Leuven like a local: where to eat?

Local and foodie Kristel Van Loock shows us her 7 food hotspots in Leuven. Which restaurants, bakeries and chocolate shops should you pay a visit while staying in the city? Kristel guides you through culinary Leuven.

11 August 2023

De Broodenier

“The year 2020 didn’t only cause bad things, but also a few good things. Example 1: De Broodenier. Since the opening of this artisanal bakery in August 2020, I don’t want to eat bread from anywhere else! Besides their specialty in sourdough breads, the bakery offers a large and diverse range of pastries like (almond) croissants, pains au chocolat, currant buns, cinnamon rolls, etc.”


Lukemieke is a must visit for vegetarians (and veggie lovers). This vegetarian restaurant, close to Leuven’s municipal park, has been around for over 50 years. I’ve been going to this restaurants since I was in school! Every weekday, you can enjoy a delicious daily special or oven dish for lunch and/or dinner. For dessert, choose between freshly baked pies, chocolate mousse and tiramisu. Also available for takeaway (with a discount if you bring your own food containers)!”

Patisserie ZUUT

“I have a sweet tooth and go to ZUUT almost on a weekly basis. It has everything I desire: pralines, chocolate bars, Zuute tetjes (the better kind of Melo Cakes), yummy éclairs and pies. My absolute favorite is the banana macaronade pie. Above all that, Zuut has fresh ice cream to take away or you can enjoy an ice coupe in the amazing tearoom in the back of the shop.”


“Like a real chocoholic, I can’t have enough chocolate! So here’s a second chocolatier in Leuven you should visit. Bittersweet has without a doubt the most creative and original artisanal pralines, that are mouth-watering. For Valentine’s Day, Bittersweet creates pralines in the shape of an anatomic heart. On Friday and Saturday, they also offer soft ice cream with a delicious choice of toppings.”

Ricki Koffie & Boek

“Definitely my favorite hidden gem in the suburbs of Leuven. Ricki Koffie & Boek is located in the coziest street of Kessel-Lo and within walking distance of Leuven’s train station. This super homey café brings together literature, coffee or tea and homemade pastries, hence the name Ricki Koffie (= coffee) & Boek (= book). Founders Riet and Nicky want you to have a real Swedish FIKA moment here: a moment of rest with a drink and a pastry surrounded by good people. Mission accomplished!”

Ristorante Guzzi

“For the best “Cucina Italiana”, chef Felice Miluzzi is your go to person in Leuven. There’s a reason he was named best chef of the country by Gault Millau. In 2021, the passionate founder and chef of ristorante Rossi opened up a second Italian restaurant in the city, specializing in pizzas with an organic sourdough base. Fun fact: Guzzi comes from ‘Miluzzi’ and ‘Gu’, the family names of Felice and his wife Yue.”


“Ever since my vacation in Jordan a few years ago, I’ve become a big fan of Middle Eastern cuisine. In this Palestinian restaurant in the heart of the city, founder Shadi not only gives you a warm welcome, but also offers you a variety of tasty meals at budget-friendly prizes, like the vegetarian mezze. Habibi is known to have the best falafel in the country and I can only confirm that! The restaurant also has a second location at Hal 5 in Kessel-Lo.”

Who is local Kristel?

My name is Kristel, born and raised in Leuven, where I have been happily living for half a century now. I inherited my passion for photography from my father and am lucky I can put my passion to use in my lovely city. As a photographing foodie and Belgian chocoholic (in heart and liver), I love putting culinary hotspots in the most beautiful city of Flanders in the spotlight.

Photo's: Kristel Van Loock