I’m a big waffle fan in general, but to visit a country that’s known for their delicious waffles? I was ecstatic. Visiting Brussels, I had one major goal in mind: to find the best waffles in Brussels!
Did I eat an ungodly amount of waffles? Yes.
Did I succeed in my mission? Mostly no.
Try to keep from drooling over these babies….
Trust me, my mission failure was NOT due to a lack of trying. I just didn’t expect there to be SO MANY waffle places in Brussels! Seriously, I’d venture to say there are 1 or 2 waffle places on every street in the city! While I visited many, many waffle shops, I did not visit nearly enough to claim one shop as the best among all.
What I did learn though? Brussels has some durn good waffles. It didn’t matter if I spent €1 or €5, I was never disappointed. If you want good waffles in Brussels, it is not hard to find them.
But, through my
over eating of carby goodness extensive research, I have been able to compile this guide to help you through your Brussels waffle-eating ambitions.
The one time it’s okay to take food from a van…
A Brief History
The Belgian Waffle dates all the way back to the Middle Ages. However, it was not the same sweet treat that we know today. Waffles were very similar to crackers, made with grain flour and water, and typically eaten with soups. As people began to add sweeteners and yeast to their batter, the waffle as we know it came to be. In the 19th century, the popularity of waffles exploded and people began to add small waffle shops to their homes. Waffles became popular throughout the world when a Belgian man named Maurice Vermersch sold the traditional Brussels waffle during the 1964 World’sFair in New York City.
A Brussels Waffle in historic Grand Place
A Tale of Two Waffles
What you may not know is that there are actually two different types of waffles in Brussels. The first is the Brussels Waffle (pictured above). They are made with a batter to create a perfectly rectangular shape. The Brussels Waffle is very light and airy, with a delicious crunch to the outside. They are also typically less sweet in flavor.
The second type of waffle is the Lieges Waffle. These are more popular around Belgium and will usually be what you’re served in waffle shops. The Liege Waffle is typically more of an oval shape and dense. It is made with a dough that has large sugar crystals mixed within. When these sugar crystals meet the hot waffle iron, they carmelize and harden, giving the Liege Waffle a sweet, slightly sticky exterior.
What About Toppings?
Today, the waffle is usually thought of as a sugary and syrup-drenched breakfast item. However, a true Belgian waffle can be eaten at any time, and does not require any toppings for it to be delicious. In fact, most Belgians will eat their waffles plain, or with a sprinkling of powdered sugar only. But this does not mean you should eat all your waffles this way. I recommend a healthy balance of plain waffles with heavily topped waffles.
When searching for waffles in Brussels, you will find the combinations of toppings to be seemingly endless. From chocolate, caramel, or nutella, to delicious fresh fruits and whipped cream, you will want to try new toppings with each waffle you eat. If you are trying a Brussels waffle, I recommend getting some kind of topping to help sweeten the waffle. Liege waffles are genuinely best plain and hot, but feel free to add toppings as you desire. Just know that more toppings = more money. My favorite toppings? Either just fresh cream, or nutella with banana.
Toppings on toppings on toppings
While I may not have been able to say where to find the best waffles in Brussels, I did visit many places where I found the waffles to be very satisfactory. Here are just a few of the places I recommend, but please don’t let them deter you from trying other places too!
I walked past Le Funambule during my first hour in Brussels. There was a huge crowd gathered around the open window, and it looked like a tour guide was telling the crowd all about the shop and Belgian waffles. I made a mental note to return when the crowds weren’t around. Fast forward to the last day of my trip, when I was hangry and had a mad case of the grumps. I remembered Le Funambule and immediately headed to the shop. With a liege waffle covered in nutella and banana slices, I immediately felt better. Le Funambule is very close to Grand Place and has lots of options for toppings.
They’ve also opened a new location near the Mannekin Pis. Of course I had to make sure this one was good too, and went with a strawberries and cream liege waffle!
Most people will tell you Maison Dandoy is where you can get the best waffles in Belgium. For me, I didn’t find them any better or worse than other waffles I had. There are a few different locations within Brussels, but the main one is on Rue Charles Buls (very close to Grand Place). They have a lovely tea room on the top floor where you can sit and try many different waffles. It is cheaper, however, to take your waffle on the go.
The Place Next Door to Maison Dandoy
I did not catch the name of this little hole in the wall next to Maison Dandoy. It’s easy to spot due to the sign advertising waffles for only €1,50. I was curious to see how the cheap waffle compared to the pricier ones of the next door shop, so I have it a try. You’ll have to note that the cheap waffles advertised are only for plain ones. Additional toppings will cost more.
This is another place to get your super cheap waffle fix. Located on Rue de l’Etuve, near the Manneken Pis statue, you’ll find a plain waffle advertised for just €1. Again, you’ll find that the more toppings you add, the more that price goes up. Don’t be afraid of the plain Liege waffle!
The Waffle Factory is a chain that can be found in Belgium, France, and even Dubai! But just because it’s not specifically unique to Brussels doesn’t mean it’s any less delicious. In addition to your typical choice between a lieges waffle and a Brussels waffle, The Waffle Factory has stepped up its creativity game and created the Lunchwaf. These are waffles that have been stuffed with your favorite lunch meats and veggies. If you’re looking for a waffle with a little something new, check out the Waffle Factory! Or, if you’re more of a waffle-traditionalist, their plain lieges waffles are quite tasty too.
This place is taking the waffle scene in a whole new direction. Rather than adding toppings on top of the waffle, the folks at Vitalgaufre are baking new flavors right into the dough! You can choose from vanilla, cinnamon, raspberry, chocolate, or apple cinnamon flavors, and have a deluxe waffle experience without the extra mess of toppings. Vitalgaufre is probably not the location to visit for your first Belgian waffle experience, as the flavors are a bit different, but if you’re an advanced Belgian waffle connoisseur like me, it’s worth a try!
Traditionally, Belgian waffles are meant to be eaten with just your hands. Busting out the cutlery to eat your waffle will make you stand out as a waffle-noob. Don’t even try to ask for a knife. Most places, however, will give you a small fork (and I mean teeny) with which you can eat your waffle. Now you’ve seen these pictures with just mountains of toppings on your waffle, so you may be wondering- how the heck do I eat a waffle with an itty bitty fork? Well: I have invented a great waffle eating technique so you can eat your waffle without making a mess.
When you get your waffle, you’ll probably want to find somewhere to sit. It’s best to have full concentration on your waffle. Next, examine your waffle and determine what size bite you want to take. Then, visually locate the perimeter of your first bite. Take your mini fork and employ the technique: I call it, The Stab ‘n Twist (patent pending…).
Basically, you work your way along the perimeter of your bite, stabbing into the waffle and twisting the fork to pull your bite away from the rest of the waffle. Do this until your bite is completely separated from the waffle and shove it into your mouth. Repeat until waffle disappears.
Eating waffles in Brussels is one of the most delicious ways to explore the city. Make sure to try many different kinds of waffles from many different places. And remember…calories don’t count when you’re abroad!
Spending a few days hunting down the best waffles in Brussels? Here’s my budget-friendly Brussels guide!
Are you a waffle fanatic? What are some of your favorite toppings?