Matongé and Saint-Boniface: cosmopolitan neighbourhoods with trendy bars

11 March 2022
Matongé, Rue Saint-Boniface - view of church

Feel like you need to get away? Matongé and Saint-Boniface will satisfy your desire for travel. They form a very cosmopolitan, lively district, mainly frequented by locals.

Matongé is Brussels' African neighbourhood. It takes its name from a district of Kinshasa in Congo. People go there to immerse themselves in an exotic atmosphere, get their hair done and have a good time. Saint-Boniface is famous for its many trendy bars, restaurants from all over the world and musical cafés.

An architectural walk

Saint-Boniface's architecture is a concentration of European trends. Start your walk in front of the Gothic Saint-Boniface church. A little further on, at 15, 17, 19, 20 and 22 rue Saint-Boniface, you'll find the Art Nouveau façades — so similar and yet so different — of famous architect, Ernest Blerot. Walk to place Fernand Coq, where the neoclassical Ixelles town hall stands. It has an impressive entrance and wedding hall. Fancy a spin on two wheels? Visit Pro Velo to rent a bicycle for the day. 

African atmosphere

Matongé is a veritable microcosm where a multitude of typically African activities are concentrated. Here, for example, you'll find the best Saka saka (Central African dish made from cassava leaves), numerous specialised hairdressing salons and grocery stores selling tropical fruits and vegetables. Some unmissable addresses: L’horloge du Sud for its crocodile steaks, but also for its cultural and musical activities. At Kuumba, you can visit exhibitions, take part in African cooking workshops, attend concerts or simply have a drink. Finish your immersion at Soleil d’Afrique and taste the best chicken moambe in the capital.

Time for an aperitif

Saint-Boniface is the ideal place to have a drink. As soon as the sun comes out, Brussels residents descend upon the coloured chairs of L’Athénée, where blonde beer flows freely. Not forgetting Contrebande and its charming rear terrace, where you can sample organic tapas and local beers. If you prefer wine, head to Titulus. They offer more than 350 wines and cheeses, charcuterie and homemade ceviche!

Take your taste buds on a trip around the world

Matongé and Saint-Boniface offer you culinary journeys to all four corners of the globe. Looking for a change of scenery? Here are a few unmissable addresses. Osteria Bolognese is a small but extremely popular Italian restaurant where a Bolognese chef prepares delicious dishes. A word of advice: try booking weeks in advance to be sure you'll get a table. If you prefer quality fast food, Yamato is an authentic ramen bar frequented by many of Brussels' Japanese community. Kitchen 151 offers an Israeli menu that's full of flavours. And if you have a sweet tooth, you need to head to Fika for a coffee break. Enjoy their homemade pastries in their idyllic garden.

Nightlife

This lively neighbourhood is also bursting with great nightlife venues! Let yourself be transported by the blues and jazz of the Sounds Jazz Club. Then, take in a stand-up show at Le Pacific. This former bistro has become the neighbourhood's newest trendy bar. Its basement was designed by famous Brussels street artist Jaune. Last but not least, make a stop at Chez ta mère. This bar with a crazy retro atmosphere is well-known as a place to finish a night off in style.

Getting there

  • Metro lines 2, 6: Porte de Namur/Naamsepoort
  • Bus 71, 54