Taste of Belgium, Belgian Bistro
1135 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Breakfast & Lunch:
Mon – Sat: 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Tues – Fri: 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sat: 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Breakfast & Lunch: $6 – $9
Dinner Entrees: $14 – $22
Appetizers & Sides: $5 – $12
Update: Since our review, Taste of Belgium Belgian Bistro has received their liquor license and is now open for dinners!
Taste of Belgium has always been a must-stop on every visit we take to Findlay Market and North Market. Their waffles are second-to-none and their crepes and other baked goodies are delicious too. So we were understandably giddy when we heard that Jean-François was expanding his empire once more to a full bistro in Over the Rhine.
Over the Rhine has been going through an amazing transformation and it’s newest addition, Taste of Belgium Belgian Bistro, fits in perfectly. The renovated interior is hip with high-top tables, bar seating, exposed brick, local art, wonderful detailing and open kitchen areas so you can watch them work.
When we went in the place was packed, but luckily we were able to snag a couple seats over at the bar in front of where they make the waffles and crepes – which by the way is a dangerous place to sit. The sweet sizzling aroma is wonderfully tempting, making it hard to resist nabbing a waffle fresh from the iron.
For our lunch we ordered the Soupe du Jour to share, Boulets Liegeois for Adam and I got the Mitraillette. We also got coffee, which they get from Coffee Emporium, while we waited for our dishes to come out. The coffee itself wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t at cafe (like Tazza Mia) level good. It was definitely better than the coffee at most restaurants, so Taste of Belgium gets points for that.
The Soupe du Jour was a potato-corn soup, which tasted mostly of the corn, but also had a delicate hint of potato flavor. The consistency was mostly smooth with small chunks of potato. It was a delightfully promising way to begin our lunch.
Adam’s Boulets Liegeois, or Belgian Meatballs, were exceptional. The meatballs were very juicy and full of amazing flavor. The bit of sauce on the plate was great for rolling the meatballs around in or soaking up with a piece of bread or a fry. The only downside is that you only get two medium sized meatballs.
The Mitraillette is a baguette with your choice of burger, goetta or fricadelle, plus a delicious sauce and fries. I asked our server which of the three he preferred, to which he said “The goetta is good but I’m not super crazy about it – I’m not a Cincinnati native – so the burger is my favorite.” I thought, well, I’m not a Cincinnati native either and I only kind of like goetta, so I’ll go with his suggestion. The burger itself wound up being alright, but kind of bland by itself. However,\ this really didn’t matter since it was overpowered by the sauce and fries which were fantastic. They were the best fries I’ve had in a long time – flavorful with a nice slightly crunchy exterior and soft interior. The sauce that went on top of it – which I’ll admit I don’t know what it was – really tied everything together.
The staff at the Belgian Bistro are very friendly, and it was nice to be able to chat with our server and the person behind the counter making waffles and crepes.
Unfortunately, and I hate to say it, the bistro is a bit overpriced. My prime example is the meatballs which, no matter how delicious they were, were not worth $9 for only two small balls of meat. The waffles are worth the $5, but most other items on the menu seemed a bit overpriced. Taste of Belgium Belgian Bistro a great place to eat but for me the price prohibits it from being an everyday breakfast or lunch kind of place.
Taste of Belgium Belgian Bistro is a must-visit as the food and atmosphere make for a great experience. We especially recommend the Mitraillette and, if you’ve never had them before, the waffles and crepes. The only downside is that the prices are a bit high for some things, and honestly we left still hungry. Parking isn’t a problem with several street spaces and an affordable parking lot across the street.
Want to see more pictures? Don’t worry, we’ll have more up on our Facebook page soon! We also have a review of their Findlay Market location (and specifically, the waffles and crepes).
Verdict: A Delicious Treat
Taste of Belgium’s newest addition, the Belgian Bistro in Over the Rhine, is a great addition to the area and to the ever expanding Taste of Belgium line. The food is delicious, and the atmosphere is bright, friendly and casual. Parking isn’t too bad as there are several street spaces nearby and a cheap lot across the street.
The only downside is that despite being good, some of the items are overpriced. It’d still highly suggest everyone try this restaurant, but just know that for lunch it’s a bit expensive depending on what you order. The price makes Taste of Belgium Belgian Bistro a once-in-a-while treat instead of an everyday stop.