Galler, rue au Beurre 44 (try the SE corner of this map), 1000 Bruxelles, 32.2.502.0266. My friend Chris (whom I met in SFO, but then he moved to STL, then BRU, and is now living in CDG) introduced me to it. I used to fax Iza (my favorite sales person there) before my trips to BRU to get orders together, but she no longer works there :-( . On my trip in October 2000, I brought about nine kilos back to LGA/JFK (mostly Galler)! Try the Extrême, Chiba (very nice almond praliné), Thé Noir (Earl Grey Tea), Mazagran (heart-shaped coffee caramel), Turque (whiskey- and coffee-flavored cream), Martiniquais (ganache with rum & raisins), Anglaise (ganache with a little raspberry flavor (could be raspberry eau de vie)). Laurence was the last person helping me (APR01); I think she said it was the biggest sale of the week! Something like 6 or 7 kilos. They also have a location in Liège on rue de Pot d'Or, 2, 18.104.22.168.50.
Pierre Marcolini, several locations (I'll add the addresses soon). Charlotte (SJC (while living/working in BRU)) sent me this bit on 29AUG00: "I wanted to update you on the BEST chocolate place I've found in Brussels. Pierre Marcolini on the Grand Sablon makes divine chocolates and pastries. He was voted "world champion patisserie" in 1995 and his chocolate making has set new standards and even spawned a new school of praline making. Each of his chocolates are delicately flavored -- some infused with the essences of tea, jasmine, lavendar, or citrus. All of his pralines are perfectly balanced -- not too sweet and with a texture that just melts in your mouth (and sometimes in the bag on your way home)." I happily discovered in early OCT00 that they were every bit as good as Charlotte's description! DEFINITELY try the Violet piece and their diamond-shaped, dark-chocolate-covered praliné. Locations: Place du Grand Sablon, 39, 02.514.12.06, Fax: 511.33.21; Avenue Louise, 75M, 02.538.42.24, F: 538.08.61; (Stockel) Avenue de Hinnisdael, 14, 02.771.27.20, F: 770.37.89; (Fort-Jaco) Chaussee de Waterloo, 1302, 02.372.15.11, F: 372.15.39; and Huidevettersstraat 38-40 in Antwerpen, 03.226.50.01, F: 02.213.05.60 (I wonder if the 02 is correct in the fax number?)
Neuhaus, several locations (including Grand Place). My favorite pieces: Pagode*, Astrid, Caprice*, Tentation*, Prestige, Ephemere (you can compare these last two to Marcolini's caramels), Bonaparte*, Satan*, Sapho, Eden Rock Lait, and Black & White* (best of the best are "asterisked"). The next time I have a key in front of me I'll add detail on these pieces! (I think the initial Neuhaus link is a "local" (U.S.) site; this is the English version of the main site, I believe.) Here are some pictures of the pieces.
Mary Chocolatier, Rue Royale, 73 (Colonne du Congrès), 1000 Bruxelles, 02.217.45.00. Open 9-18:00 M-F, Saturday 9-12:30 & 14-17:00. They have some wonderful pieces, but Galler and Marcolini are still the best. This maker is around the level of Neuhaus and Godiva (EUROPEAN Godiva as opposed to American); these three are very good. Peter considered Godiva to make the best praliné UNTIL he tasted Marcolini's product - now there is some question as to who makes the best praliné.
From Gina in DTW: ...You must go to Restaurant La Quincaillerie (Rue du Page 43-45, 1050 Brussels, tél +32/(0)2/533 98 33, fax +32/(0)2/539 40 95). I forget what we spent but whatever it was, it was worth it, and nowhere near the prices of the top restaurants, like Comme chez Soi. To start, I had a fish soup that was nothing short of outstanding with the typical southern French accompaniements; rouille, toasts, cheese. Portions are huge! For the main course, I had the typical gigantic raw shellfish extravaganza set high on a bed of ice. It was crowned by a large stone crab like those we eat in Florida. My husband had a millefeuille of smoked salmon layered with a whole bunch of other things as a starter and was quite enchanted by his. For dessert, I had some of the best creme brulee ever. I had the house Champagne which was truly outstanding; it was in a glass that said Lanson on it, so I figured it was that brand; however, I am not sure, and I'll probably call them and ask them what it was because it was so great. On their website, click on the English for the info and browse. When I clicked on the "Francais, nouvelle version", I got beautiful pictures; then I went back to the English site for the food/etc. Down the left side you can click on a variety of things with prices!
Also from Gina in DTW: I highly recommend LEON across from from AUX ARMES DE BRUXELLES in the ILOT SACRE section right on the street that leads to Les Galeries St. Hubert (I'll look up the exact address). Leon is charming, delicious, great mussels and much cheaper than AUX ARMES DE BRUXELLES. Also, it's very well known. About $9.00 for mussels and fries.
Corne Port Royal. No need to list the address since it's not particularly good. Around the level of Leonidas - edible, but far from fantastic. To Leonidas' credit, they do have a couple of pieces which are quite good: I like the Advokaat piece for the novelty of it (Advokaat is an egg liqueur), and one other I can't remember right now; I'll ask one of my friends in BRU soon.
Comfort Inn Erasme, 790 Rt. de Lennik, Brussels 1070. From Gare du Midi take Tram 56 - Erasme (only a 15 or 20-minute trip, I think - 2.5 miles to the Grand Place). This is where I stayed on my second trip to BRU; it was perfectly decent and inexpensive (although I did get worried about the chocolate melting since it was unusually warm and the hotel doesn't have A/C (no problem at night, though)). Try USAHotelGuide for rooms.
Sea and Sand Restaurant, Zeedijk 8, 8380 Zeebrugge - bad, Brugges, 050/54.42.79. Charlotte (SJC/SFO) and I had a fairly tasty, long, filling lunch here in APR01. Also on the card: gesloten op dinsdag (closed on ___?), uitgexonderd op vakantie- en feestdagen (?).
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