It’s a great Belgian tradition but surprisingly many restaurants here haven’t quite mastered the art of cooking the perfect frite.
Step forward Le Rendez-vous des Artistes. It takes the quality of its “French fries” very seriously indeed.
So much so that its owners have installed an authentic chip fryer in the kitchen of the restaurant so as to ensure they can offer the most tasty and best cooked frites possible to customers
The irony, perhaps, is that the custodians of this great Belgian classic are not actually from Belgium – but Greece!
Brothers Costa and Vassili Karagianis own a couple of Greek restos elsewhere in the Brussels area and took over this restaurant, focusing on traditional Franco-Belgian cuisine, a couple of years ago.
But the wonderful fresh chips, cooked (the way they should be) in beef fat are the “pride” of Le Rendez-vous des Artistes.
Whatever you choose off the quite extensive menu, you really should try to ensure that it is accompanied by a bowl of frites.
However, there is much else to commend this fine eatery, with some other great Belgian classics such as Flemish stew, steak tartare,meat balls and (when in season) marvellous mussels.
The place itself has a rich and colourful history, having once been the haunt of musicians, actors and artists (hence, the name) who used to flock here after a show in Brussels.
The restaurant’s late founder, Vito Viterbo, owned the place for many years during which time it became well known for its bohemian connections.
But it also went through a period of relative decline until, that is, Costa and Vassili took over.
They have, happily, now gone some way to restoring the ambience of its past, with walls adorned with framed photos of famous Belgian artists and a great musical soundtrack to accompany the dining.
The tastefully decorated resto and food all make for a very pleasurable and relaxing dining experience, be it inside or on the terrace.
The measures required of all restaurants now in wake of the ongoing health pandemic have not adversely affected that experience.
And, judging by the healthy number of visitors on what would normally be a quiet midweek evening, the business has not suffered too much by the coronavirus crisis.
This reflects well on the efforts made by the two brothers to re-establish the restaurant’s excellent reputation since they took charge.
One good reason for that is the terrific quality of the food (overseen by the Italian-born chef Fabrice) from what is quite a large selection, ranging from fantastic Angus steak to fish and other seafood such as shrimps, oyster and lobster to salads, pasta and much else besides.
The brothers also pay homage to that other great Belgian tradition – beer – so look out too for a great choice of regional tipples from this country. The fine wine card is relatively short but it is a clever selection and the prices, as with the menu, are very reasonable, particularly considering the quality.
There is also a popular lunch of the day (a choice from three dishes) at a very affordable €12.90 or €15.90 with a starter.
Marc is the welcoming manager here who has known the brothers for many years. He concedes that business – as with most restaurants – had suffered somewhat as a result of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown. But anyone thinking of trying out this lovely restaurant (or re-visiting it if they have been before) can be reassured that every effort has been taken to protect them and make it coronavirus-secure.
The restaurant, open six days a week (closed Sunday) from midday to 11pm, is located just off the city’s bustling Avenue Louise. Recommended.