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Posts Tagged ‘Chez Leon’

Another famous landmark of  L’ Ilot Sacré  for sure is the world-wide-well- known “friture” to savour the real “Mussels from Brussels”, as opposed to the now mature (grin) “Muscles from Brussels”, aka Jean-Claude Van Dam. (Used to be a former Hollywood B-movie star of Belgian origin).

 Adding a little historical gossip: It was said that Van Dam always hated that nickname, for the obvious mussel reasons about his abs and other mussels/muscles. I doubt if he ever ate at Chez Léon.

–  “Chez Léon” -.                    

This is the original  moules-frites restaurant of Brussels. Management is still in the hands of the  founding family (since 1893). Not to be compared to the franchised ones in other places in Belgium, France, the Middle East etc.  The “Leon de Bruxelles” chain was originally started by the family but later sold to international investors. Quality is different and adapted to local taste. As for the original restaurant: very good quality but the service may vary, depending on the number of patrons. It tends sometimes to look like a food factory. My advice: visit outside the holiday season and avoid week-ends.

Their signature plate:

And for starters, I ‘ll suggest the traditional “Tomate Crevettes”. Grey North sea shrimps with butter lettuce, tomato and home made mayonnaise: 

Below their promotional video that will make you hungry: 

Btw, avoid the Italian or Portuguese places in this part of Brussels. There are very good Italian, Spanish and mediterranean restaurants in other parts of town, just not here.

About the addresses and info for the places I suggested: click the pic below and then click Restaurants in the upper red menu bar. It also provides an  interactive link  for  Beer Shops and bars concentrated there – Courtesy “La Commune de l’ Ilot Sacré.”

Brussels Grande Place is of course a must-see;  Manneke Pis  and the less well-known Jeanneke Pis ( Pissing-Jeannie) are also worth a visit when you make a trip to Belgium’s and Europe’s Capital.

 I ‘ll add 2 places not to miss in the area: Galeries St Hubert

and the already mentioned best restaurant of the Sacred Islet:  “Aux Armes de Bruxelles”. Highly recommended, not cheap but really NOT a tourist trap. The mayor of Brussels is a frequent visitor. and that guy is the living definition of an Epicurean.

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 Click the above “écusson” pic for a direct link to the interactive map and website for the history of L’ Ilot Sacré.

L’ Ilot Sacré got its name after a battle of the local restaurants, land lords and associations in the 1950-ties against promoters who saw big bucks to be made. Just read the history in the above mentioned website. They wrote it better than I would.

My contribution: just some suggestions about the places where you will get good to excellent quality food or where you can go sniffing the local atmosphere, sipping coffee, enjoying a beer or other drink while watching people. Although it is a popular and touristic area, you still can enjoy the buzz, just be attentive to avoid tourist traps. Just don’t forget the place is prime location and that means pricier than in less popular neighbourhoods. So, no real cheap deals available!

 Two of the most popular streets in  L’ Ilot Sacré are called ‘Rue des Bouchers’ and ‘Petite Rue des Bouchers’. That translates like ‘Butcher street’ and ‘Small Butcher street’. A lot of restaurants are attracting patrons while lots of seafood and vegetables are on display on ice, in front of the resto. A waiter at the door will be soliciting you in any possible language. As my wife and I walk by, it’s all “Ni Hao” from left and right… 

In general these are the places where you take some nice souvenir pictures with your friends and family. Just don’t eat there. They might propose Belgian, French, even Italian, Portuguese or Spanish cuisine. Many of the very young kitchen staff are sometimes not even trained cooks, but people from all over Europe including Eastern Europe, the Balkan, North and Sub-Saharian Africa.  Nothing wrong with that, unless they got declared ‘cook’ after half a day training!

 

Let’s point out some addresses  in  the neighbourhood. For drinks and watching people:

Delirium cafe –

A La Mort Subite-  (translates as: At A Sudden Death) 

Inside "A la Mort Subite" - Click the picture

Inside "A la Mort Subite" - Click the picture

Le Roy d’ Espagne –

Toone estaminet –

Beer shops, restaurants, taverns all over the place – I suggest “Aux Armes de Bruxelles”  – “Restaurant Vincent” – “Scheltema” – “L’ Ogenblik” – “Le Marmiton” etc…

More to follow in Part II, coming soon.

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