Aux Armes de Bruxelles, authentic Belgian cuisine in the heart of Brussels

From salade Veulemans and chicken vol au vent to fish waterzooi and steak tartare: Aux Armes de Bruxelles serves the best Belgian food in Brussels. A must try when you are visiting Europe’s capital!

From salade Veulemans and chicken vol au vent to fish waterzooi and steak tartare: Aux Armes de Bruxelles, the best Belgian cuisine in Brussels.

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Brussels has quite a few emblematic restaurants.

Think of Le Cirio, Le Corbeau, À La Mort Subite, La Taverne du Passage and Le Falstaff.

Some have had ups and down over the years.

Same goes for another emblematic Brussels restaurant called Aux Armes de Bruxelles.

History

It is at the start of the last century that the history of the Veulemans family in Brussels began to unfold.

Calixte Veulemans arrived in the Belgian capital to make a living in 1902. Almost 20 years later in 1921, he bought an establishment in the Îlot Sacré neighbourhood near the Brussels Grand Place. This place at Rue des Bouchers 13 was already called “Aux Armes de Bruxelles” back then.

Entrepreneur Calixte was able to turn it into an upscale and highly popular ‘bruxellois’ restaurant for many years to come.

In the early 1970s one of Calixte’s sons Jacques took over the business. He was able to preserve the momentum, reputation and fame for a few decades after that.

Fall and rise

In 2006 the Veulemans family sold their business.

Aux Armes de Bruxelles had its ups and down after that, ending years later with bankruptcy in 2018 by the brothers Beyaz who owned the business then.

In that same year the iconic Brussels restaurant was taken over by Rudy Vanlancker, the owner of Chez Léon, another popular restaurant right across the street from Aux Armes de Bruxelles.

It hurt him to see this gastronomic institute decline and fall apart. And that is why he made it his mission to restore its good name and reputation. Rudy Vanlancker had the place restored and refurbished the interior.

He took executive chef Cédric Callenaere on board to steer the kitchen in the right direction.

So how are things now?

What’s the word on the street?

Let’s go back and find out!

We went twice, once for lunch and once for dinner.

We paid for our meals in Aux Armes de Bruxelles and didn’t get or ask anything in return for this review.

Rue des Bouchers 13, Brussels

If you know Brussels a little, the Rue des Bouchers certainly must ring a bell.

Rue des Bouchers in French, Beenhouwersstraat in Flemish and Butcher’s Street in English.

This narrow street is located near the Grand Place in central Brussels, tucked away behind the Royal Saint-Hubert galleries, a stunning glazed shopping arcade packed with chocolate shops, coffee bars and designer boutiques.

Call it what you want, the rue des Bouchers is often looked and frowned upon and called a tourist trap.

This street contains a bunch of restaurants, one beside the other.

Even though it is called the Butcher’s street, lots of restaurants try to push their fish and seafood menus. Hawking is still something that happens here, even though it was forbidden by law a couple of years ago after waiters started to become quite aggressive towards passers by, or fight each other over customers in the street.

Many eateries here just want to feed the crowd of tourists and lure them in with cheap fish and mussel menus.

Just a couple of restaurants here are still authentic, a little old fashioned, and also more expensive.

But definitely worth the money.

One of these places is Aux Armes de Bruxelles.

Restaurant Aux Armes de Bruxelles

This restaurant has 3 dining rooms.

A Brussels ‘brasserie’ type of dining room with the bar and kitchen in the back.

And another stylish dining room on the left at the entrance with tinted glass leaded windows, chandeliers and white table linens.

And a third connected to the previous one, which is definitively less typical.

Over the years we have sat in the different rooms, but we do prefer the brasserie dining room because it just has a more authentic Brussels style atmosphere and feeling.

Amuse bouche

Something you don’t get often nowadays is a little appetizer.

Here at Aux Armes de Bruxelles you do.

It is always a small bite such as chicken liver mousse or a slice of smoked salmon and a goat’s cheese quenelle. Not just the scraps of last night’s dinner service but good quality ingredients.

A free appetizer makes you feel welcome.

On every table also sits a small ceramic ramekin that contains Isigny butter, again an excellent choice of butter and one of our favorite French butters altogether.

Your waiter will bring you menus, and the bread basket to let you pick the bread roll you want.

Crunchy and freshly baked bread rolls, hard to stop eating them even when you know that the portions here are copious and you will probably need all the space in your stomach to finish your meal.

On the menu

Where to begin?!

It is always a struggle to chose what to eat here.

On the menu is literally one Belgian classic after the other, the choice is mind-blowing.

Just to name a few: homemade brawn, veal brains, shrimp stuffed tomato, frog legs, shrimp croquettes, oysters, seafood, mussels, sole meunière, chicken or fish waterzooi, steak, rabbit, carbonnade stew, meatballs in tomato sauce…

As you can see, true classic Belgian cuisine: June often makes them at home as well, you can check her recipes by clicking on the links!

Aux Armes de Bruxelles is also one of the last places that still serves moules parquées, or raw mussels – a delicacy!

So what dishes did we finally chose – and which ones to we gladly recommend?

Salade Veulemans

Not to miss: this brown shrimp salad (€19,50), named after Aux Armes de Bruxelles original owner.

On the plate: fresh lettuce with a generous portion of brown shrimp, watercress, 1 shrimp croquette and the classic deep fried parsley.

A delectable medley of 2 staples, and a must!

Another starter that we highly recommend: half a portion of stewed eel in green herb sauce (€15,00), another classic. Paling in ‘t groen in Flemish, anguilles au vert in French: fresh eel in a savory parsley, chervil, sorrel and mint sauce.

If you have never tried it before, half a portion is the best way to start.

You can also order it as a main course (€28,50) by the way.

Both dishes are absolutely amazing, made with the freshest ingredients, packed with flavor.

Top notch!

Filet américain «c’est nous»

One of our lunch suggestions is the filet américain «c’est nous» (€19,85).

What is the difference with the steak tartare «c’est vous»?

The filet américain is prepped in the kitchen and brought to your table, like the one in the picture below. ‘C’est nous’ means our style, so the chef makes it for you.

The steak tartare «c’est vous» means your style, so on your plate comes finely chopped raw beef with all the toppings and trimmings served alongside of it so you can add as much or as little of everything you want.

Both come with a side of fries and mayo, so definitely a must for a lunch meal!

The fish waterzooi (€28,50) is a main course, and what a classic this is…

Waterzooi is a stew of chicken or fish and vegetables such as carrots and leeks in a cream sauce. This fish waterzooi here contains 3 types of fish: cod, sole and salmon.

On top a generous handful of brown shrimp, stunning and copious again!

Chicken vol au vent

Another classic here on the menu and Luc’s favorite: the famous chicken vol au vent (€19,75).

A creamy stew of chicken, meatballs and mushrooms in white sauce. Traditionally served with a light yellow mousseline sauce and puff pastry on top, and fries as a side.

What a deliciously flavorful chicken stew this is, and again a large portion!

Definitely a must.

Not many restaurants still serve this next classic: veal tongue.

June’s favorite, and this one here in Aux Armes de Bruxelles is one of the best you will ever have. On the menu it says “veal tongue in a spicy sauce with potato mash (€22,50). The sauce contains madeira wine, gherkins and mushrooms, that covers the sliced and super smooth braised tongue meat.

What a delight, perfection.

Dame blanche

On the dessert menu, again nothing else but classics.

Brussels waffles of course, vanilla ice cream and ‘advokaat’ or eggy alcohol custard, Brussels bread pudding with cherry coulis, sugar pie, chocolate mousse and a cheese platter.

Dame blanche (€9,75) is a classic ice cream dessert: 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream with whipped cream and warm chocolate sauce. You can’t make ice cream more Belgian than this.

The warm crêpes “Comédie française” with Mandarine Napoléon orange liquor are served with a scoop of vanille ice cream on top (€12,25).

An epic way to finish a meal, if you still have some space left.

Drinks

The wine list contains a couple of very expensive bottles.

However you can still find bottle of wine here for €30 or less, which is very reasonable. We enjoyed this very elegant Cheverny Pascale Bellier for €27 with our salade Veulemans, eel and fish waterzooi.

Some wines are also served per glass.

We paid €6,20 for a glass of pinot blanc which is again quite reasonable for Brussels.

A liter of water costs €7,50.

Would we go back to restaurant Aux Armes de Bruxelles?

Definitely, the food is each time very consistent.

The staff is very well trained and professional but still finds the time to make a quick joke to make you smile.

Aux Armes de Bruxelles is what we call “une maison de confiance” or a restaurant you can go to with your eyes closed – meaning you will not be disappointed whatever you order.

The customers here are a good mix of locals and tourists who are not afraid to pay a little more for a good authentic meal.

Would we recommend restaurant Aux Armes de Bruxelles?

Absolutely.

We recommend to book in advance to be sure you have a table.

You might get lucky around lunchtime and get a table without reservation.

Aux Armes de Bruxelles can get very busy though, especially for dinner.

Address

Aux Armes de Bruxelles
Rue des Bouchers 13
1000 Brussels
Belgium

We paid for our meals in Aux Armes de Bruxelles and didn’t get or ask anything in return for this review.

Where should we send

YOUR FREE ROME TRAVEL GUIDE?
GET IT NOW
A free 30-page ebook with our best addresses for sleeping, eating, visiting and entertainment in the most beautiful city of Europe
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Where should we send

YOUR FREE ROME TRAVEL GUIDE?
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A free 30-page ebook with our best addresses for sleeping, eating, visiting and entertainment in the most beautiful city of Europe
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