Restaurants in Belgium

Belgian restaurants love their regional and seasonal ingredients, like potatoes, leeks, asparagus, and shrimp. Moules-frites is Belgium’s national dish, so excellent varieties of the steamed mussels with fries are served around the country. At restaurants in Belgium, you’ll find waterzooi, a popular stew dish in Flanders, and couque de dinant, a sweet biscuit originating in Wallonia. For more sweetness, the well-known Belgian waffles are always a treat, with the favorite varieties being the Liège waffle (rich and chewy), the Brussels waffle (light and crispy) and the stroopwafel (thin and filled with syrup).

Our guide selects some the best restaurants in Belgium to help travelers soak up the local scene and find authentic dishes. The Belga Queen in Ghent is set in a 13th-century granary on the oldest canal in the town. Try classic Belgian cuisine like eel stewed in cream and herbs. Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant, also in Ghent, is a great spot to taste the best Belgian ales. The cozy bar overlooks the Leie River. Finally, Viva M'Boma in Brussels is a modern spot that does old-school Belgian cooking (try the speculoos ice cream, made from ginger cookies).

You'll have to look closely to find this unassuming restaurant on the square's southeast corner, but don't be dissuaded. Fare is cheap, organic, and delicious - and a stealth fashion hot spot.

Opposite the towering St. Nicholas church, you'll find this Michelin-starred restaurant where the nine-course seasonal menu of local specialties such as grilled herring and beef carpaccio with clams is lighter than it sounds.

If you find yourself on the Lange Gasthuisstraat (and you should), combine lunch- linguine with black truffles perhaps - with amusing bourgeoise-watching at concept store Flamant home interior's swank brasserie.

To sample the best in Belgian ale, head to the cozy bar overlooking the Leie River. What to try: one (or more) of the 22 beers brewed by Trappist monks. Rochefort and Orval are our favorites.

A quick walk from Grote Markt, this traditional restaurant serves rib-sticking Flemish dishes prepared the old-fashioned way; the saddle of hare with "melted" root vegetables is a standout.

Perfect for pad thai with an industrial-emporium vibe.

A white-tiled Danish joint perfect for scallop cevice and aquavit.

Check out the old tiled mural of bakers at work at this former bakery while enjoying the antipasti, pizzas, and pasta.

In 2006, the owners of Dôme opened this seafood brasserie across the square in the Zurenborg district. With a wide marble bar, open kitchen, and walls of windows, it's the perfect place to polish off a split of Krug and a couple dozen belon oysters.

Portuguese designer du jour Antoine Pinto and Flemish chef Peter Goossens collaborated on this minimalist brasserie serving updated vernacular Belgian fare, such as pork stewed in kriek beer.