On a recent trip to Brussels I asked the ever reliable Gastrogays for some food recommendations. They mentioned Bia Mara to me. As luck would have it, it was directly across the road from my hotel. Obviously meant to be. It’s a busy spot but we were lucky enough to grab a table. Bia Mara started as a market stall by two Irish guys and they now have branches in London and of course Brussels. The aim is simple, offer a wide range of good quality fish (seasonal) and chips. They also offer panko chicken and a range of sides.
The surrounds are simple with an industrial feel. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and there is a great relaxed yet busy vibe about the place. Large blackboards shout out the fish specials on offer, and being Belgium, also the beer offerings.
My buddy who was with me is vegetarian so he tucked into the panko fish (€11)while I tried the panko chicken (€10). Naturally I tried the fish also, which was chunky and full of flavour. The chicken was tasty and succulent. Both came with seaweed salted fries which were a perfect mix of crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
We also tried a few of the sauces on offer, which included garlic truffle, lemon and basil, lemon Cajun and basil chilli, all of which were delicious. The menu also includes a range of sides, sesame panko prawns (7pcs) with pickled ginger sauce €8, minty mush peas (€3.50) and red slaw (€3.50).
Bia Mara delivers on their promise of good quality ingredients and I know it will certainly be a go to spot for me when I return to Brussels. All I need now is to convince them to open a branch in Dublin.