The best resources for great places to eat, drink, and visit are the locals. Luckily two of my friends have lived in Brussels for decades, so they had no problem suggesting a great place for brunch after our visit to Villa Empain yesterday. Downtown Brussels is a bit like downtown Los Angeles; it's being revived as a neighborhood that people want to live in and go out in with gentrified buildings that have become live and work lofts, stores which feature avant garde designers, and restaurants that draw people from all over the city.
Les Filles started with a micro loan that seeded three women to start their own épicerie, restaurant, and cooking school, now in two locations. This is one of the few restaurants open seven days a week for both lunch and dinner. Serving fresh local produce in a relaxed communal atmosphere for very reasonable prices, they do not take reservations and the wait for brunch can be 30 minutes or more (in Brussels this is considered an extremely long wait)!
We went to the newer and larger second location, which looks like an office building or private residence from the outside, except for the signage in the window.
They have the grocery store on the 2nd floor, the restaurant on the 3rd, and the cooking classes are held on the 4th floor. Since there's usually a wait for a table, people sit on the stairs in order of arrival to wait for a space at one of the communal tables.
It's self serve buffet style, with dishes that change every half hour. For brunch there was an assortment of five breads, including brioche, nut, sweet egg, and whole wheat, to croissants. Three types of jams, three types of butters, a pumpkin turnip soup, a mandarin orange endive salad, a sausage and onion casserole, a parsley oil tzatziki, tabbouleh, an assortment of cheese and fruit, soft boiled eggs, fresh ham, and for dessert a chocolate fondant with spiced whipped cream on the side.
This was my first of three plates:)€ (about $25 for 1 quart). Your meal costs 15€ (about $20 ) per person, and you can get juices, coffees, wine or sparkling water in addition, but I would have chosen to drink the olive oil!
When you are ready for your bill, they give you a pin which you present to the cashier at the grocery store and it's coded with your total! Very cool technology for a very warm wonderful place to share a meal:)