Food & Drinks Hauts-de-France

Best Food in Lille, France (Lille Food Guide)


Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Local Food in Lille

For many centuries Lille was part of the historical region of Flanders as its capital city. Hence, this city in Northern France has a unique culinary tradition, predominantly Flemish, and once in Lille, you will find many similarities between Belgian and Dutch foods.

From delicious sweets to spicy meat stews, trying the food in Lille will surely be one of the most exciting things to do in the city.

You will be surprised by the interesting flavors of Lille cuisine, and if you love some good old fries, you will be overjoyed to discover that many of the dishes are served with those!

Check out the local food in Lille that you need to try during your stay. For sure, these Lille dishes and cakes are not light, but rest assured, there are no overweight locals in Lille.

Lille Food Specialties You Need to Try

What to eat in Lille? Check out this Lille food guide, with the best food in Lille, France – famous Lille dishes, cheeses, and desserts. The descriptions will help you decide if you want to try these Lille food specialties or not!

TIP: Enjoy this fun Lille food tour to discover the great specialties of this beautiful city.

1. Moules-Frites

This popular dish is a must-try food in Lille. Moules-frites consist of mussels with French fries, and they originated in Belgium hundreds of years ago. Moules-frites is actually Belgium’s national dish and is a prime example of Flemish culinary influence in Lille.

The most common way to prepare this dish is with the mussels cooked in white wine, shallots, butter, and parsley. The mussels are served alongside a hipping side of Belgian-style French fries. 

There are tons of variants of this main dish, and you will find moules-frites on the menu of every restaurant in Lille.

2. Maroilles

Maroilles is a cheese typical of the area. It is made from cow’s milk and has a soft and oily consistency.

Maroilles’s smell and taste are very strong, and when fully matured, it develops an intense aroma with a flavor that resembles the one of smoked bacon, with a peculiar reddish-orange rind. If you are not a fan of strong scents, you won’t like the “old stinker” – as this cheese is nicknamed.

In Lille, Maroilles cheese is also used to make the Tarte au Maroilles, a quiche-like dish filled with Maroilles cheese, créme fraiche, butter, and eggs. The Tarte au Maroilles is served warm and paired with French fries.

3. Le Welsh

This Lille food is a staple of Northern French cuisine. It is made by boiling beer in a pot to which it is added cheese, and the mix is poured over a slice of toasted bread with ham. The dish is then cooked until golden and finished with a fried egg on top. Le Welsh is served with French fries and enjoyed as a main dish.

There are many variants of this dish, and what changes is how the sauce is made. You can find it made with ale, Worcestershire sauce, or even béchamel instead of beer.

4. Carbonade Flamande

This delicious stew is an unmissable food in Lille to try. You will find it in every restaurant in the city.

La Carbonade Flamande consists of beef slow-cooked alongside lard, onion, herbs, and a sauce made with sugar, beer, mustard, and vinegar. Once ready, the stew is served with homemade bread.

The mix of so many ingredients means that the flavor of Carbonade Flamande changes significantly from restaurant to restaurant, as it largely depends on the products selected. So why don’t you taste this delightful dish in as many eateries as possible to find the version you like the most?

5. Potjevleesch

Also called Le Potch, this Flemish specialty’s name means “pot of meat,” and it gives you an idea of its main ingredient.

Potjevleesch is made from cuts of various meats that are marinated in beer or white wine with candied spices. The meat used includes anything from pork to beef to rabbit to chicken.

Once the meat is ready, it is left to cool down and then served in a terrine with vinegar gelatin. You will enjoy this dish alongside slaw and French fries.

6. Fricadelle

This food of Lille can be tasted both as a main dish and a street-food snack. It is made from pork and veal sausage cooked and served with the ever-present fries. The meat is mixed with bread and nutmeg to give the sausage a great texture and flavor.

You will find Fricadelle served in many restaurants around Lille. The most traditional way to enjoy Fricadelle is accompanied by the classic Bicky sauce, a spicy ketchup. However, you can have it with any sauce of your choice and eat the sausage inside a piece of baguette, as a kebab, or plain and just with the fries on the side.

7. WaterzooÏ

The word WaterzooÏ means “the water that boils” in Dutch, and it might give you a hint about what this dish is about.

This Flemish stew was traditionally made with freshwater fish, mainly burbot. Today sea fish such as bass, cod, and halibut are primarily used. Another popular variant of this dish is with chicken instead of fish.

The soup base of the WaterzooÏ is made with various veggies, fresh herbs, egg yolk, cream, and thickened vegetable broth, to which is added the fish or chicken.

WaterzooÏ is the most iconic dish in the area and one of the must-try Lille recipes.

8. Le Merveilleux

There are many sweet ways to end a meal in Lille, and one of these is by having a Merveilleux. This small cake consists of two light meringues joined by a nice layer of whipped cream, topped with a bed of chocolate shavings. Often, the cake is decorated with a candied cherry on top.

Le Merveilleux is a very popular dessert in Lille, and it has many different versions: you can find it with speculoos cream or buttercream instead of whipped cream or with white chocolate replacing the dark chocolate shavings.

Whatever version you try, it will be delicious!

9. Gauffre Fourré

Gauffre Fourré is an oval-shaped soft waffle made with flour, sugar, salt, yeast, margarine, and eggs. The waffle is split in two and traditionally filled with “vergeoise”, a brown sugar paste. You can also find Gauffre Fourré with a filling of vanilla cream, fresh fruits, or with vergeoise and rum.

Gauffre Fourré has been around since the 19th century and was the favorite of Charles de Gaulle.

The best place to eat Gauffre Fourrés is at Meert (27 Rue Esquermoise), Lille’s most iconic pâtisserie founded in 1677. The Gauffres from Meert are filled with a Madagascar vanilla pastry which makes them especially delicious! During his summers in Lille, when he was a child, Charles de Gaulle used to go to Meert every day to buy his favorite Gauffres Fourrés.

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