“ Address: Rue Grétry 51 / 1000 Brussels / Belgium „
The Drug Opera is a comfortable, reasonably priced and quite lively restaurant in the centre of Brussels, close to both the main square and the Opera Theatre House. We went there a couple of times on our recent trip to the city for both drinks and something to eat because it was conveniently located right next door to our hotel.
The restaurant is set over three floors and the decoration inside is both splendid and comfortable. There are huge bars and grand winding staircases opulently decorated walls. The staff all wear matching black waistcoats and crisp white shirts and the whole effect is lovely. We went at Christmas time and the festive decorations were exceptional, from the twelve present adorned real Christmas trees outside to the twinkling lit wreaths running up the staircases inside. The attention to detail is great and makes for a lovely looking restaurant. Having said all this though, it is not a pompous restaurant at all. In fact it is a very relaxed affair with lots of leather sofas around the edges of the restaurant, with tables set in front of them. The tables are all higgledy piggledy, so even though there are a lot of them (the restaurant must easily be able to accommodate 300 people over its three floors), you always feel quite cosy and enclosed, which I really liked.
The restaurant is very popular as well with both tourists and locals. Whilst we were always able to get a table, there were never that many available to choose from. One of the times we went in just for a drink and were told that we had to go upstairs because downstairs was just for people eating. The second time we went in we sat downstairs and just had a drink. The staff I thought could be a bit arrogant and dismissive. Most were nice and maybe it was just the language barrier but I got the impression that they had not much patience for tourists.
The menu is fairly wide ranging and whatever you fancy you will probably find it - they have traditional Belgian stews. My mum had the beef one which was served with chips (as are most of the dishes, the Belgians in general being quite proud of their crispy, twice fried chips) and was full of tender pieces of beef. It was quite sweet and mum says she wouldn't have ordered it again, but it was tasty all the same. Dad and the hubby both had steaks which were cooked to perfection and had only garlic butter as a garnish. You could though order extra sauces if you wished. I had a chicken skewer that was nice, although perhaps a little dry. The skewer came with three sauces, all of which were very nice although I thought the Thousand Island one was a little out of place.
We skipped starters which was a good thing because it just about left room for pudding which was where the restaurant came into its own. There is so much choice although the dishes are mainly Belgian waffle or ice cream based. The desserts are all huge and enough for two at least. We went for the chocolate Belgian waffle which came with homemade vanilla ice cream and a little pot of hot chocolate sauce and the mango medley which was full of fresh mangoes very refreshing. On another day we shared the banoffee waffle which was accompanied by fresh banana, toffee and vanilla ice cream and toffee sauce which was absolutely divine! None of the desserts are for the health conscious though - but then you are in Belgium - the home of chocolate and sweet treats!
The bill for four of us including wine, beers, two courses and coffees was E160 including tip, which I thought was good value for money, especially considering the number of beers we sank in our three hour stay! The beer menu is extensive and there are some familiar ones as well as a few that are not so. I became quite partial to a raspberry flavoured one that tasted like pop and wasn't much stronger, but was excellent all the same.
If you are in Brussels, I would recommend going to the Drug Opera as it offers decent service, good food and great puds and an excellent atmosphere for as much money as you want to spend.