About us

Belga Cafe is a restaurant concept by Belgium native and award-winning Chef Bart Vandaele. A vibrant atmosphere modeled after Brussel's great cafes, Belga Cafe is THE ORIGINAL Belgian restaurant in Washington, DC. Opened in 2004, the neighborhood locale on Capitol Hill is known for its authentic cuisine, extensive craft beers, and a beautiful wine selection.


Executive Chef-Owner / Belga Café / Betsy

“I am happy to be known as the ‘Belgian guy’ who put Belgian food on the map in DC”

Down to earth cooking with roots in his beloved Belgium, is what he brings to his restaurants.
Acknowledged for his talent as a chef, and famous for his flair, Chef Bart has been a great contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef” 10th edition.

The Belgian-born chef opened his first restaurant in 2004, the wildly successful Belga Cafe, and on May 2013, he opened a second restaurant. In 2015 he expanded his businesses with the opening of the summer garden, rooftop restaurant Betsy.

His career began at the “Ter Groene Poorte”, the Culinary Institute for Restaurant and Hotel Management in Bruges. He then worked for Michelin starred Belgian restaurants, including Piet Huysentruyt and Restaurant Scholteshof, served under respected Chef Roger Souvereyns. He came to the US in 1997 as executive chef for the European Union’s ambassador to the U.S. and later the Dutch Embassy.

Vandaele’s accomplishments include: Rising Star by StarChefs.com; ‘Knighthood’ by the Museum of Belgian Brewers and the Brewers Guild of Belgium; awarded the Belgian decoration “Ridder in de Orde van Leopold II” or “Knight in the Order of Leopold II;” Master Cook of Belgium; Beer Bar of the Year by Cheers magazine; awarded “Wine Excellence Award” by Wine Spectator 2007-2019; established Belgian Restaurant Week in 2011; National Brand Ambassador for Belgium brews Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, Leffe Blonde and Brune, featured by the James Beard Foundation for dinner events in James Beard House in 2007 and 2015.