Eat & Drink

Published on September 28th, 2020 | by James Drew


Manhattn’s: Best burgers in Brussels

In a few weeks voters will go to the polls in the US elections, an event that always transfixes the world,
writes Martin Banks.

The elections, which will probably intrigue us all more than ever this year, come around every 4 years but there is a bit of Brussels that is “forever America”. It’s a U.S-themed mini burger chain called Manhattn’s that has proved a huge hit since launching a few years ago.

Actually (as the name suggests) this place is not just a homage to all things American but, specifically, New York (yes, the home town of the current incumbent in the White House).

There are, in fact, no fewer than four Manhattns’s in Belgium now, including at Merode, the third and most recent to open in Brussels. The first one was on Av. Louise and the second at the Bourse while there’s also one in the picturesque old quarter of Antwerp.

Merode has plenty of seating inside plus a “conservatory-type” space at the entrance. It’s close to the EU Quarter and nearby properties are among the finest in Brussels, one reason there is an “art deco” theme to the restaurant.

There’s some colourful and creative artwork on the walls – with a predominant Manhattan-skyline, of course –  and there are metro/tram stops to central Brussels right outside.

This was once a traditional Belgian brasserie and is next to the city’s lovely Parc Cinquantinaire, at the end of Avenue Turvueren.

The burgers here have some inventive names after famous New York landmarks like Rockefeller, Empire and Brooklyn while the prime Angus cattle, the source for the burgers, are grass fed. The chips are very well cooked and tasty (as are the buns) and don’t forget to try the accompanying sauces, including the “secret sauce”.

There are some great drinks, including beers and wines as well.

Amid all the negativity it’s nice to report that Manhattn’s is a Belgian success story, launched by the innovative Jerome Vandermeulen and his brother Phil.

Jerome got the idea after working in New York selling a Belgian culinary icon – waffles – and other typical Belgian products in Manhattan.

Jerome returned home and, with the idea of taking a slice out the Big Apple, reinvented “the entertaining and enchanting New York experience” in both Brussels and more recently Antwerp.

It’s all about fusing a ‘fast casual dining’ concept with a desire for quality products. A crucial element is the energetic and lively “American-style” customer service, courtesy of a team of hard working young staff.

A few small changes have had to be made due to the pandemic. Currently it is necessary to order at the bar (rather than via the paper menu). The menu is also slightly reduced at the present time.

The non-stop kitchen is open 7/7 from 11.30am-10.30pm.

Not long after its launch the business was shortlisted in the Awards “Best gastronomic concept” and Jerome and Phil celebrate their 6th anniversary of Manhattn’s on 22 October.

There’s plenty of places to eat burgers here but this is the best in Brussels.

Avenue de Tervuren 9, Brussels

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