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Top 7 back gardens of Brussels
Last week we told you about Brussels’ best terraces, but a sunny street front terrace is easy to stumble across as you galavant through the city. What about what’s going on behind the scenes?
Hidden from street view, back gardens take some digging to find. By nature, they are more intimate affairs. While terraces are hubs for passers-by to meet and move on, a good back garden is a place you want to stay awhile.
Whether it’s to dine with good friends or to get you and your laptop out of the office on a warm afternoon, we’ve tried and tested a slew of Brussels’ back gardens. So here’s the seven best of what the city’s got going on in its backyard.
1. Kamilou, Mundo B
Kamilou is the restaurant on the ground floor of Mundo B, an ecological building found between Square Meeus and Saint Boniface that is home to dozens of environmental NGOs who share this sustainable working space. Open only for lunches, Kamilou gets busy, as much for its fresh, inventive organic food and drinks as for its enormous backyard with plentiful tables that sees the sun all afternoon long.
Rue d'Edimbourg 26, 1050 Ixelles
2. Aglio e Olio
If you know that the weather calls for clear skies, you can’t do much better on a warm spring evening than enjoy the authentic Italian cooking of Aglio e Olio. The food is solid Italian standbys – pastas, pizzas, some well-grilled meats – but it’s worth the trip just for the stunning back garden. Ambiance is everything at this family joint in Ixelles. Stay long enough and by the end of the evening you’ll likely be sipping vino rosso with your neighbouring tables.
Chaussée de Vleurgat 25, 1050 Ixelles
If you find yourself in the European quarter and in need of a good working café but wanting some sun, install yourself at Karsmakers, just down the street from the Place Luxembourg. Their back garden is a place you can sit a while, sipping on one of the better coffees of Brussels or enjoying one of their homemade cakes or hearty bagels stuffed high with fillings. The only problem is the secret is out on this cosy café, so the best spots fill up quickly, especially during lunchtime.
Rue de Treves 20, 1050 Ixelles
4. Pain Quotidien, Sablon
These days, one Pain Quotidien is like another, whether you’re in Brussels, Paris, or even New York: a place to get a reliably good croissant, baguette or an enormous coffee served in a bowl. But on top of having their usual homemade, organic fare, the Pain Quotidien flanking the Sablon also has as bright back terrace that gives you the best of both inside and outside.
Most of it is decked over with large windows, so it can be enjoyed even on rainy days. There’s also a sitting smaller area out in the fresh air, with tightly packed wooden tables and plenty of umbrellas. Stop in for a three o’clock coffee and something rich and sweet.
Rue des Sablons 11, 1000 Brussels
5. L’Hirondelle d’Or
With €5 plats du jour and €7 lunch specials, you can’t beat the prices at L’Hirondelle d’Or, one of many Asian-fusion restaurants to choose from in the Chatelain neighbourhood. The only thing that makes it better is its enormous backyard. With the odd tree and ivy creeping over the painted brick walls, it’s a charming spot for some grub and a beer.
Rue du Bailli 34, 1050 Ixelles
6. Vert de Gris
Inside and out, Vert de Gris (pictured) manages to marry elegance with comfort in this old maison de maître. While the interior is lavishly decorated with bold coloured walls and baroque chandeliers and candelabras, out back, simple wooden tables and chairs fill a large, tree-shaded garden. A lovely spot to lunch. These days, the French restaurant has become a Brussels staple, with a loyal crowd of tourist and local patrons.
Rue des Alexiens 63, 1000 Brussels
More of an honourable mention, because its back garden only has a couple two-top tables on it, the peaceful garden of this Ixelles lunch spot still makes the list. Found at the back of an organic shop and run by Tibetan Buddhists, Tsampa serves up some of the city’s best vegetarian food. Every weekday there’s a lunch special for €12.50 usually made up of 3 warm and cold dishes and rice or other grain. You can also order a la carte an array of delicious vegetarian and vegan delights. Highlights include the vegetarian carbonade, their various quiches and savory pies, and desserts that shouldn’t be missed.
Rue de Livourne 109, 1050 Ixelles
Photo courtesy resto.be