| 4 min read
When my mother got a new job, our family gathered in Brussels to celebrate this wonderful news. Of course, as a self-proclaimed Brussels specialist, it was my job to take them somewhere nice :-) Feeling slightly adventurous, I opted for a Belgian restaurant in Schaerbeek where I hadn’t been before, but it was recommended by friends and the many TripAdvisor comments only confirmed that statement. Below you’ll read why Le Zinneke turned out to be a good decision.
1. The interior design takes you back in time
Situated on Place de la Patrie, the building looks quite standard from the outside. But once inside, you take a step back in time as you enter the lovely, dimly-lit dining area with wooden furniture, vintage chandeliers and long red curtains.
2. The menu is a comic book
As we were all seated, the waiter handed a comic book to each of us. The Smurfs, Nathalie, Du Côté de Chez Poje, Tatayet… We each received a different copy. We were about to start reading when we realized the menu was sticking at the back of the cover pages. The menu itself was quite extensive, featuring meat, fish, and vegetarian dishes. And they also have 69 different ways to prepare mussels. I’m not exaggerating. Additionally, the walls are adorned with both classical paintings and original wall paintings depicting famous Belgian cartoons. Behind us, for example, was a large painting featuring Lucky Luke, Asterix, the Smurfs, Gaston and many others who were having a beer in a cellar bar.
3. Le Zinneke offers a real Brussels experience
Not only the decoration creates the feeling of an old charming Brussels restaurant. The waiters are also able to welcome and help you in the official Brussels languages (thus including Dutch). The menu is even written down in Brussels dialect, which is similar to the other Flemish dialects.
There are many amusing winks to Brussels clichés in the decorative elements. The most striking one is situated in the toilets, where a Manneke Pis statue functions as a water fountain to wash your hands.
4. The food is tasty
We opted for the menu formula at 36 EUR, which means we could freely compose our own menu combing all available starters, main dishes and desserts. For some dishes, an extra fee applies, but it’s always clearly indicated on the menu.
I had ‘Crokette mi Creveette, Hee Gemokt’ (home-made shrimp croquettes) as a starter which were delicious. Considering the typical Brussels setting, I had high expectations for my main dish, the ‘Stauf Kabernaaie mi Gheuis gelak in de Haaven Taaid’ (Flemish stew, prepared with Gueuze beer like in the old days). It's uncommon nowadays to use this beer for a stew, which is original but also added a bitter taste to the sauce. I prefer the sweeter stew prepared with brown beer. Finally, they made it up with a delicious pannacotta for dessert and a liquor on the house as they handed us the bill.
Everybody else was pleased with their food, and the portions were definitely satisfying. No one ordered the mussels which I’m led to believe are the specialty of the house, so we’ll have to try those next time.
All in all, I’d say you shouldn’t expect haute cuisine, but you’ll definitely get a filling and savory meal that will make your belly happy.
5. During happy hour you get a 25% discount
If you come early and agree to leave the restaurant at 20h20, you’ll enjoy a 25% discount on your bill. It applies on the food only and not on the drinks, but it makes a big difference nevertheless.
- The address is Place de la Patrie 26, 1030 Schaerbeek
- They offer parking spots at 5 EUR per vehicle
- Happy hour is between 18:00 and 20:20
- It’s not possible to get free tap water here
- They also do delivery and takeaway
- More information on the Zinneke website
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