Leuven

Lodging

  • The Professor [Naamsesestraat 20 / tel: 016-20-14-14 / fax: 016-29-12-20]: Located in the heart of Leuven (around the corner from the Old Market), the Professor offers clean rooms and an excellent breakfast at a modest price. The only drawback is that the hotel can be a bit noisy at night. Ask for rooms 5, 7 or 9, which are the most spacious.
  • Holiday Inn [ Alfons Smetplein 7 / tel: 016-31-76-00 / fax: 016-31-76-01 / web-site ]: Much more expensive than the Professor, but much quieter. Incredible breakfast buffet.
  • Ibis Hotel [Brusselsestraat 52 / tel: 016-29-31-11 / fax: 016-23-87-92]: A bit more expensive than the Professor, but much quieter during the summer months.

Dining

  • De Troubador Restaurant [Tiensestraat 32/Muntstraat 27]: very large selection of Belgian specialties.
  • Cara Steak House [Tiensestraat]: the best steaks in Leuven. Mike Russo recommends steak with Béarnaise sauce.
  • De Clijne Taffel (Naamsestraat): decent steaks.
  • Thomas Stapleton (Standonckstraat , off Naamsestraat): if you must have Irish "food", beer and music while in Leuven, this is the place to go.
  • Quo Vadis (Muntstraat): decent pizza at reasonable prices.
  • Thai House (off Tiensestraat, by Holiday Inn): if you are in the mood for something a bit more exotic.
  • Notre Dame (Grote Markt): a nice selection of steaks, salads, etc., in a great location (you can dine literally underneath the Stadhuis).
  • Nachtuil [Krakenstraat / off the Old Market]: a good place to try Flemish specialties like Witloaf, konijn [rabbit] in trappist sauce, carbonnades [flemish stew] and waterzooi. However, avoid the steak here.
  • Ristorant Ascoli: [Muntstraat 17]: Excellent Italian cuisine that is well worth the price. Recommended by Maureen Walsh.
  • Lukemieke [Vlamingenstraat 55, off Naamsestraat]: one of the few vegetarian restaurants in Leuven.
  • Ramberg [Naamsestraat 60] has a bistro and a gourmet restaurant, with a wonderful outdoor terrace. The food even at the bistro is wonderful and is reasonably priced.
  • La Cucaracha [Tiensestraat 21]: fantastic Mexican food at very reasonable prices.
  • La Cantina del Coronel [Parijsstraat 40]: has a nice selection of Latin American specialities.
  • The Alma student restaurant [Tiensestraat /off Maria Theresiastraat] offers ridiculously cheap meals with unlimited fries.

Bars (drinks only) and Cafes (light food and beer):

  • The Amadee (Muntstraat /behind Town Hall): smoky bar playing only classical music frequented by pretentious types [e.g., philosophy students], but the Westmalle on tap is the best in town. Mike Russo's favorite dive.
  • On a warm (and dry) evening, your best bet is simply to head to the Old Market where there will be dozens of cafes and bars to choose from. For food try the Komeet [Oude Markt 54], which is known for its tapas or De Rector [Oude Makrt 4-6], which serves decent pasta and salads.
  • Erasmus (Tiensestraat, opp Instit of Phil): nice outdoor eating in good weather. The food is mediocre, but they have a nice selection of beer.
  • Professor (Naamsestraat 20): incredible selection of ice cream & exotic cocktails.
  • De Appel Raventraat (behind Univ Library): a good choice for lunch.
  • Domus (Tinsetraat 8): has a nice selection of food items and, best of all, they make their own beer [try their three beer sampler].
  • Wink Damianplein (near Irish College): popular hangout for Leuven's international student population.
  • Wiering (Wieringstraat 2 / off Brusselsestraat): cozy environment and good food (especially the spareribs). The bar also has a wide variety of flavored Genevere---a popular Belgian drink.
  • D'dario (Ravenstraat): cozy jazz bar.
  • Dewerf (Hogesschoolplein 5): a favorite local hangout; amazing hot chocolate; soup & salad.
  • At the Bebop (Tiensestraat 82): Nora Gibbons, Leuven alumna, says this is a great place for jazz lovers to come a enjoy weekly performances and soul food dishes.
  • Professor (Corners of Zeelstraat and Naansestraat): offers a wonderful selection of exotic cocktails and ice cream.
  • Wentlesteen (Busleidengang 6D): historic bar with over 50 different types of beer and occasion jazz performances.
  • De Blauwe Schuit [Vismarkt 16]: a popular local hangout with a big outdoor terrace.
  • De Blauwe Kater (Naamsestraat 15): Nora Gibbons of the class of 2002 describes this as a "very dark and cozy out of the way place, featuring sultry blues and an impressive menu of specialty beers. She recommends the La Chouffe.


Dance Clubs

  • Check out Exit, De Rector, De Colff and De Rhumba, all of which are located in the Old Market.

Sights

  • Town Hall: One of the most beautiful high gothic town halls in all of Europe. The interior is well worth visiting if you can get a tour.
  • St. Peter's Church: be sure to visit the museum in the back of the church.
  • St. Michael's Church [Naamsestraat]: The exterior is recognized as a fine example of Baroque ecclesiastical architecture. Bullet holes from an encounter during WW II between German and American soldiers can still be seen inside the church.
  • Leuven's Groot Begjinhof is one of the finest in Europe and is a delightful place to unwind after a busy day of sight-seeing.
  • The Museum Vander Kelen Mertens [Savoyestraat 6] has a wonderful collection of medieval sculptures and paintings as well as period rooms decorated in Baroque, Renaissance, Rococo and Neoclassical styles. The same admissions ticket to St. Peter's museum also gets you into this museum for free.

Other Important Information

  • Medical Assistance [Blijde Inkomststraat 15 /near the Arts and Letter Building / tel: 016-32-54-44 (or 54): Inexpensive English speaking medical practice.
  • Connections Travel [Herbert Hooverplein / next to university library] can arrange inexpensive package deal to almost anywhere in Europe.
  • Movie Theaters: Supercity Cinemas are located in the Supercity Mall on Bondgenotenlaan [near the station]; The Studio Film Theaters are located on Burgemeesterstraat.
  • Train Travel: Direct trains to Brussels (25 minutes), Antwerp (45 minutes), Ghent (1 1/4 hours), Brugge (1 1/2 hrs), Aachen (1 1/4 hrs) and Koln (2 hrs). For trains to Amsterdam change in Brussels Nord, for Paris and London, change in Brussels Midi (South). For Maastrict, change in Liege (one hr).