Tapas at Chez Rafael, Luxembourg

There are those nights you feel like eating out but not having a proper, formal dinner. This happens to me pretty often actually – if you follow our IG account (@corie.bratter), you realize we have many shared platters, Italian style apero, more than separated courses. As we wanted a bit to change last week, Jenni and I decided to head to Chez Rafael, a Spanish restaurant located in Place de Paris – our favorite area recently! – that proposes, among others, a great selection of tapas.

The restaurant has been there for ages – before I arrived in Luxembourg probably – and I have actually been there couple of years ago for lunch on several occasions when I was working in the area, but never visited during the evening. So, to change from our usual “charcuterie and cheese platter” we said, why not?

We got at Chez Rafael on a Friday night without reservation around 8.30 pm and we were afraid for a minute it was a bad idea as the place looks quite full. Luckily the owner was able to find a comfortable space for us quite quickly and we took a seat. There is a main menu of Spanish specialties, including paella – that seemed to be the main choice for all the other tables – and a separate list of tapas, available in the same number for the categories meat-based, vegetarian and with fish.

We ordered Patron’s Peppers, Galician Octopus, two times Bread with Tomato (actually we supposed the portion was just one slice, indeed it is composed by several…), Codfish balls and Tortilla. We had two glasses of Sangria to start (and 3 more in total afterwards) and we concluded with one espresso.

Total bill read 67 Eur for 2 persons.

Some pictures of our tapas dinner and my impressions.


What I liked about Chez Rafael:

  • Food was really amazing. Authentic taste, natural ingredients, a triumph for the palate. In particular, the octopus was extremely tender and it was prepared with fresh tomato and onion. The codfish balls were to die for and while normally I am not a fan of tortilla, the one we had was the best I have ever eaten in my life!
  • Service was extremely friendly: the owner was always smiling and doing polite jokes with us.
  • The price was exceptionally fair: we were very full (as the food was a lot, portions are not micro) and we spent barely 30 eur per person.

What I liked a bit less about Chez Rafael:

  • The place is not very fancy: the interior design is very basic without any particular feeling. Colorful, very clean, but still plain. That is perfect, but might not be appropriate if you are looking for something for a posh date.
  • Let’s face it: the service is “Spanish way”, so it took quite some time to us to be served, receive the food, have the bill and coffee. But that, again, was definitely fine to me, as I was not in a rush and I wanted to have a very relaxed evening with my friend. If you want to have dinner in 1 hour, it might not be the place for you.

In conclusion: I loved Chez Rafael, dining there took me back to Spain for one evening. The tapas were great and the service nice. Very recommended for a dinner with friends in a relaxed, informal ambience for a fair price. I cannot wait to come back to try more tapas and above all the wonderful paella that was passing in front of us.

La Biblioteca, Clausen, Luxembourg

Taking advantage of the visit of one of my best friend, on a relatively quiet Friday night – after a Thursday ended up at Saumur – we decided to try the new Mexican restaurant in the Rives de Clausen area, La Biblioteca. The restaurant opens its doors just the Tuesday before.
You can book your table online – thanks God, finally this is starting to be common as well in Luxembourg – and we got there ready and hungry at 8ish.

The place was still calm and we were allocated to a table indoor – unfortunately the terrace was already fully booked. The location is very cozy: forget Calavera and sombreros around, the place is all dark wood, books (La Biblioteca literally means The Library) and linear, minimal décor.

We started with a Corona beer and ordered a guacamole starter. The menu choice is limited: together with some entrée to share, you have a selection of main ingredients (chicken, beef, vegetables, etc.) to apply to the main course, in the shape of a burrito,  tacos or quesadilla. I went for a carne asada quesadilla, while M. went for a burrito.

We concluded with an espresso and a cognac and our final bill (starter to share, two beef mains, 3 beers, one bottle of water, one espresso and one cognac) read slight less than 90 Euro, 45 Eur per person.

As routine, pictures of our dinner are followed by my impressions on the restaurant.

What I liked about La Biblioteca:

  • I loved the mood of the place: finally an “exotic” restaurant with no cheesy decorations and music. The terrace is lovely, reminds me of some intimate places around Southbank in London. The service was friendly and all smiling, while kind of fast and a bit apprehensive, but the restaurant has been just opened for couple of days, so definitely understandable.
  • I loved the food: as it’s clear from my reviews, I definitely don’t appreciate much restaurants with an infinite menu choice. I prefer a shorter list, that maybe provides you with limited decisions, but definitely with fresher ingredients. Having been to Mexico, I was finding my quesadilla so similar to those I was eating in Cancun with my feet in the ocean (take me back please!) as much as I loved the guacamole with its nachos – forget processed food, this was truly delicious. I also loved the fact they did not provide you with French fries as side as basically everywhere around Luxembourg, but rice and a tasty, seasoned salad were in the dish.

What I liked a bit less about La Biblioteca:

  • For being a place that opens just in the same week, I feel things are almost all perfect. Definitely a bit of finishing here and there might be needed. The thing that might be less than impressive is how close tables are indoor. If you are booking on the week end for a romantic date, you might want to consider it. And a spicy sauce option with the main would have been highly appreciated on my side 🙂

 

In conclusion: I really liked La Biblioteca and I am looking forward to come back soon: it definitely has the ambience factor and the food is tasty and authentic. Remember to specify in your reservation if you want to dine on the terrace – I would do it next time – and definitely perfect if you are looking for a new, different informal place for a dinner with friends.