6 places to gorge on mussels in Brussels

24 June 2021

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Friendly disclaimer! We want to be as accurate as possible, but given these challenging times, we urge you to recheck that the venues are open when you decide to visit.


Moules-Frites or mussels with fries is to Belgium what a burger with fries would mean anywhere else in the world. Beyond its status as a local seafood delicacy that commands national pride, it occupies a special place in a Belgian’s heart as popular comfort food.


Indeed mussels are a Belgian staple, and like most comfort dishes it originated as a poor man’s dish – its abundance and affordability persist even to this day. The juicy and briny mussels are steamed and served in casserole pots, perfectly complementing the crisp Belgian fries they’re served alongside. A side of mayonnaise may also be had with each helping, for added richness. And it’s of course washed down with generous swigs of Belgian beer or wine.


A much-loved dish, it is available in most restaurants across Belgium and France. Like with ‘French’ fries, there has been a long-standing dispute between the two countries over where Moules-Frites originated. It has now been largely established that both fried potatoes and steamed mussels were first put together by Belgian cooks from as far back as the 16th-century winters, whenever frozen rivers lead to a scarcity of fish.


Its preparation today has become quite versatile, after having been embraced by high-end restaurants – variants range from “moules natures” (plain mussels steamed with celery, leeks and butter) to the more layered “moules a la creme” (mussels steamed in white wine and cream), or the “moules a l’ail” (steamed with sliced and minced garlic), and much more (including variants cooked with Belgian beer!)


Here’s the Unravelog guide to some of the best places and ways to enjoy this delicacy.

Le Zinneke


As a moules-frite destination, one should know that the chefs at this restaurant prepare mussels in 69 different ways. The mussels are sourced fresh daily from Zeeland (the western coast of the Netherlands) and their processes embrace the slow food movement where all ingredients are locally sourced and organic.


Though it is a bit far out from the city centre, the trip is well worth the food, the authentic Belgian ambience, warm service, and cosy spaces offered at their restaurant, garden and terrace.


Unravelog tip: They also offer a 25% discount for meals had before 8:30 pm.



Address: 26 Place de la Patrie, Schaerbeek, Bruxelles, 1030

Phone: +3222450322

Timings: Currently closed, check website for updates

Website: https://lezinneke.be/en

Chez Leon


This over-100-year-old, family-run restaurant has become an institution of its own in Brussels, for locals and tourists alike – especially if on the lookout for moules-frites. The chefs here have been preparing the freshest of mussels for generations in three primary ways – in a pot, à la plancha (grilled) or in a foil. Located in the city centre, their large space is most often booked to capacity. Its frequent recommendation as a spot for moules-frites despite all the tourist crowds stands as a testimony to the food quality.



Address: Rue des Bouchers 24, Brussels

Phone: +32 2 511 14 15

Timings: Every day 11:30 am to 11:30 pm

Website: chezleon.be

Le Chou de Bruxelles


This restaurant cum brasserie is as Belgian as it gets: it offers traditional Belgian dishes, drinks (like Belgian ales) and features Belgian souvenirs on its walls. But it is most popular for its mussels, which it serves in around 30 different ways. 


This warm and cosy restaurant cum brasserie has been serving up traditional seafood fare for over 130 years and is loved by locals. Needless to say, their mussels and fries are one of the best. There are a bunch of different variations ranging from classic to the ones with blue cheese and curry.


Unravelog tip: Besides seafood, also try their carbonnade flamande, a popular Flemish beef and onion stew dish.



Address: Rue de Florence 26, 1050 Bruxelles

Timings: Fri – Sat 12 pm to 2 pm, 6 pm to 10 pm; Sun – Thu: 6 pm to 10 pm

Phone: +32 2 537 69 95

Website: https://www.lechoudebruxelles.be/en/

Au Vieux Bruxelles


This warm and cosy restaurant cum brasserie has been serving up traditional seafood fare for over 130 years and is loved by locals. Needless to say, their mussels and fries are one of the best. 



Address: Rue Saint-Boniface 35, 1050 Bruxelles

Timings: Currently closed, check website for updates

Phone: 32 (0)2 503 31 11 

Website: https://www.auvieuxbruxelles.com/

In’t Spinnekopke


This restaurant is set in a 17th-century two-storied cottage that specialises in beer cuisine and has come to occupy an important place in Brussel’s food scene. One can choose from among 100 artisanal beers to go with the food, a lot of which is also prepared in traditional lambic beer, including the mussels.


In't Spinnekopke, Brussels
By Bernt Rostad/ Flickr

Address: Place du Jardin aux Fleurs 1, 1000 Bruxelles

Phone: +3225118695

Timings: Currently closed, check website for updates

Website: https://spinnekopke.be/en



Located on Place Sainte-Catherine, one of Brussel’s most popular foodie hubs that are dotted with seafood restaurants, Noordzee has come to be a sought-after ‘fish bar’. Here, one is expected to stand in a queue, place an order over the counter, wait for their name to be called out when the food is ready, and have it at a table across the street!


Besides the mussels that are only served between September and December, there is a vast choice of seafood – snails, oysters, scallops, clams, and shrimp croquettes (which are supposedly great). There is only outdoor seating available and be prepared to even have your food, standing.



Address: Place Sainte-Catherine 50, 1000 Bruxelles

Phone: +32 2 513 11 92

Timings: Tue – Sun 8 am to 8 pm

Website: http://vishandelnoordzee.be/

If you have had your fill of mussels and want to explore the many other treats that the city offers, we have a detailed itinerary for you that will help you unravel Brussels in 3 days.

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