This article is part of a series that explores Mons (Belgium)
Between the tourist traps that should be famed for the prowess of serving you meat that’s simultaneously frozen AND burnt and the overpriced cafés where the waiters are so rude you’d believe they’ve spent the last twenty years isolated from the rest of humanity in a disused bomb shelter, it is difficult to find a nice place to eat in Mons. Like all small towns whose days of glory are long gone, Mons still thinks it is the centre of the world, and it shows in the way it treats the innocent people who dare to ask for a decent dish served by a decent person at a decent price. But worry not; I’ve got your back!
My three favourite places to eat in Mons
#1 Les Enfants Gâtés
With a refined French cuisine at the price of your casual brasserie, Les Enfants Gâtés definitely gets my vote. My father says that Matta Badros is the only chef in Mons who knows how to cook fish, and it is true. Sure, there is some delicious meat on the menu (not to mention vegan options), but the fish really steals the show and I must insist that you try the sea bass (à la carte); it is a thing of beauty.
After working in posh restaurants on the Belgian coast and in Germany, the Egyptian-born chef finally settled in Mons, where he opened his cosy restaurant. His idea was that you could serve good food at an affordable price, which prompted him to refuse for the Enfants Gâtés to be in the Gault et Millau gastronomic guide despite a very good grade. The dishes, much like the chef, have character here.
Bonus: The bossa nova playlist that contributes to the lovely atmosphere.
Les Enfants Gâtés | Rue de Bertaimont 40, 7000 Mons.
Lunch: Tuesday-Friday & Sunday from 12.00 to 2.30 pm.
Dinner: Wednesday-Saturday from 6.30 pm to 9.30 pm.
Closed on Mondays.
Phone: 0032 (0) 65 97 59 64
#2 La Grillade
If, like me, you like continental Greek cuisine, you’ll love La Grillade. After many years of focusing exclusively on traditional Greek dishes, the owner, Luigi Barone, has decided to bring a French twist to the menu, and I love it. You can still get your usual souvlaki and other grilled meat, of course, but there’s a little more to it than at your average Greek restaurant.
A special mention goes to the meze, which is insane (tarama, tzatziki, feta, crayfish, dolmades, calamari, langoustines, olives, red peppers, etc.); always order for one person fewer than the number of people who actually are at your table, otherwise you’ll never be able to finish it.
Bonus: A very nice patio where you can eat in the summer.
La Grillade | Rue des Clercs 22, 7000 Mons.
Lunch: Sunday from 12.00 to 3.00 pm.
Dinner: Every day from 6.30 pm to 10.00 pm, except on Saturdays (11.00 pm).
Phone: 0032 (0) 65 31 64 14
Jebneh is a snack that offers Syrian specialties, and it is my go-to when I feel like eating something a little different. Fatayer, chawarma wraps and falafel galore! Your biggest difficulty will be to choose from the menu; even though it isn’t big, as Syrian cuisine requires only the freshest ingredients, everything looks (and tastes) delicious.
Opened in 2017 by two Syrian brothers, Yaman and Amir Bach, who had to flee Alep because of the war, and located in the very hipsterish rue des Fripiers, Jebneh (“Cheese”) is one of the latest and most dynamic places to eat in Mons. The dining room only sits a dozen people at best, but it doesn’t matter as you can also take your food home.
Bonus: Jebneh is the place to go if you’re craving for baklavas and other Middle Eastern pastries.
Jebneh | Rue des Fripiers 42, 7000 Mons.
Lunch: Monday-Thursday & Saturday from 11.00 am to 2.30 pm.
Dinner: Every day from 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm.
Closed on Sundays.
Phone: 0032 (0) 498 69 61 04 — Facebook
Did You Know?
A very strange event seems to have happened in Mons during WWI. Discover the bizarre tale of The Angels of Mons, the Commonwealth Military Cemetery in Saint-Symphorien and the Memorial Museum here.
Psst! While you’re here…
Liked this? Let me know in the comments, join the conversation on Facebook or help me write more reviews like this by checking out my Patreon. You can also receive The Unexpected Ms. Houyaux’ monthly newsletter for free.