I just got back from a trip to Brussels where I had the opportunity to sample a LOT of amazing food and beers. Belgium is one of those places I've been dreaming about visiting for years, ever since a friend introduced me to Delirium Tremens, which started my journey to sample as many Belgian beers as I could get my hands on.
Bia Mara was recommended on TripAdvisor as one of Brussels' cheap eats and after having dinner there last week I can say that it most definitely lives up to the hype. The small chain was started by two Irishmen in Dublin and from there it spread to Belgium and later to London. "Bia Mara" means seafood in the Irish language, though the recipes they serve are a bit different than your traditional fish and chips.
My husband had the panko encrusted fish with house tartar sauce and I had the tempura fried fish with a lovely garlic truffle mayo. I ordered an extra side of tartar, because it's one of my favorite sauces and thankfully Bia Mara's wasn't sickeningly sweet like a lot of the American brands I'm used to. Since their motto is local and sustainable, the type of fish you might have can change from day to day and this evening they were serving hake. Despite being fried, it was light and flavorful and we didn't leave the restaurant clutching our stomachs in pain. Pairing it with two Belgian beers was the way to go, both recommended by our fantastic and friendly server.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the next branch they open is in Portugal!