Sunny days in Leuven are for grabbing lunch with buddies at the roomy terrace of De Werf, though finding a spot can be tricky sometimes, even with a huge terrace. The place is tremendously popular with locals and students thanks to its casual atmosphere, friendly prices, and all-around cozy vibe. Highly recommended are its homemade ice teas and unbeatable petit beurre cake.
De Werf, Hogeschoolplein 5, Leuven, Belgium, +32 16 23 73 14
Those in the mood for hearty Mexican fare better make their way to the Oude Markt during lunchtime. Here, Donki the Rockin’ Burrito serves soft and crunchy tacos, fajitas, burritos and even a seducing ‘naked’ burrito (the delicious filling in a bowl without its tortilla jacket).
Donki, Oude Markt 48, Leuven, Belgium, +32 16 88 85 90
Nosh has come to wave the flag for bagels in Leuven by offering up a ton of possible combinations. Half of the fun lies in assembling your own lunch by picking and choosing from six kinds of these delicious bread rings, four kinds of cream cheese, and then, of course, there are the toppings. Newbies might want to try a traditional New York bagel with smoked salmon, while bagel aficionados can experiment with the fish burger and Mexican-style options.
Nosh, Naamsestraat 14, Leuven, Belgium, +32 16 20 31 03
As far as hipster living room spaces are concerned, Bar Stan has got Leuven covered. Tucked away in a residential area on the corner of Constantin Meunier, the welcoming Stan is a place to relax and get a good cup of joe. Choose between homemade soups, quiches, lasagna, or many original sandwiches while admiring the artwork on the wall. Stan is also an absolute staple for brunch on Sundays.
Bar Stan, Constantin Meunierstraat 2, Leuven, Belgium, +32 16 88 90 83
Tokio Sushibar in de Ravenstraat may seem a bit dingy at first and the food is mainly meant for takeout however, the flavor can’t be denied. This is considered to be the best sushi in town.
Tokio Sushi, Ravenstraat 19, Leuven, Belgium, +32 16 41 68 58
L’Inizio in the Parijsstraat has people lining up in front of its tiny takeout window every noon and evening. Regulars who love their pasta – and there’s a lot of them – know to call in their order at least half an hour in advance since everything is made fresh right on the spot. The unspoiled ingredients and generous portions coming out of the tiny kitchen more than make up for the wait.
L’Inizio, Parijsstraat 39, Leuven, Belgium, +32 16 20 20 56
Bar Louis is a cocktail and wine lounge/restaurant with extravagant decor (at least according to Leuven’s norms). Prices are somewhat steep for students, but the view on the Grand Place from its terrace and wooden cabin in winters is worth it.
Bar Louis, Grote Markt 2, Leuven, Belgium, +32 16 58 58 52