Where to buy good fish?
Fish markets in Brussels have been diminishing at the same rate as the fish in the sea themselves (now protected by the European Union.) Nothing is guaranteed when you go out searching for fresh fish in Brussels. Here are some place where you can go to get it though. For a “trendy establishment,” Noordzee – La Mer du Nord Poissonnerie takes the cake. The high standing tables on the sidewalk set the tone: people go there to be seen just as much as to buy fish. The products are high quality, and the advice is precious.
At the top of Chaussée de Wavre across from the Musée des Sciences Naturelles, the Poissonnerie d'Agadir serves all of Ixelles. There’s a possibility you will run into a fishbone here! In the Mérode area, Frédérick Lebe sells all sorts of seafood, but it is true they cannot hide their preference for lobster. Lobster-lovers, you’ve been warned. Even if we haven’t been able to fish in Woluwe for a long time, cast your net out to Claes Stroobants near Avenue Georges Henri where you are guaranteed a great catch! The large French population living around Uccle will be delighted by the choice at Centrale Laporte and Baleine. Ok, so it’s not the Rungis (the massive whole food market in Paris), but there is definitely a selection here.
The verdict is in. Fish stores are becoming a rare commodity… Markets are still a good way to sell them. Make sure you go early because the fish are sold at a ridiculous rate. In the end, the best thing to do is check up and down your street and ask your neighbors because many travelling fish venders have closed in different Brussels neighborhoods. Unfortunately, they don’t announce their arrival like ice cream trucks and their catchy jingles.
Where to eat good fish?
At the restaurant François, you will experience a perfect combination of a restaurant and a fish market. In fact, François juggles both parts with equal skill and thus both are equally a must-try! Such a restaurant could only be located in the Sainte-Catherine neighborhood. Mind your wallet – quality and reputation often come with a price!
If boatmen have long since deserted these environs, the names of the neighboring streets have preserved some indication of the former ports. The water holes caved in in the 16th century before being filled back in at the end of the 19th century under the order of Joseph Poelaert and Charles Buls. Once the port was no longer, the Church was built, and the square was built up considering its history, as the fish market was set up here under the covered hall (destroyed in 1955.) Still today fish reigns supreme on the menus of the surrounding restaurants. Do not hesitate to go to François, Bij den Boer, the Belle Maraîchère, La Marée, Pré Salé, Henri or the Marie Joseph.
Those in search of fine dining can be assured, sea food restaurants can be found at all corners of the city. In the very center city, while Sea Grill shows off its 2 Michelin stars, Up North emphasizes Scandinavian fish. In the shadow of the Berlaymont EU building, the Saint Georges and the Vimar made names for themselves thanks to their seafood. On your way towards Uccle, stop at Toucan sur Mer on the Tenbosch side. In Uccle you will have the choice between the oysters and lobsters of the Brasserie Georges and the Café Maris. What more is there to ask? Maybe that we crack open your oysters for you… And finally, for muscles and fries, you can trust the Friture René in the Anderlecht area.
Between tradition and modernity, Brussels gave in to the sushi trend while keeping some of the caricole venders. Caricoles are nothing other than snails prepared and sold by travelling merchants. The recipe? A family secret that generally always has a celery broth base. The travelling venders are always found in the same spot, notably at place du Jeu de Balle, across from the Bourse and at many markets and popular festivities. A typical part of the capital of Europe.