Cafe Vida

During our stay in La Paz, Bolivia, we were desperate for a good café and as of wonder, out of nowhere came Cafe Vida, a vegan café on a small interior square that was calm and had an outdoor seating area. It was perfect. The apple pie we had was divine and the Chaï Lattes tasted like home. Service was also really quick and friendly. And English-speaking!

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Where? Calle Sagarnaga 213, La Paz

When? Monday – Friday from 9.30 am till 7 pm, Saturdays from 9.30 am till 5 pm

ZOET

Zoet calls itself the tastiest candy shop in Mechelen, and I have to agree! My girlfriend and I stumble across this too cute for words sweets shop on the hunt for cool clothing shops. What we found was better! Zoet is a bright and colourful candy shop that wants to go back to the roots of the little corner candy shop with glass jars and unique products. The sweets they sell are authentic and original. What’s even cooler is that they also have an online shop so you can spoil someone you love or miss or even yourself if you are craving something sweet, without having to venture out to Mechelen. (Would recommend though!) Seriously, I get happy just looking at their website.

Where? In Mechelen, at the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwestraat 108 or online

When? Mondays-Tuesdays from 11am till 5pm, Wednesdays – Saturdays from 11am till 6pm. Closed on Sundays. Online: always open!

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JAT

JAT forms the ideal hub for a sunday catch-up with a friend or a break from sightseeing the museums at the Mont des Arts (Kunstberg). They serve really good coffee and delicious iced teas paired with gorgeous looking sweets. For those that are not as sweet toothed, they also serve soup and sandwiches. There’s definitely something for everybody. And the cozy and colourful seating with the wooden interior complete the feel of a cozy sunday afternoon. Sit back and relax.

Where? Rue de Namur 28, 1000 Brussels – close to the Magritte Museum and Museum of Fine Arts as well as tram stop Koning and Metro stop Naamsepoort/Porte Namur

When? Open everyday – weekdays from 8am till 7pm, weekends from 9am till 7pm

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Ballekes

Nice to meat you! … is what I could’ve said to this restaurant in Sint-Gillis in Brussels. The name doesn’t lie: this concept restaurant revolves all around meat balls. You can order 1 or 2 depending on how big the hole in your stomach is, and pair them with whatever sauce tickles your fancy. For the healthy ones amongst us, there’s salad to go with that, and for the others (me, who am I kidding?) there’s chips. The food is nice and the place is bright and open with lots of windows to people watch. Yet.. nothing really compares to Balls & Glory. A solid and deserving alternative, me thinks! You can also order their meals through Deliveroo!

Where? Chaussée de Charleroi 174, 1060 Sint-Gillis (Brussels)

When? Mondays from 6.30pm till 10pm, Tuesday-Friday from 12pm till 2.30 pm and from 6.30pm till 10pm. Saturdays from 12 till 3pm and from 6.30 till 10.30pm. Sundays from 12.30 till 3pm and from 6.30 till 9.30 pm.

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Huset

It’s official, I’ve found my favourite café in Ghent. Huset, which is Swedish for “the house”, is anything but just that, it’s more of a home. You enter a house that you had no idea was a place to eat and immediately, it’s like your in someone’s living room. You are welcomed by the friendly host that serves you at your table right next to the big piano decorated with flowers. The food has the same hominess to it: baked goodies, scones (delicious!), hot soup,… all things that warm the heart! I love the imperfectness of the place more than anything: from the jungle of plants to the mismatched cutlery and plates. For any fika lovers our there, this place is a MUST. I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking…

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Where? Hoogstraat 49, 9000 Gent

When? Every Monday – Friday from 11am till 6pm plus on evenings when they have an event going on (imagine the #hygge then!)

Happy fika!

Tropismes

The description of a hidden gem fits this Brussels book shop perfectly. I didn’t know about this wonderful shop until I purposefully started looking for new book shops to explore in the city (because what else do you do when you’ve seen the rest of them?) It was on my list of places to go – a very long list might I add – until one day a friend and I were close by and I suggested taking a peek. Turns out it was a great decision as the book shop was just as inspiring as I had imagined.

It’s is located in one of the side alley of the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert near the Central station. Every nook and cranny is decorated with gold and shimmer without doing any damage to the classiness of the place. The mirrors high up on the walls give the book shop its grandiose and spacious feeling. Please, go upstairs even if you don’t care about comic books; the view is worth it! Most of the books in the store are in French, but they have a small English classics section that is nice too. Perhaps another reason to brush up on my rusty French? :-)

Where? Galeries des Princes 11, Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, 1000 Brussels

When? Mondays from 11 am till 6.30 pm, Tuesdays till Thursdays from 10 am till 6.30 pm, Fridays from 10 am till 7.30 pm, Saturdays from 10.30 am till 7 pm and Sunday afternoons from 1.30 pm till 6.30 pm.

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