Best for Home-grown Belgian specialities.
What Translating as “The Brussels Sprout”, this all-Belgian restaurant is the top place – not just in Ixelles but perhaps in all of Brussels – to eat the nation’s favourite dish: moules-frites. There are some 30 different types of mussel dishes on the menu, spanning lardon-filled French recipes, to spiced, Asian-inspired versions.
The vibe Vintage posters, faded photos and quirky trinkets adorn the interior, behind a bright red-painted façade.
Must-order item The chef’s special moules, in a ginger, white wine, garlic and cream sauce.
Best for Brunch.
What This Art Nouveau neighbourhood café has been a people-watching hotspot since 1986. The Franco-Belgian brasserie focuses on homemade meals du jour and offers one of the best brunches in town: an all-you-can-eat buffet every Sunday, from 10.30am to 3.30pm. Think breads, pastries, fruit platters, a salad bar, hot dishes, made-to-order crêpes, tarts and cheesecakes. Oh, and a mimosa or chilled glass of cava.
The vibe Light and airy, with cosy leather seats and polished-wood tables, the café’s usually packed with young families and groups of friends.
Must-order item No one can resist the infamous burger menu. Go for Le St Boniface, with Belgian Vieux Brugge cheese and the chef’s special peppercorn sauce.
Best for A Franco-Japanese fusion.
What Chef-owner Haruki Oki opened his Brussels restaurant in 2004, having first worked in French restaurants in Osaka and then in Paris, where he trained in Michelin-starred establishments. This background reveals itself in his deft fusion of techniques and flavours: think culinary mash-ups like mushroom soup with caramelised eel. Treat yourself to the tasting menu and savour each mouthful in the Zen garden outside.
The vibe The dining room is dimly lit and perfect for dates and special occasions – or simply setting the stage for a lesson in fine dining.
Must-order item Oki’s signature dish sums up his innovative approach: sushi topped with strips of caramelised foie gras.
Best for Innovative West African flavours.
What In the heart of Matongé is this unassuming canteen that caters to the area’s West African community as well as savvy passers-by who pile in here after l’apéro on the nearby Place du Luxembourg. Here, Senegalese specialties are king – try the beef and peanut mafé stew, marinated chicken yassa or grilled lotte (monkfish) – and all come with platefuls of rice, at decent prices.
The vibe Easy-going and buzzy. Colourful paintings cover the walls inside, while the street-side terrace is always packed.
Must-order item This restaurant’s chicken wings are legendary. Order them with a side of peanut sauce.
Best for Truffle-infused French dishes.
What Locals cram into this small, family-run dining room to sample the house speciality: truffles, in all their fragrant forms. Whether you opt for a five-, six- or seven-course tasting menu, the black gold will be shaved or infused into just about every French-inspired course, and each dish comes artfully plated.
The vibe With its cool, minimal interior, and quiet, reverent atmosphere, all this restaurant’s colour and passion is found on the plate.
Must-order item You can’t go wrong with a creamy black-truffle risotto.
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Best for Hanging out with Ixelles’ young, cool crowd.
What A bar, nightclub and restaurant rolled into one, Korner is Ixelles’ go-to student hangout. Exposed brickwork, chequered floor tiles and outside seating overlooking the leafy Ixelles cemetery all set the scene for groups of students and young professionals enjoying happy-hour drinks and a menu of high-quality pub grub.
The vibe The area’s buzziest day-to-night social spot, with DJs setting up as night falls.
Must-order item Go for the sharing plates: melted-cheddar-topped nachos, or sticky spare ribs with fries.