Its finger-licking chocolate, mouth-watering waffles and popularity-gaining speculoos biscuits make Belgium a culinary hotspot of the sweetest kind. All of these delicacies are widely available in most Belgian cities but especially in Brussels, the capital. It’s where the streets are lined with chocolate shops and where you’ll find waffle trucks on every corner. One thing’s for sure: You’ll never have to worry about what to eat in Brussels. As much as I love chocolate, for this article I’ll focus on Belgian waffles. Before I let you in on where to find the best waffles in Brussels, let’s have a look at the different types of Belgian waffles and some popular toppings.
Let’s dive in, my sweet-toothed friend.
As a bonus, I’ll be sharing my favorite waffle spots in other popular Belgian cities, such as Ghent and Bruges. You’ll find them at the end of this post.
Types of Belgian Waffles: Brussels Waffle vs. Liège Waffle
Belgian waffles have certainly earned their place in the desserts hall of fame. But did you know that the term Belgian waffle is actually a collective name for two types of waffles? Both differ in shape, density, taste, toppings and etiquette. Let’s have a look:
The Brussels waffle is the lightest variation. It’s fluffy with a crispy touch, tasteful without being overly sweet and comes in a rectangular shape.
The Liège waffle is the heavier one of the two. It’s dense and darker, sticky and gooey, sweet and generous, oval-shaped with rounded corners.
Because snowy egg white is the key ingredient to this airy waffle, the batter needs to be made daily fresh. This might explain why the Brussels waffle is less represented in Brussels than the Liège waffle.
This is the waffle that you’ll find at food trucks and in food stalls. The dough is often industrially prepared and/or frozen. The key ingredient are large sugar pearls that caramalize when heated.
How to eat your waffle: Belgian waffle toppings and etiquette
Many waffle shops in Brussels proudly display their wide variation of toppings. From healthy options such as strawberry and banana to sweet indulgences such as Nutella chocolate spread and whipped cream, you’ll most certainly find a topping to your taste.
The rather neutral taste and lighter consistency of the Brussels waffle makes it well suitable for a variety of toppings, both savoury and sweet. Ice cream makes for a wonderful addition.
Because the recipe for Liège waffles contains sugar, this waffle does not need any topping. But for those who can’t resist, there are several sweet options to choose from.
Because this variation is often heavily-topped, it’s usually eaten at a table. This makes the Brussels waffle a great option for breakfast, lunch or even dinner.
The Liège waffle makes for the perfect snack. Another reason why Belgians usually opt for a modest sprinkling of powdered sugar or strawberries rather than an overly topped version.
Where to find the best waffles in Brussels
Brussels waffles are harder to come by than Liège waffles in Brussels and you kinda have to know where to look. But hey, no worries, that’s where we come in. Here’s where to find the best waffles in Brussels:
The Brussels waffles at Gaufres and Waffles are a personal favorite. All topping recipes are created by a Michelin chef. The spicy chicken is my preferred savoury topping. As for the sweet waffle menu, I’m torn between the pineapple, blueberry and chocolate waffle topping.
At the Maison Dandoy tea rooms you can not only indulge in a Brussels waffle, but also in a Liège waffle. As mentioned before, these sweet waffles don’t really require a topping. But who can resist the deep brown chocolate sauce?
Then there’s Maison Dandoy, the most popular high-end eatery for waffles in Brussels. Maison Dandoy has several boutiques in Brussels, selling biscuits and speculoos, but the waffles are only available at one of the two tea rooms, one of which is located in the Royal Galleries. I love their waffles… but hate the long lines and waiting time.
Can’t choose between the two types of waffles in Brussels? Then The Waffle Factory is another option where you can have both. A sumptuous Liège waffle asks for a rather light topping. Therefore, I’d personally suggest to go with either ice cream or apple sauce or ice cream. Only if you’re determined enough to resist the Nutella, that is.
The Waffle Factory is located right behind the Grand Place and City Hall. Can’t resist adding a topping? Then dark chocolate is a great choice, although Nutella chocolate spread seems to be the most popular topping.
Vitalgaufre, located smack in the middle of the popular shopping street Rue Neuve, specializes in Liège waffles. The hot apple and cinnamon topping sure looks tempting.
Other places to eat waffles in Brussels are Be Waffle, Mokafé (also located in the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert), The Sister Café, Los Churros & Waffle, La Gaufrerie, Le Funambule, Drug Opéra and Gaufres de Bruxelles.
Other places to eat Liège waffles in Brussels are La Gaufrerie, Los Churros & Waffle, Be Waffle, Gaufres de Bruxelles and the many waffle street food trucks.
A nice variation to these two main types of waffles in Brussels can be found at Peck 47, where quadrant-shaped waffles are part of the healthy and delicious lunch-menu, and at Veganwaf’ and The Sister Café, where you can eat some of the few gluten free and vegan waffles in Brussels.
Belgian waffle history and recipe
Waffles are hot as ever in Brussels and Belgians proudly introduce this local delicacy all around the world, from the United States to the Middle East. We take our waffles seriously, just like we do with other Belgian delicacies such as chocolate, speculoos, beer and fries. These tasty treats are part of our national heritage after all.
The origin of Brussels waffles is situated around 1850, when the first waffle irons were introduced at the weekly market near the Brussels North railway station.
Liège waffles date back even further, as early as the 18th century, when the Prince-Bishop of Liège asked his cook to prepare a tasty and sugary snack.
In all honesty, I never made home-baked waffles because I’m lucky to live close enough to the most amazing waffle restaurants. So basically, I can just go and buy an excellently prepared waffle any time of day. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone. But no worries, this authentic Liège and Brussels waffle recipe will get you started.
Where to stay in Brussels
Of course, Brussels isn’t all about waffles. The Belgian capital is a beautiful city to explore on a day or weekend trip. Check out this one-day Brussels itinerary for travel tips and a personal selection of things to do in this wonderful city. Here are some of my favorite places to stay in Brussels:
- As a former Front Office Manager for NH Hoteles, I can strongly recommend the NH Collection Brussels Centre. Insider tip: the rooftop bar offers the most amazing city views.
- Another hotel that I really love is the classy The Dominican, located in a former convent, right behind the Brussels Opera House called Munt Theatre.
- If you prefer more of a boutique experience, then the Hôtel des Galeries may be what you’re looking for. It’s wonderfully located, right in the Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries.
- The most luxurious of Brussels hotels can be found behind the Grand Place: Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo. It’s a very family-friendly place as well.
Thanks to its central location, Brussels makes for the perfect base city to explore more European gems. Have a look at our suggested day trips from Brussels for more inspiration.
Belgian waffles in other cities
Now that you know where to eat the best waffles in Brussels, it’s time to look at some other popular Belgian cities. Because, whether you choose to visit Antwerp, Ghent or Bruges, there’s always a sumptuous treat around the corner.
Ghent is my hometown and this sweet-toothed local has tried just about every waffle in the city. The airiest, tastiest (and probably the most expensive) Brussels waffles in Ghent can be found at Max.
For the best Liège waffles in Ghent, ooey and crispy at once, head to Oyya.
The most delicious Brussels waffles in Bruges can be found at the Markt square. There’s a cute food truck from De Ijsbeer, a local business that specializes in ice cream and waffles. A match made in heaven.
The best Liège waffles in Bruges can be found at the waffle truck at Burg square.
Fans of Antwerp will be happy to learn that the city has its own Maison Dandoy.
And again, in Antwerp, Maison Dandoy is the place to be.
By the way, thanks to the many boutiques with their temptingly sweet assortment, choosing a souvenir for friends and family back home will be a no-brainer. Give them a taste of Belgium and they’ll welcome you back with open arms.
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