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April 8, 2005
The first thing you will notice about the street is the amount of noise; there are waiters and maitre’ds in front of every restaurant. They will hawk at you to come in and try their food - it’s the best on the row. If you go during a slow night/off-season, you can really work with them. If you keep on walking by, they will continue to lower their prices or throw more things in for free. A lot of the times, the menus are fixed price, where you receive an appetizer, entrée, and dessert all for one price. You usually have your choice of three to four items in each category. What will happen is, if you start to walk away, they will throw in an aperitif or a half a bottle of wine or something like that.
My family decided that we would work the system a little bit; we each split up and tried to figure out who could get the best deal. Well, my mother and I thought we had the advantage. After all, we were the ones who spoke French, and my sister usually just has to smile to get her way. Well, when we regrouped, my sister had gotten a 15% taken off the final bill as her best offer. I had one place offer me a free bottle of wine and 15% off the bill. My mother, the tough negotiator, only got a free appetizer. And my father, who speaks not a word of French or Flemish but is one of those people that everyone loves, somehow managed to get a free bottle of wine and 50% taken off the check. Guess where we were going to dinner…
We ate at this adorable restaurant and ordered mussels and seafood paella. At this place, the paella also included lobster (be wary that not everyone’s paella does so - look for the word homard, French for lobster, as otherwise, you may be taken for a ride). We ate outside. In March, there were heaters and an awning overhead. Eating outside or by the windows if the rain is too much is the way to go here. It will allow you to watch everything that is happening on the street. It’s a great place to get good food and a great place to people-watch!
Have fun and look for a good bargain. They may be difficult to find, but you can.
From journal Sensory Delight: Brussels, Belgium
June 17, 2004
From journal Must-See Brussels