W PA R A R A N D C D E E PA BRU RK XELL E
KAPELLEKERK LA CHAPELLE
Follow the trace of the Portuguese in Brussels, and you will wind up in often unfamiliar neighbourhoods, all across the city. But the Portuguese presence is most visible in Ixelles around Place Flagey and in Saint-Gilles, around Place Van Meenen. Not that all or most Portuguese still live there: they have gradually spread all over Brussels. But these are still their city centres, their commercial centres: here you will find their groceries, restaurants, bars. For a complete list of all Portuguese establishments in Brussels, see: www.portugalnet.be and www.vas-y.be Here, you can find a selection for a good day’s walk, of a mainly gastronomic nature.
Clube Alentejano de Desportos de Ixelles ‘O Elvas’
Ever since its origins in 1972, this club is the main meeting point for all the Portuguese of Brussels. They come here mainly for lunch, though you can have diner here as well, around 9 p.m. In the afternoons, the place sometimes fills up with men playing cards and having their aperitif. You have what is served on the day here -- Alentejan cuisine. During the season choco’s and lula’s, dorade, bacalhau, steak. The lady of the house, Maria, prepares Cabrito and Leitao as well, but only to order. Sometimes there are dance nights and Fado events in the room in the back, as well as meetings by the football club, affiliated to club O Elvas. The regulars talk among each other, with at least one eye on the screen, where they show football matches -- the way itPALACE should be... OF JUSTICE Rue Wery 87. Open all days, 12.00-15.30 and 19.0021.30. Closed on Sunday Evenings. Miranda dos Leitoes
In the weekends, there is a market on the recently renovated Place Flagey, with stalls from the four corners of the world. The Portuguese market stall Miranda dos Leitoes is renowned for its Leitao (roast suckling pig) and Bifana (a sort of hamburger with pork steak). You can also have your aperitif here with a good glass of Portuguese wine. Place Flagey, every Saturday
and Sunday, before noon (until 13.00). www.mirandadosleitoes.be 3 Bar O Rio Mondego
Open the door, and you are in Coimbra, where the owner came from. At the bar, underneath the tiles,
ZAVEL / SABLON
customers are drinking Portuguese wine out of little glasses, with a Chouriço Assado or some olives to go with it. The mural paintings portray Fernando Masado Soares, a famous Fado singer from Coïmbra. But there are no Fado concerts taking place here anymore: there is a lack of fadistas in Brussels... Rue de la Bras-
Statue & Square Fernando Pessoa
Since 1989 the Portuguese of Ixelles have their own statue, of Portugal’s most celebrated poet Fernando Pessoa. After having stood there almost unnoticed for twenty years, the statue has now found a new splendour, with the renovation of the Place Flagey. A piece of Lisbon in Brussels, including the typical small stones which reflect the light (well, in Lisbon,EUROPEAN that is, PARLIAMENT in Brussels they mainly reflect the grey clouds...) On the right hand side of the statue, more traces of Pessoa: two ornamental banks with azulejos, covered with quotes by the great poet.
serie, 158. Open all days, from 13.00 to 1.00 4 Terramar The Chaussée de Waterloo is home to several Por-
tuguese businesses, but Terramar is the best-known among them. Have some Pasteis de bacalhau as a IN NT TU MO T N EG hors d’oeuvre, then perhaps a Carne Porco AlenteMO D’ EG D I N jano (pork meat with carpet shell clams) and finish R JA with a Molotov -- infamous because of its calories. Sometimes there is live music which, regrettably, is not limited to the Portuguese repertoire -- French and Spanish singalongs are also unleashed upon an unsuspecting audience. But when a Fado singer is on, it’s usually quite good. Chaussée de Waterloo, 498.
de Charleroi, 190. Open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 11.30 until 17.30.
ST-BONIFAAS / ST-BONIFACE
Clube de Futebal ‘Os Belenenses’
In this snackbar, which is filled with nicely polished cups and other football memorabilia, there is always a crowd at the counter, drinking and discussing, with one eye on the screens. Many among them are supporters of Lisbon team FC Os Belenenses. At noon and in the evening, the tables are set for Portuguese families. Rue de Vergnies 36
Since then, his patisserie/tearoom celebrated its 20th birthday, and today you can taste his pasteis de nata everywhere in Brussels: in hotels, at chains like Exki and Le pain Quotidien, in Portuguese restaurants and bars. The tearoom looks like the inner garden of a typical Alentejo house, complete with tiles, a fake swallow and a gently splashing fountain -- as well as the former door to Garcia’s house of birth. Avenue de la Cou-
guese of Brussels flock to this place. This small grocery store sells all the good things from Portugal, going from broa (maize bread), over sausages and cheese, wines and olive oil, to canned food and dried bacalhau. In contrast to most of the Portuguese in Ixelles, the owners are from the Northern Porto region. Rue
Here, in the shadow of the Flagey building, several CINQUANTENAIRE migrant communities have their place of worship, among them the CommunidadeJUBELPARK Catòlica Portuguesa de Ixelles. Father Eugénio Boléo says mass in Portuguese here every Sunday at noon. Among the faithful are Portuguese, Brazilians, Mozambicans and BelgoBelgians.
13 Queijinhos Doces
The name of this tearoom means “sweet little cheeses” and that is no lie: you can taste the best Portuguese sweets here. Artisanal pastry, from pâo do ló over queijada de laranja to dulce de almendras. Good place for breakfast and a coffee break in the afternoon. Rue
PARC LEOPOLD Rui Manuel Garcia Borralho came to Brussels from PARK Lavre (Alentejo) in 1988 and started a modest bakery.
8 Os Sabores de Portugal When the potatoes arrive from Portugal, all the Portu-
12 Eglise Sainte Croix
Avenue de la Coronne, 106 10 Padaria & pastelaria Garcia
Closed Sunday afternoon.
5 Le Petit Forcado Joaquim arrived in Brussels in 1971 as a political refugee, bringing with him his own recipe for Pastel de Nata, a small egg tart pastry served with powdered cinnamon. Formerly, right next door, he used to run the best Portuguese restaurant in Brussels: Le Forcado. Today, this master-patissier runs this one-man business, with the most delicious pasteis de nata of all Brussels. And this is a well-kept secret. Chaussée
ing Portuguese, “Eurocrats “(the European neighbourhood is quite nearby), Brazilians, Angolans as well as Belgo-Belgians. The owners are supporters of FC Sport Lisboa e Benfica (Benfica, for short), one of the three major Portuguese clubs. But feel free to forcefully support other teams if you feel like it -- nobody will mind. There is always a good atmosphere, and a no nonsense cuisine of Arroz de Tamboril, Cabrito or Francesinha -- a sort of croque monsieur with sauce, literally “little French girl”, as it was introduced into Portugal by a migrant who had returned from France.
de la Brasserie, 98 14 Brasserie Caramulo
The owner of this bar (as well as of the restaurant next door) comes from Serra do Caramulo, a beautiful mountainous area not far from Viseu. The Portuguese of Ixelles come here to enjoy the traditional Portuguese kitchen in a jovial, family-like atmosphere. Rue de la Brasserie, 132. Closed Mondays, Tuesday nights and Sunday nights.
ronne, 7 11 Le Bar du Marché
This bar, which is very busy at night, used to be the Portuguese restaurant Le Coin de l’Eglise. The barman is still Portuguese; the pasteis de nata are from Garcia, and after the Portuguese Sunday mass, the outside bar is quiet enough to read your newspaper in -- that is, until 5 p.m., when the live jazz concert kicks off. Rue
de Vergnies, 38 Café Le Portugal
Whenever there’s a match on one of the TV screens, than Le Portugal is full of eating, drinking, and cheer-
Alphonse Dewitte, 12
1 ST-GILLIS ST-GILLES
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5 ST-GILLIS CITY HALL