Do you know gyozas? They are those absolutely divine Japanese ravioli, steamed then cooked “a la plancha” on just one side. Whether stuffed with vegetables or ground pork, it’s often the perfect appetizer for a Japanese meal.
At least in theory. In real life, they tend to be so addictive that you’ll most certainly end up eating just that. So, just for you, we’ve roamed the capital city in search of the cream of the crop. Here’s our selection!
What we like about Kokuban (apart from their pretty crockery) is ordering a little of everything on the menu and always keep discovering new things. The only item we order every single time? Their gyozas, perfectly executed, airy on one side and crispy on the other. In both Kokuban restaurants, the lights are dimmed and the walls covered with blackboards (“kokuban” in Japanese), giving an intimate and joyful aspect to the place.
Kokuban, 180 rue Belliard and 53 rue Vilain XIIII, Brussels. Info on kokuban.be.
There’s no place like Kumiko. First of all, its name. No one really knows if it’s called “Kumiko” or “Kumiko Izakaya” or “Izakaya”. It doesn’t get easier when it comes to describe the place : it’s a restaurant, but it turns into a very hip bar at night, serving all sorts of cocktails to the most trendy and eclectic crowd.
Their gyozas rank among the best in Brussels and can (should) be served in portions to share, so the more the merrier! Warning: they’re addictive and you might end up fighting with your (now former) friends for the last one.
Rue d’Alost 7, 1000 Brussels. Info on kumiko.be.
If the signature meal here is the ramen, the gyozas from Umamido are, in our opinion, the best in the capital city! One of us (certainly not the person writing this article, no no) even goes there to order gyozas only.
The decoration in the four Umamido restaurants varies a bit, but the base remains the same: the interior is usually quite simple: white, wood and black, and comfortable. The large industrial lamps hanging from the ceiling add a touch of design to the place. Some of the restaurants also have an open kitchen with a great view on the chef’s work, we love it!
Umamido, 1 chaussée de Vleurgat, 1 place Ste Catherine, 14 rue du Bailli, 33-47 rue Henri Maus, Brussels. Info on umamido.be.
This gyoza bar opened a few years ago on rue Lesbroussart, just a stone’s throw from Place Flagey. Today, 3 restaurants are open throughout Brussels! Here, you’ll eat donburis, those bowls full of good things, but the gyozas are a must as a starter. Special mention for the pork-ginger gyozas, a marvel, and their homemade iced tea!
8 Rue Lessbroussart, 67 Place Jourdan and 12 Rue de Flandre, Brussels. Info on takumi.be.
If you’ve been dreaming of an orgy of gyozas, this is where it happens! You can order your gyozas by 8, 12, 20 or 40 depending on your hunger. At the Gyozaria, the star is the little Japanese ravioli: the classics, of course, but also a lot of homemade creations and experimental associations.
The classics obviously are pork, chicken and veggie, but the chef regularly invents new gyozas like the “Nikkei” one, with chicken, lime, coriander and chili. Want a dessert? The gyoza comes in a sweet version as well, with apples!
226, rue au Bois, 1150 Brussels. Info on gyozaria.be.