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Nine years ago, Chef Bart Vandaele transformed a worn down Barracks Row parking garage located next to a porn shop into the District’s original (may we say best?) Belgian restaurant. Nestled between the Marine Barracks and the Capital lies this wonder of what we would consider perfect authentic Belgian food.

If living on the Hill has its perks, being in walking distance to Belga Cafe would have to be one of them. If you haven’t been to Belga Cafe, ask yourself this simple question, do you even belong in DC?

Ladies, start fanning yourself, because this ‘Top Chef’ contestant is not only a walking advertisement for the country of Belgium, but we can classify him as a heartthrob. Chef Bart wants everyone to enjoy the full Belgaum experience, and who wouldn’t when this Stella Artois brand ambassador keeps your glass topped off the entire night? As for pets, why get a dog when you have a flock of chickens in your cozy Alexandria home. Did we mention he wears custom Chef Bart Nike IDs? If Chef Bart isn’t the reason to pull you into his Cap Hill gem, the food will certainly get you.

For Chef Bart, all good things in life start with a “B”: Beer, Belgium, butter, bacon, B Too (his newest restaurant venture) and of course – his name. Almost everything on the menu sounds tempting. The Belgium waffle stuffed with crabmeat, served alongside mussels, green pea puree and saffron sauce, is a favorite. If you’re a mussels fan, lucky you, Belga has over 10 options, all delicious. Try the Mussels Ostendaise served with a half lobster, clams, tomatoes and lobster sauce. The fries, on the side were perfect. (Don’t call them French). Oh, you said you’re a beer fan? With a menu of over 150 different types, the world at your feet.


Belga is the type of place you want to take your parents when they come and visit. It’s not just us who thinks that, our friend @hungrylobbyist might just be the biggest fan of Chef Bart, Belga AND the newest little piece of Brussels on 14th street, B Too.

This week, Belga Cafe is celebrating their 9th Anniversary. Tonight’s Wine Dinner features a six course wine pairing, and the rest of the week’s festivities. HINT: For all you Hill Staffers, there’s a little thing at Belga Cafe called Mussel Tuesday where you can enjoy any mussel pot for only $15.95.

If you can’t make it to Brussels this year, Belga Cafe’s warm and welcoming atmosphere is all you need. Not to mention a wheelbarrow to roll yourself out — something we can get behind!