Belga Queen, Brussels
Tel: 32 2 217 2187
Concierge.com's insider take:
A Belle Époque bank converted by restaurateur-designer extraordinaire Antoine Pinto, this huge brasserie is all buzz, from the bars (oyster, beer, and cigar) to the grand 187-cover restaurant under a stained-glass cupola supported by rows of pink marble columns. It's not all period, though: Bathroom stalls are built of that trendy glass that goes opaque when the locks are engaged, and the food—its every ingredient of Belgian origin—is fun and modern. Many dishes incorporate that most famous of Belgian clichés, beer—for instance, scallops with Ardennes butter and a Duvel reduction, or duck foie gras with a conserve of berries and Kriek Boon, or that same cherry beer worked into a sauce for roasted Malines cuckoo with honey, pine nuts, and cilantro. This is a great place to do some beer exploration, with many varieties in aperitif sizes and a beer bar that stays open all afternoon and evening. At night, relax in the Lounge Club, a cigar bar with leather armchairs in the former bank vault; cocktails and liqueurs are served (open Wednesday through Saturday). Go to the Lounge on a Saturday, when it hosts live jazz sessions.
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