Ballekes

Nice to meat you! … is what I could’ve said to this restaurant in Sint-Gillis in Brussels. The name doesn’t lie: this concept restaurant revolves all around meat balls. You can order 1 or 2 depending on how big the hole in your stomach is, and pair them with whatever sauce tickles your fancy. For the healthy ones amongst us, there’s salad to go with that, and for the others (me, who am I kidding?) there’s chips. The food is nice and the place is bright and open with lots of windows to people watch. Yet.. nothing really compares to Balls & Glory. A solid and deserving alternative, me thinks! You can also order their meals through Deliveroo!

Where? Chaussée de Charleroi 174, 1060 Sint-Gillis (Brussels)

When? Mondays from 6.30pm till 10pm, Tuesday-Friday from 12pm till 2.30 pm and from 6.30pm till 10pm. Saturdays from 12 till 3pm and from 6.30 till 10.30pm. Sundays from 12.30 till 3pm and from 6.30 till 9.30 pm.

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Huset

It’s official, I’ve found my favourite café in Ghent. Huset, which is Swedish for “the house”, is anything but just that, it’s more of a home. You enter a house that you had no idea was a place to eat and immediately, it’s like your in someone’s living room. You are welcomed by the friendly host that serves you at your table right next to the big piano decorated with flowers. The food has the same hominess to it: baked goodies, scones (delicious!), hot soup,… all things that warm the heart! I love the imperfectness of the place more than anything: from the jungle of plants to the mismatched cutlery and plates. For any fika lovers our there, this place is a MUST. I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking…

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Where? Hoogstraat 49, 9000 Gent

When? Every Monday – Friday from 11am till 6pm plus on evenings when they have an event going on (imagine the #hygge then!)

Happy fika!

Tropismes

The description of a hidden gem fits this Brussels book shop perfectly. I didn’t know about this wonderful shop until I purposefully started looking for new book shops to explore in the city (because what else do you do when you’ve seen the rest of them?) It was on my list of places to go – a very long list might I add – until one day a friend and I were close by and I suggested taking a peek. Turns out it was a great decision as the book shop was just as inspiring as I had imagined.

It’s is located in one of the side alley of the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert near the Central station. Every nook and cranny is decorated with gold and shimmer without doing any damage to the classiness of the place. The mirrors high up on the walls give the book shop its grandiose and spacious feeling. Please, go upstairs even if you don’t care about comic books; the view is worth it! Most of the books in the store are in French, but they have a small English classics section that is nice too. Perhaps another reason to brush up on my rusty French? :-)

Where? Galeries des Princes 11, Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, 1000 Brussels

When? Mondays from 11 am till 6.30 pm, Tuesdays till Thursdays from 10 am till 6.30 pm, Fridays from 10 am till 7.30 pm, Saturdays from 10.30 am till 7 pm and Sunday afternoons from 1.30 pm till 6.30 pm.

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Anna – specialty coffee bar

I stumbled across this cute coffee bar as I made my way back to the underground parking in Leuven, but boy was I glad it happened! Although I’m sure there’s plenty of hip coffee bars in Leuven, I feel like there’s not a lot that are open on a Sunday AND close to the city centre. Well, this one is!

Anna is, as its full name suggests, a specialty coffee bar. But no need to worry, fellow tea lovers out there, they also have a wide selection of specialty teas. Oh yes! “Can I get a piece of pie with that?”, I hear you ask. Sure thing! Just walk in, choose one of the ones on sale that day  or just order all of them if you’re feelin’ frisky. Seriously, their sweet iced lattes are a treat on their own too though. A perfect place for… – you guessed it – fika!

Where? Leopold Vanderkelenstraat 27, 3010 Leuven

When? Mondays to Fridays from 8am till 6pm, Saturdays from 10am till 6pm and Sundays from 12pm till 6pm.

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Moon food

As I was looking for a vegan place to eat in Brussels, I realised there was only one place that ticked all the boxes: Moon food. This café near the Central Station describes itself as the first vegan café in Brussels and I think that must be true. Truly everything they serve, from breakfast options to lunch and dinner as well as dessert is vegan. What I like most about the place is how the wooden interior with lots of plants; it adds to the plant-based feel of the place. Another plus is that their food is served as a buffet and you can pick and choose whatever you like. Just let the people behind the counter weigh your plate afterwards and pay for exactly what you can eat. Or you can simply take-away your food, which is great.

Where? Koloniënstraat 58, 1000 Brussels (right on the corner), very close to the Warandepark and Bozar

When? Monday through to Friday from 12PM till 8PM

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Take Five Espresso Bar

It’s time for some another #HOTSPOT for the coffee and cake lovers. Take Five Espresso bar is, as the name suggests, an espresso bar with different types of coffee and delicious homemade baked goodies. It’s a great place to peoplewatch, because the street the café is on is often busy with people going past. Good thing the bar has a huge window you can silently sip your coffee. They also have free WiFi, which makes it a good place to do group work, have meetings or book a trip with friends in a cozy yet simple environment. Check out the tiles too, they are very pretty :-)

Where?  Take Five Espresso bar is located really close to the city centre, which makes it an ideal place to take a break from shopping or sightseeing. It’s located at Volderstraat 10, 9000 Gent.

When? You can grab a coffee to go or sit down Mondays to Fridays from 8am to 6pm or on Saturdays from 9am to 6pm.

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