A unique restaurant that is also a bookstore... Or a bookstore that's also a restaurant? Whichever you call it, Cook & Book has a quite peculiar concept added with some quirky decor. It's definitely worth seeing and stepping away from the usual tourist routine in Brussels, Belgium.
I was super stoked to hit up Cook and Book while being in Brussels because I saw it as #7 in the 17 Bookstores That Will Literally Change Your Life! Once I read this article, I had to chase these bookstores on my travels and was sure to add Cook and Book to my bucket list. Since this attraction is located on the outskirts of the city, try ditching the center for a bit to check out one of the coolest bookstores you'll ever come across!
The husband and I started our day in Brussels by driving from our lovely hotel at New Hotel Charlemagne to Cook and Book which was only about a 15 minute drive. We had to opt out of taking the metro that weekend but for those taking public transportation, the Roodebeek station is just across from this location.
Once we had parked and started walking towards the huge bookstore, we noticed there were two separate buildings- Block A and Block B. We choose to start off in Block B (building on the left if standing from behind) which is where the photo above shows the entrance of books hanging from the ceiling.
In Block B, you'll find the different bookstore entrances divided by themes. We first walked into the Literature themed bookstore where the books are hanging from the ceiling and where most of the books for purchase are in French. It was interesting to see books that I've read or seen in English translated into French. I ended up purchasing a few adult coloring books for my friends and one for myself.
Once we've read through the covers of books in French, we went into the Cucina (kitchen) themed bookstore and wanted to buy half of the books in this section! While walking in this section, we saw cooks behind the lunch bar and books filled inside of the salad bar! The books in this section were mostly cook books, some were home decor (including beautiful international home decor such as Morocco and Spain) and others were homemade cooking kits such as macaron makers.
We then continued to walk into the English Library which I think was not open for the day since the lights were not on, but we still explored the room anyways! This bookstore left me giggling as there were goofy gadgets and funny sayings on stationary. Of course, everything I read was in a language I could understand- English. We checked out the Lifestyle bookstore at the other end of the building but were starting to get hungry and needed to get some cash since this is the only payment accepted at Cook and Book.
Cook and Book was also a great way to kill two birds with one stone. When you're scrambling and trying to decide where you should eat, well here's your answer: right inside of the bookstore! With 9 bookstores and 2 restaurants, you'll spend a good amount of time here and will find yourself wanting to sit down for some tea or a meal for lunch.
After getting some cash out, we headed over to the Block A building where we had a light breakfast and chatted about what we thought was most interesting- then we talked about the rain that started pouring down. A good reason to stay inside and see more around the bookstores.
We went to have a look in the Comics area and then found the Travel bookstore, which of course seemed more stimulating for a gal such as myself. Travel books to crumbled up city maps were much more to my liking. The one thing that distracts you from reading through these books is the vintage camper in the middle of the room! You can even reserve to eat inside of this camper that seems to be the accent piece of the travel bookstore.
Be careful when hunger hits you while you're caught in the middle of a good book reading! Bringing a book to the table while eating means that you'll have to pay for the books and whatever you consumed at the table. You will have to pay (in Euros only) at the till of the bookstore.
After realizing we hadn't put enough Euros inside of the parking meter, we decided to end our journey through Cook and Book. It was a fun experience to add for our trip to Brussels and I encourage those who are in the area to take some time to check it out!.
Opening hours for Cook and Book Block A is from 8AM-Midnight and Block B from 10AM-8PM, Friday evenings until 10:30PM.