Mani D’Oro, Gasperich, Luxembourg

We kicked off the week with a place which used to be (and I discovered it is still!) my favorite and we will continue today with a review of a brand new restaurant!

Mani D’Oro (translated: Golden Hands, an idiomatic expression used in Italian to define someone who is gifted in doing manual works) has been opened for less than one month on route d’Esch, just before getting to Cloche D’Or.

Their core is the preparation of fresh pasta: you can eat sur place or take it away, together with pizza, sandwiches and salads. As Mani D’Oro is open from Monday to Saturday, from 11 to 8 pm (Saturday till 3 pm), we decided to visit it for Saturday lunch, which, since I am getting old and I am not partying anymore all night long, has became a very pleasant ritual.

As said, Mani d’Oro is located on the main street and has a lovely terrace on the front side – I am already looking forward to summer apero, I know!
The décor and the atmosphere are sophisticated and refreshing: a big counter as soon as you get in, where you can order or pick up your take away, tall tables on one side and table booths on the others, with a line of chairs in front of the windows with the view on the outside – very much street food feeling. On the back of the booths, the kitchen and laboratory, with bright windows on the main room – so you can see all the preparations.

The menu has a choice of pasta to match: you choose your format and you choose the sauce (including several vegan and vegetarian options), plus pizza in three sizes, sandwiches and salads. Some daily suggestions are also available.

I ordered a pizza La Piccante (ventricina sausage and nduja sauce) in the smallest format while E. went for one of the daily suggestions (home made ravioli with porcini mushrooms and truffle).
We concluded with a tiramisu to share and we were offered two shots of limoncello.

Total bills reads 49 Euro, 24,5 Eur each (for 3 beers, 1 bottle of water, 1 portion of pizza, 1 portion of truffle pasta, 1 tiramisu, as said limoncello was offered).

Pictures of our lunch are followed, as usual, by my impressions about Mani d’Oro.

What I loved about Mani d’Oro:

  • I definitely loved the concept of the restaurant and the decorations: honestly lunch places I have tried so far are going in-between extremely cheap eatery and posh restaurants offering pricey lunch options. Mani d’Oro offers you a very affordable Italian experience in a captivating atmosphere. Also – the restaurant has a great selections of cocktails, Gin and other drinks, so it is not your usual lunchtime place.
  • I loved the pizza and I cannot wait to come back to try more of that: crunchy, not greasy at all, light in the dough and with first quality ingredients. The small portion (12 Euro for the topping I have chosen) was definitely more than enough for just one person and I have found myself imagining there sharing a large size with several friends and a Campari (or Aperol Spritz, depending what you like). E. also said his pasta was delicious, even if slightly smaller in size: the pasta with truffle is the most expensive one (20 Eur – and it is very reasonable as they came to shave the truffle at the table), but other pasta dishes are around 12 Eur, like salads, 6.5 Eur for sandwiches). Again, ingredients are top quality and you can definitely taste it.
  • Service was friendly, with detailed explanations and very present despite the place was very busy during Saturday lunch (better to book during peak hours). I also appreciate very much the take-away and delivery option. I am a fan of pizza al taglio (don’t blame me, I like it more than your typical round pizza) so I would definitely prefer ordering it at home to share with friends.

What I liked a bit less about Mani d’Oro:

  • At the moment, as the place is open until 8 pm during the week, it is perfect for lunch or late lunch, after-work or a very early dinner. If you fancy their dishes after 8 pm, you will need definitely to wait for next day.
In conclusion: I loved Mani d’Oro and as it is not far from where I live, it is going to be my place to go for Saturday lunch and after-work with friends. Their pizza is delicious and they offer a great selection of pasta, sandwiches and salads – together with drinks, also alcoholic – for a very fair price in a charming location. 

Reloaded: Max & Moritz, Belair, Luxembourg

You might remember that, for the couple of years I lived in Belair, Max & Moritz was my nightcap place. I loved it and so I could have not been happier when Frank invited me last week end to try their new menu.

The place has not change much since my last recent visit: the space of the bar is separated from the one of the restaurant and I personally appreciate this choice very much. On the restaurant’s side, warm, cozy, intimate, plexiglass structures have been included to adapt the space to the new Covid rules. Still, the lovely couches on the windows, the tall wooden tables in the middle of the room, the lamps, the pillows, everything remained and welcome you in a lovely atmosphere.

Having a great bar on side means you could start your dinner with a great cocktail: the choice at Max & Moritz is pretty wide and my favorite one is definitely the Munich Mule, a Moscow Mule prepared with Hendricks Gin – sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

The menu is also charming: the first feeling myself and Rita had was that “we wanted to try it all”. As it was not possible, we decided to go for a “sharing option”, instead of ordering dishes just for ourselves.

We had: truffle croquettes (Rita’s favorite), bone marrow (served with home made pan brioche and red onions confit), Rockefeller oysters (my personal choice) and dry-aged Portuguese sirloin, served with vegetable and mashed potatoes.

If you are two people and you want to share starters, a number of four / five starters is more than appropriate, while another option might be to have a small starter each and then ordering a main dish. The focus of the main dishes menu is undeniably on the meat, but you have also some decent fish and vegetarian options.

We were pretty full after the meal, but we still had a small space for the dessert – you could not say no to dessert, right? Rita went for apple crumble, while me, as I cannot once again decide, I opted for the cafe’ du chef, which included 5 small-sized desserts chosen by the chef. Next to that, we had an unforgettable Espresso Martini.

Pictures of our dinner followed by my final impressions about Max & Moritz.

What I loved about Max & Moritz:

  • With no doubts, I love the place. It is extremely different from most of the places you can visit in Luxembourg and what makes it feel special is definitely the hearty atmosphere, relaxed, easy going. A place in which you can stay from after-work to after-dinner without feeling bored. The décor is very unique and if it was not for the windows on the street, you can easily forget to be in Luxembourg and find yourself in a posh eatery in Shoreditch.
  • Food is to die for: I have been among the first clients of Max & Moritz, therefore I can testify how their menu, over the time, has found its identity and it is now mature enough to be defined not just as a restaurant annexed to a great cocktail bar, but a great restaurant itself. As said above, there is nothing on the menu which was not appealing, if you like sharing, this is definitely the place for you as well as if you are a meat lovers. The dish I liked most, together with the sirloin, which was melting in my mouth as butter, was indeed the Rockefeller oysters, which are prepared with garlic, parsley, baby spinach and bread crumbs and baked. I am sure, even if you are not a fan of oysters, you will love them! My next stop will be definitely the truffle burger 😛
  • Service: kind, friendly, smiley. If you are in doubt, trust your waiter, as they are really prepared about the menu. Cocktails: what I can add? I think they are just the cherry on the cake of this amazing place. Do not miss the Espresso Martini to close your dinner – just espresso is boring, right?

What I liked a bit less about Max & Moritz:

  • Currently the only thing I don’t like is that I cannot just walk there (and back!) from my apartment anymore, like when I was living around the corner 🙂

In conclusion: if you are looking for a warm and cozy restaurant for a night out with friends or your date, look no further. Max & Moritz is the perfect place to share a dinner with your loved one: food is delicious, cocktails well prepared and service welcoming. Whatever occasion you are celebrating, you cannot go wrong choosing Max & Moritz.

PS Rita has a great page on Instagram as well where she talks about Luxembourg, cooking and travels. Follow her here.

 

Piadi – Italian Food House, Bonnevoie, Luxembourg

Last week I went back to basics and came back after long time to have dinner in Bonnevoie. If you missed the previous episodes, I have lived in Bonnevoie for about 10 years and probably my first posts on the blog were very centred on that area, a bit like now they are focused around Place de Paris 🙂

Piadi – Italian Food House is another one of those places which have been on my list for long time, so a quiet night of the week while I was not feeling cooking seemed the perfect night to try it.

We got there at 7 pm (yes, I know.. “eating with the chicks” as we say in Italian) and got to choose our table as the restaurant was basically still empty. The location is very nice: just few steps from the central station, with bright windows on the first roundabout in Bonnevoie. Not fancy, but definitely colorful, those kind of places were you feel like smiling as soon as you got in.

We were informed there was a special tasting night (“Pasta lovers”) and, if we wanted, we could have had three small portions of pasta for 19 Euro.
We decided to eat a la carte a as you know I am not very past oriented.

We started with a Negroni and a glass of white, together with a platter of cheese and cold cut, accompanied by piadina and gnocco fritto – a typical specialty from Emilia Romagna. We were not sure about portions, so we hold on the main order, but, after the starter, we were definitely still hungry: I went for a dish of passatelli with pesto and clams (another pasta specialty from Emilia Romagna) and E. for a piadina with Italian sausage, onions and bell peppers.

We spent 84 Euro for: 2 glasses of wine, 1 Negroni, 1 bottle of water, 1 starter to share, 1 piadina, 1 passatelli, 1 espresso, 2 digestif. 42 Euro each.

Pictures of the dinner followed by my general impressions of Piadi – Italian Food House.

What I liked about Piadi – Italian Food House:

  • As anticipated, I liked the place and the general feeling the place is giving you. It is very relaxed and friendly and the nice service is definitely completing this feeling. It is a place you can go straight from work for a quick drink accompanied by Italian antipasti, you can have an informal date or you can meet up with your friends. Probably the colors of the place are making me thinking you cannot be sad among those walls and you will definitely link that dinner to happy circumstances.

  • Food was good: we were given more piadina and gnocco fritto with the starter once we finished them, the squaquerone cheese which is included in the antipasti platter was my personal highlight and I liked very very much the passatelli – more than the piadina honestly. The menu is pretty various as well: a nice choice a la carte as well as suggestions of the day which are going from starters to main – they had rabbit that day that I love, but I was not feeling very much for that, next time. It is definitely a place where you can have dinner (or lunch) with pasta lovers, vegetarian or picky eaters.

  • As said, service was very kind and my bonus point goes definitely to the Negroni I had. Most of bars and restaurants are recently serving Negroni -which is my favorite Italian cocktail – and even if I have found really good versions around – and some interesting relook -, the one I had at Piadi’ was the one to me which tasted closer to the one I have in Italy.

What I liked a bit less about Piadi – Italian Food House:

  • Once again, another place where I cannot find something to dislike, we had a very happy evening and I would probably come back. There was only one small “discomfort” regarding to the price of some items, if we want to call it like that. The shared platter has two size (a small and a bigger one) and we ordered the big (21 Eur). We were feeling to have only that but as said we were still hungry after – I feel that compared to other places I had the mixed starter, the portion size is slightly misaligned with the price, but it is not a big issue, you just have to know you can/need to eat something else after. Same for the “digestifs”, rarely seen a shot glass priced 5 Eur, so I will probably not order it next time.

To know: together with the a la carte dinner, Piadi is also organizing various interesting tasting nights, all oriented around typical products you rarely get to eat somewhere else (like “Tigella night”) and Sunday brunches. To be informed about these events, follow them on their Facebook page.

In conclusion: Piadi – Italian Food House is an informal Italian place, focused on authentic Italian products from Emilia Romagna, located in the heart of Bonnevoie. You need definitely to try gnocco fritto but next to that you can have other very tasty dishes – and delicious cocktails. It is the perfect place for a night out with friends or an easy going date.

Al Grappolo, Gare, Luxembourg

A new week has started and the weather is very depressing, isn’t it? Personally I am a fan of the cold season, which I prefer much more than the hot one, but rain… I can’t really handle it. After a week of much work and some social gatherings, last week-end I just stayed in and cook for my friends.

But.. I have still couple of reviews to post about “new” places I have visited during the previous week-end. Al Grappolo, in rue Adolphe Fisher, is one of these places. It is not new, as it has been open for some time now, but for some reasons, even if I wanted so much to try, I never had the occasion. I heard a lot of great stuff about it, so I was very curious and excited.

First of all, book in advance as the place is very small. We got there around 8 pm and the place is pretty cozy, the atmosphere is calm and warm. Candlelights, white table cloths, an old fashion record player. We ordered a Campari spritz to kick off the night and then the owner came to our table to introduce us the menu. Indeed, there is not a fixed menu, but it is changing every day with some limited choices.

We chose two portions of porchetta (roasted pork) with gorgonzola to start. To follow, I had veal with mushrooms, L. calamarata (a kind of pasta) with squids and E. pasta with “nonna” ragu.

We had a bottle of primitivo during the dinner – which took ages to be chosen, so praise to the patient of the staff who supported our decision – and we concluded with some digestives.

Total bill read 210 Eur – two starters, three mains, 3 apero, bottle of wine (which was around 50 Eur) – 70 Euro each.

Pictures of the dinner – starter pic is ugly, but I was so hungry I forgot to make it before eating – followed by my impressions about Al Grappolo.

 

Things I liked about Al Grappolo:

  • My expectations about food probably were generally too high, we had a pleasant, tasty dinner, but I think what makes the place special is the combination between the good food, the amazing atmosphere and the bubbling service. Walking into the door, you are catapulted in an Alice in Wonderland’s hole, where Luxembourg grey sky is thousand years far, surrounded by this welcoming feeling you might have when you eat at someone’s place.
  • Next to the food, the choice of wine is incredible, wide and interesting. Personally speaking, I would choose not to go to a place which has decent food, if I don’t like the wine offer. At Al Grappolo, wine would be one of the first reason to have dinner for me.
  • Considering what we ate (and drank), I have found the bill quite fair compared to similar place, above all for how pleasant was our night.

What I liked a bit less about Al Grappolo:

  • Let’s be honest: the fact they don’t have a fixed menu and the choice is very limited, is ensuring that the products are always fresh and seasonal. At the same time, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. The night we had dinner there was only one starter (pork), couple of meat pasta dishes, one fish pasta, one meat main course (the one I had) or grilled meat (for 2 people). I am very easy going in terms of food and I eat everything, so it was not an issue for me, but if you are with picky eaters, it might not be the right place.

 

In conclusion: Al Grappolo is a very cozy and warm Italian place located just off Place de Paris. It offers seasonal products and a very authentic cuisine, together with a great choice of wine. I would definitely recommend, especially for a night out with friends, when you want to be at restaurant all night and enjoy one glass more.

 

Kay, the new restaurant of Casino Luxembourg, City Centre

As promised on Monday, we got another “new place” on the radar which we tried this week. Kay, the new restaurant of the Casino Luxembourg, open its door last Thursday. The idea, this time, compared to the previous catering experiences at Casino, is to have a “real” restaurant, which is kind of independent from the museum – hence the entrance on Boulevard Roosevelt which allowed the access also in the evening.

The restaurant, from the press communication, proposes a creative Peruvian cuisine about natural ingredients. Ca va sans dire, I was very curious to try it and I booked a table with A. for Monday night.

The welcome was extremely kind. It was Monday and the weather was everything but nice, so the restaurant looks pretty empty. The décor has not significantly changed compared to before – at least for what I can remember – and table are left pretty minimal and naked. This completes a bright look of the main room, with the huge windows on the bridge, which should definitely give a suggestive view during less rainy evenings.

Our jackets and umbrellas were taken to the wardrobe and we were accommodated to our table.
First of all, we were given the cocktail list, which is pretty original – starting from cocktails’ names – and has alcoholic and non-alcoholic choices. We decided to go classic and ordered a pisco sour.

Together with two slices of tasty bread, we were given and presented the menu card: 6 choices for cold starters and around the same number for hot starters (meat, fish and vegan). Three choices for main: burger (beef or vegetarian), T-Bone and duck. We were explained in details the concept behind the dishes and the accent on natural elements – fermentation, probiotics, tastes.

We ordered 4 starters to share, 2 cold and 2 hot: the marinated nikkei, the “surprise dish” (osez! was the description), the vegan tiradito and roast-beef/peanuts butter potatoes balls. Three dishes out of the starter menu were not available (including octopus and razor clams), so we were offered a mini portion of clams to try.

We concluded with dessert: I had the Pan Comido (bread ice cream, honey, coffee, dates cake and tomatoes) while Angela had Ying and Yang, with chocolate and ginger sorbet.

The total bill reads 101 Euro which included: two cocktails, 4 starters to share, 1 bottle of water and 2 dessert (50 Euro each roughly). Pictures of the dinner followed by my impressions of Kay Restaurant.

What I liked about Kay Restaurant:

  • The concept behind and the idea of cuisine, for what we tried, is very interesting: in particular, I liked very much the marinated Nikkei and both desserts were surprisingly innovative and tasty.
  • The explanation of the dishes is made in details and the lady who is taking main care of the service is extremely sweet and polite.
  • I like the idea of having dinner in a museum and I am sure during sunny days the view would be amazing as well.

What I liked a bit less about Kay Restaurant:

  • Not all the dishes convinced us: the razor clams we tasted missed something and the vegan ceviche was a dish to forget. What confused me most, was the menu: while the starter section is well assorted, the mains look totally out of the contest and are very limited regarding choice – only one vegetarian dish, not even one fish one. The Pisco as well was not memorable.
  • While the main lady was very professional, the rest of the service was a bit shy and not very attentive. The restaurant was empty so small mistakes were immediately corrected, but we had the impression if the restaurant was full, the issues would have been more.
  • Finally: we felt we slightly overpaid for our dinner and this is my main blocking point to come back. It was Monday night, so a cocktail was fine for us and we were feeling sharing, so we had only two starters. But we made a quick calculation that with a main course (30 – 38 Eur) and a bottle of wine, the bill would have been scandalously higher for the feeling we had about the dinner.

In conclusion: the new Kay restaurant proposes a creative Peruvian kitchen in a very special atmosphere, the one of the Casino Luxembourg museum, in the city center. The restaurant has recently opened, so has definitely room for improvement service wise and in regards to the variety of the choices of the menu. I would definitely recommend it for a night out dinner or an after-shopping lunch with your girlfriends. Be careful: it might not be the place for you if you are on a budget.

The new “Rotisserie Ardennaise”

I am very excited as in the forthcoming weeks I put finally down a bit of planning and scheduled several visits to restaurants I have never been before. I have indeed realized I became a bit boring recently in my food choices and was going more to usual places where I feel “at home”, instead of being adventurous as I used to be in the past. Time for a change.

Last Friday night I booked at the new Rotisserie Ardennaise. The restaurant, you might remember, used to be one of my favorite when I was still living in Belair and has been now acquired by Come a La Maison group, so I was very curious to try it and see if and how it changed.

You can easily book online – I love places where you can book online! -.

We got there at 8 pm and the place was almost very packed. We were accommodated in the side room – honestly at the beginning I was a bit pissed, as it is definitely less charming, but soon I realized it is also less noisy than the main one.

The menu is mainly around meat, with three areas of choice: rotisserie (with chicken, pork, sausages to mention few), outstanding meat (as they call them, including beef filet, entrecote, burger..) and main dishes (where you have also couple of fish dishes, but no vegetarian options). Few starters are also in the menu and you have a great selection of sides (from truffle potatoes to aubergine parmigiana – one choice included in the price of your main together with the salad).

We started with a glass of champagne rose and one of wine to kick off the night, the chef welcome consisted in a chicken nuggets with ketchup sauce, both home made.
To follow, I had Tête de Veau Croustillante while E. had burrata salad. As main I had Pigeonneau et Sa Rôtie, while E. had half chicken roasted. I had truffle potatoes as side, while he had seasonal vegetables (Brussel sprouts and potatoes).

Our final bill read 235 Eur, of which 119 Eur for the one, a bottle of St. Estephe – so around 50 Euro each excluding the wine. Pictures of the dinner followed by my impressions about Rotisserie Ardennaise.

What I loved about Rotisserie Ardennaise:

  • I like very much the place. I used to like it also in the previous version, which was very much old fashion. They keep the spirit of the old place but made it a bit more modern, with this very strong liberty accent which to me it is making it extremely chic (yes, you know I am not a fan of minimal places, so this is encountering my taste more).

  • Food was delicious: we understood our dinner was going to be very tasty from the amuse bouche. Generally I pretty much dislike everything which is proposed as amuse bouche in restaurants, this time it was extremely good. The burrata salad, prepared with almonds and strawberry, was the best starter and my pigeon was to die for. Pigeon is one of my favorite dish and I tend to be extremely critical – this one was amazing, and was accompanied by beans with bacon and his juice.

  • When we got the bill, we the price – if we took off the wine – was extremely fair. The wine list includes several choices for limited price (around 30 Eur) and pigeon was the most expensive item on the list. Therefore you can get out with a definitely cheaper bill – for a very nice dinner.

What I liked a bit less about Rotisserie Ardennaise:

  • We had a very pleasant night and I would definitely come back. It happened very often that in the questions I received through my Instagram page, people are asking about meat restaurants in Luxembourg and usually I am very much in difficulties about what to reply, as so far there was not a place with a strong meat menu that I liked. Rotisserie Ardennaise is definitely now this place and even if they have been open just for one week, I was incredibly surprised about how good the food is. Hopefully they keep it up.

  • If we need to find something to improve, it would be definitely the service: while maître de salle was extremely competent, polite and present, the rest of the staff was a bit confused and out of the contest – one waitress was going around for our small rooms with dishes asking to whom they belong. The place is new, so it is totally understandable and I am sure they will improve.

  • Also, for my taste, the wine list has either extremely expensive wines or cheap ones – I would have personally preferred to have a better choice in the middle price range, but again, this is a personal point.

 

To conclude: I was impressed by Rotisserie Ardennaise. To me it can clear become quickly the best meat restaurant in Luxembourg city. The place is very fancy, food is delicious and the price is fair. Definitely recommended: perfect for a dinner date, a family gathering or a night out with friends.

Sana, Organic Food & Restaurant, Luxembourg City

After one year almost stuck with the blog, it is finally the time again for one of my favorite moment: trying a new restaurant!

I got this occasion as soon as back from my Italian vacations and the place I wanted to try first was Sana, Organic Food & Restaurant, which opened at the beginning of August just few steps from Place D’Armes, where the historic Banana’s was located.

The concept of the place is quite innovative for Luxembourg city: at the ground floor, Sana has a “pizzeria al taglio” which is open from mid-morning until 7 pm. They have a wide selection of pizza which you can eat sur place or take away. Next to that, you can as well order some salad, small starters as arancini and dessert. Said like that it might look a quite “easy” place, but what makes Sana different is definitely the research of the products: the pizza itself is prepared with a special flour coming from Italy (Farina del Mulino Magri, operating since 1929), and every single ingredient is selected among the top to get to a result that is a “pizza gourmet” – forget about pizza with chicken, here you have authentic Italian pizza prepared with 100% bio tomato sauce from Apulia, mozzarella cheese from a family factory in Molise region, Parmesan aged at least 36 months and cold cuts coming 100% from Italy.

At the first floor, then, you will have the restaurant. The concept behind, again, is simple: the objective of Sana is to present dishes from the Italian tradition in a form of “bistrot” and to give priority to the quality of the ingredients utilized.

Behind the whole concept, there is Andrea Cavaliere, who used to be the chef at Kava, in Bertrange – at the time he was there it was one of my beloved places in Luxembourg – and previously with Roberto Fani, who owns 1 Michelin star. We have been advised that the restaurant has been just opened – less than 2 weeks – and therefore the menu is still “work in progress”. But we were tooo curious to try so we booked a table for last Saturday night.

We have been welcomed at the main door and left to choose if to dine inside (upstairs) or outside. The weather was still pleasant and the terrace is very well presented – with a funny “beachy” feeling just few steps from Place d’Armes. We decided anyway to have just a drink outside and to move then upstairs for the dinner. With a glass of champagne and one of rose, we were offered a sample of the pizza available: italian sausage and potatoes, grilled eggplants and chickpeas cream with mortadella (definitely my favorite). The effort in the research of amazing ingredients for me it is clear already from the pizza and what surprised me most was the lightness of the dought – not greasy at all.

We moved upstairs thought the white staircase at the entrance – watch out if you have heels 🙂 – and we were accommodated to a table on the window in the main room. Again, it is surprising how the place changed completely from when it was Banana’s (closed and dark): now Sana restaurant is full of light and decorated in the particulars. You feel like you are in a countryside cottage where the owner will offer you totally homemade products.

We decided to go classic, therefore we ordered a portion of carbonara to share and to follow the cotoletta, veal, prepared with the bone. To conclude the dinner, we shared a classic tiramisu.

 

 What I loved about Sana Restaurant:

  • What a refreshing new place! A place where the quality of the raw material is outstanding and there is an extreme effort in presenting traditional dishes. I am not a fan of carbonara, but the one of Sana was to die for. The cotoletta was also amazing: so tender you can cut it only with the fork and not greasy at all. Tiramisu is prepared with the classic recipe but without raw eggs and was exceptional. I was surprised by how such a “simple” dinner could have been so tasty. Even the salad which was accompanying the main, instead of the boring fries, was delicious. I cannot wait for Sana to extend its menu and to try new dishes. 

  • The place has its own very strong features and it is not parroting any existing place or trend, they have done a great job renewing it. As said, the interiors are very bright and cared into the details. You totally forget to be in the city center in Luxembourg and it is versatile to welcome a date night, a family gathering or an easy-going dinner with friend. The spent, then, considering the quality of the ingredients and how big the portions are, is very fair: we spent 65 Eur with wine for 3 courses, but you can limit it definitely with only one course, as portions are big. Again, you should consider where the ingredients are coming from: the cotoletta was 26 Eur, which is an extremely good price for a meat dish compared to other locations in the city center. The carbonara, on the other side, was 20 Eur. But then you have to consider that they use only bio egg yolks, cheek lard aged at least 36 months, authentic Pecorino Romano DOP and Sicilian Extra-Virgin Oil. Yes, you can definitely find a carbonara for less, but would it be the same? I don’t think so.

  • A lot of other items made our dinner unforgettable: the kind and relaxed service, with waiters able to give you real suggestions and information about the dishes and the products used, the chef going around the tables to check how things were going, the welcome with the pizza for the aperitif. On my side, I can tell you that my friend who accompanied me is the most picky person in terms of food ever – not a good match for me, that I am eating everything, I know LOL – and he told me that this has been the most delicious dinner we had together and he couldn’t find anything to complain about. Well done!

What I liked a bit less about Sana restaurant:

  • This has been a great night and, even if full, I didn’t have that feeling to have eaten “too much” as ingredients were so good and cooked properly that you don’t feel exhausted by the food. I don’t have negative remarks, just for you to note that the place has been open for 2 weeks now and the menu is still on progress, including the wine list, which at the moment is quite small, but for which Sana has already plans for extension. 

 

In conclusion: Sana is a brand new place in Luxembourg city centre. They have a delicious pizzeria al taglio on the ground floor and a bistrot style restaurant upstair. They propose an authentic Italian cuisine with outstanding ingredients. As Italian myself, Sana is definitely jumping on top on my Italian recommendations for Luxembourg city – and it is perfect for a date or for a night out with friend. Don’t miss their carbonara and watch out for new items on the menu to come.

 

Urban City Luxembourg, a lunch in town

I usually tend to avoid writing a blog post about places which are very much known, but this time I really feel that Urban City needs a mention, as it started to fulfill recently a need it emerged I have after the lockdown. A place to have a nice, fairly priced and easy going lunch in town, but with a cool atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong: Luxembourg city center is definitely full of pleasant places for having lunch, but was missing for me a category in the middle, in-between a fancy, rather expensive lunch (Giallo, Um Plateau, to name few) as opposite at a daily lunch at the office (like at La Table du Pain).

I decided to write this review after being there couple of times, on Fridays I had off work – hence the beers 🙂

First time I had the falafel wrap – next to a classic burger for my companion of the day. Second time I had zucchini fries and avocado toast with poached eggs – while I well sold to my friend the falafel wrap I had the first time. To be honest there was a third time where I had a club sandwich, but I was too hungry to take a picture, so please use your imagination.

Here’s are the pictures of the lunch I had at Urban City, followed by my general impressions about the places and the food.

 

What I loved about having lunch at Urban City:

  • Food is to die for. The falafel wrap is to me probably the best dish they had on the menu, but having tried the burger, the sandwich and the toast, I can say that honestly everything I tried is really good, well seasoned, not greasy at all. Sauces and fries are also worth a mention.
  • Service is smiling and present – oh, what a pleasant surprise for such a crowded place! You never feel forgotten, dishes are coming quite fast and waiters/waitresses have even the time to share jokes with you – happened the last time, when we took huge time to decide what to order as I could already acknowledge everything is so good there.
  • I don’t have much to tell you more about the ambience compared to what you probably know already, but Urban City is definitely a cool place where you can go straight from the office, in your sweatpants after a walk around the city (or off your bed) or already dressed up for the night. What I want to add is that, even if so central, the price for the lunch is very fair: every time we spent around 50 Euro in two people (so 25 Eur each), including beers and coffee, euro more, euro less depending on the dishes. Probably it is not the place to have lunch every day, but it definitely well compares to other similar places.
    And don’t forget, kitchen is open non-stop, so you can enjoy your “lunch” at whatever time in the afternoon.

What I liked a bit less about having lunch at Urban City:

  • Not much honestly. Probably I recognize the fact that once it will be winter, having lunch inside will be less cool (for my taste) than being on the terrace, but still pretty good.
  • Finally, can you please cut the zucchini fries a bit smaller? Like actual fries? I think they will taste really better, but this is just a personal suggestion 🙂

In conclusion: I had to re-visit my motto of not having food where I normally have drinks. Urban City is the perfect place for a lunch in town: cool, easy going and fairly priced. Amazing and well presented dishes, including a wide choice for vegetarian. I am very much sure they are so well-known that they don’t need my blog post, still we had such nice time there recently I find impossible not to share.

Lunch at Trattoria del Circolo, Hollerich, Luxembourg

I am still working couple of days per week at home and this is giving me the opportunity to visit some restaurants in my areas also for lunch. Except business lunches, I tend to take my lunch from home as when not busy drinking like Joan Collins or eating like Adam Richman, I follow pretty strict dietary rules – unbelievable but true.

But after the almost three months lockdown, when I had lunch and dinner at home every day, and I pretty much avoided as well take-aways, I am quite keen now about having at least one lunch out per week.

Last week, I was invited by a dear friend to “Trattoria del Circolo“, the restaurant of the Italian club Circolo Curiel. To be honest, even if it is located at a walking distance from my place and I pass there in front almost every day, I have never been tempted to try it before. As I was explaining to P., in Italy usually this kind of restaurants are famous (or infamous) for the huge portions, very simple dishes and a fairly decent quality, so not exactly my target. “Trattoria del Circolo” was indeed an extremely positive surprise.

Starting from the location, traditional but not kitsch, warm and welcoming, with bright spaces and a very Italian feeling. There are two different menu, one for lunch and one for dinner, with some choices that are available at both meals and a good variety of products and tastes. Prices are moderate, with starters around 10 Eur, primi piatti around 16 Euro and main course from 19 Eur to 25 Eur. For lunch, there is also a daily menu available: starter, main and dessert for 13,5 Eur. You have two choices per course, so this might accommodate various palate.

We went for this option and we had as starter a seafood salad (other option was a caprese). As for main, I had spaghetti with rabbit and bell peppers, while P. had orecchiette with gorgonzola. We were not given option for the dessert, which was a cheesecake with raspberry.

Two menu, two bottles of water, two espressos, total bill read 38 Eur (19 Eur per person) that might not be a lunch for every day if you are surviving like me on lunch vouchers, but it is definitely very much competitive.

Pictures of our lunch followed by my general impressions on “Trattoria del Circolo“. (Note that the pictures of the location don’t do it justice, but it is just for you to have an idea.)

What I loved about “Trattoria del Circolo

  • Trattoria del Circolo” has been so far one of the best gastronomic highlights of this year. Not because I haven’t been out a lot, but because in its whole presentation was able to surprise me like not other places did recently.
  • Food was not only delicious, but extremely polished in its presentation, going far beyond the idea of “trattoria” as Italian I might have had. I can’t wait to come back and try the evening menu! Rabbit is usually a dish I love so much at my granma’s place that I tend to dislike everywhere else: here it was a great exception, as it was to die for.
  • The location is very cozy: honestly I immediately pictured there a date night, but it would be perfect as well for a family reunion or a dinner with friends. Bonus point: there is a terrace on the back if you want to eat outside.

What I liked a bit less about “Trattoria del Circolo

  • As for this lunch visit, everything amazed me, so there was nothing I would have changed – well, personally I would have kept the pasta in the boiling water for 1 minute less, but this is something totally personal. I will anyway give it another try for dinner and I will update the review at that time.

In conclusion:

I had a very tasty lunch at “Trattoria del Circolo” in Hollerich. The lunch set menu is a steal, the location is lovely and the food was surprisingly good and well presented. Definitely a place I want to come back.

Where to: have a night out with friends in Luxembourg (Summer Edition)

It is Wednesday and, like Ulysse, I feel the voice of the Sirens calling me. I try to resist, after a week like last one, that has been the happiest one of my year (my best friend was visiting from Italy) but also, most probably, the most destructive one. I am seated down at my desk, overlooking a sad, orange landscape of offices and I am just dreaming about having a drink. So I decided to trick the waiting with another summary post, this time to include a question that I often find in the Google search related to my blog. I have friends visiting – someone to take out, where do I go for an easy night out?

If you have been living in Luxembourg for more than a while, you definitely know a day of the week can change everything about one place or another. With few exceptions (Paname, Urban, Goten, Tube, you name them), at most of the bars, you have been there last week on a Wednesday and it was the most amazing place ever, now on a Friday night it is creepy and boring.

Here some of my favorite – and as usual, feel free to comment with your own , I am always very happy to discover or revaluate locations:

On a Monday Evening: Come a La Maison

This is the saddest day of the week. First of all, because your friends have been drinking all the week end and now they are full of healthy life good purposes – which will last till tomorrow – and run away from whatever invitation (you have been drinking as well, but you never had good purposes to start with). Second, because most of the cool places are closed on Mondays. But it might be the case you have a friend visiting only for the night (in Italian, I would say “che culo”), that your boss is off on Tuesday morning or you want to celebrate something special (like just being Monday) and you want to go out. Not many options, but my “to go” place is Come a La Maison. Even if you might remember from here, I am not very much fan of the restaurant, on Monday night they have the Italian after-work from 6 pm to 9 pm, really Italian style, meaning with a free buffet of food. Nice Italian food, like charcuterie, suppli’, meaballs, fresh marinated fish, pizza, cheese. It is not overcrowded, above all on the terrace during cloudy days, but yet at the third bottle of prosecco you might forget it is only still Monday – I know someone around here which occurred to be exactly in the same situation last Monday.
So, to sum up: you pay for your drinks, you eat (or nibble) how much you want (for free), you have music, pleasant atmosphere (as always at Come a la Maison) and a nice surrounding of business people who are escaping Mondays like you are doing – or at least trying. If you feel your stomach is still empty (or too full of alcohol), you can even stop by for dinner.

(Pics from Come a La Maison website)

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On a Tuesday Evening: Tempo Bar

Becoming old, I started loving places where you don’t go for meeting new people but just for being around your own friends and enjoying it. Consequently, I also appreciate places where the music is not that loud and you can feel a bit “off the beaten tracks” (even if it is quite difficult in Luxembourg, but still). There is a place I love during the warm season and I always find underrated under the pure “night out” point of view and it is Tempo Bar, in Kirchberg. We start from saying that the interior design is lovely and the food is generally delicious, so I appreciate coming here as well for a business lunch or dinner. But the terrace has an amazing potential that is, to me, mostly unexpressed. This is one of the place I tend not to talk too much about as I am feeling afraid to find it completely packed next time I am coming back.
What does Tempo offer you? A unique, enchanting terrace. Overlooking Mudam, with the Philharmonie and its white shape at your back. A valid drink menu for a pre-dinner or long-afterwork drink, with fair prices – among which, my favorite, is definitely Alice Hartmann Cremant. Aside from the dinner menu, a variegate, interesting “appetizer” menu to share, including classic like oysters, charcuterie and cheese platters , but with some creative twists, – I recommend you to try the mini burgers – to die for!. It does not come like an extremely cheap place regarding food – and I am happy it is not – but it is definitely worth a try, above all during sunny days and if you are with someone who is new in Luxembourg.


On a Wednesday Evening: Lady Jane

As most of the cool nights during the week are now happening on Thursdays, I tend to save myself on Wednesday night and to give my preference, in case I (really) (have to) go out, to more intimate places. At the moment, my favorite among them is Lady Jane, in the city center.
Now – you love it or hate it. The place is a speakeasy: so, the entrance is hidden, you need to book as they have service only at the table and you need a password to get in – not too complicated to obtain, but I cannot unveil you all the secrets, rights?
What I need to tell you: getting into Lady Jane, not with some difficulties if you, like me, totally miss balance, is like getting into the living room of an old aunt. A crazy one, who is hanging lamps upside down. The cocktail menu, which is changing on a regular basis and until end of summer will be just orally decanted, is amazing. Amazing meaning something you might have not regularly seen in other places around (a more polished and calmer Experimental Cocktail Club in Chinatown). For alcohol combinations and presentations. Smoke, flowers, bamboo straws are on the menu. Next to the drinks and the quiet atmosphere (when there are no DJs on the agenda), you have a nice and unexpected menu for appetizers – to share or to eat alone. Portions are fair as well as prices. A special note to the service, that still, more than one year after the place opened, it is still to me one of the best in town. The only downside? No terrace, so to smoke you have, again, to roll down the stairs.

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On a Thursday Evening: Briscolino or Project LuX

On Thursday you normally would be difficult to go wrong. If you don’t want to go to your “usual bar”,  there are several nights around town in which my favorite is definitely Briscolino, the Italian after-work (here we go, again), at La Briscola. The crowd is mostly composed by young professional, you have a DJ set which intensity is going up with the night and a delicious Italian buffet.

Another similar option is proposed by Project LuX: while Briscolino, the name says it all, is always happening at La Briscola, Project LuX parties are always changing location – and sometimes also day of the week. Ikki, Skybar, Boos Café, Le Sud. Follow their page and you will be updated on a regular basis on their parties. The concept is the same, replicated at different venues: dj set, finger food, drinks, cool people. The place to see and to be seen.

On a Friday Evening: This is your free night, I leave the choice with you – my favorite list is too long, from L’Avenue to Tender, from Paname to Llama.

On a Saturday Evening: Metropolitan

Saturday is generally too packed everywhere – so if you want a cool place where you don’t have to wait ages to drink and you can also nibble something, my suggestion would definitely be Metropolitan, in Place de Paris. You will not miss a thing: you will have the “people watching” component, you will have a nice list of drinks (including a very good Bloody Mary and a lovely Sicilian red wine), you will have an appetizers (or dinner) menu served till late – go for the sliders, they are yummy! The place is always full, but, differently from some others around, you will always find a table – and I love their white benches, they are so comfortable you can forget to leave.

(Pics from Editus)

On a Sunday Evening: Scott’s Pub, Soho and B13

Here I will close our week long drinking and eating around Luxembourg with three suggestions. If you want to let your hair down, Scott’s Pub. This place does not need any presentation on my side, but I would like introducing it here again as, since they changed their menu card, I feel the urge to visit them at least once per week. My personal favorite are their Truffle Fries and their Unfiltered beer. Bonus point: the unbeatable view.

Second place, if you still feel like partying, at Soho they organize cool Sunday parties – check out their FB page to be sure you are on the right Sunday! The atmosphere is pretty on the young and fashion side, but if you go with your friends early you will get into the party mood immediately. Outside bar, nice list of cocktails (a very good Aperol Spritz indeed) and normally a food corner if you feel hungry – last time I have been there they had a pasta corner and shisha was available to smoke.
(Pics from FB)

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Third place, if you are with your in-laws or if you are looking for some peace after a week-end of alcohol overindulgence – B13 in Bertrange pedestrian area – you can easily get there with bus 5/6 that are stopping just in front. This is again one of my favorite terrace in Luxembourg, they do nice cocktails, have a good choice of wine and have a pretty wide selection of dishes also to share – and if you don’t want to share, go for vitello tonnato. It does not come as very cheap, but you will start saving from Monday right?

(Pictures are mine, if not stated differently)