Ok, I might’ve tweaked the movie quote justtt a bit. But it’s really true. Warning- you might have your Disney ending and fall in love in this fairytale city. OR, you might not. But one thing is for sure. You WILL fall in love with the food.
It’s got everything you’d want in your [hungry] dreams come true: The most decadent chocolate in the world, golden waffles galore, the cutest little quaint coffee shops, a French fry MUSEUM (education and food combined? yes.) and… lasagna? Yes, you heard me. Who knew Belgium loved lasagna so much…
BUT THERE’S A CATCH. Fairytale’s don’t come cheap. In fact, if you don’t find the right places, your fairytale might turn into a “OH [fudge], WHAT HAPPENED TO MY TRAVEL SAVINGS?!?” nightmare. The food is expensive. But if you follow these cheap and delicious places, you can eat your fudge and afford a train ticket home. Nightmare, avoided.
Now. Close your eyes, tap your feet together three times, and think happy thoughts…
OPEN. Your fairytale will begin at…
Why: I acquired a quick habit of starting my day off here, with the most FABULOUS craft coffees, adorably quaint ambience, delicious gourmet bagels, and homemade fruit n’ muesli. And the baristas are just the nicest, most smiley people ever. Starting your day off around smiley people is a recipe for a wonderful day. Besides, in fairytale’s everyone is always happy. Even in the morning.
What to order: The iced vanilla macchiato is TO-DIE-FOR. And their homemade muesli (made with love) and topped off with fresh fruit and yogurt is a perfect way to start your day (and save room for lots of bigfatNhappy food to come). See below.
Price: 5€-9€ for coffee and breakfast (bagel/muesli/etc.)
Find it: Dweerstraat 30
Why: From Brussels to Bruges, my search continued to find the best Belgium waffle. And THIS WAFFLE. holy decadence. In contrast to the sit-down “tea room” waffle experience suggested in Brussels,this is the exact opposite. Grab your waffle on the go, and eat it like an ice cream cone out of a cardboard plate. This waffle takes the cake (or waffle, I should say) for the best flavor and consistency. Crunchy on the outside, a light vanilla-ey batter flavor, and substantial enough to hold up to as many high calorie toppings as you want. Start mentally preparing NOW.
What to order: THE CHERRIES AND CREAM TOPPING. Tart and sweet is just the perfect combo. It’s like the good witch and the bad witch working together to get Dorothy home.
Find it: Noordzandstraat 1
Why: I stumbled into this place accidentally. What brought me in? Well, I was walking down the famous Rozenhoedkaai street, lined by canals and lil’ Snow White-esque brick cottages. Suddenly, the wafting smell of chocolate sneakily escaped through a door, into my nose, took over my entire body, and made me weak at the knees. LOL. Dramatic? Maybe a bit. But that smell. I just couldn’t resist. So I walked in and ordered a DARK hot chocolate (you can choose from milk, white or dark). And lemme tell you, this ain’t no Nesquick mix. They heat up milk, take a HUGE chunk of chocolate on a stick, and stir it right on in. And Voilá! I then learned that they are one of the only chocolate places in Bruges that is not a chain, and made right in Bruges. So I proceeded to buy a whole bag of chocolates (to take home for my mom, of course…).
What to order: The dark hot chocolate of course! Or if your not into that kinda thing, the milk and white chocolate is good too. And drink it by the canal. It’s the fairytale way.
Find it: Huidenvettersplein 13
Why: This authentic Belgium gourmet deli is a foodie’s dream come true. They have an elaborate cheese counter, more wines than you ever knew existed, an overwhelming selection of Belgium “tapas”, quiches, lasagna, you name it. The cool thing about this is you can truly get whatever you want out of it. If you want to eat there, grab a high top table and have a waiter serve you. If you want to take out, that’s cool too. Get a tiny afternoon snack of just a tapa, or an elaborate meal of mix-and-match plates consisting of whatever calls your name in that shiny counter.
What to order: I was overwhelmed by the insanely beautifully selection, so I had the owner pick for me. And he picked RIGGGHHT. Get the famous (fancy lookin’) spec, smoked salmon, hard boiled egg, shrimp, and spiced pepper “gel mold” (for lack of better description…) Also, the grilled scallop with smoked ham and cheese. And the quiches. Try the caramelized shallot quiche. MmmMMMmm.
Price: Each “tapa” is about 2€, and a bigger plate is about 9€. Perfect for sharing! Spend as little, or as much as you want.
Find it: Wollestraat 23
Why: It’s quick, it’s cheap, it’s out of a box, and it’s delicious. Pick your sauces, toppings, and spice level. Add your pasta and cheese of choice, and bon a aPpetit. Expect to see lots of local University students eating there! And strike up a conversation if your feeling friendly; college kids are super nice in fairytale land.
What to order: I mixed the spicy primavera with the 4 cheese sauce. Success.
Price: 5€ for a box.
Find it: Dweersstraat 13
Why: It’s extremely difficult to find a cheap place to have a nice, sit down dinner in Bruges. If your in the center, it’s basically impossible. After lots of research and local chit chat, I dug this goldmine up. It’s located in a little dark alley, with the red door being the only visual attraction on the street. You walk inside, and its like your in your Belgium Grandma’s living room. Or, in fairytale terms, Big Bad Granny Wolf’s living room. And don’t you worry, Big Bad Granny Wolf will fatten you right up. You can even hear/ smell her cooking from the other room. Homey, authentic, delicious, and cheap… soup included!
What to order: The menu changes weekly, but I ordered salmon lasagna. (There you go again with your lasagna, Belgium…) It was INCREDIBLE. Funny story actually. My friend ordered the delicious “house” meatball dish. He licked the plate clean, and proceeded to order a second meal of the salmon lasagna, because it was just so damn good (And he wasn’t even hungry). Granted, this is a total American thing to do, and the Belgium waitress looked at us like we had 9 heads. But she served us the second entree merrily…AND didn’t charge us for it. Now that’s fine dining.
Price: About 10€-17€ a plate. For a real meal, this is extraordinarily cheap in Bruges.
Find it: Ganzenstraat, 37(Be prepared to walk. It’s way “off-the-beaten-path” in a little side street. But TOTALLY worth the walk. )
Why: It’s known as “the bar in the alley.” And that’s exactly what it is. This hidden little bar, tucked away at the end of a tiny little cobble stone “street” is famous among the locals. You’ll find everything from couples dining, University students drinking beers before a night out, or 50-year-old beer connoisseur’s congregating around the bar. They have the biggest Trappist selection in town (Belgium beer brewed in monasteries by monks. Yes, monks.) and the best selection of locally brewed beers in the entire city. If your lucky, they might even have in stock “West Vale Tween:” Formally known as THE BEST BEER IN THE WORLD.
What to order: The classic Bruges beer is the Brugse Zot. My personal fave is the Westmalle Trappist. It’s strong, dark, but not too bitter. And if they have West Vale Tween, get it. It’s 11€, but then again it’s the best beer in the world. So, ya can’t complain.
Price: Average of 5€. Plate of cheese included.
Find it: De Garre 1
Why: This brand new waffle-erie (new word??) just opened, and it’s the only one of it’s kind. Belgium waffles to-go. Perfect to bring home to Mom.
What to order: Pick from a range of flavors from vanilla, chocolate, berry, etc. The red berry was bombbbb.
Price: 2.50€ for a single waffle, 6-10€ for a take-home box.
Find it: Breidelstraat 11
SOME OTHER YUMMY THINGS:
THE CHOCOLATE MUSEUM/ FRENCH FRY MUSEUM. Is it worth the visit? Well, depends. If you’re a foodie like me, yes.
THE FRIET MUSEUM (Vlamingstraat 33) is kind of comical, with photographs of potatoes covering every wall. But if you’re interested to learn something about our good friend the fry, WHY NOT! Bonus, you can buy really delicious, skillfully made fries at the end. AND I actually learned something. Did you know that Fries originated in Belgium, and were brought to America during the Civil War, when 2 American soldiers tried friets from 2 Belgium soldier? These Belgium soldiers just happened to speak French…
THE CHOCO STORY (Wijnzakstraat 2) The chocolate museum is cool too, right around the corner from the Friet Museum. It’s a bit higher budget, and a bit more elaborate than the Friet Museum. You learn all about the history of the cocoa plant, and how Belgium got to be world renowned for chocolate. You even get to watch a chocolate master himself make chocolate, and of course, eat it fresh off the presses afterwards! YUMYUMYUM. My suggestion? For a 10€ package, go to the Friet museum for lunch, and Chocolate museum for dessert. Now…
Fairytale’s over. HAVE YOU FALLEN IN LOVE WITH BRUGES YET? Tell us your fairytale thoughts! And for the rest of the day, I wish you happy daydreaming 😉
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