Romantic date at Oro e Argento, Sofitel Europe, Luxembourg city

As last week hubby had a Friday night off work, we decided to celebrate and have a fancy dinner out before the moving.

We went for Oro e Argento restaurant as we heard many good reviews and feedbacks. The restaurant is situated in the premises of hotel Sofitel Europe, in Kirchberg. We got to the main entrance of the hotel, lift to the first floor and wow.. For one second I had the impression to be again in our Cancun honeymoon resort: huge hall, rooms overlooking and restaurants and bars on one side and the other. I am not sure this was a 100 per cent positive feeling, as I was expecting a more discreet and romantic venue.

We were welcomed at the restaurant, waitress took our jacket and accomodated to a very nice round table, spacious and nicely setted.

We ordered a prosecco aperitif and went to study the menu. There are pretty nice choices a la carte and a tasting menu (80 euro). We would have gone for it, but it was “surprise” and we personally didn’t like it: knowing my husband being pretty picky on ingredients, we were afraid to find courses with ingredients he did not like.

My choice for the night was: Olive all’Ascolana as starter (olives filled with crab, lobster, scampi and prawns), half portion of Spaghetti alla Chitarra with sardines and fennel pesto, and to conclude Sea Bass with artichokes and potatoes.

Hubby had the same main, while for starter he went for octopus cooked in red wine, followed by a half portion of lobster risotto with prosecco and pistache..

We had a Marina Cvetic chardonnay during the meal and we ended up with espresso – accompanied by some sweets – and Cognac.

Bill came out to be 320 euro for the total.

Before my general impression and the pictures, I have to specify I had very mixed feelings regarding the cuisine.

My starter was interesting as concept, and above all the olives with black panure were great. But the salt balance was not right between various pieces and the olives tasted a bit too loose – I came from the area were the original “olive all’ascolana” are made and we use a specific type of olives who keep the fragrance and the consistency.

My half portion pasta was very deluding: first, the pasta used was not spagnetti alla chitarra – that are made fresh with eggs and have a particular squared shape – my grandmother used to do them at home so, again, I know pretty well.. Those were simple spaghetti made of durum wheat, those you can buy at the supermarket. Then, I am used to believe the ingredients in the menu are listed in a predominant order: in this case the last one, the fennel pesto, was the strongest and spoiled the dish – you can taste just it.

Lastly the fish: nothing very gastronomic, quality of the ingredient was great, but again the salt balance incorrect: artichaud were very salty (too much, really), the fish totally without. I have to say the fish was very good and very well cooked, but again I had the impression the dish could have been better.

Pictures and then a small summary.

Things I liked about Oro e Argento:

  • I liked the idea of cuisine they have, all the dishes looked very interesting and the quality of ingredient is excellent. Presentation is also very fancy.
  • I liked the service: we had a misunderstanding on the wine and they changed the bottle without adding to the bill. Generally, it was polite and always available, waitresses were young but competent and kind.
  • Compared to our expectations, the bill was quite fine for the kind of place. Out of 320 euro, more than 150 were for drinks choices (95 euro the wine, plus prosecco aperitif, cognac, coffee and water), so food is generally well priced.

Things I did not like about Oro e Argento:

  • I was not convinced by how the dishes were realized. My spaghetti alla chitarra were the biggest delusion. The rest was good but not over the top.
  • I don’t like to be on a quite open space on an hotel hall, having people coming back to the rooms passing in front of the windows. You have this resort feeling I am not able to appreciate in Luxembourg.

To sum up: I liked Oro e Argento but not how much I expected. While the service deserved a Michelin star and products and ideas behind are amazing, the dishes themselves, for the level of the restaurant, did not astound my tastes. The place is perfect for a romantic getaway or a business dinner.

L’Assiette Champenoise, Reims. An unforgettable experience.

During our Duke’s break in the Champagne region (detailed post to follow), we decided to spoil ourselves and finally visiting a 3-stars Michelin restaurant. I was also able to convince hubby to join, as he is definitely not a fan of the gastronomic cuisine, but he will be after that.

L’Assiette Champenoise is located just outside Reims, in a wonderful park, in the same complex of the hotel. We had a drink in the patio before starting the dinner and the modernity of the details was there perfectly combined with the style of the villa. I loved the lamps in the garden and the chairs were so comfortable you don’t want to leave.

Everything was perfect. We started with a glass of champagne accompanied by some cheese cakes and moving inside for dinner, in a lovely table in the middle of the room with the garden behind us, we went for the surprise tasting menu with champagne accord.

Nothing really to describe: it is impossible to explain the taste of certain dishes if you haven’t tried them. The combination of tastes was awesome, a plat could look like “simple” but then exploding in your mouth in a rainbow of aromas. Amazing. I loved the lobster, the celery mousse with caviar, the tempura artichoke.

Service was outstanding as well. Glasses were never empty, menu explained in details in English (for me) and French (for hubby), we had the time to enjoy this special moment till the very end, while having a cognac in the garden with a cover for the fresh breeze.

The chef came to our table to welcome us and at the end to check that everything was fine. We left with our printed personalized menu and a bag of fresh bread. Nothing more you could really be asked to a restaurant experience. I hope we could have dinner like this one more often, really.

Some pictures of our dinner follow.
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A perfect evening in Florence: Borgo San Jacopo

During our (second) honey-moon break in Florence, we wanted to have one special evening to celebrate one year marriage and the renewal of the vows at the church. We did a bit of research on the internet in order to find a place that could be special both for the settings and for the food.

We ended up choosing the Borgo San Jacopo restaurant, in the premises of the same-named hotel, just few blocks from Ponte Vecchio and our hotel. I contacted the restaurant a bit in advance as I wanted to reserve a table in the amazing terrace overlooking the river. They were definitely available to explain me the possibilities and the special evenings they have already in the agenda and to postpone the confirmation of my reservation because of the weather – the terrace in fact is open only during the summer.

We were lucky. That night was just the perfect temperature, not too cold, not too hot. We arrived at the restaurant by cab – just cause I had high heels and Florence’s cobblestones are even worst than those in Luxembourg. We were welcome by the staff and accompanied to our table. The view – ca va sans dire – was amazing, I think you might have the occasion to dine in a place like this few times in your life but it is definitely worth. Moreover, the actual trend is “rooftop” but I would say this restaurant has nothing less than a balcony overlooking the city.

We started with an aperitif – you have the drink list and you can easily decide between cocktails, bubbles and wines. We went for a glass of Franciacorta Millesimato – served perfectly chilled and with the bottle opened at the table. Good start.

The restaurant card has two tasting menu: one regional (“My Tuscany”), based on Tuscany dishes, the other one with a common item – potatoes. There are also lovely dishes a la carte, but we decided to go directly for the regional menu.

We accompanied it with a bottle of Sassicaia 2011. This is one of the greatest wine in Italy – based on my personal opinion and on general wine rankings, and the bottle was definitely worth the price. Moreover, considering the normal price, the restaurant recharge was pretty fair.

The dinner itself was one of the best I had in my life. Check out some pictures and my detailed comments after them:

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 photo 602923ee-f62e-4488-a4e4-8ac4ddd448c8_zps2ki4yqiz.jpgThings I loved about this restaurant:

Everything. I cannot list something in particular. When we booked here, we did it basically because of the special location. We wanted to eat something “nice” and not too much touristic, but we were never thinking of finding one of the best restaurant we have ever dined in our life.

We loved the atmosphere, romantic, quiet, delicate. We loved the service – take notes Luxembourgish restaurants! – that was always present but never annoying, waiters were smiling, presenting nicely the dishes, offering the bread when over. We loved the timing of the dinner: we definitely had the right time to enjoy all the courses without feeling overwhelmed. And finally, we loved the food – this perfectly balances Italian cuisine with a lovely French accent. Gastronomic, but attentive to details and authentic ingredients. I still dream about the “bottoni” we had as one of the first courses and the “dama” made of chocolate bites was terrific.

I know in Florence there are tons of good restaurants – we tried several just in few days -, but if you are going with your companion and you fancy something unique, you cannot definitely miss Borgo San Jacopo.

Borgo San Jacopo Restaurant, Borgo San Iacopo 62/R – 50125 Florence