Nero Belgian Waffle Bar

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After dinner, we headed over to Nero Belgian Waffle Bar. It was the hype many years ago, but I have been a laggard in trying it out. We arrived at around 8pm and the place was half filled with steady traffic.

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This is the place if you want to try Belgian waffles. They offer two types of waffles: brussels or liege. You can then choose their preset toppings.

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They have a bit of seating outside as well as the inside. You first order, and they will assign you seating. It’s quite small, so we had to sit at the table with others.

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Mocha on Brussels Waffle

We shared the Mocha on Brussels Waffle, which features vanilla ice cream, espresso infused whipped cream and dark Belgian chocolate sauce on top of a light and crispy waffle. I found the waffle to be rather sticky, but it was still quite delicious. Maybe a bit too much of that whipped cream, but it was light so not too heavy.

Overall, we were quite pleased with Nero Belgian Waffle Bar. By the time we left, there was a huge lineup forming, so be sure to go there early! I also liked how they were cool with us ordering one waffle between the three of us. Usually, many smaller shops force you to order a minimum order. Only downside is that the waffles are quite pricey though, with most of them being $8-9. Great to share with friends after dinner though!

Pros:
– Waffles are delicious and variety of toppings
– Friendly service

Cons:
– Quite pricey for waffles

Price Range: $10

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 3.5

Nero Belgian Waffle Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Chez Leon (Les Halles) – Paris

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I was back in Paris again! This was sort of a last minute decision since my mom and aunt decided to come visit me and travel Europe. Tickets were extremely cheap with Ryanair, and I believe I got them for under 20 euros one way. They were flying in directly to Paris, so I would meet them at our hotel. It was sort of weird traveling alone, but luckily I had become more familiar with Paris after the previous visit. After showing them around Paris in the day, we settled at Chez Leon for dinner. C had told me that the one in Paris was really good and having previously tried it in Brussels, I was excited to go again! I did some Googling and realized that they had 5 different chains in Paris! We started walking towards the Les Halles/ Chatelat location, but soon realized it’s actually pretty far from where the shops are at Champs Elysees. We ended up taking a metro to Les Halles, and it was right outside the station. The restaurant was very quiet and empty on a weekend night. Service was also really lacking. There were basically no other diners, yet they took forever to come take our order.

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Shrimp Spring Roll Salad

They had a set menu going on for an appetizer and an entree for a discounted price. For the appetizer, we chose the Shrimp Spring Roll Salad. It ended up being two pieces of shrimp being battered and deep fried. The shrimp were pretty big and it actually tasted pretty good despite it looking very simple. It came with a simple green salad.

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Fresh Salmon Filet, pan fried

For the entree, we got the Fresh Salmon Filet. It was pan fried and came with rice and green beans. Everything was lightly seasoned with salt, which we liked so it wasn’t too overwhelming. The salmon was cooked perfectly with the top lightly crispy and the fish flaking inside.

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Seafood Mussels in a Plancha

And of course we got some mussels! My mom isn’t huge on creamy sauces, so we ended up choosing something different from the usual. We got the Seafood Mussels in a Plancha, which was basically a pan filled with seafood and sauteed with olive oil, tomato garlic and mixed herbs. Other than mussels, other seafood included wild king prawns and calamari rings. Although the mussels were small, they were again very fresh. The sautee style was a bit different yet quite flavourful, but I still preferred the ones steamed in white wine or a broth. Our mussels also came with fries and bread, so it was more than enough for the three of us.

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And that was our meal at Chez Leon! However, I heard that the chain at the Les Halles location is not as good as the rest. I’m not sure since I haven’t been to to the other ones, but I would agree that service was lacking. It wasn’t rude or anything, but weren’t really looked after. Next time, I will be visiting the other locations! Never a disappointment for moules et frites at Chez Leon!

Snacks and Travel Tips for Brussels

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Belgium wasn’t exactly a country I had planned as a must-go during my exchange. However, when C found a Ryanair flight from Barcelona to Brussels for 30 euros round trip, I couldn’t say no to that. What was interesting about this trip was that instead of staying a hostel or hotel, like I usually did, we stayed at a guesthouse. I hadn’t really looked into guesthouses, since I didn’t really know how it worked, but C found it randomly. Useful websites or apps are hostelbookers or booking.com. Anyways, we stayed at this lady and her husband’s house which was really cute! She loved antiques so our room was all decorated with dolls and sculptures. It was definitely a more girly room. It was a sort of bunk bed with a queen size bed above the desk, so we had to share the bed. Not exactly what we had imagined since we requested two doubles. We had our own separate bathroom at the lower floor, and each morning, she would prepare us a basic breakfast. Bread with a variety of jams and spreads, as well as tea/coffee and orange juice. I wouldn’t say this was cheaper than a hostel, but it was definitely nice to live somewhere that felt more cozy than a hostel. Also, it was great to have a local tell you where to go and give us advice. Maps were provided for us. Our guesthouse was also extremely close to the metro, so that was a plus!

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On our first day, we really just had an adventure in the city. I guess we walked into the more touristy part of the city, since there are a ton of chocolate shops everywhere! One street would probably be half filled with chocolate shops. Some were more like souvenir shops with chocolate being sold, while others were chocolate boutiques and some were big international brands. This was Belgique Gourmande, which I believe we saw two of them during our time here. This shop has a large variety of chocolate, and they sell brands from other companies. Perfect place if you’re looking for a gift. You can find things like just a chocolate bar, to gift boxes and truffles.

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What we liked about Belgique Gourmande was the option to just pick and choose truffles and some select chocolates which would just be priced by weight. Here, I got some truffles as well as a chocolate orange. Not bad, but I wouldn’t say they are anything better than chocolates like Godiva or Lindt. It was just fun since you can try different flavours.

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Godiva is also everywhere! I actually didn’t realize that Godiva was Belgium since I first encountered Godiva when I was in the United States. What we have in Vancouver is pretty much the same as in Belgium though. Warning: The prices are either the same or even more expensive in Belgium than in Vancouver! Not sure if it’s because tourists would assume that Godiva would be cheaper here, since it’s from Belgium, but they really weren’t. Some items were maybe slightly cheaper by a dollar or two, like the chocolate dipped strawberries, but honestly not that much and not worth bringing all the way back and wasting luggage space. I guess it might also be because the euros are so strong, so everything is just expensive for us Canadians!

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Belgian waffles are a must! You’ll find these little waffle shops all around the city. They advertise their waffles to be 1 euro, which is true, but only if you get just the waffle itself! Of course we didn’t, and added some toppings. Each topping has additional costs, but I think ours came to under 3 euros, which is a decent deal. The waffle was so warm and fluffy! They make it right on the spot. Strawberries were also fresh, and the whipped cream made it a perfect combo!

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And then we found Mannekin-Pis. I didn’t even know about this famous statue, but all around town, you would see little figures of this naked boy urinating. Even chocolate. Yup. Anyways, when we finally reached this landmark, I was like “Wait, what? That’s it?” I was sort of disappointed. He was so tiny! Even those chocolate sculptures of him were bigger… Apparently the original is actually at a museum since it was stolen many times. While I was there, I still didn’t really know the story behind this boy. Now that I’m home, I did a quick search and learned that this statue was made by Brussels sculptor and has many different legends behind it. The most famous one is about the troops putting Duke Godfrey III of Leuven, who was a two year old lord in a basket and hanging it on a tree. Apparently, the boy urinated on the other troops who then lost the battle. Interesting…

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Belgian is also known for beer! I don’t know much about beer, but we found this shop that had a ton of beer! Like I’ve never seen so many types of beer in my life. I don’t even like beer, but I wanted to buy them all since the packaging were so nice! A lot of them even catered to girls too with really girly labeling. Some were holiday versions as well.

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C and I ended up grabbing two beers to drink for the night. She chose the Delirium Beer since we saw many people getting that. However, she found it very strong and bitter. We’re definitely not beer drinkers, so probably why. I went for the Peach Lambic Beer. I actually really like it and C did too! It tasted more like a cider than beer to me. Fruity and bubbly.

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While were in Brussels, the Christmas Market had just begun as well. We didn’t find the market to be too impressive compared to the others in Europe. A reason might be because it was the first day and they were still setting up. It was a lot of arts and crafts, and mostly drinks. Not a lot of food, and since we’re foodies, we’re always looking for food… They had an outdoor skating rink and also a Ferris wheel.

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At night time, I finally decided to try the Hot Wine, which is called Vin Chaud. Oh, did I also mention that they speak French in Brussels? I never knew that until I got here and saw everything in French! I guess it’s because they’re situated so close to France. Anyways, they were selling Vin Chaud at almost every drink booth at the market, so I decided to give it a try. I didn’t really like it though. I found it difficult to go down my throat. The red wine they used must’ve been quite dry. I personally wouldn’t get this again and prefer cider more!

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Then we came across Grand Place again. The Grand Place is a must see since it’s the central square of Brussels. On the four sides are guildhalls, the city town hall and the Broadhouse. We walked by this square a lot since it was on our way to other tourist landmarks and to the metro. It’s absolutely beautiful during day time and we had seen a Christmas tree had been planted in the center in daytime. This specific day though, people were surrounding this area and we were sort of confused. Like what was going on? C and I kept discussing I guess a little too loudly, and I told her there must be something special going on! A young man overheard us and laughed and said “Yup, today’s the lighting of the Christmas tree, except it was scheduled a while ago, and nothing has happened, so everyone’s waiting anxiously, unsure what’s happening.” Funny enough, we found out this man was from Seattle, very close to my home! This is what I love about traveling. You meet people from all over the world, and even people who are close to you back at home. After a few minutes of chatting, the tree finally lit up! And music began to play and lights flashed everywhere. It was beautiful! They basically had lights flashing on the buildings on the four sides and they would move based on the song’s rhythm. Absolutely amazing and it really started to feel like Christmas! (even though it was only November). A must see if you are traveling here around December.

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After, I suggested we go to see the Atomium! It wasn’t on the top of our list, but since it was our last night and we had some time, I wanted to go see it. It was constructed for Expo ’58 and is supposed to be a cell of an iron crystal. You can actually go on the top of the sphere which gives you a panoramic view of Brussels. Perhaps where we saw it wasn’t the best spot because we were slightly disappointed. It was sort of situated beside a parking lot… Two pictures and we left. Also, it’s not near anything else, so you really have to go out of your way to come here. Not worth it if you’re on a tight schedule.

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So apparently there’s a bar called Cafe Delirium which has over 1000 different types of beers and is a must go for beer lovers. Although we don’t love beer, we thought if we’re in Brussels, we might as well. Sadly, I think we ended up at the wrong Delirium. Apparently, there are a bunch of bars called Delirium with this elephant logo. I’m not sure if they’re related and owned by the same one, but this wasn’t the one that was famous! The original one is listed in the Guinness to have the largest selection of beer in the world and has two floors! We had asked the bartender if this was the right one, but of course he said Yes… The sad thing was that I think I saw the real Delirium Cafe just a few blocks down… So confusing.

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Well, we still settled for some beer. I chose the La Corne since I saw the girl next to me drinking it. It came in this horn shaped glass so I thought it was really cool! It was a bit difficult to hold and drink though. It was a golden colour and wasn’t too bitter. Yea I’m not very descriptive with my beers, since I don’t know much about them.

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C got the Chocolate Beer, but she really didn’t like it. I thought it tasted sort of funny too. There really wasn’t a chocolate flavour to it and tasted more bitter than mine. They do have a bunch of fruitier beers, which she probably would’ve enjoyed more.

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The next day, we had half a day left before we needed to catch our flight. We decided to head over to another part of the city which had lots of new, modern buildings. Lots of offices too. Here, we also found the European Union building. Wasn’t as impressive as I had imagined though, and there was a ton of construction going on all around.

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We also went to the Parc du Cinquantenaire, which translates to the Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary. This is in the European Quarter of Brussels, and basically next to the EU building. It features the triumphal arc, that I swear almost every city in Europe has! It commemorates the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence. What I thought was impressive was the horseshoe shaped arcade they also hard. Seems like a nice park to walk around on a nice sunny day. I think there’s also a museum here. This area definitely gives you a different feeling compared to the rest of the city. A much more modernized and business-like area.

And that concluded my trip to Brussels! We stayed for 2 nights and 3 days, which we found more than enough. There wasn’t too much to see in terms of tourist spots. It was more of a food trip for us and it was nice to travel with just another friend who shared the same interests. Always great to have someone who will splurge on food with you! Tip: Book early to avoid high prices. Also, we found Brussels quite touristy, so don’t fall into tourist traps. Do your research on food and restaurants, so you can truly enjoy the local experience. We also found locals to be quite friendly here and the city is relatively safe.

Maison Antoine – Brussels

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Some claim that Maison Antoine has the best fries in Belgium and the world, but of course this is all based on personal taste. They have been voted as one of the best and have been all over the media. The fritterie is now operated by its fourth generation so it’s been around for a long time! After C and I took a quick walk to the EU building and the arc, we headed over to grab some lunch here. Yup, we eat fries for lunch. But apparently, a bunch of other people do too! We got there at around maybe 11:15 and there was already a small line up! We quickly lined up too, and later found out they open at 11:30 am. Wow, people actually line up for this place! It was a mix of locals and tourists, and there were several local families as well. The kids were so excited to get their fries! The gates rolled up, and the line began to move quickly on two sides.

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They have an extensive menu! Apparently, when they first started, they only had fries and two sauces though! Now, they have their fries in two sizes, and a whole menu of sauces! The Tartare Maison (House Tartar) still seems to be the most popular. Other than that, they also have a huge menu of snacks and even sandwiches. What surprised me was that many people also ordered items other than the fries. Shows that the rest of their food is also pretty good! However, I can say that pretty much everyone left with some fries!

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When in Belgium, get the Belgian fries. So of course we did. Since it was only ,30 euros more to get a large size and we were sharing, we got the large. It was huge though! We probably would’ve been fine just getting the small. Belgian fries are extremely popular because they are thought to have originated from Belgium, although some say that the French did, hence the name French fries. Belgian fries are cut a bit thicker than French fries though, as French fries are known to be skinny. They are also deep fried twice, therefore it’s soft in the middle and very crispy on the outside. I loved how they continued the tradition to serve the fries in a “cornet de frites” where your fries are wrapped in cone shaped paper. And you get the small plastic forks so you don’t need to get your fingers all dirty. Were the fries good? Yup. Were they amazing? I don’t know if I would say they were amazing. After a while, we both agreed we were sort of sick of the fries and they weren’t that special.

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Oh and of course, we got the sauces. These are for additional costs, and we decided to try two. We got the Maison Tartare and I think the one in the back was the Chili (since we asked the lady which spicy sauce was recommended). The Maison Tartare was our favourite. The Chili was just okay, and it wasn’t even really spicy. Belgian fries always seem to be eaten with some type of sauce. The most popular ones are actually mayonnaise and ketchup. However, today, friteries have come up with a variety of sauces.

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Since we lined up, we also decided to try some of their snacks. We got the Lucifer and the Loempia. The Loempia, which is pictured as the darker brown one was sort of like a sausage roll. Loempias are really spring rolls, so it was a thin outer layer deep fried with some meat inside. It was just alright and nothing too special. The Lucifer was what we liked! It seemed like a new product and they had some advertisements on the windows of it. We weren’t exactly what a Lucifer was but it looked like a matchstick! I did a quick search and still, I’m not sure what it is. It seems like a name that Maison Antoine has just come up with since Lucifers in Belgium usually refer to the beer. Anyways, it’s this crispy coating around some meat like thing, and on the red part, it’s this spicy sort of sauce that is kind of dried up. Not very descriptive I know, but just think of it as some spicy deep fried meat! Pretty good!

Anyways, Maison Antoine was a nice shop to grab a snack, although it ended up being our lunch. The fries are pretty good, but I wouldn’t metro all the way here just for the fries if I wasn’t going to tour around this area as well. I hear there are also great friteries elsewhere in the city, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to tell much of a difference. Still, the line up here was constant and longer once it got later in the day. Good thing we came a little earlier!

Le Fin de Siècle – Brussels

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Le Fin de Siecle was rated as one of the top Belgian restaurants for locals, so C and I decided to go here for our last dinner. It’s tucked away in the streets and the restaurant’s name is barely noticeable in the dark. It took us a while to find it and we even walked by it a few times before we saw the small font at the bottom of the window. The inside was quite packed, but it was still early and we were able to find a seat. It’s a very chill restaurant, almost like a pub. Wooden furniture and very cozy. Their menu is written on the chalkboard everyday, and it was all in French. Yea, my high school level French clearly did not help, and we had to ask one of the workers, who seemed like the owner to help us out. He was very busy, but still came back a few minutes later and went down the whole list to explain to us. Very friendly!

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Complimentary Bread

I wasn’t expecting complimentary bread here since it looked more like a pub, but they still offered it. However, the bread wasn’t that good. It wasn’t warmed up and not fluffy.

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Grilled Steak

I chose the Grilled Steak, since the other options didn’t seem to appealing to me at the time. I hadn’t had steak in a long time, and this was a good meaty meal. The steak was cooked to medium rare with the inside still pink. Perfect! Topped with a slice of butter and some light seasoning, it was juicy and tender. It came with a side of salad and the leaves were all fresh and crisp. It also came with a baked potato, but I wished it was seasoned a little more. Some good comfort food though!

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Beef Carbonade with Mashed Potatoes

C chose the Beef Carbonade with Mashed Potatoes, which is also a favourite at Le Find de Siecle. A carbonade is a typical Belgian dish, which is essentially a beef stew made with beer. I believe they said these were beef cheeks. The meat was so soft and tender! And the sauce was delicious! Very hearty and was perfect to mix with the mashed potatoes. It also came with an artichoke and some broccoli.

Overall, I can see why this restaurant is so popular. It had a large variety of Belgian comfort foods, which I believe they change up daily. Most people dining there were locals. Prices were a little more expensive for students on a budget, but quite reasonable for the amount of food you get. What’s interesting about this restaurant is that you have a chance of sharing a table with other diners too since they do have communal seating arrangements if you are dining with a small group. A very casual environment with good food.