Steamed Mussels in Brussels

Steamed Mussels in Brussels - Brussels, Belgium

It's not easy finding reasonable fare in Brussels which is, for the most part, an expensive capital city. So, after eating nothing but waffles and chocolate (hey, we're not complaining) for days, we were all ears when the locals recommended the "mussels in Brussels."

Probably Belgium's most beloved steam room—if you will—is Chez Leon, on the trendy and ultra-touristy Rue des Bouchers. Mussels at Leon are fresh, cheap (a fixed price meal, including pommes frites and one beer, is €14.50 per person) and steamed to order. When last there, this Cheapo ordered mussels marinières (mussels steamed in a tomato base) and watched as her fellow Cheapos delighted in mussels à la provencale. And, the best part? When you're all done, you can take some beer to go; a four-pack costs €6. It's good stuff, we promise. Check Chez Leon's site for recipes (vegetable stoemp anyone?), info about Leon's famous home-brewed beer, and more.

Another hot spot, Le Zinneke, offers diners more than 50 preparations from which to choose. You can even get curried mussels here - only on the Chez Leon menu during the summer months. One kilogram, equal to 2.2 pounds, is €15 (three courses = €30). And, Zinneke gives customers a money back guarantee. Check out their Web site for photos of their spacious back garden, open on warmer days.

We highly recommend stopping by Mer du Nord (1 rue Ste-Catherine; 00 32 2 513 11 92), the stand-up seafood diner on the corner of Place Ste. Catherine. Locals swear by this place, which is run by a fishmonger. It always has the freshest seafood and doesn't charge an arm and a leg for it.

Overall, though, your best bet is to get downright chatty and ask the locals. Also browse the placards outside most restaurants. With a little research, you'll find your tummy and your wallet feeling full.

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