Belga Café

Belga CaféBelga Café
Belga CaféBelga Café
Bar, Eatery

514 8th St SE
Washington, District of Columbia, 20003-2834
United States

(202) 544-0100 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 24 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of cratez
3.61/5  rDev -12.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

What I had: “Vlaamse Stoveru” Flemish beef stew and a pint of Ommegang Abbey Ale for me, Kip Gevulde Pita sandwich with side salad and a glass of sauvignon blanc for my fiancé.
What I liked: Beautiful view and atmosphere on the outdoor patio, no trouble finding seats at lunch, delectable and authentic Belgian fare, everything arrived to the table in reasonable time, was happy to find the Abbey Ale after seeking it out for years, we enjoyed our food and drinks.
What I disliked: Nothing on tap that caught my attention, prices are high (though the quality is there), server was quite cold even after we tried to engage him in conversation, neighbourhood seems a bit sketchy - especially around the subway - so I don’t think we’d come here at night.
Would I go back? Possibly.
Overall Rating: 72

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.49/5  rDev -15.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.25 | food: 4.5

Dined here on the recommendation of a friend when I was in DC with my wife. Had never been over to the Eastern Market of DC, and I always enjoy checking out different parts of the city. It was warm enough when we were there, so we dined outside, but I did notice that the interior was long and narrow and looked a bit crowded. All of the food that we had was good, I had muscles and I think that my wife had steak and frites. The disappointing aspects of the place were the beer and the service. Perhaps I should not have been so harsh to judge them on the beer selection given that I had just gotten back from a trip from Belgium, but I quickly noticed that I had tried just about every one of the beer on the menu. I don't even recall what I had and I didn't even right it down, so it must have been something that I had previous had. And then there was the was prompt when we arrived and I think that we were there for 2+ hours, but our server would go missing for long periods of time. I probably would have ordered a few more beers, but gave up at some point. Then we were ready to settle up and he brought the wrong bill and it must have been 10-15 minutes before he came back. I am not sure if they were trying to provide an authentic Belgian dining experience, as we had noted this while there, but if they were then they achieved it, but it does not cut it here.

Overall, I am unsure if I would go back. I also did find that the place was a little overpriced. I am used to paying higher prices in places like DC and the East Coast, but this was a little more than usual.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is a restaurant and beer cafe that has all the positives it needs except for service. The atmosphere is generally welcoming with some outdoor seating and a good romantic interior (though just a little bit more light would be nice). The beer selection is pretty unbeatable within the spectrum of Belgian ales. Though they don't venture much outside that realm there are a few, and I mean, it's a Belgian restaurant, so it makes sense. The food is delicious (mussel pots are great). Entree portions are hit or miss. My fish was a bit on the meagre side and my gf's was fairly sizable, but all of it was tasty. The shrimp croquettes app were a definite miss for me though.
The real negative is service. The wait staff looks like they're working hard, but they can really be slow. I also had an experience here that I generally find egregious. I ordered a beer from their menu that they were out of (no big deal), but instead of letting me choose another, they decided to give me a Palm instead. If you are out of a product, food or beverage, don't presume I'll want what you want to give me. Granted, this was a one time experience, but the service in general has never been outstanding.
On the whole,

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Photo of bum732
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4.5

Dined here on a Sat. night during Belgian beer week. Quite a small place on the main strip of the Eastern Market area of DC. Fairly large bar with a number of tables in the front area. Nicely decorated with a couple Belgium flags and other assorted fine dining swag. Atmosphere was fairly casual, quite loud and lots of bustle.

They had 5 beers on tap at the time. Blue moon, Stella, Hoegaarden, Palm Amber and another i don't remember. Overall, fairly disappointing, i was expecting some solid Belgian beers, not Blue Moon and Stella. I noticed a small booklet on the table advertising Stella and Blue Moon which i guess explains those two beers on tap. I'm not normally the guy that rails on big corporate beer companies, but come on. This is an authentic Belgian restaurant, do you really need to sell Stella and Blue Moon?

Anyway, they had a solid list of bottled beers separated by categories. Nothing earth shattering, some Cantillons and a couple vintages of Gouden Carolus, but your typical belgian ales that come to mind. I had a Palm Amber on tap to start (meh) and then a Belgian brown ale that i can't remember the name of, but fairly solid. I was little disappointed that they poured this brown ale into a Becks pilsner glass, but oh well.

The food on the other hand was phenomenal. I had the rabbit roulade with roasted root vegetables. Presentation was fantastic and food was great, one of the better meals i've had in a while. Everyone i was with enjoyed their meals as well. Had the Belgian waffle for dessert to share and was equally delicious.

All in all, a solid place. Food was excellent, would definitely go back for that. Beer was overall pretty disappointing. Maybe because it was Belgian Food week and they were trying to cater to the general audience. But that tap list they had was very disappointing. The bottle list, while solid, was nothing to write home about. In addition, despite having a number of chalices and appropriate drinkware, apparently they decided to pour my brown ale into a Becks pilsner glass. Go for the food, not the beer.

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Photo of Jesstyr
4/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Belga Cafe is a definitely a good all around Belgian restaurant - with your standard mussels, frites, meats and gratin. Where it misses a bit is great service that can walk you through the menus - drinks and food.

We sat inside and enjoyed a mild buzz in the atmosphere. Restaurant is well lit, even without the table candles, but it is odd that there is a random apple sitting on the table. Everything seems to be of good quality, from the beers to the food - this isnt a place that cuts corners.

Service, as noted above, was fine, but really was the only thing that lacked to make this restaurant even better. Our servers weren't particularly knowledgeable, or really that friendly. Beer selection is solid, not just for Belgians, but for a slightly wider variety of beers. My wife loved the Brother Thelonious, and I grabbed some of the Belgians i cant usually find at Total Wine - which isnt easy.

Food was good, but not great. Mussels and Frites were the highlight, with the steak frite and fish merely average. I had a good short rib, but expected something a little more flavorful. Portions were just about right for the style of food.

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Photo of jgasparine
4.53/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Atmosphere- With a modern European decor and a tight floorplan, the proprietor definitely hit his/her mark with setting the backdrop for this Belgian brasserie. Upon our visit, the place was teeming with patrons from noon-onward. And while quite a few patrons were there for the beer, many more were there just for the exquisite food and ambiance. From streetside, this place seems to be nothing special, but step inside and it is instantly higher-class.

Quality- Everything, absolutely everything about this place screamed high-quality. From the aesthetics of the decor, to the immaculate cleanliness, to the absence of macro-brews, to the presentation of the food, to the insane array of beer-appropriate glassware... This place was clearly run by quality-oriented staff, and it shows everywhere you look.

Service- Unfortunately, we did not make a reservation (which we will definitely do next time). However, we were fortunate enough to get seats at the bar, where full service was also rendered. In between making drinks, the bartender did a good job of fulfilling our food orders. She had a basic knowledge of the beer she was serving, and she was very friendly.

Selection- Nearly the entire beer menu is Beigian-themed... and it does a very good job of covering the bases. All the Trappists (excepting Westvleteren), lambics, flemish ales, trippels, strong goldens, dubbels, blondes, you name it; and the beers that they chose to stock were all classic or high-quality examples of each style. The always have Rodenbach on draft, and in the case of our visit, they had Rodenbach Vintage 2007 on draft... amazing!

Food- The food here is just exquisite. Small portions for a high price, but they make up for it with presentation and quality. The Leige waffles I had with caramelized apples were arguably better than those I have had in Belgium!

Final Notes: This place is expensive, but worth it... I can't wait to go back. And I highly recommend reservations.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.14/5  rDev -23.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

Situated in the Eastern Market. This place is extremely small so definitely make reservations if you plan on eating there. The food is goumet along with the prices. Excellent pairing of food choices with beer. Also a very nice wine list. Everyone loved it. Plenty of beer choices with matching glasses - 95% Belgian beers obviously. Very expensive. No rare or gem beers here. I'd much rather buy the Belgians from the beer store and drink among friends at home or go across the street to Match Box for more affordable beers (I personally do not justify shelling out big money on beers I can easily get on my own - I'll pay a pretty penny if it is a rare beer). Service was just okay. The bartenders always seem a bit standoffish.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Nice Belgium inspired spot in Capitol Hill. It´s a bit tacky-old school but with enough of a modern sense not to make it outdated.

Beer selection pivoting on Belgium offerings is solid and rich. While the tap is commonly forgettable, although on occasion there might be something worth it, the menu covers all the classics and Belgium styles with dexterity, in fact it even includes some recent US variations, as well as hybrids. Also the wine and cocktail selection seemed rather sturdy.

Albeit a touch pricey, but not too pricey for its context, the menu is worth it, again with a Belgium sense the is quite contemporary covering some Belgium classics rather well, such as mussels, but also going well beyond the most typical Belgium fare.

Staff was correct and professional, and all in all it is quite a worthy visit in the neighborhood.

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Photo of alysmith4
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Excellent restaurant! It's definitely small and very cozy.. it's perfect for a date on a brisk fall day, or on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Decor is simple, and a bit country and modern at the same time. Lots of candles really add to the ambiance. Also, they have a good number of outside tables for dining/drinking in warmer weather. The beer selection is really great.. pages and pages of Belgian brews. It took me quite some time to decide. Had an excellent house beer from them which was a jasmine-white. Tried it at 'Brew at the Zoo' at the Belga Cafe booth, but I haven't seen it since. Food is really good too - I recommend the mussels!

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Photo of Travlr
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Attended a dinner of three courses paired with various beers for the U.S. re-launch of Straffe Hendrik, with brewer Xavier Vanneste in attendance. Appetizer of cheese croquettes and beer soup paired with Straffe Kendrik, Braised pork paired with Gouden Carolus Classic, and various chocolates paired with St Louid Framboise. Nice ambiance though a bit loud. Friendly and efficient staff, but only a few know the beers well. Well chosen selection of Belgian-only beers, nicely kept and usually well served. The real treat is the food - wonderful, and not too expensive by DC standards. Worth going out of your way for.

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Photo of Big78CJ
4.95/5  rDev +20.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

So expect to pay a bit for your meal/drinks but this is D.C. so get used to it. The atmosphere is actually quite nice for a moderately fancy restaurant. Nice dining area and even a small bar.

The beer selection was the best I found while I was in D.C., though obviously all Belgians (or Belgian styles). They had Rodenbach on tap that day so I jumped right on that, followed by Cuvee Rene Gueuze, which is the best Lindeman's beer. I would guess they have at least 40+ bottles to choose from. They even have some very interesting sounding beer cocktails.

Our waitress was very helpful and even introduced me to the chef and the owner before I left. Both of these guys were extremely happy to hear I had a good experience and even offered to split a special beer with my but the rest of my party was ready to leave.

So this may have been the best food I have ever had at a restaurant. We had mussels steamed in Rodenbach to start and I followed this with an excellently prepared lamb. In fact, it was definitely the best lamb I have ever had and the mussels/frites reminded me of being in Bruges. I tried everybody else's dish also (pork tenderloin, rock fish, and something else) and it was all fantastic.

Assuming I can afford it again, I will definitely be coming back to this place. I may even try to contact them ahead of time and see if the owner wants to sit down for that beer.

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Photo of Seanibus
1.98/5  rDev -51.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 1.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 3 | food: 1

I am going to have to go totally against the flow here - I had a horrendous experience, so bad I would counsel anyone to stay away.

I had wanted to try this place ever since it opened - it is just blocks from my father's house and my in-law's apartment. So we went a couple of days after thanksgiving at lunch.

First, I was surprised by the beer list - it is not bad, but only by the standards of beer-deprived Washington DC. A place like Monk's in Philly simply puts this list to shame. But that was OK - we can't all be Monks. But the list was badly described, with little information as to what the beers were. The waiter obviously had no clue about anything on the list. The best he could offering in describing Rodenbach was "it's dark. You know, dark." Which is roughly as helpful as describing the beer as "wet."

Worse, the beer menu had a "special on draft" section with a couple of nice selections such as Delirum Tremens. When several people in our party tried to order off that part of the list, however, the waiter seemed puzzled. When we actually held the menu up and pointed to that section, he said "oh, no, we don't have any of that." So all they had on draft, as it turns out, was the aforementioned Rodenbach (yes, it is "dark") and the Belga Cafe's mediocre house beers.

But that would all have been forgivable had it not been the food. My wife ordered the warm goat cheese salad, which came in an interesting fried crepe bowl. But the goat cheese on top was not warm. It was not until she had eaten all the way to the bottom that she found the slimy little pile of warm goat cheese at the bottom. My older son ordered the seafood chowder, which had the consistency of wet sand and tasted of wet potato flakes. I had what they optimistically called the "Croque Monsieur," which turned out to be a very dry, nearly inedible, grilled cheese sandwich, served for some baffling reason with a pot of ketchup. I was unable to choke down more than half.

Normally, I like to give any restaurant a second chance, but really - if you cannot make an edible grilled cheese sandwich, you should be out of the business.

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Photo of sholland119
4.65/5  rDev +13.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

A great brunch spot we would never have found except for the reviews on BA. Thanks!

Located in what appears to be a newly revitalized area in the SE quadrant of DC, there was ample sidewalk dining. We opted to eat inside since the large front windows were open to the outside. The dining room is nicely decorated. A bit spare but with vibrant colors and an unopened bottle of great Belgian beer on display on each table (Rochefort 10 in our case).

The beer list consisted of about a dozen taps, including about 5 private-labeled house beers and about 50 more bottles. All beers were Belgian in style and all Belgian-made except for some Ommegang products including an outstanding Rouge. All the beers we had were served in the appropriate monogrammed glassware.

We had an excellent brunch. there was a fine selection of waffles and egg dishes, and a tasty deconstructed onion tart.

Service was very professional and friendly.

A great discovery for us.


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Photo of hmarebel02
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I really enjoyed Belga Cafe. They obviously emphasize beglian beers, but their selection is pretty solid as far as bars go. They also have a solid collection of scotch. Expect all the standards as far as belgians go, and yes they do have all three chimeys on hand. As far as high gravity/alcohol beers, the highest I saw was 9%. Most of the brews came in bottle and the tap selection is okay. Overall, this place is decent and well recommended, but the social atmosphere particuarly if you are a single guy, is not what you might expect.

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Photo of slander
4/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

The in-laws in review:

1) They were listening to Talking Heads "Little Creatures" when we arrived. (I remember thinking, "cool").
2) Two minutes in the door, Jerry says, "Can I get you guys a beer? I don't have anything good, just Stone Pale Ale, Weyerbacher Double Simcoe and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale".
3) Diane scored sushi grade tuna for din, Jerry's pouring wine.
4) After dinner, Jerry asks, "You guys want a scotch?"
5) After after dinner, they ask, "You want to go check out this Belgian place right up past the market?"

The Belgian place in question was Belga, and we got up there to find it closed on this Thursday night, so we slummed it across the street and up a bit at some weak bar.

6) Jerry says, "Ah, they don't have the 90 Minute IPA on, they only have the 60. It's good, but I really like the 90".

Saturday comes and they take us out for brunch at this great little Italian place.

7) "Hey, while we're in the neighborhood, you guys want to walk up to that Belgian place we caught closed the other night?"

They're not my in-laws but I'm thinking of adopting...

It's a neat little sidewalk joint on 8th Street. Tables out front are all full today, but we wanted barside play anyway. An "L" shaped marble bar to the rear of the room seats a dozen. A tower holding 5 taps on the barback counter, a pair of glass front wine coolers to the left and stacked glassware & booze to the right, forward a beer mirrors backing. A single shelf runs above with appropriate glassware & some single malts. A small shelf up high in the far corner displays some brewery pieces; Duvel & Delirium signage, a giant Chimay chalice, a Delirium stein, and Fonteinen Oude Gueuze & magnum Chouffe bottles. Otherwise, the long brick barback wall runs all the way to the front of the room decorated with a saxophone or two and a few prints up front. The opposite wall is painted white with a sharp wood trim, a large ornate piece up front, a single print to the rear, and a few smaller pieces in between. A dozen and a half tables run from the bar up to the front wall of glass doors that fold to open over curbside seating. To the rear, a small narrow red room decorated with a bit of brewery signage with 4 tables adjacent to a busy kitchen there.

5 beers on tap. A pair of house beers (Belga Pils and Belga White) that I believe they said were made for them by Corsendonk, Delirium Tremens, Leffe Blonde (alternates with the Brune weekly), and Rodenbach (which had kicked). The White was tasty, good coriander, but murky yeasty red toe alert, so I went with the Pils, which was crisp, pleasant.

Good bottle list with about 100 Belgian & Belgian style offerings, broken out by style (White, Red & Brown, Saisons & Belgian Ales, Trappist & Abbey, Lambics, and American made Belgian style). Good selection, I've seen worse, I've seen better. They're missing a few Trappists, the Lambics are Lindemans and St Louis, and the American made Belgian style are all Ommegang. No Cantillon, De Ranke, Fonteinen, De Dolle, some of the conspicuous Belgians are missing. Talked to the owner for a bit, he maintains that he can't get everything he'd like with enough regularity to keep it on the list. It is what it is, there's enough to choose from there. Also, an extensive wine list with some 220 selections there, plus single malts, brandies & grappa.

Seen the food menu? We'd lunched just prior but the dishes that moved past us there at the bar were most impressive. Service was pleasant enough, and the beer was fresh. A solid pre Savor stop.

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Photo of Atlas1
4/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I'd been wanting to get over to the Belga since it opened a while back, but hadn't found the time or the opportunity until recently. I finally got around to making reservations and got over there on a saturday night. We had 6:15 reservations.

Nice, clean place in Capitol Hill. On 8th Street, south of Pennsylvania Ave. A long restaurant, but not all that big. Good looking bar off to the right as you walk in, with tables up front near the window and down the lefthand side of the room. Service was pleasant. Our waitress was nice, but a bit pretentious. Nothing to dissuade me from returning, but kind of silly. Still, she was johnny-on-the-spot all night and seemed to know her beers relatively well.

The food at the Belga is very good. We started off with something called the Het Stoofpotje, which was basically a very strange stew/casserole consisting of wild mushrooms, snails, and frog legs. Sounds odd, yes, but it's really quite tasty. They also bring an assortment of nice breads out to the table as well. My wife had the Vlaamse Stoverij, a Belgian beef stew with cabbage, served with fries. She and I both liked it. I had the Vlaamse Reus, a leg of rabbit and mixed root veggies served in a Rodenbach sauce. It was delicious. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in trying something a bit out of the ordinary.

The beer selection at Belga is nice. A quality selection of Beglians ranging in style and strength. I started off with the Chouffe IPA, a nice hoppy golden Belgian. My wife started with the Gulden Draak. I later had the Lucifer Golden, which I was excited about because I'd never had it before. It was smooth, creamy and delicious. My wife had a Lindeman Geuze Lambic with a chocolate desert (which I neglected to write down). Also tasty.

On the whole, I'd say the Belga is a nice place to go for a quality meal with some excellent beers. The food and beer selections are very good. But it's a bit spendy, so don't expect to get out of there without dropping some coin. I was a bit surprised by the prices when we first arrived. If I were still a poor grad student I might not have been so inclined to stay for dinner. They also do a brunch which is supposed to be quite good too. If you don't mind spending a little money, the Belga is worth a try.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Located in the Barracks Row/Eastern Market section of SE DC, Belga Café is a swank Eurobistro offering Belgian food and drink. I stopped by with a dozen people, fellow choristers all, at about 9 pm on a Thursday night. We had just performed at a function thrown by the Belgian and Spanish Embassies at the Library of Congress, so it seemed more than appropriate to continue our exposure to what Flanders has to offer the world.

The decor is nice, clean, and somewhat subdued. White tablecloths, exposed brick, and primary colors. The bartop is white and black speckled granite. No schlocky kitsch or anything unseemly. Breweriana is limited to some Duvel umbrellas on the patio seating and the glass collection on top of the bar. I think in it's former life, this was a hardware store or something. It's maybe 20 feet wide and about 150 feet deep. Not a huge dining space by any stretch. You won't bump elbows with the table next to you, but you'll certainly be able to eavesdrop with ease.

Service here is friendly and efficient, certainly of the European stripe. Patrons are addressed as "sir" or "madam." Empty plates were removed without prompting, empty glasses were noted and ask if refills were necessary. Beers were served in the logoed glassware with a few rare exceptions, but when those weren't available you received it in something close. DeuS in a champagne flute, for instance.

The food, simply put, is delicious. The chef cut his teeth in some great restaurants in Europe before moving to DC to cook for various Lowland Country embassies. The dishes that arrived at my table were all beautiful to behold and, per my friends, scrumptious to taste.

The beer list is Belgian-centric, as would be expected given the moniker. The usual suspects all show up, not that this is a bad thing. I'd like to see some more American micros show up (Allagash, Southhampton, and possibly Russian River come to mind) as well as some of the funkier lambics, but I can see that space and availability might be an issue.

Expect to shell out more than a few bucks during your visit, but know that you are paying for good quality. I wouldn't necessarily go here strictly for beer since the food is to die for.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.88/5  rDev +18.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

The Belga Cafe is located in a part of DC South and East of the Capital and not at a place where you would happen upon it. I'm sure the area has a name, but I didn't bother to find out what it was.

The atmosphere is nice, but the place is small. I called to see if I needed a reservation, but we were early so none was required. I don't think smoking is allowed and quite a bit of attention was taken to detail in everything the waitstaff did. The service was top notch.

The beer list is Belgian of course with a handfull of nicely chosen drafts that rotate quite a bit from what I saw, and quite a few bottles, at least 75 or so. Most of the beers are $6-7 on tap and can be very expensive in the bottle.

The food was stellar as the service was as well. The entrees were excellent and all was going along swimmingly until the bill came. That is when you realize this ain't your normal beer joint. Two people with a total bill of $107 before tip is kinda steep IMO. I gotta go with 4$ and very expensive.

I'd go back to Belga. With the food and service at the level given it is worth the trip, but with the price, I could only afford it for special occasions.

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Photo of Starchild
4.9/5  rDev +19.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Belga located about two blocks from the Eastern Market metro stop in Capital Hill. The restaurant is about as wide of an oversized tractor trailer, but the space feels refreshing. They combined exposed brick, soothing white walls, three wreaths made of mussels, a plaster relief, a few instruments on the wall, and a splash of vermillion on the back wall and created a restaurant that feels so refined.

My most recent visit was a brunch followed by a stroll in Eastern market for chochkas. Its a very nice Sunday combo, that pairs as beautifully as blue veined stilton and barleywine. I should write a DC guide of beer theme dates appeasing both sexes.

I had some belgian waffles, fruit, and whipped cream. I paired the meal with Rodenbach (on-tap) and it turned out ok, nothing magical about the pairing but both both items were very good in their own right (would have loved a Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus). I’ve also had dinner there about two months ago. The food is very good, but not amazing. My south african sea bass was fairly straight forward and for fusion restaurants, I expect vivid flavors and more boundaries to be pushed. The best thing I’ve tasted there was the mussels cooked in Rodenbach. Don’t get me wrong, its very good, especially for the price, but I don’t foresee a James Beard award anytime soon. At the same time, it falls into a restaurant of almost comfort food that I would gladly dine at once a week, if I lived in the area.

The beer list is superb. I can tell you how nice it feels to go to a bar and know the beers are going to be poured properly. It also feels great to look around and see so many people enjoying Belgian beer. Its a good mix of locals, young professionals, and middle aged patrons. Plus, our waitress was from Belgian and thats a big bonus in my book.

Nothing like drinking an abby ale and getting a dab of foam on the nose. Visit Belga.

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Photo of wrekkah
4.88/5  rDev +18.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

This resturaunt/bar was top notch. I had a night off during a recent business trip so I took the metro over from downtown. The Metro stop (sorry I can't remember which one) was only two blocks away, very convenient.
I stepped up to the bar and was immediately greated by an incredibly pleasant and charming bartender (Shelley). She asked if anyone would be joining me and I said nope just me and she said "Well I'll take care of you then". There was plenty of activity at the bar, mostly couples and the seating area was 90% full. Not bad for a snowy night in DC. The decor is modern but not overbearing. They have an open kitchen and it was very entertaining to watch the activity in there as the night progressed. All glassware is properly rinsed, cleaned and nicely displayed. Music seemed to be mostly jazz and maybe some house. It was at a nice low volume.
The beer menu is almost all Belgian (I remember some Ommegang product). I didn't count but they must have 50-60 bottles and 5 draft lines. Bottle prices ranged from $5 to $12. For draft they had the regulars, Leffe, Hoegaarden, Stella. The weekly draft special was Oak Aged Petrus. I sarted with a Hommelbier ($7), then a St Bernardus Tripel ($7), then an Orval ($8.35) and finished the night with a Duvel ($6).
The menu ranges fro $5-12 dollars for apps, soups and salads and $12-22 for entrees.I had the finger rolls and dipping sauce ($7) for an app, the salmon and leeks ($16) for dinner and a raspberry and pistacio tart (8$) for dessert. Everything and I mean every last crumb of food was incredible.
Throughout the evening Shelley checked on me in a timely fashion and kept the conversation going. She was an awsome bartender.
We talked about possible additions to the beer menu and she was very knowledgeable. If you are in the DC area with your significant other, bring them here. You will have a truly memorable night. Before I left, I thanked the owner/head chef. I believe his name is Bart and he is from Belgium!

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Photo of ChrisBowers
4.88/5  rDev +18.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

This place is truely exceptional. After going here I had that rare feeling that nothing could have been done better. Belga Cafe is a modern yet inviting small to medium sized restaurant/bar in a charming neighborhood. I feel like the neighborhood its in could be the next "big place" in DC. When you come in you're greeted by a super efficient hostess who was one of the best I've ever dealt with. If you're a bit early for your reservation (you'll need one, this place is always hopping), you can saddle up to the granite bar that seats maybe 12-15 people. Bartender is knowledgable about all beers both on tap and in bottles. After being shown to our table the chef/owner came over to greet us. Our waitress was super friendly and quite knowledgable about both the beers and the food on the menu. There are 5 tap selections including Leffe Brunne, Hoegaarden and a draft of the week (Petrus Oud Bruin when I was there). There are about 25-30 well picked Belgian bottled choices broken down into categories (Flanders Red, Trappist, White, etc). All beer is served in its proper glassware and poured properly. Prices are fairly reasonable, especially for DC. The food is PHENOMENAL. My girlfriend had a Flemish Beef Stew that was literally melt-in-your-mouth good and I had the Belgian Steak and Frites which was also outstanding. Deserts are decadent as well (try the 3 chocolate mousse). This may have become my new favorite restaurant in DC. We were definitely in need of a place like this.

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Belga Café in Washington, DC
Place rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 24 ratings