So Brussels equals EU summits, Belgian Royalty, beer, chocolate and Manneken Pis, but there is more to discover. As you know, The Digitalistas is your guide to cool and local hotspots, so we gladly share our Brussels Top 10 with you …
Don’t expect anything cultural such as museums or typical landmarks…-well, that’s not totally true because we admit we took a glance at Manneken Pis and his sister in crime Jeanneke- but after ticking these boxes we went on to explore some cool places to shop and to eat:
We love concept stores. And although Kure’s focus is mainly fashion, we could spend hours there, as owner Cyrielle’s exquisite taste results in an offer of nice Scandinavian labels and some Belgian designers. Plus, the color range is obviously black, white and greys with a pop of red or brown. Just the way we like it.
(Rue Antoine Dansaert/ Dansaertstraat, 48)
A shop that sells some of my favorite beauty products or fragrances always scores high on the list. Think of Dermalogica, Kiehl’s, Bumble & Bumble, Dyptique, Terry de Gunzburg, Tom Ford…just to name a few. This shop is an inviting beauty sanctuary.
(Auguste Ortsstraat 11/B)
Not your ordinary fishmonger…Noordzee is a true local tip but not a best kept secret. It would be a bit hard to pass it by unnoticed. Besides selling fresh fish for you to prepare at home, Noordzee is also a (street) fish bar. On the corner of the Sint Katelijnestraat, the staff takes your order -portions of the famed shrimp croquettes, fried mussels, fish fritters, fish soup etc. Order a glass of white wine on the side and enjoy your fish snack at the bar or at a high table across the street like the locals (and some savvy tourists) do.
(Rue Ste Catherine/Sint Katelijnestraat, 45)
4. Mary chocolates
CN traveller refers to her as the Grande Dame of chocolate, which can’t be denied as the classy ‘chocolaterie’ is located Rue Royale, plus it’s the Purveyor of the Royal House of Belgium -hence the bonbons named after Albert and Paola.
We’ve tasted a few chocolates and they are delicious and refined.
(Rue Royale, 73)
5. Siblings Factory
I noticed the shop because of the Delfine Delafon bags I saw in the window (I’ve visited her atelier in Paris) and I quickly knew it had to be in this top 10. It is actually owned by two French. The two level shop constructed of glass, concrete and wood was designed by Julien De Smet – a local architect- and boasts a men and women fashion collection, design objects, books, accessories and jewelry.
(Rue du Vieux Marché aux Grains/Oude Graanmarkt, 31)
6. Charli Bakery/Tearoom
From oven to plate. Just as you would expect from a boulangerie, and all that in a trendy backdrop. Oh, and did we mention organic ingredients (no additives), waste reducing techniques, recycling and the use of 100% green electricity? That’s one guilt-free croissant you’re holding there!
(Rue Ste Catherine/Sint Katelijnestraat, 34)
7. Hunting & Collecting
Here’s an other concept store settled in a large minimalistic space which the owners/founders consider ‘a work in progress, a canvas for ideas in interiors, atmosphere and retail experience.’ Some labels you’ll find here are Carven, Avelon, Maison Kitsuné and Sophie Hulme. Check out their website to see the various theme they’ve used to decorate the store. You can also order via the webshop.
(Rue des Charteux, 17)
At lunch it is a salad bar/lunchroom. In the evening it transforms in a restaurant where they serve a seasonal menu for €35-€45, and you can take away from the adjacent deli. Have a look on their Facebook page for the daily specialty. We had a pumpkin/carrot soup with a homemade onion bun previous to our fish snack at Noordzee but we’re quite curious about the dinner servings. With a former chef at the helm it promises to be good.
(Rue Ste Catherine, Sint Katelijnestraat 17-19)
9. Peck 47
Strangely enough it’s not located in the trendy Dansaert area but a few streets away in a more touristy environment on the way to the Grand Place/Grote Markt. Nevertheless, I’ve spotted this place because of its dynamic exterior, and luckily my hotspot antenna was pointing in the right direction. We love good lunches and brunches, and this cafe offers exactly that, plus smoothies and cocktails in a jar. Don’t let the text ‘You! Cake or Death. Or a sandwich.’ on the sign outside scare you off.
(Rue du Marché aux Poulets/Kienkenmarkt, 47)
We might as well refer to this as the ‘Hermès from Belgium’. The house of fine leather and luxury goods was founded in Brussels in 1829 and is sold in every continent in the world. Like Mary’s chocolates, Delvaux is one of the Royal Suppliers. Since 2011 the heritage brand has taken the path of innovation and development of which you can see the result in the new store concept of the boutique in the Galerie de la Reine, with alluring displays in the windows. Concluding this Top 10 in upclass style.
(Galerie de la Reine/Koninginnengalerij, 31)
Eager to discover all our tips? Combine your visit to Brussels with a stay at Motel One for an affordable design hotel experience. Read more here.