolate heaven… probably Belgium’s most famous food.

    Monsieur Gerbaud doesn’t only sell exotic chocolate creations, but he also holds workshops in the atelier right next to the shop.

    Here he explains in his passionate way, why chocolate is much more than the mass production that we are used to devouring day by day.

    We experienced a real voyage via our sense of taste through the complex but fascinating world of chocolate.

    Monsieur Gerbaud’s lays focuses on the importance of knowing the origins of what you eat and challenges your traditional ideas of how chocolate has to be.

    It does this by indulging you with creations including ginger, dried fruits or exotic nuts.

    where to get the best belgian food in brussels, two long black plates with rectangle of different chocolates for tasting next to a glass of water

    Of course the orangette, a Belgian chocolate classic cannot to be omitted.

    Laurent Gerbaud’s innovative understanding of chocolate can’t be understood without his expat experience in China.

    After studying Medieval Studies (!), he went to China because he was madly fascinated with Asian culture.

    But the Asian taste was totally different from what he was used to eat Belgium.

    There was no dessert culture (at that time), they hardly ate any butter or sugar…

    What a trauma for a young student coming from a country with the finest chocolates in the world! 

    Needless to say that Monsieur Gerbaud was missing the Belgian chocolate culture.

    best food from belgium, rows of bowls with different dried fruits and nuts

    He started elaborating his very own chocolate in his student apartment and selling his creations to ex-pats and embassies.

    His tasteful chocolates became more and more successful until he decided to return to Belgium and open up his little paradise for chocolate lovers.

    Thus many of his creations, even his logotype, reflect his Chinese legacy: low fat, as little sugar as possible, and daring ingredient combinations… 

    For all those who want to get a deeper insight into the intricate world of Belgian chocolate and slow food, experiencing a chocolate workshop with Monsieur Laurent Gerbaud is a must!

    Book your ticket to the Brussels Chocolate Museum here

    Where: 2d, rue Ravenstein, 1000 Brussels
    Contact: +32 2 511 16 02 –

    2. Belgian Beer (at “Brussels Beer Project”)

    must try traditional brussels food, two shelves of beer next to a wall with large letters in blue and white
    Bright Colors in Brussels Beer Project Bar

    Of course, you must include a beer stop in your visit to Brussels since beer is as inseparable from Brussels as chocolate.

    You’ll be spoilt for choice between fruit beers, dark beers or abbey beers.

    All of them have something in common: they have a very long historical background – some even go back to the 15th century.

    Do you want to taste a beer that represents today’s cosmopolitan Brussels? Then, head to the Brussels Beer Project!

    where to get the best traditional beer in brussels, numbered barrels of beer against a wall

    The idea of innovating and spicing up the traditional Belgian craft beer brewing scene could come to life thanks to crowdfunding.

    They opened up their headquarters in the heart of Brussels including a bar, a shop and a brewery.

    You can actually enjoy your beer right next to the brew kettles.

    The Brussels Beer Project aspires to reflect the bold and vibrant character of Brussels today.

    They produce only a limited quantity but in a variety ranging from Pale Ale to Double Chocolate Salted Imperial Stout.

    I mean, have you ever tried Oyster Stout with Oysters from Brittany?

    Or an Aztec Dry Stout infused with Chipotle Chile & Cocoa Nibs?

    where to try the best brussels cuisine, table with two beer glasses filled with craft beer next to a beer bottle

    The project lays a special focus on the communal aspect: everybody can participate in the selection of the brewery’s best creations by promoting one recipe that was particularly popular.

    They also organize private beer-tasting sessions where you can immerse in the fascinating world of bold beer brewing.

    I especially liked their idea of recycling old bread to create a new beer.

    There is even the ambitious project of making bread with the residues of freshly brewed beer, which would perfectly close the beer/bread circle. What a ground-breaking concept!

    The vibrant colors of their beer labels particularly stole my heart.

    Where: Rue Antoine Dansaert 188, 1000 Brussels

    3. Belgian Seafood (at “L’Ecailler du Palais Royal”)

    typical food in brussels, bowl of oysters and lemons

    L’Ecailler du Palais Royal (in English: who scales the fish or opens the oysters at the Royal Palace) is literally hidden behind imposing brick walls on one of Brussels’ oldest squares: Le Sablon.

    But from the moment you enter the dining room, you’ll feel how, little by little, the cozy atmosphere will conquer you.

    This ease will not release you until the very end of this culinary experience.

    Warm blue colors in combination with dark wood and turquoise velvet-covered bench seats give the interior a snug club comfort.

    The dedication and affectionate service of a well-coordinated team let you forget about all your worries and just care about the real pleasures in life.

    Here you can treat yourself with the freshest seafood, elaborated local fish menus and crustaceans.

    delicious belgium cuisine, plate of filleted fish surrounded by garnish

    L’Ecailler du Palais Royal is a real institution in the gastronomic scene of Brussels as it combines refined cuisine with a tranquil setting since 1967.

    Since then it welcomed royal families, politicians and celebrities alike in its 17th-century house.

    best belgian restaurants in brussels, man serving food into a bowl in front of a wall painted to look like blue fins

    During my dining experience, they served exquisite creations with enchanting names such as “Red Tuna Bonbon with Crab Meat and Guacamole” or “Bream in creamy chanderelles sauce”.

    And it would truly be a cardinal sin to skip the desserts!

    I went for the “Passion et Chocolat Intense” joined by a sweet “Grenache” wine … and I was the happiest chocolate girl in the world!

    As I am a huge tea lover, I was really amazed to choose from their extensive tea menu card.

    Without any doubt, this is one of the best places to eat in Brussels, especially for fish and seafood lovers.

    No wonder that it has been featured many times as top seafood restaurant in Brussels.

    where to get the best belgian food, plate of meat and garnish

    It’s the perfect place for those who want to experience a more refined version of Belgian cuisine.

    You can especially enjoy the Belgian classics like shrimp croquettes and baby soles from Zeebrugge also figure on the menu of L’Ecailler du Palais Royal.

    Without any doubt, it has some of best seafood in Brussels!

    Where: Rue Bodenbroek 18, 1000 Brussels
    Contact: +32 2 512 87 51

    4. Tartare (at “Brasserie Taverne du Passage”)

    top belgian restaurants in brussels, outside of a Belgian restaurant
    Taverne du Passage inside the Galeries Royales. Photo by Taverne du Passage

    Well protected under Brussels’ prettiest glazed shopping gallery, Galeries Royales Saint-HubertBrasserie Taverne du Passage is a real institution in Brussels’ gastronomic scene.

    Its art-déco interior design will immerse you in past times, and also reminded me a bit of the typical brasseries that you expect to see in Paris. 

    If you are looking for Brussels, Belgium food to eat, you can’t skip tartare.

    It’s raw, minced meat with egg yolk, mayonnaise, chopped onions and a seasoning that varies from restaurant to restaurant.

    Even though it might be surprising to foreigners, this is one of the most popular food in Belgium.

    Every time I visit Belgium, a tartare is a must because it’s different all the time, and I loved the one they served at La Brasserie du Passage.

    The staff was very attentive and seasoned with a good sense of humor.

    It’s easy to see why Brasserie Taverne du Passage seems to be popular especially among the local population: you’re in Brussels’ city center but protected from the tourist crowds.

    And its warm-hearted atmosphere lets you feel like in a cozy living room.

    where to try typical brussels food, long fancy set tables inside of a restaurant

    During our visit, we shared the dining room with elderly couples, who seemed to come here on a regular basis.

    In my eyes, there is no better evidence for long-lasting quality than a grandma who knows where to get the best food!

    Apparently, even Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, enjoys dining in Brasserie Taverne du Passage when she is in town.

    Nothing better than some real Belgian fries to disconnect from a hectic EU summit and meeting schedule, right?

    Traditional Belgian and French plates are the specialty of Brasserie Taverne du Passage.

    They also seem to be adept of serving quantity in the plate: pots full of fresh mussels, huge shrimp croquettes and the most creamy mousse au chocolat ever.

    Soulfood but with premium and local ingredients.

    If you want to get the authentic, “good old Brussels” dining experience in an art-déco setting, then you’ll love Brasserie Taverne du Passage.

    what restaurants to try the best brussels cuisine, person sitting at a restaurant table by the window

    Where: Galerie de la Reine 30, 1000 Brussels
    Contact: +32 2 512 37 31 –

    5. Shrimp croquettes (at “Rooftop bar of Musical Instruments Museum”)

    Where to Eat Traditional Belgian Food in Brussels, aerial view over Brussels with view of the Grand Place from the restaurant Museum of Musical Instruments
    View on the Grand-Place from the restaurant Museum of Musical Instruments

    The Museum of Musical Instruments is set in Brussels’ emblematic (and also probably most beautiful) building: the legendary “Old England” House, in the heart of Brussels.

    I know, I might use a lot of superlatives in this post, but that’s because we only got to see the best that Brussels has to offer.

    It’s my favorite place to eat shrimp croquettes which is one of the most popular Brussels food.

    They are fluffy inside and crunchy outside… thus the perfect mix for getting addicted.

    Traditionally they are prepared with mini shrimps from Belgian coast villages like Knokke and are one of the most emblematic food specialities in Belgium.

    The Museum of Musical Instruments is one of the cultural institutions that form together with the Mont des Arts, Brussels’ Museum district. – Get your fast track ticket to the Museum of Musical Instruments

    The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Museum from which you’ll enjoy the best view all over the historic center of Brussels.

    The Grand-Place seems to be at a stone’s throw, the Royal Palace as well and on sunny days you can even spot the Atomium or the emblematic Koekelberg church.

    This place already seems to be very popular among tourists, thus if you want to get one of the few window seats, you better book in advance.

    where to eat belgium dishes in brussels, exterior of Musical Instruments Museum building

    The cuisine served is traditional Belgian and international dishes at reasonable prices.

    Additionally, the menu changes according to the seasons so you can get something new everytime you visit.

    I went for the Filet Américain, which is a must when you visit Belgium.

    It is basically raw meat seasoned with several spices, vinegar, eggs, onions, a pinch of garlic, capers, Tabasco, mayonnaise.

    There is no fixed Filet Américain recipe and it can be seasoned to everybody’s liking.

    The rooftop terrasse of Brussels’ Museum of Musical Instruments is also the perfect place in case you want to disconnect from the sightseeing and the tourists crowds.

    Enjoy a glass of cava while allowing your thoughts to fly away over Brussels’ sky.

    Even for a short visit, if you’re looking for things to do in Brussels in a day, the Museum of Musical Instruments is a great spot to visit.

    Where: 2, Rue Montagne de la Cour, 1000 Brussels
    Contact: +32 2 502 95 08

    6. Waffles (at Brussels Food trucks)

    where to get the best belgium food in brussels, yellow food truck van with pictures of waffles and smurfs on outside
    Waffle Foodtruck

    Of course, you can’t leave Brussels without having 1 waffle (or many more as in my case)!

    It is without any doubt one of the most traditional Belgian food in Brussels.

    There are 2 kinds of waffles, the ones from Brussels and the ones from Liège (a town in eastern Belgium).

    The ones from Brussels are thin, with yeast-leavened batter which makes them lighter.

    The waffles from Liège have a batter that is similar to bread dough.

    Chunks of sugar are hidden inside the dough of Liege waffles which caramelize with the heat and give the waffle its golden color.

    The Liege waffle is chewier whereas the Brussels waffle is a little bit more crispy.

    Luckily you can get these delicious Liege waffles in Brussels too!

    Whereas every Bruxellois might have its favorite spot to get the best waffles in town, I really like to get mine at the little yellow food trucks.

    If you have a sweet tooth and want to know where to eat traditional Belgian food in Brussels, you can’t go wrong with a food truck!

    These food trucks are definitely among the best Belgian restaurants in Brussels.

    To whet your appetite, you can smell them miles away!

    On top, they remind me of my studies in Brussels, when the best reward of a long linguistic course, was a delicious warm waffle. 

    Have you tried waffles in Belgium? Which one did you prefer? Brussels waffle or Liège waffle?

    7. Meatballs (at “Balls&Glory”)

    typical and traditional food in brussels, plate of meatballs in sauce
    Image by EstudioWebDoce from Pixabay

    Did you know that meatballs is one of the most typical Belgian food you can get out there?

    It’s probably the favorite dish of every kid in Belgium.

    This is the kind of dish that your grandmother prepares for you with loads of love.

    But short of befriending someone else’s grandmother, it’s one of the best belgium food in brussels to try at a restaurant.

    While every restaurant and home as its very own recipe of meatballs, they are usually served in tomato sauce.

    As a side, you can opt between Belgian fries or potato puree.

    On top, every region in Belgium has its particular designation and recipe of this traditional Belgian food.

    In Liege, they are called boulettes, in the Flemish part they go by balletjes.

    Whereas you can enjoy this traditional Belgian food in almost every restaurant, I highly recommend trying Balls&Glory.

    Located in the city center of Brussels, near Bourse, Balls&Glory is today synonymous of a modern interpretation of this Belgium national food.

    Some say that they had the best meatballs in their life at Balls&Glory.

    Without any doubt, a great place to enjoy the best food in Brussels…and you can even order their food online for takeaway!

    And if after all this eatery you need to burn some calories, make sure to check some of these best hiking trails near Brussels.

    Where: 2, Rue Montagne de la Cour, 1000 Brussels
    Contact: +32 2 513 37 87

    8. Vol-au-Vent (at “L’Entree des Artistes”)

    traditional belgian food in brussels: plate of vol au vent
    Image by Three-shots from Pixabay

    This dish is maybe not the most famous food in Brussels, but one of my favorite ones.

    It’s so popular that even the neighboring country Luxembourg adopted it as its unofficial, national food too!

    Translated as “flying in the wind”, vol-au-vent is a creamy chicken strew usually served in and around a salty puff pastry.

    Every recipe is different and some add mushrooms in the sauce.

    Traditionally this hearty dish is served with fries (what else?), mashed potatoes or potatoes croquettes.

    It is one of the most typical food to eat in Brussels and I’ve been told that you can find the best vol-au-vent in “L’Entrée des Artistes” on the medieval Sablon square.

    Where: Place du Grand Sablon 42, 1000 Brussels
    Contact: +32 2 502 31 61

    9. Belgian Mussels (at “Le Zinneke”)

    where to get the best authentic belgian food, bowl of mussels in broth next to large black pot of mussels

    Anyone looking to try the tastiest Brussels cuisine should not ignore the seafood options.

    Mussels are a Belgian speciality, and nowhere does them better in Brussels than Le Zinneke.

    It is undoubtedly some of the most delicious traditional Belgian Food in Brussels you have to try.

    Not only is Le Zinneke the best Belgian restaurant in Brussels for eating mussels, but it is possibly the best Belgian restaurant Brussels has to offer, period.

    Le Zinneke has taken this typical Brussels food and elevated it to its highest form.

    No matter how you like your mussels, Le Zinneke has that option available on their menu.

    There are 70 different mussels dishes on the menu at Le Zinneke, so it’s no wonder this is the Belgium national dish.

    Just grab a table in this cosy restaurant, pick your favorite and wash them down with a glass of white wine or a cool beer, depending on your choice.

    To make the most of your classic Belgian food, try dining out on their rooftop terrace in the summer.

    If you’re planning on a night on the town in Brussels after dinner, Le Zinneke has a Happy Hour offer of 25% off if you finish dining before 8:20pm.

    Just make sure to book in advance!

    Where: Place de la Patrie 26, 1030 Schaerbeek, Belgium
    Contact: +32 2 245 03 22

    10. Belgian fries (at “Maison Antoine”)

    best belgium food in brussels, french fries covered with a spicy orange sauce

    One dish that’s popular the world over is French fries, but Maison Antoine has taken this delicious snack to a whole new level of excellence!

    This highly popular eatery is more unique than most other popular Belgian restaurants in Brussels, because it’s a kiosk!

    Maison Antoine was founded by Antoine Desmet in 1948, and has gone from strength to strength as it’s been handed down from generation to generation in the Desmet family.

    Located in Place Jourdan in the Etterbeek district of Brussels, tourists and locals alike flock to this shack for a handful of deliciously fried potato perfection.

    Like a lot of typical food in Brussels, your portion of fries comes with a wide range of options for customization.

    There are over 30 different sauces ranging from mild and light to fiery and fierce.

    Under the guidance of the Desmet family, the Belgian fries of Maison Antoine have become a worldwide sensation.

    Many visitors looking for Belgium cuisine make a point of coming to Brussels just to try this expertly prepared local delicacy.

    Even the United States thinks Maison Antoine serves some of the best Belgian food in Brussels, with the New York Times declaring them to make “the best fries in the world”.

    Because it’s an outdoor kiosk, be prepared to wait in line.

    But don’t worry too much, because many of the local bars will allow you to take your fries there to enjoy a nice cool beer with them.

    Each portion is €3.30, or €3.70 for a large portion (going large is pretty much a no brainer), with sauces costing €0.90.

    Now that’s some affordable traditional Brussels food!

    Where: Place Jourdan 1, 1040 Etterbeek, Belgium
    Contact: +32 2 230 54 56

    11. Croquettes (at “Noordzee / Mer du Nord”)

    amazing belgian restaurants in brussels, stack of croquettes, one that has been split open and is full of melted cheese

    You can find many of the best Belgian restaurants in Brussels, right at the center.

    One such place, which can be found on a busy street corner on Rue Sainte-Catherine, is Noordzee, also known as Mer du Nord (North Sea).

    The owners and chefs at Noordzee take pride in delivering delicious fish and seafood dishes using the freshest catch of the day.

    From North Sea fish and calamari to Canadian lobster, tuna, salmon, mackerel, haddock and freshly shucked oysters, there’s something for everyone at this lively finger food bar.

    But the main things you should try that can sometimes be overlooked are the shrimp croquettes.

    These deceptively small-looking treats are actually incredibly filling, and are some of the tastiest Belgian cuisine Brussels provides.

    The Croquettes de Crevettes or Garnaalkroketten (depending on if you prefer French or Dutch) are €4 per piece and I believe they come best in pairs.

    Order some up, give them your name, wait at the bustling standing tables and, as they say at Noordzee, when your name is called it’s time to feast!

    Where: Place Sainte-Catherine 50, 1000 Brussels
    Contact: +32 2 513 11 92

    12. Best Steak Tartare (at “Au Vieux St. Martin”)

    where to go for delicious classic belgian food, plate with steak tartare surrounded by piles of spices, french fries and bread slices

    Sitting on the west side of Place du Grand Sablon, a place where artists such as Hergé and René Magritte were known to frequent, is Au Vieux St. Martin.

    This family-run establishment has been serving restaurant-goers since 1968 with high-standard Belgium dishes, but the most famous meal available here is even older.

    Back in 1924, Joseph Niels – grandfather of the current owners – created the first recipe for the “Filet Américain”, or steak tartare as it is also known.

    Because of this, of all of the Belgian cuisine Brussels has to offer, the steak tartare at Au Vieux St. Martin might have the most pedigree.

    Served with the simple accompaniments of fries and handmade mayonnaise, this authentic Belgian food is packed with flavor.

    Eating the Filet Américain here is like tasting Belgium’s culinary history.

    You’ll be enjoying a dish that’s been a part of the fabric of the Brussels restaurant scene for a hundred years!

    They serve some of the best traditional Belgian Food in Brussels, and you can’t go wrong no matter what you order.

    Where: Place du Grand Sablon 38, 1000 Brussels
    Contact: +32 2 512 64 76

    General Info About Brussels

    best belgian restaurants in brussels, buildings in Brussels lit up at night

    Geographic situation: Brussels, the capital of Belgium is the geographic and political heart of Belgium. Also known as one of the European capitals as it hosts numerous European institutions
    Language: Bilingual French & Flemish (similar to Dutch). English is widely spoken
    Currency: EUR
    How to get there: By airplane to Airport Brussels Zaventem. By train from Luxembourg, Paris, Cologne or the Netherlands. Recently long-distance buses are connecting Brussels to other large cities in Germany and France.
    InhabitantsBruxellois or Van Brussel  (large expat community though)

    I recommend to get your Brussels Card to enjoy free access to 30 museums in Brussels, get free use of the public transport system and much more!

    Where to stay in Brussels

    Favorite Place to Stay So Far 
    Radisson RED Brussels Hotel ****
    Aparthotel Adagio Access Bruxelles Europe **
    La Madeleine Hotel Grand Place Brussels ***
    Bedford Hotel***
    Hygge Hotel ***
    Warwick Brussels – Grand Place *****
    Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo *****

    Why write about food as a travel blogger?

    You might think about how a post about food and restaurant goes along with my topic of eco-friendly and slow outdoor travel?

    Well, first of all, gastronomy is for me a crucial part of culture!

    As I always try to get to know a foreign culture in all its facets, food plays an important role as it tells you a lot about the history and “character” of a society.

    Secondly, all the featured locations in this post focus on slow cooking or using local and/or seasonal products.

    If not possible, all of them try at least to investigate the origins and production standards of their prime material.

    None of them does mass fabrication of their products.

    Indeed a complex, creative, and even scientific world hides behind each of the famous Belgian food topics.

    The masterminds behind fries, chocolate & beer are true scientists and experts in their niche.

    Their creations have nothing in common with the industrial mass production that we, who devour chocolate in ordinary mortal countries, are used to eating.

    Today I want to share with you my favorite must-eat places to eat in Brussels.

    All of them don’t only serve top-notch creations, but they mostly stand and fall with the creative and passionate minds behind them.

    Without any doubt, the creative brains behind the recent chocolate and beer creations, are fervently looking to innovate and liven up the traditional Belgian food segment.

    Even if you only have 1 day in Brussels, you need to taste as much food from Belgium as possible!

    Whereas some of the featured locations are real Belgian institutions, others were only created recently and already gained fame all over the globe.

    Don’t miss other foodie cities in Belgium like Antwerp or Liege, the city with the 5 names.

    Map: Where To Eat Traditional Belgian Food in Brussels, Belgium

    map where to eat in brussels belgium

    Are you a foodie and now totally convinced that you HAVE to visit Brussels to treat yourself?

    Well, here are 99 reasons more why you should consider traveling to Belgium: Belgium, Uniquely Phenomenal

    Have you been to Brussels? What were your favorite foodie hot spots to enjoy traditional Belgian Food in Brussels? I would love to hear about them in the comment form!

    In order to get more information on tourism in Brussels, Belgium, I recommend the site of Tourism Board of Brussels.

    Disclaimer: I have been a guest of the Tourism Board of Belgium. All my opinions, as always, are my own. This posts contains affiliate links. In case you purchase one of the items, I’ll receive a small commission. The price remains the same for you.

    Short FAQ About Where to Eat Traditional Belgian Food in Brussels

    What food is Brussels Belgium known for?

    Brussels is well known for all sorts of different foods, including fries, mussels, chocolate and the legendary Belgian waffle.

    What food is Brussels famous for?

    As well as being known worldwide for Belgian chocolate and waffles, Brussels is the birthplace of Filet Américain, also known as steak tartare.