Popular ribs restaurant still packing 'em in

There can’t be many restaurants where the majority (maybe up to 90 percent) of customers choose the same dish.

But that is the story at Mozart and there’s a very good reason for that.

Mozart very much specialises in spare ribs and this slightly under-rated, but very tasty, dish is by far the best seller here.

The eatery is in a part of Brussels – around the Grand Place - that is locally known as the “stomach” of the city.

You can be assured your stomach will leave a happy place if you sample the ribs at this restaurant.

It’s located right at the heart of the tourist trap but, unlike so many of the other eateries in the area,it most certainly does not rely just on the  ever present tourist trade.

Since  it opened just over two years ago, it has managed  to attract both tourists AND local people, both drawn to its now well earned reputation for super spare ribs (and other dishes too).

The “Petite Rue des Bouchers”, in the shadow of the Grand Place, is absolutely teeming with places to eat, of course, although some of them, arguably, are of questionable quality.

One happy exception is Mozart, which celebrated its first anniversary this summer.

It also serves a very good Belgian steak and it really is heaven for the carnivore lovers out there.

By far the most popular item is the “all you can eat” ribs option which is very affordable and incredibly well priced at €18.25. All the ribs are served with – let’s not forget a healthy jacket potato (what a pleasant change from the proverbial frittes) - and Mozart’s “famous” garlic butter. There’s also a nice choice of sauces to accompany the ribs – nature (without sauce); classic (sweet and spicy) and Mozart (smokey/honey).

The restaurant has built its excellent reputation on the quality and taste of the ribs it serves and, as delicious as they undoubtedly are  - there are other equally nice dishes on the main card from which to choose.

The steak (entrecote or T-bone) is also superb but, if red meat isn’t your thing, there’s also chicken skewer and fish dishes such as grilled prawns, fish stew and grilled salmon filet.

Last but not least, for both non meat and fish eaters, is a vegetarian quiche.

The little ones are also well catered for with a choice of either a half portion of ribs or meat balls in tomato sauce.

If you’ve room, you should also try one of the lovely starters, including garlic bread or a recommended smoked Norwegian salmon.

Those with a real appetite might also be tempted by the range of mouth-watering deserts which range from the good old Brussels waffle and Dame Blanche to cheese cake and warm apple pie with Chantilly.

This all amounts  to a terrifically satisfying meal and it  can be “washed down” with an equally terrific selection of drinks, which include some excellent Belgian beers such as Affligem triple, Gueuze Lambic and Kriet Mort Subite and also a particularly good choice of after dinner drinks.

Considering the quality of everything that is served here – be it food or drink – the prices are amazingly reasonable, particularly when you contrast them with what is being charged for an often much inferior standard of cuisine in restaurants nearby.

The main courses, for instance, start from a mere €13.50 while a starter can set you back just €3. One thing is for sure – you certainly won’t break the bank when dining at this restaurant.

There are three Flemish fellas behind this Belgian culinary success story, Steff Lievens, Selim Imeri and Ives Vankerck, each of whom used to work for some years at another Brussels restaurant. Each of the Flemish friends severed their links with that one and put all their time/effort/investment into developing their new project. 

Steff says, "It is going well and we strongly believe in our concept."

Each of the three has brought his own expertise (Steff’s being in building renovation, for instance, while Selim’s a management expert) and they were also followed by the chef Gary Delhaye, the 33-year-old who is responsible (with the help of others for producing the stupendous spare ribs) and the pleasant Vanessa Derijke who looks after front of house affairs in a particularly professional and personable fashion.

This eatery, which seats well over 200, is great on many counts but it is also just such a relief to be able to pick up your food – the spare rib – and eat it with your hands without feeling conspicuous (it really is the  best way to tackle the rib and a “luxury” which the kids will also appreciate!).

It is open every evening but for lunch only on a Sunday – after all, who can  manage such huge portions of ribs at lunch?!

This place has done so well that a third Mozart (there’s already one in Aalst) is set to open in Bruges in the city's egg market. Further evidence of its "cracking" success.

Mozart Brussels

Petite rue des Bouchers 18-24, Brussels

T 0493 966 929



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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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