Yvan Mayeur (1960), the current mayor of the city of Brussels, leaves politics aside to give us his selection of neighbourhood hotspots and hangouts.
I spend quite some time in the neighborhood of Les Marolles, but I live in the European Quarter. I often go to what we call brasseries, where you can find French and Belgian menus. I also really like Italian cuisine. But I mostly cook at home – cooking is really a pleasure for me. Still, one of my favourite places is Ogenblik (1 Galerie des Princes – 1000 Brussels), located in the Galleries des Princes, the name means a moment or an instant. It’s a typical Belgian place. I go there for the fish. As for Italian, my favourite is Senzanome (Place du Petit Sablon – 1000 Brussels) . Before there was a kind of institution for Italian food called Ciao, but it’s closed now. There is also Le Pou Qui Tousse (49 Place de la Vieille Halle aux Blés – 1000 Brussels) a Sardinian place. There is another brasserie I often go to called Au Vieux Saint Martin (38 Place du Grand Sablon – 1000 Brussels) near the Sablon. Also in Les Marolles there are three other restaurants I like: Les Larmes Du Tigre (21 de Wynantsstraat – 1000 Brussels), which serves Thai food, L’ Idiot du Village (19 Ons-Heerstraat – 1000 Brussels), a French-Belgian restaurant, and then there is an Italian one called Easy Tempo (146 Rue Haute – 1000 Brussels). As for shopping, I often buy chocolates from Marcolini (1 Rue des Minimes – 1000 Brussels). I also just go to Le Pain Quotidien (11 Rue des Sablons – 1000 Brussels) at Sablon. As for wine, I simply just go to Delhaize, it’s easy, and they have a nice selection. For food I also just go to Delhaize, and the small shops around the Vismarkt on St Catherine. There is a good butcher there, Jack O’Shea (24 Sint-Katelijnestraat – 1000 Brussels) and Charlie’s (34 Sint-Katelijnestraat – 1000) for bread. There is also the ABC (46 Rue Sainte-Catherine – 1000 Brussels) a Spanish place for fish, then you have the Desmecht (10 Sint-Katelijneplein – 1000 Brussels), a special shop for spices. For books I go to Filigranes (39-42 Avenue des Arts – 1000 Brussels). For music, I just use iTunes, most of my music comes from there. I like to go to the opera, to La Monnaie/De Munt (Place de la Monnaie – 1000 Brussels) . And now we also have the Palais 12 (L’Esplanade – 1020 Brussels), a beautiful place with great acoustics. I went to see Stromae there not too long ago. I also like to go to Theatre Varia (78 Rue du Sceptre – 1050 Brussles) and Theatre des Tanneurs (75-77 Huidevettersstraat – 1000 Brussels) as well as to the Magritte Museum (3 Regentschapsstraat – 1000 Brussels) and the Royal Museum (3 Rue de la Régence – 1000 Brussels) where “50: A Brief Story of the Future” is exhibiting, which is also at Le Louvre in Paris. If I go downtown, I’d go to the pedestrian zone at La Bourse, and I would have a beer on one of the terraces around there. I also like this small wonderful bar which used to be more of a jazz bar, but now it’s more than that, it’s called L’Archiduc (13 Rue Antoine Dansaert – 1000 Brussels). In general I also really like the area of Saint-Géry near La Bourse, there are a lot of good cafés in that area, and it has a good atmosphere.Feature image by Capucine Spineux