When visitors to Belgium ask me what to eat here (besides the inevitable chocolate, waffles and frites), my reply is always stoofvlees (unless they are vegetarians!). Stoofvlees, or carbonnade a la Flamande as it’s called in French, literally translates to ‘stew meat.’ Essentially, it is cubed beef, stewed in Belgian beer for so long it melts in your mouth. It’s typically served over mashed potatoes or Belgian fries and it is hearty, heavy and heavenly.
In the city centre, not far from Grand Place, is a great place to try stoofvlees, called Cafe Novo. This colourfully quirky Belgian cafe always has an eclectic crowd. The menu is varied and caters well to vegetarians (the falafels are great!) as well as carnivores.
Cafe Novo is open every day (a rarity in Brussels) and is great for a late Sunday brunch. They have a small but sunny back garden that books up quickly. Thursday evenings Novo hosts ‘cocktail concerts’ so you can enjoy a bit of live music as you dine.