Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Meet Zach and Mariano

For the third chapter of the series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People”, today we will get to know better Mariano and Zach, two lads with different backgrounds but several passions in common.

 

What is your name? What do your friends call you?
Zach
: My name is Zach, and this is the way my friends are used to call me, although Zachou is very well used by a few ones
Mariano: My name is Mariano Della Porta. My friends used to call me ‘Tanguero’ because my second activity and my passion is the Argentinian Tango.

Describe yourself with three words.
Zach
: I would say that the adjectives which come the most when people are talking about me are smiling, energetic, optimistic and attentive (well, that’s four).
Mariano: The three words that describe myself are positive, determined and smiling.

How long have you been living in Luxembourg? What are you doing here?
Z
: I’ve been in Luxembourg City for two years now, straight from Shanghai, working as an actuary and risk analyst within financial institutions.
M: I’ve been in Luxembourg for three years now, working in fashion.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Z
: I’ve been led to like this city a lot after two years in its walls. In five years I will still be here !
M: In five years I will still be here as well then 🙂

What do you like doing in your spare time?
Z:
During my spare time, I am organizing afterworks for expatriates and locals. This is one of the things I loved about Luxembourg, its huge potential of young people coming from everywhere due to European institutions, banks and so on. That’s why we created with two friends MixinLux, an association mixing new comers, locals, cool and young, and making them meet each other with a drink and really good music.
Besides this, traveling is my other hobby. One of the other thing I like about Luxembourg. You can travel any place you want quite easily with fair prices.
M: During my spare time I am dancing tango and I am organizing amazing afterworks:  with Zach, I am one of the founder of MinInLux. MixInLux aims to gather young professionals, expats and new comers around in a same place, after work, with nice music and drinks. The main underlying idea is to meet friends, friends of friends, colleagues…

What is your most beloved place in Luxembourg?
Z
: There are a lot of beloved places for me in town. On the bars’ side, it all depends of your mood and the people you’re going with. But the Jakob’s (drinks and atmosphere) in Clausen, the Bouneweger Stuff (chilling) in Bonnevoie, the Vinoteca (view and talking), the Zanzen (chilling and view) or the Urban (beer and atmosphere) are one of my favorites.
M: I don’t have only one beloved place in Luxembourg city, but my best place is the Jakob’s House in Clausen because there is an exceptional service and at the same time the restaurant is amazing.

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?
Z
: On the restaurants’ side, I really like the Japanese Aka Cite’. For pizzas, Il Punto downtown with no doubt. For cheese and wine, La Cave a Fromages near the train station of course (so nice owners).
M: My favorite restaurants in Luxembourg are Il Punto and Al Bacio for pizza and Italian food.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?
Z
: Night life spot ? All of them 🙂
M: My favorite night-life spot is Rocas with no doubt, because you have a possibility to listen anytime original music, sipping an excellent beer or good rhum. In other words, I love simple places where good music comes first.

Do you have a favorite drink?
Z
: My favorite drink is the Aperol Spritz. I fall in love with this cocktail. But a Battin or a good rum definitely works fine!
M: My favorite drink is as well the Aperol Spritz, but I am also a fan of a good beer with a good cigar.

Where do you do your shopping usually?
Z
: As everybody in Luxembourg, I’m shopping on Saturdays at Auchan, Kirchberg, where I usually meet all the people I know in Luxembourg at one time. Except that this time, they wear sneakers instead of suit shoes 🙂
M: I’m shopping for food as well at Auchan , Kirchberg, but my favorite shop for clothes is Boggi Milano where I’m working 🙂

What do you like about Luxembourg life?
Z
: As mentioned earlier, I really like to simply go out and meet people coming from all around the world, with different stories and interests. Most of them traveled a lot, which give us a point in common! I also find Luxembourg very beautiful and rich in history. I really like just hanging out on the Vauban itinerary within the city’s walls and discovering the city.
M: I like life in Luxembourg for many reasons. For example you can meet people coming from all around the world, with different cultures and interests. In this city you have less stress and more social life.

What would you improve?
Z
: The thing I would like to see improved is the buses connection in the city by night. We lose sometimes a lot of time in public transports to reach two different places, and if you miss one, the remaining option is walking. Having buses on a more regular basis would make the Luxembourg night life more dynamic.
M: It may seems strange but in Luxembourg there is nothing to improve, because it is a country in continuous evolution. Maybe the bus drivers !!!

What is the best place you visited in a range of 200 km from the city and that you would suggest for a daily trip?
Z
: In a 200km distance from Luxembourg for a day trip, I would suggest Strasbourg. Lovely city, atypical downtown, nice food and a lot of things to do/visit. For history lovers, Verdun really worth it.
M: Metz 🙂 because Metz dedicates two weeks to the Mirabelle plum during the popular Mirabelle Festival held in august.

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg?
Z
: Luxembourg in one word would be ‘unexpected‘. After two years, I’m still discovering something new in the city, a like path, a bar, some people, or a place to visit.
M: ‘Romantic’ city.

If you want to know more about the organization Mariano and Zach are the founders, head to Mix in Lux FB page or join their next event at Jakob’s House on September 24th.

Pavillon Desom, Remich

After a stormy start of Sunday, the warmer afternoon invited us to take the car and escape the flatness of the city. Most of the time you don’t know exactly what to do when going out on Sundays in Luxembourg.
We checked if any special event and at the end, thanks to the sunny feeling, we headed to the Mosel for an afternoon drink.
We stopped at Pavillon Desom, located on the Route du Vin, in Remich.
I really like this place – the space is huge compared to other location in Luxembourg city and they have a lovely terrace with view on the river. Pavillon Desom is sponsoring its own wines, but on the list they have also other nice bottles from the area – and if you are used to Luxembourg city prices, you would be positively surprised!
I had a glass of rose’ cremant Desom while hubby a Pinot Noir from Cote de Remich. We ordered also a platter with parmesan cheese, ham and olives to eat while enjoying the last sun shining on the river, out on the terrace. We spent – in total! – 19 euros.
The Pavillon is working also as restaurant and, on the menu, you can find as well small dishes and other platters to share.
The environment is refined and the service young and friendly.
Only downside, if this could be considered one, the average age of the customers is pretty high – but I am the kind of person who is not so interested to the people around when in front of a glass of wine….

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What to do: Gare – Station

From this Friday on, another new monthly series is going to start on Barefoot in Luxembourg about best recommendations for each area of the city – and eventually also out of the city sooner or later. I based my suggestion on what I am doing normally and on my favorite places.

Feel free to comment with your own suggestions, I am always happy to know new places!

I am starting with the Gare – Station area, as my office is just overlooking one of the most busy street of the city and it is here that, normally, I spend most of my time when in town.

Where to go when you crave sweets or you are meeting your bestie after some shopping:
Kathy’s Deli & Cupcakery
I love this place for two reasons: first, you can go there whatever time of the day it is. For an overindulging breakfast, for a colorful lunch, for an afternoon meeting with tea and cookies or Saturday brunch . Secondly, it is the only place where I fancy having cupcakes. I tend to eat not too many sweets, because I don’t really like cakes, biscuits, macarons (sorry!) and I am more a burger and chips girl, but Kathy’s cupcakes are just perfect. They have lovely combinations (smors are my best!) and they are not soo sweet. Also: non-lactose milks – and soya, rice, etc – available for your drinks!
Casa Fabiana
Even if I am not very much into this restaurant for lunch, I love the tea room settings and above all on Saturdays it is perfect for a coffee break, a snack and some chats. Bonus point: very amiable service.

Where to go for your girls’ lunch
Ekxi
When my sister was working in my same building, this was our usual lunch place. I love the fact you can choose between several different type of foods: from focaccia and lasagna, to soups, to sandwiches to salads. And everything is “natural”, with ingredients well written so whatever allergy or food preference you have you shouldn’t ask twice the waiter. My favorite dish there is the Thai Spicy Soup with mushrooms , they also have pretty good deals for lunch (salad, sandwich and drink for 8,40 Euro) and if you are in a hurry, the fruit-shake with watermelon and mint is just delicious.
Sushi and More
I started to hate sushi chains when I was in London, as I normally find the food there extremely cheap and insipid, and the opening of Sushi Shop in Luxembourg couldn’t help me to change my feelings – even it worse them. Sushi and More is a quite different story, as they have some well presented sushi, tasty, and the combinations for lunch (sushi box plus salad plus soup) are all for 11.20 Euro. They have also several “out of menu” items while my beloved box is the chirashi one. The location is clean and waiters are smiling and kind. Not for a date, but definitely worth a good lunch.
Sushi Ogasang
Talking about good deals, Sushi Ogasang is a more refined place – I keep it normally for my “special” lunches. They have several lunch bento box formulas (around 14 Euros), including a vegetarian one, and, boys will be boys, an All-you-can-eat trail (15 euros for lunch, 22 euros in the evening).

Where to go when you want to have shopping but you don’t know what you want to buy
Hema
When I enter in Hema, normally I feel the same then when going to Ikea. I know I have to buy only a small thing (like the cleanser for my contacts) but I end up always with my bag full of stupid things. In fact I think Hema is helpful in two ways: for cheap home things (we bought there our curtains, but they have also dishes, small electro stuff, towels) or for totally silly compulsive items, like colored notepads, cake kits, gardener tools, candles. And… have you ever tried Hema cookies?

Where to go when you need to shop for a dinner date
La Pause du Gourmet
Here at La Pause du Gourmet not only you can have delicious lunches (not on budget), refined wine tastings or organize your evening events (business nights, birthdays, dinners), but also buying amazing wines, cheese and charcuterie. My favorite is the truffle cheese (prepared with truffle bits, not just aroma) and the pesto one. Hubby is a fan of all the Italian charcuterie, including the Colonnata lard.

Where to go when it is Sunday afternoon, your fridge is empty and you girlfriend is coming to your place
Monoprix
Monoprix is open until 7 pm on Sundays (all Sundays, not only those of city-shopping) They have great fruit and vegetables selection, wines and champagne, fresh bread and croissants, meat, cheese, cleaning stuff and many more other products – and your final bill will be lower than driving to the next petrol station to buy some last-minute beef filet , Cabernet and chips.

Where to go for a quiet drink with your colleagues

Hotel Park Inn
I know pretty well the station area is not popular among professional expats and Luxembourgers. It could happen anyway that you want to stop by the way for a drink, so, the Hotel Park Inn is definitely the best place to go for me. The ambience is swanky but not posh (forget Sofitel!), the service friendly and the prices reasonable. Above all, you are on the first floor over Avenue de La Gare, so you can enjoy the chaos without being in it middle. Recommended for an after-work drinks.

Where to go for a romantic dinner date
Taj Mahal (on budget)
Le Chatelet (elegant)

Where to go for a dinner/drink with a buddy
La Bella Napoli
They
 offer a very good Italian style tiny pizza at reasonable price – I am not a fan of their other dishes and I would recommend personally to go there only for the pizza, but feel free to try and let me know! The environment is a bit messy but pleasant, with efficient service. If you stick to the pizza and beer menu, it is very reasonable priced.
QG
For having a beer at QG, you definitely do not need to dress up. They have plenty of space for chatting, a terrace, a pool table and they are open until 3 am over week-ends. It is not a fashionable place, but it is kind of place where you can spend a funny evening with your friends without being bothered about the surroundings. I love their Bloody Mary.

I noted a couple of new places open their doors in the area recently but haven’t had a chance to try them yet.. so stay tuned for some further updated, gonna test them during next weeks 🙂

Le Grec Restaurant in Bonnevoie, Luxembourg

I am currently enjoying a short week at the beach, at my parents’ place, before a well-deserved vacation abroad – it is since our Mexican honey moon last year we are not taking a proper vacation!

In the meanwhile, I was putting my pictures in order and I found out I never talked about a place we really enjoyed, Le Grec restaurant in Luxembourg. Hubby is not a great fan of exotic cuisine, but this is one of the only places he visits with pleasure.

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Things I love about this restaurant :

  • The friendly environment – after being there couple of times, it was like having dinner at a relative’s place. The owner is very funny and you could start a dinner at 9 pm and leave at 1 am – in my language we say: leaving on the knees, you know what I mean 🙂
  • The great food and the giant portions – this is definitely a place for big appetite as portions are huge. But the choice is very wide – they have fish, meat and veggie platters, so you can either mix and share different dishes as we usually do. My personal favorites are the Atherina fish as starter and the Gyros as main (onion alert!).
  • The quality/price – compared to other similar places I have been, Le Grec is definitely not very expensive.
  • The restrooms. It might be a strange thing, but I am in love with the restrooms of this place!

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Things I loved a little less:

  • The atmosphere is really familiar – so not recommended for a posh night or a date. But definitely the place to go with friends for a funny night out! Don’t exceed with the raki as I usually do :))

Late evening dining: Limbo RestoClub, Luxembourg

When I was told about the opening of Limbo, this new restaurant – club in the city center, I was a bit skeptic at the very beginning as I am not a fan of mixed environment concept, first because it is difficult to be good in too many things at the same time, second as the restaurants in da club were I have been in the past were all a big disappointment. In some of them the music was so loud you can barely hear your own voice.

Said that, I first had a dry run at Limbo last week: we had some friends arriving in town in the evening and we wanted to have a late light dinner. Unfortunately, as you are probably aware, there are very few places in Luxembourg where you could eat later than 9 pm in a decent way. I got in contact with Limbo FB page and they confirmed me their kitchen is open until 11 pm. It was quite refreshing and we had a short, pleasant time. We ordered some tapas to share and some great cocktails and the experience was so positive – even limited, as said – that I decided to come back this week end for a full dinner.

The location, the former Secret Garden, has been updated to the need of the new place, has a large wardrobe on view at the entrance and a great, cozy embowered terrace. The tables have a generous gap in-between, thing I always appreciate, and the service is informal but great.

The menu has a fair choice of fusion starters and main courses, meat, fish and vegetarian, plus some menu combinations. Prices are very very honest for being in such great central location.

I had salmon tartare as starter, scallops and patanegra as main, while my friend R. a veggie and tofu platter for starter and beef filet as main.

Here’s the pictures of our dinner, followed, as usual, by my impressions.

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Things I loved about Limbo:

  • Outstanding choice of tropical cocktails: I had both Caipirinha and Daiquiri Frozen and they were both delicious. Finally a place where to have something different than a gin-tonic!
  • Food is great: in particular, high-quality raw materials (as the wagyu beef) and unusual combinations. My salmon tartare was to die for (even if it is strong in onions, so be aware if you are on a date) and the scallops platter was also yummy,
  • Amazing customer service. You get immediate reply from their FB page if you write them for any question/enquiry and the on-site service is also fine.
  • High quality/price ration and value for money – one of the best I have seen centrally.

Things I liked a bit less about Limbo:

  • While food is affordable, drinks price is in line with city center bars. That’s fine for a night out, but if you intend to have only cocktails during your dinner and you are quite like a booze lover like I am, it might start to be expensive. The great thing is that if you take the menu combination, you get cocktails for half price until midnight.
  • My friend’s starter – the veggie tofu platter – was nothing special.
  • It is not a restaurant for big appetite. I personally appreciate when you finish your dinner and you are satisfied but not overwhelmed, but we noted as it might not be the place for a lads only night.

In conclusion, I definitely like Limbo RestoClub very much: the ambience is pleasant and it is the perfect place I would recommend if you want to have a fancy late evening dinner before a night out or a date with friends with some tropical appeal.