Last Updated on January 18, 2021 by Nina Ahmedow
It’s been a while since my last vegan travel post, but here it is, and it’s about how to be vegan in Brussels, Belgium. By now you already know that my favorite place to look up vegan and vegan-friendly places when traveling is HappyCow. And there are quite a few listings to check out if you spend at least a day in Brussels.
The obvious favorites in Brussels are waffles, fries, and chocolate, so I was hoping to find vegan versions of them. As we only spent one night in Brussels, it wasn’t possible to try out a lot of places, however.
Unfortunately, some of the stuff that I had found online wasn’t open by the time we arrived Saturday afternoon. Due to the city’s role as the de facto capital of the European Union, the city is a lot busier during the week than on weekends. I was a bit disappointed, but these are the things that make you go back to a place, right?
Vegan Chocolate in Brussels
We did, however, manage to go to a place for excellent Belgian chocolate. Laurent Gerbaud is a chocolatier with a sweet little place not far from the Old Town. Upon entering, the owner himself greeted us. He later also cleaned our table. Refreshingly down to earth.
I had my first ever vegan hot chocolate with soy milk. Of course, due to the dark chocolate, it was quite bitter, a bit too much so for my taste. But it was lovely to be able to sit outside in Brussels on the last weekend of winter. With a hot chocolate, not at all missing out on things non-vegans do. After the hot chocolate, we looked around the lovely store where they had many different chocolates on display.
I purchased several vegan ones that I ate when we got back to our apartment. And let me tell you, they were miles ahead of any other chocolate I’ve ever had. Vegan chocolate from a Belgian chocolatier is exactly as good as one would hope. As of 2020, it appears that about 90% of the chocolates by Laurent Gerbaud are vegan. So this is the place to go if you’re a vegan in Brussels.
Rue Ravenstein 2d. Open Monday to Sunday 10:30 am to 8 pm.
Vegan Food on the Go in Brussels
The next day, on the way to the airport we stopped by the train station to get something from a chain called EXKi. They specialize in organic fast food and have a few vegan options. I got some nice sandwiches with green lentil paste for the trip. Definitely a great little snack to have during the day.
There are several EXKi stores all over Brussels. And since they’re a chain I expect the options and service to be pretty similar in all of them. So as a vegan in Brussels this is a quick option when you’re out and about. Sometimes, fully vegan places are not easy to come by. Check out my seven tips for vegan travelers to help you with such situations.
Gare du Midi. Open Monday to Friday 6:30 am to 8 pm and Saturday and Sunday 7:30 am to 8 pm.
If you think that doesn’t sound like a lot to eat on a weekend I have to make a confession. There was an accidental slip-up. I was sure that fries would be vegan so I went along when my partner found a popular place for fries. The line was really long which seemed to confirm the positive reviews. So we patiently waited in line. I ordered fries without any condiment because I wasn’t really in the mood to ask if they had vegan options. What can I say? My first Belgian fries were really good, although the portion was much too big.
Unfortunately, when I got back from Brussels I found out that Belgian fries are usually not vegan. I sent a message to the place we got our fries from, and they confirmed that they use beef fat. This goes to show that you can’t trust your common sense to figure out if something is vegan. If there’s no vegan label be sure to check with somebody before ordering. (This is one of the reasons I created an extensive guide on being vegan in Greece after noticing how many people mistake certain dishes for vegan.)
I know there are some vegan eateries in Brussels that make vegan fries. But as of 2020, there doesn’t seem to be a fully vegan place that specializes in fries. Please let me know if there is one!
Places I Look Forward To
In order to make this post more valuable to you I’m also adding a few places I haven’t yet been to myself but which look really great. I would love to go back to Brussels sometime and try these out:
Veg’hip: This vegan snack bar opened in the summer of 2020 and offers bowls, wraps, and vegan caviar! The reviews online are excellent, and the photos look incredible! Rue du Bailli 30. Open Tuesday to Saturday 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, Tuesday to Friday also 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
Le Botaniste: This vegan café and wine bar has two locations established in 2018 and 2019 and offers starters, soups, salads, and bowls. The reviews for both locations are great. Rue du Bailli 10. Open Monday to Sunday 11 am to 10 pm. Rue Franklin 2. Open Monday to Saturday 11 am to 10 pm.
Be Nuts: This vegan café opened in 2019 and focuses on hot beverages as well as cakes and cookies. But they do make salads, soups, and sandwiches as well. The reviews are excellent, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of space. Rue de la Victoire 232. Open Friday to Wednesday 10 am to 7 pm.
Beykoz: Another place that only opened in 2020, this fully vegan Turkish street food stall makes çiğ köfte, vegan köfte, and falafel. If you know me you know that I love çiğ köfte, a street food that is always vegan nowadays. The reviews are great, but I probably wouldn’t order falafel here since that’s not a Turkish dish. Chaussée de Haecht 137. Open Monday to Thursday and Saturday 12:30 pm to 8:30 pm, Friday 2:30 pm to 8:30 pm, Sunday 1:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
Buddy Buddy: This vegan café opened in 2019 and makes breakfast, croissants, cookies, toasts, and curry. They also sell their own nut butters which get rave reviews. But I was already sold when I saw the croissants. Rue de Drapiers 10. Open Monday to Sunday 10 am to 6 pm.
Copper Branch: This appears to be a vegan Canadian chain with two locations in Brussels. Most of the food is fast food from burgers to sandwiches and… poutine! I’d go solely to try the vegan poutine! Square Frères Orban 9. Open Monday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm. Nieuwstraat 123. Open Monday to Saturday 9 am to 7 pm.
Green House: This raw vegan restaurant was established in 2019 and is on the pricey side. The reviews are a bit mixed though none of them are actually bad. Rue Lesbroussart 120. Open Sunday to Thursday 11:30 am to 2 pm, 6 pm to 9 pm.
Le Poisson sans Bicyclette: This feminist vegan restaurant only opens twice a month and on special events, but I’m always looking for feminist vegan spots. Rue Josaphat 253. Check their website to find out when they are open.
Les 4 Jeudis: This was one of the restaurants I wanted to try that wasn’t open on weekends so I hope I will be able to visit next time. The food is vegan, gluten-free, and organic, the reviews are excellent, plus the photos are mouthwatering. Rue du Marteau 36a. Open Monday to Friday 12 pm to 3 pm.
Liu Lin: This vegan Asian restaurant opened in 2019 and offers an array of East and South East Asian dishes like noodle soups, curries, and dumplings. The reviews are outstanding, the food looks delicious, and the location looks really pretty, too. Rue Haute 20. Open Wednesday to Sunday 12 pm to 2:30 pm, 5:30 pm to 9 pm.
Lucifer Lives: Another vegan café which only opened in the summer of 2020, this place focuses on sandwiches and cakes and offers brunch on weekends. Everything looks super tasty, and the reviews are great, too. Rue Haute 120. Open Wednesday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 5 pm.
Vegan Waffles in Brussels
I didn’t find any options for vegan waffles in Brussels either. But lucky for you, a vegan waffle shop opened in December 2018! The place is called VeganWaf, and although I was in Brussels before they opened, I want to mention them here for all the people looking for vegan waffles in Brussels.
You will also be able to find some cafés that offer vegan waffles. But in terms of a vegan place that only makes waffles, this seems to be the place to go. Their reviews on HappyCow are pretty good so I know I’ll try their waffles once I make it back to Brussels. It’s good to know that if you’re a vegan in Brussels you can find one of the most popular Belgian food item.
To Sum Things Up
This trip wasn’t as vegan-friendly as I expected it to be. I had thought being vegan in Brussels would be similar to other Western European cities. But I think due to the fact that we were only there for a weekend which is a quiet time for Brussels we missed out on a lot of options. I’d love to check out the city and all its vegan spots during the week.
But with that said, I have to say that the chocolates really made up for everything. They were so good, and my only regret is not having bought even more!
What about you? Have you ever accidentally eaten something non-vegan expecting it to be vegan?