A Foodie’s Guide to Leuven: Must-Try Local Dishes and Restaurants


Are you a food enthusiast looking to explore the culinary scene of Leuven? Look no further! In this blog post, we’ve curated a list of must-try local dishes and restaurants that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. From traditional Flemish cuisine to modern twists on classic dishes, there’s something for everyone in this charming Belgian city. Get ready to indulge in delicious flavors and discover the hidden gems of Leuven’s gastronomic landscape. Bon appétit!

Introduction to Leuven

Leuven is a charming university town in Belgium with a lively food scene. From traditional Belgian dishes to international cuisine, there are plenty of delicious options to choose from in Leuven. Here are some of the best local dishes and restaurants to try during your visit.

Traditional Belgian Dishes

1. Moules-frites: This classic dish is made with steamed mussels and fries. It’s usually served with a side of mayonnaise or garlic sauce for dipping.

2. Carbonade flamande: A hearty beef stew made with beer, onions, and thyme. It’s the perfect comfort food for a cold day.

3. Stoemp: A mashed potato dish that can be made with various vegetables like carrots, Brussels sprouts, or turnips mixed in. It’s usually served as a side dish but can also be a meal on its own topped with sausage or bacon.

4. Waterzooi: A creamy chicken or fish stew that originates from the Flanders region of Belgium. It’s typically made with leeks, potatoes, carrots, and celery simmered in a broth of egg yolks, cream, and white wine.

5 . Waffles: Belgium is famous for its waffles! They come in both sweet and savory varieties, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Sweet toppings include whipped cream,

Must-Visit Restaurants in Leuven

There are plenty of great restaurants to choose from in Leuven, but here are some of the must-visits:

1. De Kommandant – This restaurant is located in an old army barracks and serves up traditional Belgian fare with a twist. The setting is unique and the food is delicious.

2. Het Eilandje – This restaurant is located on an island in the middle of the Dijle River and offers stunning views of Leuven. The menu features fresh, local ingredients and changes seasonally.

3. Beluga – This Michelin-starred restaurant serves modern Belgian cuisine using only the finest ingredients. The dishes are creative and beautifully presented.

4. La Trattoria di Mario – This little trattoria serves authentic Italian food at reasonable prices. The pasta is homemade and the pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven.

5. In’t Spinnekopke – This historic restaurant dates back to 1680 and is said to be the oldest tavern in Belgium. It’s located in a beautiful building overlooking the Market Square and serves traditional Belgian dishes like carbonnade flamande (beef stew) and waterzooi (chicken or fish soup).

Must Try Local Dishes in Leuven

There are many delicious local dishes to try in Leuven, Belgium. Here are some of the most popular ones:

1. Waterzooi: This is a traditional Flemish stew made with fish or chicken, vegetables, and cream. It is typically served with potatoes and bread.

2. Stoemp: A hearty dish of mashed potatoes and vegetables, usually including carrots, Brussels sprouts, and leeks. Stoemp is often served with sausage or meatballs.

3. Carbonnade flamande: A classic Belgian beef stew made with beer, onions, and thyme. It is usually served with mashed potatoes or frites (French fries).

4. Chicons au gratin: Gratinéed endives (chicory) served with a cheese sauce, often Gruyère or Parmesan. This dish is a popular wintertime comfort food in Belgium.

5. Gaufres (Belgian waffles): These light and fluffy waffles are traditionally served with whipped cream and fruit syrup, but there are many different ways to enjoy them. You can find gaufres all over Belgium, but they originated in the city of Liège.

Traditional Desserts and Sweets of Leuven

Leuven is home to many traditional desserts and sweets that are worth trying when you visit the city. Here are a few of the most popular:

1. Spekuloos: A type of spiced gingerbread cookie that is very popular in Belgium. You can find them at most bakeries in Leuven.

2. Liège waffles: A type of waffle that is denser and sweeter than the typical Belgian waffle. It is often served with fruit or ice cream.

3. Chocolates: Belgium is known for its high-quality chocolate, so be sure to try some while you’re in Leuven! There are several great chocolate shops in the city centre.

4. Dried fruits and nuts: Another popular sweet treat in Leuven are dried fruits and nuts, which can be found at most supermarkets and markets.

5. Cake: No list of Belgian sweets would be complete without mention of cake! There are many great bakeries in Leuven where you can find delicious cakes and pastries.

Popular Street Food of Leuven

There’s no shortage of delicious street food to be found in Leuven. From fresh-baked waffles and frites (French fries) served with mayonnaise, to grilled sausages and hearty stews, there’s something to suit every taste. And with so many great restaurants to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a place to eat.

One of the most popular street foods in Leuven is the classic Belgian waffle. These crispy, golden-brown treats are best enjoyed smothered in chocolate sauce or whipped cream, and can be found at most of the city’s cafes and bakeries.

Frites are another ubiquitous street food, and can be ordered from just about any take-away window or stall. They’re usually served with mayonnaise or one of Belgium’s many delicious sauces, such as curry ketchup or Andalouse.

If you’re looking for something more substantial, then why not try a grilled sausage? These hearty snacks are available from stalls all over the city, and make for a perfect lunchtime bite. Many of the city’s sausage vendors also offer other traditional dishes such as stoofvlees (beef stew) and waterzooi (chicken stew), so you can really get a taste of Leuven’s culinary heritage.

Places to Buy Groceries and Ingredients for Home Cooking

If you’re a foodie, then you’ll definitely want to check out some of the best places to buy groceries and ingredients for home cooking in Leuven. From fresh produce and meats to spices and herbs, there’s everything you need to make your favorite dishes.

Some of the best places to buy groceries and ingredients for home cooking in Leuven include:

– Delhaize: This supermarket chain offers a wide variety of food items, including fresh produce, meat, seafood, dairy, and more. You’ll be able to find everything you need for your next meal here.

– Lidl: Another great option for grocery shopping in Leuven is Lidl. This store offers affordable prices on a wide range of food items, including fresh produce, meat, poultry, and more.

– Albert Heijn: If you’re looking for a higher-end grocery store experience, then be sure to check out Albert Heijn. Here you’ll find a wide selection of gourmet food items, as well as a helpful staff that can assist you with finding what you need.

Tips for Eating Out in Leuven on a Budget

If you’re a foodie on a budget, never fear! There are plenty of ways to eat out in Leuven without breaking the bank. Here are some tips:

-Check out the daily specials at local restaurants. Many places offer great deals on certain dishes or meals during specific times of day.

-Share dishes with friends or family. Ordering multiple plates to share is a great way to try a variety of foods without blowing your budget.

-Look for happy hour deals. Many bars and restaurants offer discounts on food and drinks during specific hours – usually early evening.

-Ask locals for recommendations. If you’re not sure where to eat, ask around! Chances are, someone will be able to point you in the right direction for budget-friendly eats.


Leuven is a wonderful city to explore for foodies, offering delicious local dishes and unique dining experiences. From the famous ‘Leuvense stoofvlees’ to the scrumptious ‘tarte flamande’, there are plenty of must-try dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. For an unforgettable night out, don’t hesitate to check out some of Leuven’s most renowned restaurants too. Whether you’re visiting or looking for new culinary delights in your own city, we hope this guide has helped you discover all that Leuven’s gastronomic scene has to offer!

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