Belgium is known for its waffles but working out where to find the tastiest, crispiest, and sweetest of these deep-fried, sugar-drenched snacks isn’t always easy. Which is why we asked Belgian travellers where they go to get the best waffles. *
No trip to Brussels is complete without a Belgian waffle
Compared to other European cities, Brussels tends to keep a low profile when it comes to food. There is, however, one dish that the city residents are happy to shout about: waffles. Whether you have them slathered in syrup, covered in fruit or on their own: no trip to Brussels is complete without a Belgian waffle.
While the locals tend to prefer the Liège waffle (more on this heated debate below) you’ll also find the Bruges variety at the Peck 47 restaurant. Try the savoury waffles with poached egg and a few rashers of bacon, or wander over to the open-all-hours Le Funambule for a late-night sugar fix. Make your sugarcrash 100 times more tolerable by checking into the Hygge Hotel.
Bruges waffles are easy to identify due to their neat edges and deep ‘pockets’
There are two different types of waffles that can claim to be the true ‘Belgian waffle’. And considering Bruges’ reputation as a chocolate utopia it makes sense that one of these rival waffles would be the Bruges version. These waffles are lighter than Liège waffles, made from a crisp leavened-yeast batter and easy to identify due to their neat edges and deep ‘pockets’.
Upon reaching Bruges leave your bags at B-Square and make the short trip over to Chez Albert, a petite bakery perched between the Market Square and Burg Square that frequently has queues stretching around the block. Or if you prefer to enjoy your waffles in warm, weather-proof surroundings grab a table at Café au Lait.
Another waffle worth travelling for
The other kind of waffle worth travelling for is the Liège waffle. Known locally as ‘une gaufre liégeoise’, it differs from its Bruges counterpart both in shape (no straight edges here) and composition, thanks to the thicker, bread-like dough.
These delicious treats are available throughout the city centre in a variety of flavours. Although the cinnamon and caramelized apple stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. Visit the delightfully-dainty Une Gaufrette Saperlipopette bakery to eat your fill and then sleep it off at the nearby B&B N°5.
The best place to eat Brussels waffles, really
If you still can’t decide between the Bruges and Liège waffles then life is about to get a whole lot more complicated. There is a third waffle; the Brussels waffle. It’s lighter than the Bruges waffle but not as light as the Liège waffle, and the best place to eat it – despite the name – is Ghent.
Max at Goudenleeuwplein is the one of the best places to try these waffles and you can either eat it immediately or display Herculean self-control and take it up to St. Michel’s Bridge. Here you’ll find a far-reaching view of the gingerbread, higgledy-piggledy streets of Ghent’s old town, and be able to lick chocolate off your fingers in peace. Stay nearby at the magical Hostel Uppelink.
Travel back in time by grabbing a waffle from the Van Hecke Waffle House
There are waffles all over this city, although you may struggle to spot them underneath groaning piles of fresh strawberries and towering scoops of strawberry ice-cream.
Travel back in time by grabbing a waffle from the Van Hecke Waffle House (established in 1905) or try waffles so good you’ll think you’ve dreamt them up at Crème de la Crème. When you’ve finished eating the streets of Antwerp bare relax in the airy and beautifully-appointed Tempor'area Apartment.
** These destinations were the top-rated cities for ‘waffles’, according to Booking.com travellers to Belgium.