Brussels avant-garde gastronomy

Love good food? Looking to branch out from the classics? Then our capital city will be a culinary highpoint for you. A strong, new wind is blowing through gourmet Brussels. In the wake of highlights such as Michelin-starred humus x hortense and Barge, many avant-garde chefs have come to the fore in recent years. These young chefs are not dreaming of accolades but rather choose contemporary, trendy cuisine. Radically local. With a love of the city and planet. Here are a few addresses.


What happened to the days when the restaurant world was almost exclusively male? Luckily, they are long gone. Otherwise, we would never have known this amazing gourmet bistro by Hanna Deroover and Bénédicte Bantuelle. That would have been a huge shame. The name Flamme (French for "flame") refers to the charcoal fire. Just about everything you can eat there has faced been flame-grilled. Choose as much or as little as you like. But don't forget to share with your tablemates. That, however, may be easier said than done. Because everything is top quality. The fermented vegetable preparations, in particular, are a must. The menu lists them separately, along with the fish and meat dishes. On average, dishes cost around €15.

56 rue de Roumanie, 1060 Saint Gilles

À l'Ombre de la Ville, romantisch restaurant, voor valentijn in Brussel


Women also wear the trousers at Nightshop. You can go there on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (and the last Sunday of the month for pizza!). Even at the most impossible times. You will be continuously surprised by delicious creations prepared with excellent products. You pay about €15 on average. The dishes go wonderfully with a glass of natural wine. You'll struggle to find a better selection. The atmosphere is very rock and roll. Or maybe: garage rock. Because at Nightshop, you sit in a workshop with a sturdy dining counter in the middle. You are served directly by whoever prepared the dish.

167 rue de Flandre, 1000 Brussels


At Aster (named after sea aster), it's best to take your time. An evening in one of the two cosy rectangles with long tables may take a while. You'll be served a dozen or so dishes (set menu +/- €70), all made with local ingredients. Vegetables and fish play a central role, meat doesn't come into it. Twentysomething Túbo Logier prepares it all on a charcoal fire, producing excellent results. Extremely tasty and innovative, you can even enjoy it on Sunday and Monday nights.  

202 rue Antoine Dansaert, 1000 Brussels

À l'Ombre de la Ville, romantisch restaurant, voor valentijn in Brussel


The younger generation clearly has a soft spot for the lower side of town. That’s where this new culinary wind is blowing the strongest. The duo of Nico Corbusier and Katrien Vantomme have set up shop close to Nightshop and Aster in the Dansaert neighbourhood. There, they pay tribute to terroir cuisine with global inspiration. The menu features dishes to share, divided between "cold and fresh" and "hot and heavy". Expect plenty of vegetable dishes (average around €15). It's anything but classic and it’s all reallllllly tasty. They call it brutalist, sometimes it’s abstract. Like the work of expressionist Franz Kline after whom the restaurant is named.

167 rue de Flandre, 1000 Brussels


Things have come full circle. The restaurant of the future can be found in the neighbourhood where the city may well have originated. Entropy is a concept from physics: moving from disorder to order need not mean waste. Consequently, everything in this restaurant is made of recycled materials. Everything you eat revolves around zero waste, sustainability, social action and a positive impact, of course. The staff is imbued with it. During the service, they let you taste the food. This allows adjustments to be made based on your tastes. Just about everything on your plate comes from Brussels and its surrounding area. Do you like to eat beetroot? The entire beetroot is used in all its glory and variety. The extremely talented Elliott Van de Velde does phenomenal things with it. You pay about €100 for the fixed menu. The money goes to a non-profit organisation that tackles food waste and poverty.

20 place Saint-Géry, 1000 Brussels


Avant-garde chefs disregard etiquette. After all, the focus is on the distinct, pure and surprising flavours of their local, spontaneous cuisine. Such is the case with Florent Ladeyn, the northern French terroir guru who is creating a furore in and around Lille. Happily, he has extended his terroir to Brussels. He settled in the city's oldest hotel, A la Grande Cloche. There you eat a fixed menu (around €60) of the purest, hyperlocal creations. All in a casual, informal atmosphere (did I see paper napkins?). In the mornings and afternoons, you can enjoy an à la carte breakfast or take advantage of their menus.  

10 place Rouppe, 1000 Brussels


iOda proves that gastronomy does not have to cost the earth. For a four-course meal, you pay about €40. For that, you get fantastic creations from chef Cesar Hoed. He only uses fresh, local seasonal produce, with a particular focus on vegetables. He learned his gastronomic excellence with these foods at humus x hortense. Hoed has a fondness for anything from the North Sea - like Iodine, for instance - and a passion for Star Wars, specifically star character Yoda. So, there you go. Reserve quickly at this welcoming corner restaurant. If it’s full, you might still find a seat available at the bar. 

23 rue de la victoire, 1060 Saint-Gilles


At Ivresse, all attention is paid to the origin of the products. You can't help but notice this as you enter, passing through the shop, which opens up into the restaurant, a spacious gourmet bistro with gorgeous tables and a long dining counter. This offers an excellent view of the work going on in the the kitchen, operated by a team with a very loose hierarchical structure. The results of this teamwork are astounding. Light, local and pure nature are the common threads within the fixed seven-course menu (+/- €80).

6 rue du Postillon, 1180 Uccle


In the evening, coffee shop Frank transforms into Francine. Out come their best wines, which are paired with a cracking, fresh, gourmet menu. For wine (3 glasses), appetisers, a starter, main and dessert, you pay about €60. Mathias Smet, the man behind Francine, puts the focus on fresh vegetables, grown locally. All combinations are very well thought through. Francine also takes into account all possible allergies, intolerances and preferences. You’re in very good (and passionate) hands.

14 rue des Princes, 1000 Brussels

À l'Ombre de la Ville, romantisch restaurant, voor valentijn in Brussel

Getting the hang of it?

Do you have a taste for avant-garde restaurants? Then be sure to stop by wine bar Rebel in the Flagey neighbourhood. There, they often invite nomadic chefs over for a one-time kitchen takeover or longer residencies. The absolute pioneer of plant-based gastronomy is Michelin-starred humus x hortense in the same district. In lower Brussels, Michelin-starred Barge is the place to be for cuisine made with local produce.