NYC Beer & Food Lover heading to Paris & Brussels- Itinerary Help

Hello All!

Been perusing the boards for a few weeks now and would love some help/thoughts on what I’ve planned so far for our trip. We are a couple in our mid 30’s who love craft beer and going out to eat. Our favorite spots in NYC are Gramercy Tavern (any Danny Meyer restaurant actually), the bar at Otto, Momofuku Nishi, The Nomad, etc. We’ve been to both Paris & Brussels before. Last time was about 5 years ago where we had incredible meals at La Bigarrade (so sad it closed), Frenchie and Les Fines Gueules.

We’re in Paris Monday night to Wednesday afternoon and Brussels Wednesday night to Sunday morning. This is the plan so far:

Monday
Dinner at Frenchie Wine Bar (two blocks from our hotel)
Cocktail at Lockwood or Experimental Cocktail Club
Beers at Hoppy Corner (assuming we can just walk in this place like a normal bar or is it more of a dinner spot?)

Tuesday
Breakfast- Pastries at Stohrer
Lunch at Septime ( trying to decide between 3 course option or tasting)
La Cave a Bulles stop
Beers at La Fine Mousse
Dinner at La Fine Mousse restaurant OR dinner at Le Triangle?
This happens to be Valentines day, a day we usually stay at home in NYC because we don’t like to celebrate. My thought is that a beer bar/restaurant won’t be as crowded as other places.

Wednesday
Breakfast- Macarons & Pastries at Pierre Herme
Lunch at Clown Bar- debating this one. We have a reservation but will definitely not be getting the brains; maybe the Duck and Beef Tartare. Worried about service issues and the menu being incredibly heavy.
Train to Brussels
Dinner at Chez Leon (tradition for us)
Beers at Moeder Lambic

Thursday
Breakfast
Beers at lambik-O-Droom
A light lunch somewhere?
Beers at Cantillon
Dinner at DVHL

Friday
Trip to Bruges (no plans there) or trip to original Moder Lambic and explore that area
Dinner at Le Rabassier

Saturday
Breakfast?
Lunch at La Mort Subite
Moof Museum
Beers at Cantillon
Dinner at Nuetnigenough
Drinks at Mappo Mudo (love looking down from the windows upstairs)

I definitely need to find a few espresso spots in both places and have no idea what to do in Bruges if we go but it looks beautiful. Obviously the itinerary is pretty beer heavy…but that’s our plan. Any help would be much appreciated and I will definitely report back for future folks. Thanks!

Our original plan for the day of our train to Brussels was lunch at Les Arlots, which is close to the Gare du Nord, but we negotiated a later checkout time, so went to Montée instead. Just a thought.

We had lunch at Nuetnigenough and, while I liked the atmosphere, service was friendly, and they had a good selection of beers (only four on tap though), the food was just okay. Not bad, but a bit disappointing.

I hate to say this when it is so cold outside, but I found nearly all of the indoor activities in Bruges I attempted (eating and drinking aside) to be not worthwhile. The one exception is the restored Jheronimus Bosch altarpiece on view at the Arentshuis. You can get pretty up close and personal with it, and there is a lot of good wall text on the restoration. I enjoyed lingering over a beer at L’Estaminet near Astridpark. Other than that, just wander around looking at buildings and try to keep warm. There are windmills to the east but unless you’re eating at Pro Deo it’s not worth the walk out. Consider a stop at Ghent on the way out or back. The train station is 2km south of the historic centre, and it’s a dull walk, so grab a tram. In retrospect I probably should have traded one day in Brussels for another in Ghent.

Just a question, did you reserve the place already in Paris? Since you are talking about next week, not sure you can get into Septime. Give them a call to see if they can squeeze you in.

You should try their croissant Ispahan and pain au chocolat for breakfast. Just to make sure, Pierre Hermé doesn’t has a tearoom. You can buy his pastries and go to eat in a nearby café (we tried once), it wasn’t a common practice in France, but since it is Pierre Hermé, the cafés are used to it. There is Bar Chocolat Pierre Hermé au Royal Monceau, but it is only for the afternoon tea.

Stohrer - I tried several times, they never really impressed me. If you like pastries, you can try the salon de thé of Jacque Genin, he makes the best lemon tarts in town. But recent years he tried to make chocolates and he still continue to make limited pastries for his tearoom. 2 shops in Paris.

For your information, Ladurée has changed chef, Claire Heitzler is now heading. They have shops and tea salons across the city. I also like a lot Christophe Michalak. You can read more about sweets on this thread.

As for Clown Bar, some discussion on this thread.

Thank you so much- I just took a peek at Les Arlots and it looks wonderful! That could be the perfect place if we decide to swap out Clown Bar.

And your thoughts on Bruge are exactly why I’m considering not going . If it’s going to be so cold I’m not sure just walking around and staring at the buildings is worth it. It seems like a lot of people prefer Ghent over Bruge which I didn’t realize until the other day. Do you have any place in Ghent that you suggest for a wonderful lunch?

Thanks for the links! That croissant Ispahan looks amazing! I will certainly be picking up one of those. And yes I somehow got a reservation at Septime via their online system. I’m hoping they don’t have a special Valentines day menu- there was no mention of anything different that day.

In this thread [Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, Belgium] Better than expected I describe my meal at Korenlei Twee in Ghent, which I enjoyed, but my first choice was Publiek, at which I was turned away without a reservation.

The one advantage of going to Bruges in this weather is that it is relatively empty. I have the feeling that I would have hated it in warmer times, when the crowds return.

The viennoiserie at Pierre Hermé (Bonaparte) are on the back wall in the far corner, easy to overlook. The cannelé is really good. I haven’t been to Storher in years, but the one thing I liked there was the kougelhopf, though the best I’ve had was from Vandermeersch. For breakfast pastries, I tend to hit a location of Kayser or Landemaine if convenient. You cannot do takeaway of pastries at Jacques Genin any more, and many of the sit-down items are made to order, so it is a commitment of both time and money. (You can take away the chocolates and caramels, both of which are really good.)

You can order pastries to take away, but I think you need to call and place order the day before.

If you are still heading to Stohrer, visit also Fou de Pâtisserie, it’s on the same street at 45 Rue Montorgueil. Opened last year, they are selling pastries from several famous patisseries in Paris, including the macaron of Pierre Hermé.

Normal bar.

Please report back your meals and bars, interesting to know your feedback of those places!

Awesome- thanks so much Naf and I will definitely report back. Have you been to La Fine Mousse for dinner at all? Trying to decide if it’s too much after Septime.

Thanks so much! It’s so funny- the last trip I kept going back to Lauduree and Kayser but now they both have NYC locations so I’m hoping to try out different spots. These look great.

No beer, but it’s close by . . .

https://www.wittamer.com/en/spaces

No yet. I have heard the bar is one of the best place in the city to get artisan beer. Meal at Septime won’t be a big one. If you are still worried, I will suggest that you try not to eat too much bread (even if they are really good).

We spent some time in Brugge a while back.
For drinking we enjoyed:
De Garre http://www.degarre.be/ can be a bit tricky to find but nice selection and great ambiance
't Brugs Beertje http://www.brugsbeertje.be/
Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan http://www.halvemaan.be/ Supposed to have good food as well

I also remember a nice dinner at Schaar-Bistro Cozy atmosphere, Food was mostly Grilled in an open hearth and I remember very good.
http://www.bistrodeschaar.be

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Do you have a car? If you do and you love good beer, you absolutely must head towards Vleteren on Saturday afternoon.

First head to Westvleteren, there is a cafe next to the monastery that serves their trappist beer, many call the 10 the best in the world. It is great, though people do get a bit excited because it’s so rare and impossible to get. If you are very lucky you may be able to buy a few bottles to take home. They have passable cheese/meat boards for lunch.

After that, it’s a short drive through the countryside to De Struise brewery in the old school house. It’s open from 2-6pm (only Saturdays). Phenomenal world class beer, 20-30 beer taps. They do small serves for €1-2 per beer.

'T molenhof across the road will whip you up a dinner and also have a great beer list. It’s hearty (ok, belgium isn’t always the place to go for delicate gourmet experiences) but exactly what you need after so much strong beer. :slight_smile:

Then stagger back on foot to one of the nearby bed and breakfasts before driving back in the morning! :smiley:

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Sorry that should be the Westvleteren 12, not 10!

If you are going to Brussels and are interested in trying Belgian food I like the following three places:

  1. Le Marmiton, Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, Galerie de la Reine 38

http://www.lemarmiton.be

  1. Le chou de Bruxelles, Rue de Florence 26

http://www.lechoudebruxelles.be

  1. T Kelderke, Grand Place 15

Of the three I like Le Marmiton best, I go every time I’m in Brussels for years now. Just a great space, good food, and not pretentious. They have a number of Prix Fixe menus at around 25 Euros that are all good.

Le chou is a bit out of the center, but has the best moules frites in Brussels. You will probably need to reserve.

'T Kelderke is reliable, reasonably priced, and convenient since it is right on the Grand Place. It’s a bit of a tourist trap, but I’ve had friends who liked it so well they go back again and again. It’s a safe bet for a quick lunch if you are touristing. They also serve horse steak, which I like.

Finally, I also really like Scheltema (http://www.scheltema.be) for seafood. Again, something of a Brussels tradition. While it’s not fancy, it’s also not inexpensive, but it is worth it.

As regards Bruges and Ghent, you could combine these in a one day bus tour from Brussels:

https://m.viator.com/tour/brussels/ghent-and-bruges-day-trip-from-brussels/0-2200DEB02/info.htm

This would give you the chance to see both with a guide, which makes sense, especially given the short time frame.

Otherwise I would echo the post about Bruges. The main thing there is the canal boat ride, and I don’t think they run this time of year.

Given that the ice on canals, while not universal, was in places thick enough that small waterfowl could stand on it, I don’t think the boats are running.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold