La Gamba, Luxembourg – reloaded

Do you remember the lovely Portuguese restaurant in Bonnevoie I wrote about this year?

I had a chance to visit La Gamba again with friends some weeks ago and finally I was able to take some pictures of the great fish dishes before jumping on them.

We went as usual for the mixed grilled plus some garlic shrimps.

Enjoy them and check out my previous review for further impressions!

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Birthday Dinner at Le Bouquet Garni, Luxembourg

Uff! Even if I pretend to be young, I needed some days to recover from the last birthday week end – after three days of partying I still feel a bit blurred.

On Friday night, that was actually the day of my birthday, my husband booked a table at Le Bouquet Garni. Even if I love French restaurants, we never had a chance to visit this one during our pretty long stay in Luxembourg.

The restaurant is located in the area called “Ilot Gastronomique“, in the Old Town, just behind the Grand Duke Palace. It has preserved traditional settings of the area – stone walls, timbers on view, old furniture. We were welcome in a small entrance and accompanied to our table. The restaurant has different rooms on the two floors and our table was indeed on the first one – just next to the window overlooking the back of the Palais. My husband loved the fireplace, the table was quite big for two persons and the distance with other guests more than appropriate.

There are two menu choices: a menu for 40 euro (starter, main, dessert), with brasserie imprint, and a more gastronomic one for 72 euro (again, starter, main, dessert). Both have several choices between fish and meat, plus there is the possibility to upgrade the second menu to four dishes for 85 euro.

We had a glass of champagne rose’ as aperitif – on the table there were olives and nuts to enjoy – and we went for the “Menu Selection”: cauliflower welcome from the chef, lobster as starter, sole a la “bonne femme” (with mussels and shrimps) as main and moelleux au chocolat as dessert. We accompanied the dinner with a bottle of Chablis Gran Cru.
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 photo 9ca588c8-ba0a-4838-aadb-69691aad4282_zpsqhvumuel.jpgThings I loved about the night:
– The sole and the chocolate cake were just perfect. Amazing combination of tastes, fair portions, great raw materials quality. The sole was accompanied by potatoes mousse that was just delicious, while the dessert was also composed by a yummy fruit sorbet. I am still dreaming about both.
– The service and the settings were great: I really appreciate some distance between tables, the timing of the dinner was almost great, we did not wait too much but it was not even too fast. The bottle of wine was next our table but we were always served by the waiter and our glasses were never empty.
– The two menu choices are perfect if you are coming for a dinner with friends – and therefore don’t want to splash the cash – or for a special occasion – like we did. All the dishes were appealing and the portions look correct for the price.
– The location is really romantic and perfect for a tete-a-tete.

Things I did not really love about the night:
– Overpriced aperitif (and drinks). As said, we ordered a glass of champagne rose’. I have been to the most expensive restaurants in Luxembourg and normally the maximum we paid was 18 euros (with an average of 13/15 euro). The champagne was billed 26 euro per glass – 52 euro for two glasses (!!!!). As it was a blind choice – the waiter asked us if we wanted an aperitif, so we did not have any list in front of us – I really think it was too much. Skip the aperitif if you don’t want bad surprises. Drinks had a pretty high recharge as well – 9 euro for the water, 4 euro each for espresso but in line with other similar restaurants, French wines starting from 40 euro and upgrading very fast. No Italian white wines below 100 euros. What is the sense then of having a 40 euro menu if you are going to spend the double for water, coffee and wine?
– The lobster of the starter was great, but was accompanied by a light sauce that was made only of vinegar. We were provided a spoon and when I tasted the bisque I was almost disgusted. The lobster alone indeed was very good.
– Service a bit worst at the end of the dinner, when the dessert was taken to the table we were still finishing our last glass of wine. We had a very dry wine, so I would have loved to take a sweet glass with the cake. In this way we ended up not finishing our wine and not ordering anything else. We had also to ask the waiter to wait couple of minutes to serve the coffee as he seemed a bit under pressure for made us leaving – it was not even 11 pm, so not so late and we were not the last table.

In conclusion: we had a lovely dinner. We will come back for sure, maybe to try the brasserie menu, as the settings are perfect for a romantic dinner, but please remember total price is escalating fast with the drinks – so still recommended for a special occasion and not for a “I don’t want to cook” night 😛

My favorite fish in town: La Gamba, Bonnevoie

Coming from a seaside place, I am pretty picky when it comes to fish. Above all, I really dislike the tendency foreigner people have to destroy lovely sea products with tons of creamy sauces. Moreover I have the tendency myself to consider that, when the restaurants need this trick to present a sea dish, maybe the fish is not so tasty/fresh – am I wrong?

Therefore, when we want to eat some good cooked fish, the only place I like to suggest my husband is “La Gamba“. The restaurant, in the heart of Bonnevoie, has pretty old-fashion settings and is nothing too fancy or posh. It is just the kind of place where you go if you want to eat well. The service, indeed, is extremely kind and attentive – good suggestions and perfect timings.

We have been there last Friday night and luckily we were able to find a table at 9.30 pm – hint: call for reservation if you plan to go there during week-ends. I had a glass of cremant while waiting for my husband that was accompanied by olives and codfish croquettes. We are always going for the mixed grilled for two, that has different kind of fishes and scampi and on side a spicy ail sauce, saffron rice and home-made fries (to die for!). I love the fish there as you can really taste the sea without any unneeded make-up. The menu discloses also several Portuguese typical dishes, but the portion of the mixed grilled is so huge you better not have any starter. The list of wine is also mainly Portuguese-based, prices are extremely affordable, with the most expensive one being around 35 euro. The atmosphere is nice and this is the kind of place perfect for a week-end dinner with friends – those kind of dinner you start at 8 pm and you don’t know at what time they are going to finish, also thanks to the amazing Portuguese grappa. Highly recommended if you are focus on the content and not on the container.

PS Terrible quality picture of the main course that is missing a half, I am sorry, but we were so hungry I remember only after eating all the scampi I had to take some memories 😛

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A nice Sunday discovery: Ambrosia Restaurant, Luxembourg City

As usual, last Sunday, we spent a good half an hour on the couch, trying to find a restaurant to spend our evening. As you probably figure out, if you are following my blog, we do love going out for dinner on Sunday evening – it is like a nice way to conclude our week end, above all when my husband is working – BUT at the same time, in Luxembourg central areas, very few nice places are open.

We decided to go for Ambrosia, a cozy Greek that open not long time ago in rue de Notre-Dame. I visited several Greek restaurants already around the city and I always avoided this one so far as it looks like a bit too posh for the situation we are usually having Greek dinners – you know, big tables, lot of different appetizers, Ouzo. Moreover, several years ago, I had a really ugly experience at the To Kastro, a famous restaurant that used to be located in the Ilot Gastronomique and to myself Ambrosia, from the appearance, remind very much of that one – wrong idea!

We called around 8 pm and we reserved a table for 9 pm, two people. No problem. We arrived on time and the restaurant was full, but not fully booked. On our side, just next to the window, we were the only persons, and we really appreciated it, because otherwise tables would have been really too close (note to self: never go there on a packed night).

A smiling waiter left us the menu, similar to other Greek restaurants we have been, maybe a little bit less extensive. The atmosphere is nice and romantic, even if in contrast with the noises produced by the room – extremely loud – with some Greek music in the background.

We went for two small starters, Atherina – that is my favorite, fried tiny fishes, – and a portion of marinated Octopus. The wine list was taken separately on a simple sheet a bit confused, but the waiter again was helpful. We opted for a Chardonnay, average price, that was great. I am not a fan of floral bouquet wines, but given the strong taste of most of the dishes, it was indeed pleasant. To follow, I went for the mixed grilled fishes plat, that includes tuna, swordfish, shrimp and squid. The dish was as whole good: I would say that the swordfish and the tuna were great, only one shrimp a bit narrow (maybe two next time?) while the squid was gummy – above all compared to the octopus we took as starter that was delicious. As side, there were some grilled vegetables and a tiny portion of rice with sauce. The rice was yummy as well as the vegetables. I would have appreciated a bigger side portion, but I can understand this is more a personal choice and people prefer a bigger main portion, as it was the case. My husband had sea bass and was happy about his choice.

We were really full so we concluded with two espresso coffees. In total, we spent 100 euro, of which 28 where coming from the wine. Fair quality/price relationship, above all in the city center.

As a small side note, the ladies’ was a total mess – this is not fully attributable to the restaurant, but if you had a busy night maybe you ensure in the middle that someone checks out the restrooms.. When you are in the city center you expect a certain level of service also on this side.

I will have another try at this restaurant, with the meat next time, also to check how the situation changes compared to the clients the restaurant has. As said, the atmosphere is very romantic, but it resulted being just really loud because of people talking and music. But the food at the end was fairly good and the waiters always available and nice.

Check it out:

Ambrosia Restaurant

In the meanwhile, do you have any good suggestion for Sunday nights?
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My best Italian in town: Delirio Culinario, Luxembourg City

My friends I’ve been hanging off pretty long know really well that when we are arranging a dinner out and they ask for preferences, my reply, most of the time, is always: Everything but Italian!

It is not because I am not proud of my origin, but just because if you ever had Italian food in Italy, you will difficulty find it amazing when you are abroad. Most of the Italian places I’ve been around the world are hardly managed by Italians or, in the best contexts, they are trying to adapt their kitchen very much to the taste of their location instead of preserving original receipts.

This is exactly the case of most Italian restaurants I have been in Luxembourg, with one, great exception.

Delirio Culinario is located in the city center, just few steps away from the Palais, overlooking Place Guillaume. They have a pretty wide menu list, you can have meat, fish, pasta or pizza, the common denominator is that all the ingredients they use are authentic and they are prepared as our families would do in Italy – concerning mine, I would say even better 😛

We have been there recently with my husband for a Saturday night supper and we have enjoyed a lovely dinner, as usual.

We started with two glasses of Prosecco, which have been accompanied by a welcome from the chef, focaccia and truffle cheese. As starter, we took both a Carpaccio di Polpo (octopus) that was fresh and tasty (even if I always prefer to ask it without onions). To follow, my husband went for a mixed plate of fried fish, I ordered a sole with shrimps. Both dishes were lovely and you could really taste the flavor of the fish. The portions were pretty big indeed and we were not able to finish the side orders (I had some grilled vegetables and my husband a salad). During the dinner we had a exquisite Sicilian white wine, Planeta Chardonnay, and we concluded, as usual, with espresso and digestif.

Excluded the wine, that was one of the most expensive choice on the list, and the drinks, we spent less than 35 euro each for the food. Really affordable for the quality of the dinner we had. Moreover, if you are on budget, you can easily switch to other cheaper solutions – like the delicious pizza and for the fairly good house wine.

The restaurant is welcoming you even a bit later than other restaurants in the city center, and this is again another reason because we love it, and they have also delivery through livraison website.

Check it out:

Delirio Culinario
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Tasty Sunday: Brasserie Le Plëss, Luxembourg

The only little thing I continue to find  a bit annoying after eight years in Luxembourg is the total lack of a social life in the city on Sunday night. I can understand that most of the people are going out like crazy during the week end and they are therefore not such motivated to have alcohol again on Sunday evening. Since I grow older, I must admit, I find most interesting resting on Saturday night and have a full Sunday to enjoy (wow! what a change!). Yesterday, after a very tough session at the gym, I enjoy an afternoon with my girls and we ending up at Culturando, a nice new meet-up place (I would call it wine-bar but I am not sure is the best way to define it) that is proposing the Italian aperifit in Limpesberg on Sunday evening. It is a great place indeed and I am already preparing another post for next week.

After couple of glasses of good wine, hubby and I were wandering around in the desperate search of a nice place for having dinner. We used the Explorator application – and except for some Asian places and some not updated restaurant choices, it looks like Luxembourg has curfew on Sunday night. We headed to the city center and due to the time, it was already  twenty past nine, most of the touristic places were already closed.

At the end, we tried at Brasserie Le Plëss, one of the restaurant in the building of the Place D’Armes hotel, and lucky enough they gave us a table.

I had some doubts before vising this spot, as we had a pleasant experience at the Cristallerie – the posh restaurant of the hotel – back in time, but awful time at the Cafe’ de Paris, the brasserie on the other side.

The menu list is not extremely extensive: there are some dishes to share (mainly charcuterie), some standard starters (like Caesar salad), and some classic, but not so much, main courses, including some shrimps pasta & angus burger. The list presents also a good choice of wines, each bottle can also be taken as single glass, and being a brasserie, this is highly appreciated, even if the price is relatively high (12 euro average for a glass).

I went for a filet de bar with cauliflower, while hubby chose the pork entrecote with mashed potatoes. The service was nice and relaxed and the ambience is soft, on the romantic side, with great view on the square and polished décor. The style is the same of the Place D’Armes hotel, but you don’t have the feeling to be in the hotel dining. Tables are pretty close one to the other, but when we arrived there it was almost empty, so we were alone on our side of the room. It could be indeed a bit annoying on a busy night.

The food was great, really: my bar was perfectly cooked, tender, with a perfect combination of taste of the two consistencies of cauliflower, a mousse that was almost divine and a seared one. The only thing I did not enjoy, the dish was decorated with pop-corns. They were delicious and they created a yummy ensemble, but their internal part was very very hard, and if you don’t pay attention you risk to crack your teeth.

The wine we chose was also great, it was bring with the bottle at the table even if we took only a glass and we concluded with an espresso – long, but extremely strong, I was not able to sleep tonight! – accompanied by some lovely madeleines.

The total spent for 2 glasses of wine, 2 main courses, 1 diet-coke, 2 espresso was 100 Euro. Not cheap , but commensurate to the style of the hotel.

We came to the Brasserie Le Plëss because it was the only place open on the square on Sunday evening and it resulted indeed in an extremely luscious choice in a refined environment, even if on the expensive side.

Check it out:

Brasserie Plëss
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