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The Belgian Cafe

Not Rated.
The Belgian CafeThe Belgian Cafe
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

26 Ratings
Ratings: 26
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 9.95%
Taps: 12
Bottles: 250
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

2047 Green St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19130-3271
United States
phone: (215) 235-5000

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: Todd on 01-13-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 26 | Reviews: 19 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BeerForMuscle:
Photo of BeerForMuscle
4/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Finally I made it to this place after numerous trips to Monk's and Eulogy. It looked pretty small from the outside but seemed alot roomier inside. I enjoy the atmoshphere and the overal vibe. The place was done nicely and I was seated right away. The menu is awesome as far as beer selection and food selection. Some typical Belgian fare as well as some other interesting food choices. The food was great, the beer was awesome and the hostess and server were very pleasant as well. I had a great time and will be revisiting soon.

More User Reviews:
Photo of RPH2327
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of mike312
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of scottbrew4u
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of Varkias41
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of Sammy
3.72/5  rDev -7.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

Great bottle selection, decent tap selection. Service was OK, a bit aggressive around peak hours. We could not order beer fast enough for them. Staff knew something basic about the beers. Decent location. Inside is kind of dark, outside tables nice.More or less an average place to go for beer in today's market.

Photo of rinhaak
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

With a two hour Amtrak layover in Philly, I was quite pleased to find this lovely little Belgian-style beer bar about a mile from the train station. Pleased enough that when I had a second 90 minute layover on my return trip, I went again.

There is a fair number of tables outside, and plenty of seats inside. A long bar runs the length of the main room, behind which is a tremendous array of Belgian glasses. A second room goes off to the side with tables for seating.

I had two different bartenders, and both were knowledgable and pleasant, though not overly talkative. The Phillies game was playing both times on an HD TV in the corner.

The food is not Belgian, and tends towards high-end American bar food. The first trip I had the vegan Korean tacos which I found a little sub-par. The second trip I went with the Chimay Cheeseburger which was quite good. I definitely recommend going with burgers as opposed to the specialty items. The fries are quite tasty as well and are served with a chipotle mayonnaise.

Now the beer.

The tap list is modest (maybe 8 taps) and ranged from American to Belgian. While I was there they had St. Bernardus, Allagash, Victory, Monk's Café, and a few others on draft. A Lost Abbey draft night was a couple days away.

But the bottle list is where this café wins. An enormous list, they featured beers from US, Canada, Belgium, Holland, Scotland, Germany, Austria, among others. The list included several beers I had been wanting to try for years, including five different Russian River selections, and two of the beers from Abbey of Christ in the Desert.

The bar is certainly well worth visiting if you find yourself near the train station. I haven't spent a lot of time in Philly, so I can't say that it is necessarily worth trekking over for (my understanding is that Philly has many worthy beer spots), but if you did make the trip, you wouldn't leave disappointed.

Photo of bpfishback
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Nice spot in a residential area, inside and outside seating. Medium sized bar area that opens into a slightly larger dining room.

Beer selection was very good and some beers seemed to be a few dollars cheaper than monks. Beer was served in appropriate glassware and my server seemed to take care not to pour in the yeast from the bottle of cantillon that I had ordered.

We had lunch here with the wife getting a soup and salad and me getting some mussels. The "monk's" mussels were ok bordering on plain and some of them were very undercooked. My wife really liked her food. The menu here is very similar to monks.

The service was very good for such a casual place and our server was very attentive despite it getting busier and busier as lunch went on.

I would return if I was in the area.

Photo of Chincino
4.18/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I had wanted to check out this spot because I'd heard of it from the monk's cafe website prior to my trip to Philadelphia. It turns out this place is owned by the same people who own Monk's Cafe which is amazing. Like Monk's cafe, the Belgian Cafe had a good selection of vegetarian food on the menu and also had a really relaxed atmosphere. The service here was good and the selection of beers was also good. I tried a De Struisse beer which I really enjoyed. I would definitely recommend checking this place out although I have to say I really liked Monk's Cafe a lot better.

Photo of Rifugium
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This place is owned by the same people that own Monk's in Center City Philly. It's in the museum district of Philly, and hence not quite as big or busy as Monk's. It's about as good beer- and food-wise, although the staff and atmosphere isn't quite as nice. Still mostly pleasant, and a great selection of beer, and they often get stuff that isn't available anywhere else, including Monk's. The food menu isn't quite as extensive, but still overall just as good in quality. Location is a bit out of the way, which is why I don't make it over there often.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Went here after not going since it has opened, with so many bars in the city you got to take it one bar at a time or it will knock the life out of you.

In the Fairmount section of the city, The Belgian Cafe sits on a corner and from the outside looks exactly like Monk's except there is outside seating and there are no bottles lined up near the windows. Once inside there is a bar area to the left, a seating area to the right. Did not get a chance to visit the bathrooms. The atmosphere is basically Monk's cafe but this time with TV'S. A long wooden bar with coolers full of beer and about 12 or so taps, and a bunch of expensive liquor.

Quality was nice as was the service, I was greeted at the bar with a smile and a taplist on a chalkboard and in front of me on paper. I opted for a Port summer pale ale and a old engine oil on tap. Selection is not as huge as monk's, but there are some Belgians mixed in with American craft and some local's. On beer menus, they always seem to have sly fox o'riely's stout on nitro, great beer. Bottle list is extensive with alot of american micro and alot of Belgians plus beer from a bunch of countries. Basically it has all the big heavy hitters brewery wise, without some of their more rare offerings, gotta go to monk's for that. They do have Monk's cuvee gueze by cantillon so thats a plus. A very nice selection.

Could not try the food, I was already full.

I'll be coming back here if im ever in the neighborhood, not really a go to bar in my opinion, I can get the same options closer to where im at. But if they ever tap a De Dolle beer, beer that I have not had on tap since about 8 years ago at monk's, I'll be there with bell's on.

Photo of cooch69
4/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I visited the Belgian Cafe for the first time during Philly beer week. I got to meet some of the Belgian brewers than were from some of the smaller breweries. We sat in the room on the right. It was a pretty vibrant scene compared to other Belgian bars in the city. There was a lot of paintings and decor in the room. It was intimate and cozy. The bar was stocked pretty well. Beers from all of the popular countries. I had one of the beers they were sponsoring plus a Schlenkerla Smoke beer. The mussels there were really good, but not quite as memorable as the ones at Monk's Cafe. I wondered why because as far as I know they are the same owners. Maybe it was just the atmosphere at Monks that makes it all better. Not my favorite Belgian bar in the city, but I'll return again someday given the chance.

Photo of mbudner
3.1/5  rDev -22.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Decent selection and good food, but I WILL NEVER GO BACK TO THIS JOKE OF AN ESTABLISHMENT.

A- Like a watered-down version of Monk's. The bar area has the feel of a Belgian beer bar, while the main dining room is a little less interesting.

Q- They don't have a great selection of glassware compared to Monk's, or any decent beer bar for that matter. I've had a lot of old IPAs here too, which always leads me to believe that they don't take care of their stock and make sure to keep IPAs fresh.

S- I just got back from this place about 20 minutes ago. I've been there 2 or 3 times, but have never been blown away and I live closer to Monks and a lot of better bars. I have never been treated as rudely as I just was by the waitress who served me. I will NEVER go back to this place. I don't know if Belgian Cafe and Monk's got together and decided to treat patrons like shit, but it' really unacceptable. I like Tom (the owner) a lot and they get great beers, but why are these the only two bars in the city that decide to condescend at every turn. The worst part is that the bartenders at the Belgian Cafe know nothing other than pretension. They know nothing about beer, but put on a facade so that people who don't know a lot are tricked into listening to them. Those who do have a good beer IQ are basically told to "F" off.

S- Nice array representing a good spread of countries. Surprisingly limited on the American craft beer front. Yes, I know it's called the "Belgian" cafe, but they do not limit themselves to Belgian beers or Belgian style only; in fact, the taps are mostly non-Belgian.

F- Great mussels and burgers. Good appetizers. Solid pub fare.

V- Absurd mark-ups on certain beers and some are not terrible.

Photo of corby112
4.78/5  rDev +18.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

One of the best beer bars/restaurants in the city with amazing food, great service and an excellent selection.

Great vibe, with an authentic small Belgian bar feel. Very dark with lots of mahogany and wood. Recently they added some televisions which slightly take away from the atmosphere but not too much. Large bar with a big empty space behind for when the place fills up. I've only seen it slightly overcrowded once and that was at a Southampton event during Philly Beer Week. The dining area is well lit with four huge panel paintings that stretch up to the high ceilings. For a small room their is ample seating with extra tables set up outside during the warmer months.

The food is excellent here with some pub fare like burgers and sandwiches but with a nice Belgian twist. they also have a great selection of mussels and authentic Belgian cuisine like Lapin a la Gueuze and endive salads. They have vegetarian offerings for those interested. My favorites dishes here are the mussels, mussels bisque, Chimay burger which comes with Chimay cheese and Lancaster ham and sweet potato hummus which is delectable.

The service is excellent here as well. I've only sat at the bar a few times but every time the bartender has been knowledgeable. The servers on the other hand are excellent. They are very friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. I go hear pretty frequently and they always seem to remember me. Before I even order I'm often just talking to them about new beers we've had and what's new and interesting on "the scene". Even when the place is packed they manage to work well under pressure and still provide prompt friendly service.

The selection at this place is incredible and quite a bit different than Monk's Cafe. They don't have as many rarities like Cantillon 50N4E, Hommage, Lost Abbey, etc but they have a much bigger selection of American craft offerings as well as Nogne O Dark Horizon. Their tap list is alright but limited. Usually they have about five Belgians on as well as few locals and other American craft. They also have a rotating selection of featured bottles that they have a small quantity of.

Highly recommended.

Photo of NolaViper
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

theres really nothing i can ever say that will make u stop going to monks and that makes me happy-i love monks and went there long before many of you who now crowd it ever heard of it-it happens to every great bar and restaurant-i was almost afraid to post the belgian cafe as a new bar until idiot i am i found these reviews-sorry todd-

run by the publicans who brought u monks, the belgian cafe is a smaller version of monks with less of the tap and bottle beer selection yes, but not much, and a whole lot less of the hassle of getting into monks-

located in the fairmount n'hood near eastern state pennitentiary and just west of northern liberties hood this area is beginning to be a beer crawl in and of itself-i did it and didnt even know about the foodery next to standard tap-even idiots get lucky i guess-

was working in philly for four days and came here 3 nites in a row - was treated like a king every nite-great friendly service-very knowledgeable staff on beer and food-

enjoying a rodenbach grand cru on tap, served in the proper glass- while sitting at the tables out on the sidewalk al fresco on a fresh full moon evening-quiet bliss-huge small portion of mussells monks style were great and were only exceeded by the amazing the van eycks style with french country spices and sausage chunks-both accompanied by some excellent pommes frites that were even crispy and tasty cold-and breads to sop up the mussell broth-meals unto themselves-
had entrees of hanger steak with blue cheese-pork schnitzel with mustard sauce-a spicy full of jump shrimp chicken and sausage jambalaya and many more interesting and tasty turns on cuisine and pub food-very reasonably priced food i might add-for me both the beer and food are exceptional values considering quality,quantity and atmosphere-

bar from 11am to 2am most nites i think-kitchen open from lunch til late and later on weekends-take out beers and food too-

inside bar was small but not tiny with an adjoining dining room-
paintings of brugges, candle sconces and wood bar reminded me of Belgium and monks-

if and when im in philly, you will find me here at some point in the day-with a beer in my hand and a smile on my face-

Photo of rfgetz
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The place to go if a $100 bar tab for one of the best beer selections (quality & quantity) doesnt scare you...

The beer selection is top notch. Average draft selection, but the 10 page bottle list is a mix of outstanding local and national craft micro-brews, a few high quality representitives from England, Germany, Canada and Japan and the mother lode of Belgian brews.

The mussels and frites are amazing. With 6-7 mussel recipies, theres plenty variety. No need to eat anything else here, but the sandwiches are very good.

The only downside is the building itself. Atmosphere is blah in the bar and the dining area (bright peach walls. If you are at the bar its ok, but not to comfortable if forced to stand or sit against the wall with a rail.

Just be warned... you can easily find a lot of quality in the $6 per pint/bottle range, but if you are like me, your going to end up progressing to $8 bottles, then to $15 bobmbers and finally a $20-$25 rare beer.

Sister bar to the much praised Monk's Cafe. Monk's has more high-end and rare selections, but this place is very close in every category.

Update: The beer selection has taken a slight dip in terms of quantity of available brews as well as their quality.

Photo of ajr24
3.7/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Even though I live but a block away I've only been here twice, maybe thrice. Very spacious, inviting and cozy upon entering- usually greeted by a hostess as they have ample seating, but I always end up at the bar. The taps stick out loud and clear as does the bottle selection. The taps are predominantly Belgian coupled in with some local flare (i.e. Sly Fox, Victory, sometimes Troegs), I've even spied some Founders on tap. The bottles are pretty worldly- Belgium, Germany, US, England, Austria, Czechoslovakia, etc. Summed up, above average selection, certainly a beer destination. The only thing stopping this place from being my local is the service. While it is attentive and quick, it is overall unfriendly and somewhat sarcastic. The barkeep shot a pretty obvious roll of the eye when I guessed my way through pronouncing a beer (not a strength of mine yet). A friendly correction would have been much more acceptable and even educational- eventually I asked how; I wanted to know. As for the food, it is decent. A friend of mine got some chicken tenders along with a pot of mussels. Very tasty. Overall though, it is certainly a place worth visiting.

Photo of rauchfest
4.83/5  rDev +20.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

A true beer destination, the only problem is sometimes you have to wait but guess what thats a good sign.I dont care to go into great detail but i would say yeah what "SLANDER" said, you like it or you dont I will return again and again like a zombie, this place has that belgian feel and atmosphere except were in Philadelphia in a cool neighborhood with a decent amount of locals of which plenty are beer people or have become beer people reminds me of Monks (DA) or like some kind of church thing you can leave totaly converted. Also the hand dryers are awsome.

Photo of Seanibus
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I really loved this place at first, but quickly tired of it. The decor is funky modern, the food is good, the beer list is nice, the service is hipster friendly. But more and more I find it is just the same thing every time. The bottom line is that it is just not a lot of fun - it lacks a certain indefinable vibe that separates a good restaurant from a great one. There's no denying that the beer list is hard to beat - beers from all over the world, heavy on Belgium, and featuring some beers that are hard to find elsewhere in Philly, such as San Diego's Port Brewing. But somehow that second, third and fourth visit will not be nearly as much fun as the first.

Photo of slander
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The jackass driving the bus put us an hour behind schedule just by missing that one exit and then driving in circles, not listening to anyone, and just being kind of douchebaggy. While we had plenty to drink on the Manny bus, and wound up getting in an appropriate amount of time at the IPA project event, it did end up stealing away from the intended Philly play time on the tail end. Grabbing a bite where you could, what you could, when you could, along the way en lieu of late night cheesesteaks (a good plan nixed due to self created tight time restraints), well, that's just bad form. The big bus arrives at the Belgian Café, at last. It was tough finding a place to land that bitch for a few hours in this tiny neighborhood ...

"L" shaped wood bar with a lip and a pipe foot rail, seating upwards of a dozen and a half on the back wall. The expansive wood bar back unit holds booze tiered 6 high below a large center mirror, and a good amount of shelved glassware of all sizes and shapes to both sides above 3 door glass front horizontal coolers. A candlelit bar counter seating 9 holds the opposite wall below paneled mirror and wood pieces. At the end of the bar where it hooks the "L", a sizeable mirror mounted over another bar counter ledge. Obstructive mirrored pillars down the center of the room make it somewhat inconvenient to navigate the area just forward the bar. Deep orange painted walls over wood slat lowers, framed wood panel sectioned ceilings, and plank floorings. Cylinder lamps above the bar and matching wrought iron chandeliers over the floor and in the corners. On the near wall, a blackboard bordered with strung lighting listing the tap selections next to the entranceway to the side dining room. Lucky 13 tables in 3 rows, windows on 2 walls of this corner room, done in subtle florals on walls painted in shades of orange. A series of tall, narrowish feminine paintings run the far wall. They're earthy, flowery, vibrant & most colorful.

12 taps on a sunken tower below the bar. On this night, 6 Belgians (Blanche De Bruxelles, Chimay Cinq Cents, St Bernardus 12, La Chouffe, Corsendonk Xmas, Monks Flemish Sour) and 6 North American micros (Bells Two Hearted Ale, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout & Bright Golding, Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout, Troegs Mad Elf, Unibroue Ephemere Apple).

And an excellent bottle list, well over 200 offerings with an emphasis on the Belgians which make up about ½ of it, plus about 50 US micros, and nearly ½ of those local/regional (DogFishHead, Sly Fox, Stoudts, Troegs, Victory, Yards, Weyerbacher, Voodoo, Flying Fish). The rest are pretty much an even split between UK & German combined and the rest of the world. Strong as that Belgian list is, we're more than content to split bottles of the Bell's Cherry Stout & Expedition between us. And maybe a Two Hearted. Good menu though. What? Jolly Pumpkin La Roja for just $12? Imfuckingpossible!! Suspect, anyway.

A few months later, I found myself shanghaied coming from the Philly Craft Beer festival. Okay, you follow me back to the hotel, I'll check in and drop the car and jump in with you, cool? But a short time later, we arrived at the Belgian Cafe (Saaay, this isn't the Yard's after party). I gave slight protest, if that, but my host just wouldn't hear anything of it. Some unusual company, good beer and the after midnight 6 ounce filet (mine without the bleu cheese, please) was an excellent trade up from standing around in the cold cold factory space, although they did get massages or something there. Still... I don't know if it's the no man's land of this location, but every time I've been here, it's sans crowd and manageable. I dig.

Photo of ggaughan
4.18/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Visited on our first trip back to the US in March. We were joined by friends and family which was cool.

The first think I noticed when entering was the size to walk around near the bar which is nice to see since Monk's in a bit crowded throughout but especially at the bar area. The dinning room off to the right also was a bit more spcacious although there were not tons of tables. It seemed like the right size for a comfortable dining experience.

Although the place is pretty new, the vibe inside was cool and welcoming and didn't feel likt it was just created a few months before. There were huge paintings on the dining room wall that were very interesting with one being a striking resemblence to one of the servers at Monk's.

The menu was a bit varied from Monk's which was nice to see since I have eaten there so much over the past few years and for a new restaurant it was nice to see some different items. We of course had to have some of the frites and as there one of the highlights at Monk's so we had to order here as well. I went with one of the burgers and really enjoyed it. One of the better burgers I have had in awhile.

The beer list of course is another feature as it is a Monks joint. Although the list is not as extensive at the original Monks, it is very good in its own right. The tap selection is a varied with a good mix of Belgian and American craft beers including some locals like Sly Foy O'Rielly's which was nice to see. I started with a Florette and moved in later to a Zinnebier Christmas which I was suprised to see as I had thought they were only available in Belgium. They also had Taras Boubla from the same brewer which also suprised me but was a good sign that the beer list is well looked after here.

The service was very good for us as well. The waitress was attentive and more than willing to provide our friends with suggestions or feedback on a beer in question.

Overall a good start for us with the Belgian Cafe.

Photo of callmemickey
3.4/5  rDev -15.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3

A: Dark bar with a great drinking feel... most people in here appreciate beer and that is always a plus...

Q: Overall its a good place... great beer.. decent food.. close to my house

Ser: You can tell this place is owned by the monk's place based on the fact that the service is slow and inattentive and quick to tell you that you're pronouncing some beer wrong (even when you are not)... oh well.

Sel: Pretty spot on if you love belgians and belgian style brews... don't bother if you are looking for a dIPA or a RIS you won't be likely to find one

F: Hit or miss... the mussels are great. the frites are good some days.. and the chicken fingers aren't as good as monk's...

all in all this is 6 blocks from my home... i'll be here regularly.

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The Belgian Cafe in Philadelphia, PA
91 out of 100 based on 26 ratings.