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Izakaya is one my those foodie spots that never fails to make me happy. The food is impeccable, the staff polite and it’s really close to the beautiful Etangs d’Ixelles in Flagey. Now if only I could get a table without a reservation, it would be practically perfect.

I know you’re curious about the food but hang on a minute. Do you know what an Izakaya is? In Japan, these places are very popular for casual after-work drinks that are accompanied by nibbles. Kind of a European tapas bar, if you will. In this case, Izakaya is more of a proper restaurant that serves Japanese food but no sushi. No worries though: as other Japanese restaurants in Brussels, like Yamato, Kokuban or Umamido, prove there’s much more to Japanese food than sushi.

Everything at Izakaya is fresh and made by skillful Japanese chefs who prepare your order behind the open counter. If you don’t mind sitting on a stool, ask to be seated there as you’ll be able to watch all the action. It’s really impressive to see the attention and care put in slicing the different kinds of fish and vegetables, which makes the whole meal all the more pleasant.

The menu feautures many different dishes, including sashimi, gyoza and ramen. The last time we visited Izakaya for the blog my partner in crime and I shared a selection of skewers, dried fried fish, tempura udon soup, beef and soba noodles and some warm sake aka my latest obsession. After quite a few small dishes (“otsumami”) of loveliness we were in Japanese culinary heaven! The real winner though, especially if you’re on a budget, is their lunch bento box. It’s cheap (10€ – 13€), quick and changes on a daily basis. Just make sure to arrive around noon because they’re gone pretty quickly.

If you wish to try Izakaya, I urge you to make a reservation a few days in advance even if you are just two. Yep, that’s how popular it is! But it’s truly worth all the planning, you’ll see.

Address: Chaussée de Vleurgat 123, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Telephone: +32 2 6483805
*UPDATE: Unfortunately, Izakaya is now closed.*
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Sandy (@smarksthespots)