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).

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.

This is one of the few modern places in town that does old-school Belgian cooking (make sure to have the speculoos ice cream, made from the famous Belgian ginger cookies).

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.

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

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.

Though there's a formidable weekend lunch crowd, the communal tables and long hours (7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.) of this Belgian prototype are a boon to travelers.

The restaurant is set in a 13th-century granary on the oldest canal in town. Expect low beamed ceilings, a backlit lounge, and stainless-steel accents. The menu includes updated Belgian classics such as eel stewed in cream and herbs.

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.

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

The place to go in town for oysters, with an Art Nouveau glass roof and cast-iron interior that could have been built by Gustave Eiffel.

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.