Venerable Brussels institution bounces back with a bang

It’s a real Brussels institution, frequented in the past by an array of A-list celebrities and boasting probably the most impressive architecture of any restaurant in the city.

But Café Metropole, located on the ground floor of the city’s venerable Metropole Hotel, is not resting on its laurels.

The outdoor terrace, for which it is famous, has been expanded to seat up to 80 people and fully reopens later this month.

That’s not all: there’s also a recently-introduced new menu featuring a nice selection of Belgian classics (all indicated with the Belgian flag on the card), such as carbonnade and waterzooi.

Also, a a response to growing customer demand for nutritional eating, the card also features a good choice of vegetarian and gluton-free dishes.

The card, which will be refreshed every two months, also boasts a good range of fish, meat,pasta and salads and there’s also an excellent wine list.

Also well worth considering is the terrific fixed, 3-course menu, priced just €37. Indeed, considering the quality, the prices generally are very reasonable.

People just looking for a modest snack or drink are equally welcome here and it’s worth remembering CaféMetropole is a past winner of the “best club sandwich in Brussels” award.

Another popular feature are the chef’s tapas, all very tasty and available daily. There is also a very inviting choice of Belgian beers and cocktails and what better place to sample some of these than the lovely terrace?

Another “new” feature is the relatively recent arrival of its Belgian-born head chef, Michel Wahaltere who is vastly experienced and worked for many years in the U.S. Michel takes a real pride in trying to use, wherever possible, local products so as to offer only the most authentic of dishes.

Fortunately for Michel the front of house staff are as welcoming and informative about the cuisine as he is clearly talented. It all makes for a happy combination.

Café Metropole, despite its glorious past, has had to adapt to the times and was closed for about three years to undergo a refurbishment. Now reopen, it has been affected (along with many other city centre restaurants in Brussels) by the pedestrianisation scheme.

Happily, access to this restaurant is not a problem however and, for non car users, there is a metro stop right outside and Gare Centrale just a few minutes’ walk away.

While the food is very good you cannot but be absolutely dazzled by the sheer history (Einstein is one of its former guests) and architectural majesty of this place which, even today, remains in the independent ownership of the same Belgian family.

Just to set foot inside is akin to returning to another, rather golden, age altogether. Try to stop to look around where you might see the black and white photo of a famous gathering of some of the world’s most eminent scientists.

It has been described as “out of this time” and Café Metropole really is, but for all the right reasons.

This lovely and atmospheric brasserie-style restaurant is situated close to the Grand Place and Manneken-Pis. Like those iconic attractions, a visit to Café Metropole should be on the “must do” list for anyone visiting Brussels.

Café Metropole

Place de Brouckere 31, Brussels

02 214 2627

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today. 

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

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