The best burgers in Brussels

New burger joints have been popping up on the city’s streets with more urgency than sesame seeds on a burger bun. And we’re talking the trendy, Kobe-beef style joints here. The kind of places where the fries and coleslaw come extra (a big no no in our books). Intent on setting the record straight and shining a light on the true school originals, we highlight three burger bars that, for us, pass the credibility and provenance test.

Rachel: The nostalgic burger

“Eating burgers makes me think of my childhood, and I wanted to revive that,” says Boston-born Frédérik Haspeslagh, the owner of Rachel. Having been impregnated by American culture during his formative years, Haspeslagh thought to bring a little touch of American comfort to the city’s streets, opening up his burger joint Rachel in the heart of Brussels’ St Jacques neighbourhood – right opposite Le Fontainas. Playing the nostalgia card to great effect, the eatery’s interiors delight in their quirkiness (think Sponge Bob pillows, Rubik cubes, comic books and lots of colour) whilst the burgers on offer place Rachel right at the top of our list. Traditionalists will no doubt go for ’the Chuck’, a 130 gram, 100 percent pure Belgian beef patty burger with sliced pickles and tomatoes, cheddar cheese, ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard, held together by an authentic soft burger bun topped with sesame seeds and served with nachos and green salad. It’s the kind of burger that’ll send you on a trip down memory lane.

Our three favourite burger joints in Brussels Burgers Rachel
Our three favourite burger joints in Brussels Burgers Rachel
Our three favourite burger joints in Brussels Burgers Rachel
Classic ’Chuck’ Burger: € 10,00
Rachel, Rue du Marché au Charbon 100 Kolenmarktstraat, 1000 Brussels

Balmoral: The hangover burger

“I got the idea for the restaurant while travel- ling through the US back in 1989 and have been going back ever since to get new inspirations,” says Balmoral owner Pascal Nihoul. Serving up traditional American food (everything from nachos to pancakes and spare ribs are on the menu), the diner’s best known for its burgers, which honour American’s belief that big is better. At a whopping 200 grams, and way larger than any other burger we sampled, Balmoral’s Classic Cheeseburger (100% pure Belgian beef, cheddar cheese, grilled onions and ketchup) comes out top of the list as far as grease count is concerned (and, don’t be mistaken, that’s a good thing in our burger books). It’s a messy affair, yes, but that’s half the fun. One the Sunday morning hangover victims will relish.

Our three favourite burger joints in Brussels Burgers Balmoral
Our three favourite burger joints in Brussels Burgers Balmoral
Our three favourite burger joints in Brussels Burgers Balmoral
Classic cheeseburger: € 12,20
Le Balmoral, Place Brugmann 21 Brugmannplaats, 1050 Brussels

Hotel Conrad’s Bar Loui: The gourmet burger

A favourite with the city’s businessmen and visiting dignitaries, Bar Loui, like most hotel bars, has a simple but well-kept plan: it serves up classics, but it does so well. Take its Bacon-Cheeseburger for starters. The work (and pride) of head chef Frédéric Gonzalez, it surprises in its juiciness, every bite delivering its own dose of carefully scripted grease drops down the burger bun. It also is perfectly balanced, with every ingredient (110 gram beef patty imported from Ireland, cheese, crispy bacon, crunchy iceberg salad, a tomato slice and a freshly-baked golden bun) playing its part in ensuring each and every taste bud is satisfied. Add to that Gonzalez’ sauce (a secret recipe) and you’ve just found another way to burn a 30euro hole through your pocket. It is highly worth it though, trust us.

Our three favourite burger joints in Brussels
Our three favourite burger joints in Brussels
Our three favourite burger joints in Brussels
Bacon-cheeseburger: € 30,00
Bar Loui (inside the Conrad Hotel) Avenue Louise 71 Louizalaan

Brussels’ other best burgers
DELECTA, Rue Lannoystraat 2, 1050 Brussels
HOUTSIPLOU, Rue du Midi 161 Zuidstraat, 1000 Brussels
FATBOYS, Place du Luxembourg 5 Luxemburgplein, 1050 Brussels
COOL BUN, Rue Berckmansstraat 34, 1060 Brussels