Taste of Belgium at The Banks | Facebook | T: @tasteofbelgium | IG: @tasteofbelgium
16 W. Freedom Way (map it!)
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Open Mon, 7a-3p; Tues-Thurs, 7a-10p; Fri, 7a-11p; Sat, 8a-11p; Sun, 8a-3p
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Visited: Monday, July 3, 2017 at 10 a.m.
We love exploring Cincinnati, and with a free Monday in early July, we snagged tickets to the new Star Wars: Power of the Costume exhibition at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Naturally, any day of exploring has to start with breakfast. We’ve long been fans of Taste of Belgium at North Market, and have been to their Over-the-Rhine bistro, so it was an easy choice to visit their newest spot at The Banks.
The bright and finely appointed bistro is located close to the Cincinnati riverfront, blocks from Paul Brown Stadium, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Great American Ballpark. A stop on the new Cincinnati streetcar is nearby.
There was a 10 minute wait that day, probably because it was the Monday before the 4th of July. While you wait you’re facing glass-walled bakery cases with croissants, scones, and other pastries. (“Don’t touch!” we had to remind the boys.)
The restaurant boasts a patio, a bar area with an array of red tap handles, and a couple dining areas. To the left of the bar is a crowler-filling station, where you can have a 32-ounce can filled with any of their available beers and sealed up to go.
We slid into a booth with open siding that looked into the kitchen, with a direct view of the crepe-maker hard at work. Watching him work so effortlessly, you have to wonder how many crepes he’s made over the years.
I still primarily think of waffles when it comes to Taste of Belgium, but they’ve positioned their bistros as solid beer bars, too. The location at The Banks features 54 beers on draft (not to mention cans/bottles), with a heavy focus on Belgian brews, sours, farmhouse ales, and the like.
We weren’t in a beer mood that morning, but we were easily convinced by the cocktail menu, from a sparkling rose to an espresso-themed drink.
It was pretty easy to sell our boys on Taste of Belgium, with the promise of waffles (which they already know and love from North Market) topped with marshmallows, fruit, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, you name it. Owen ordered the s’more waffle with a giant homemade marshmallow and drizzle of chocolate.
He also chose a side of their house-made sausage patties (which I gladly finished for him).
The brunch burger is crafted, as you’d expect, from a waffle split in half and layered with egg and bacon. It arrives with a side of their Belgian frites (a worthy snack on their own), plus a zesty mayo and maple syrup. Let’s be honest: it’s called a burger but the whole thing is a knife-and-fork affair.
Taste of Belgium is also known for their crepes and galettes – crepes being the sweet versions (banana and Nutella, salty caramel and walnut) and galettes the savory (Belgian Baja, the Nati crepe with goetta). They recently revamped their buckwheat batter recipe, and it performs very well in the mushroom galette. Our favorite taste of the meal.
And another win for the sweet side of breakfast with the Belgian chocolate and cream waffle.
We were already fans of Taste of Belgium, but this new location helps solidify the fandom. The restaurant space is beautiful, and it’s in a location ideal for exploring Cincinnati. Their waffles are still some of my favorite of all-time, and the galettes offer a worthy savory counterpart.