Truffle Bistrot: a romantic delight in Luxembourg city centre

As part of the week-long celebration for hubby’s birthday, on Tuesday night we had a tête-à-tête at the new Truffle Bistrot – Relais San Maurizio 1619, that opened at the beginning of December near Hamilius.

You might remember from a previous post, I have already tried once to have dinner there. Unfortunately, in that case, I had booked very much in advance and during the Christmas break, the restaurant changed it opening times. I was kindly contacted by the restaurant manager – who was very happy to explain me the background of the place.

Said that, we arrived at the Truffle Bistrot about 8 pm. The location has been totally renovated compared to the previous Italian bar that used to be there. At the ground floor, you have a lounge and bar area where you can have a drink whatever time – without the need of having dinner afterwards. There is also a shop corner with authentic products from Relais San Maurizio – you might find more information related to the original place on their website.

On the first floor, the restaurant room. Lovely settings, open kitchen with wide windows on the main room, so you can look inside but the smells stay there. As the place was quite empty, we went for the table just next to the windows.

We went for a bottle of Barbaresco 2006 from Relais San Maurizio, we were offered an amuse-bouche with squids and burrata, I went then for home made pasta (tajerin) with truffle followed by wasabi tuna fish, while hubby had a pumpkins soup with poached egg and truffle followed by beef filet with its juice and vegetables. As we were very full, we skipped the dessert. I opted for a coffee – that was accompanied by delicious dried fruits – while hubby had a cheese platter.

As usual, be captivated by the pictures of our dinner and find after them my comments about Truffle Bistrot.

       
  
  

Things I loved about the Truffle Bistrot:

  • Incredible atmosphere: when they started to work on the old Italian bar, I could have never imagined the new place would have been so impressive. The upstair room is warm, sophisticated, luminous but not too bright. Perfect light for a cozy dinner, whenever romantic or with friends.
  • Good menu selection: truffle, mainly, but not only. You have several fish and vegetarian choices and authentic products.
  • High quality dishes and sophisticated presentation: the best dish for me was the wasabi tuna fish and I also liked the pumpkins soup hubby had. Cheese selection was inventive and the dried fruit selection was mouth-wathering.
  • Fair quality – price: you can imagine you are not in a cheap place, but the prices are in line with same style restaurants in the city (about 16 euro for starters and 25 for main, plus extra for truffle if you want some). Moreover, compared to comments I heard before about this place, I have to say portions are definitely not small – after one starter and one main I was very full and you know I am not a skinny bitch. If you want to splurge, the tasting menu is for 70 euro.

Things I liked a bit less about the Truffle Bistrot:

  • Lucky enough, this was another place I visited recently I liked as a whole. If I have to find something, some dishes have probably a very delicate taste compared to those we are used to in Luxembourg – I think about the squid amuse-bouche and my pasta starter. Don’t expect the usual butter  Luxembourgish cuisine – at least for some of the choices.

I recommend the Truffle Bistrot: If you want to impress someone you love. For a romantic date (ask the table on the window!). For a girls night out if you like delicate and sophisticated food. For a family gathering to celebrate something special. If you don’t want to splurge and you want have couple of glasses at the bar floor with Italian aperitif and great wines – a different place from the usual local bars.

 

 

Good food, missing spark: Divino, Cloche D’Or, Luxembourg

I have been a client at Vinissimo shop since they were still located in Livange and now they opened the door in the huge premise of Cloche D’Or is almost a weekly appointment for charcuterie, cheese and wine tasting.

Before holidays, I had a very nice lunch at the restaurant in their premise (Divino) with Patricia, so I was really excited when my friend Anna told me she booked there for one of our usual dinners.

Unfortunately, even if the food was (almost) great, I did not like so much the place in the dinner atmosphere – later I will explain why.

We shared a charcuterie platter and, as main, I went for gnocchi with gorgonzola cheese while Anna had a pizza.
We drank a Nebbiolo Gattinara 2008 and concluded with coffee and a digestif made with red Oranges.

After the picture you will find my impressions about the dinner.
    
Things I loved about Divino:

  • Charcuterie is unbeatable. The small platter was actually huge and the selection very interesting (lardo di Colonnata, liver salami, crudo ham, mortadella and focaccia).
  • Service is great. Waiters are available, smiling, always on side. Wine was decanted and we never had empty glasses.

Things I liked a bit less about Divino:

  • The location is not impressive. While at lunch time it might appear good to eat in the middle of a shop, during the evening lights are too strong and tables really too close – our neighbors were less than one hand from us.
  • The food missed the spark. My gnocchi were one of the plainest dish I had in a long time. I appreciated  they were really home-made (first place in Luxembourg probably), but were totally missing taste. Anna’s pizza was very disappointing – and the charcuterie or cheese you can order with the pizza are on side not on top.

In conclusion: Divino is a very good alternative for an upgraded lunch if you are in Gasperich or want to go out from the busy center (huge parking available). The mixed charcuterie and cheese platters are exceptional and you can combine them with great wines. I would anyway not come back for a proper dinner as spaces is too small, lack of atmosphere and not all the food options are remarkable (avoid the gnocchi and the pizza, go for Paccheri with Rabbit ).

A peaceful escape: L’Altra Osteria, Bonnevoie, Luxembourg

It has been since one month or so my husband promised me to have an Indian meal – I love Indian food, but recently I tended to have it take away at home as I am missing mates who love this spicy cuisine to join me. I was finally happy to have some Indian food on Sunday while taking my bath ritual after breakfast and before going out, hubby came to me with this face telling me some friends just called up and we were invited for lunch in a new place in Bonnevoie – ca va san dire, Italian.
As a good wife, I accepted and said bye to my Indian meal – and only because new places are always exciting me a bit.

So – L’Altra Osteria is located in the premises of Bonnevoie tennis club – you have this impression to be in a remote village, while actually you are just five minutes driving from the station.
The location is very typical – red and white table cloth, ham and Auricchio cheese on display, various yummy products to buy around. A lovely terrace – that cannot be used yesterday because of the weather – and a nice view of the countryside.

While having an aperitif – Italian alert: they have the real Camparisoda – we were served some small bruschetta with cheese. We then had a pizza to share as starter – with cherry tomato, cheese, zucchini and ham – and I ordered some pasta with mushroom and lamb meat.

Find the pictures of our lunch below and, as usual, my impression of the restaurant.


  
  

Things I loved about the L’Altra Osteria:

Very relaxed environment: tables are very distant (you know I appreciate it!), huge windows overlooking the city, calm area.
Great authentic food – the pizza was amazing (I will definitely go for pizza next time) and while the menu card is very classic, the weekly suggestions offer a very gourmet journey through real Italian flavors. My pasta dish was seriously to die for.
Fair prices – with 4 aperitif, two bottle of wines, one starter to share and four pasta dishes we spent 35 euro each. We had coffee and digestives offered.

Things I loved a bit less about L’Altra Osteria:

– Hubby is very picky on the pasta side and found his orecchiette too “al dente” – I had to eat them at the end while he was having the other half of my strozzapreti. His dish was less impressive than mine – in particular, the dried tomato made it quite salty.
– The list of the wines is still under construction – they had only few choices of red wine, no one of them memorable. We ended up taking a Chianti 2012 that was the oldest red they had – nothing special.
– This is not directly due to the restaurant, but when you access the premise you need to enter through the tennis club. The smell on the basement is incredibly disgusting and while going up to the restaurant it disappears completely, it makes the beginning of our experience very unpleasant.

To conclude: L’Altra Osteria is a very cozy Italian restaurant located in a calm area of the city. The food is genuine and various. Some improvements might be due to the new settings, but for sure we will come back and I will highly recommend it for family gatherings and meetings with friends. Amazing pizza.

Italian lunch at Palazzo Italia, Luxembourg

So last week finally Pablo and I got a chance to try Palazzo Italia, a huge and bit kitch Italian restaurant that opened some times ago on a Place de Paris corner, in the Station district.

The menu is simple but various: salads, pasta, pizza and some main courses. Prices are relatively fair for the area (salads around 16 euro, pizza 13 euro, pasta 15 to 20 euro), except for chef suggestions, that looks delicious but are on the expensive side (28 euro for a dish of pasta with Italian sausage, really?)

I had pizza with Parma ham while Pablo chose Carbonara pasta. After the pictures of our lunch, you will find my general impressions about Palazzo Italia.


Things I liked about Palazzo Italia:

Lovely service: the lady who welcomed and served us was extremely nice.
– The pizza dough was very good, thin but crunchy.
– As said, relatively fair prices for the area and the kind of restaurant.

Things I liked a bit less about Palazzo Italia:

– The cheese on my pizza was far from being mozzarella. It was, I believe, one of those prepared mix for pizza with cheesy taste. Don’t like.
– Tables are very close one to the other and the place tends to be noisy. Fine for lunch, not well for dinner.

So – our lunch was pleasant and I will definitely come back to Palazzo Italia for a relaxed lunch. I will not consider anyway for a dinner date as I prefer something a bit more sophisticated and calm – based on my standards..

L’Osteria di Niederanven, Niederanven

On Sunday, hubby and I decided to treat ourselves with our usual lunch out and we headed to Osteria di Niederanven, in the village of Niederanven, just ten minutes driving from Luxembourg city center.
The restaurant was full and we were accommodated to a rustic table in the middle of the main room – a six chairs table where we occupied one side and another couple was occupying the other.
The menu has an Italian imprinting and includes several choices between fish, meat, pasta and pizza, with the last two categories being the most extensive.

I went for a Diet coke and some sparkling water and ordered Vitello tonnato (veal with tuna mayonnaise sauce) as starter and Linguini with zucchini and clams as main. Hubby opted for a mixed Italian starter and some filled fresh pasta with scamorza cheese, eggplants and bacon and a small bottle of red wine.

After the pictures of our lunch, you will find my impression.

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What I liked about Osteria di Niederanven:
– The location and the ambience are great, one of the best I have visited in the last months. Tables, cloths, decorations, everything is extremely rustic but made with attention to details. Being just some minutes away from the city center, you have the impression dining at an old aunt’ countryside house. Lovely.
Service was friendly and positive. We were left our time to decide even if we arrived past 1 pm, wine was always served by the waiter and we were not in a hurry to leave.
– The menu card is extensive and you have several great choices. Looking at the dishes that were passing in from of me for other tables, I was each and every time tempted to take something different as everything looked so good. I think the best dish taken to our table was the mixed starter hubby ordered.

What I liked a bit less:
– The location is very noisy when full, above all, if, like us, you are in the middle of the room. Ask for a table window side, it is more relaxing and quieter.
– My food choice was not impressive. The Vitello tonnato portion was way too big for being a starter (and I had big appetite!) and even if the quality of the meat was very good, it started to be filling after a while. My Linguini were extremely disappointing: zucchini were almost missing and the dish was extremely dry, started to have some taste (of clams) only at the end, when the portion was almost over. It could be that I did the wrong choice, as said, hubby’ starter was good and he told me also his pasta was fine – even if industrial and not homemade.
– I had the feeling that we paid a bit too much for what we had (two starters, two pasta dishes, half bottle wine, Diet Coke, water and one espresso were over 110 euro…), maybe because I was not very satisfied by my dishes.

In conclusion, Osteria di Niederanven is a very lovely location, immerse in a fairy tales atmosphere. My lunch was not extraordinary, but I might give it a second chance to confirm or review my first impression. Portions are huge, so, in case, next time, I will opt only for one dish.

A delicious hidden gem: I Quattro Mori, Hollerich, Luxembourg

Yesterday night I had a date with my friend Fede and we wanted to have a quiet good dinner with no stress. So, with no reservations, we decided to go to a restaurant called I Quattro Mori.

This tiny Italian restaurant has typical Sardinian kitchen and opened just few months ago at the end of rue de Hollerich.

The location is not definitely fortunate, you must head there on purpose rather then passing just in front and deciding for trying, but, despite the surroundings, it definitely deserved the visit.

We were the only customers yesterday night when arrived, but for sure this was not a problem for us, as we wanted to have some girls gossip – and I start to be too old for packed restaurants!
The location is clean, essential, bright – personally I did not find it “sad” as in some reviews I read around and, honestly, I  prefer this kind of minimal ambience, coordinated with a wall full of wine, than some tacky settings with Alberto Sordi’s posters and red and white checked tablecloth – de gustibus.

I took few times pizza on Foostix.lu website from I Quattro Mori (this was the last one), so I was feeling quite safe to order the same.

We ordered a glass of Vermentino wine checking the menu, and, while already settled for the pizza, the owner tempted us with the daily chef suggestions, so we went instead for spaghetti with ricci and bottarga (sea urchin and fish eggs), anticipated by a mixed Italian starter.

The quality of the raw material was outstanding. The charcuterie was accompanied by pane carasau and focaccia. The main dish was a huge savory portion. We concluded with an espresso and the owner offered us a glass of mirto.

The dinner was definitely better than expected – we went out for a pizza and we ended up having some really special dishes..

The food was truly Italian and they have some Sardinian products, like, as said, pane carasau and mirto – that you don’t find else where.

For sure: the place is new and it is in Hollerich area, so don’t expect the fashion queu of Clausen. But if you prefer eat well than being in a posh mess, this is the place you would like to try.

Personal hint: trust the owner’s daily suggestions.

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Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People: Vittorio

For the series “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets People”, this week we meet Vittorio, an Italian expat working at the EU, with music in the heart.

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What is your name?
My name is Vittorio Merlo.

How do your friends call you?
Vitto.

Describe yourself with three words.
In alphabetical order: Family, Library, Music.

How long have you been living in Luxembourg?
I am here since July 1994: more than 21 years… I am Italian and before to come here I was living for 35 years in Milan.

What are you doing here?
I am working as librarian for the Court of Justice of the European Union

How do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Older… 🙂 I normally don’t like to plan for more than 2 years, the life is taking new directions suddenly and very often things happen without being able to expect them. If nothing special happens I will probably be still working but closer to the retirement, my five children will be growth up, and I will continue composing and singing my songs.

What do you fancy doing in your spare time?
As I have just said since I am 15 years old I compose and sing my songs in Italian. It is like a diary, a way to keep trace of my emotions and feelings. I sing about my family, politics and social problems, I have also written a love song for the Red Car: Ferrari! I have published 3 CDs and I like to present my songs in solo concerts at the piano. You can find my music and videos on my YouTube channel and in all the music platforms like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.

What is your beloved place in Luxembourg?
Home sweet home, my house in Bissen.

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?
The Italian restaurant Notaro in Luxembourg and La Rameaudière in Ellange-Gare.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?
In the past it was L’Inoui in Redange/Attert but unfortunately it is actually closed, I hope for a while only. I like places where you can speak with friends drinking a good glass of wine, like Culturando at Limpertsberg or Beim Abruzzebier in Grosbous.

Do you have a favorite drink?
Dry white wine, definitely, during my concerts too.

Where do you do your shopping usually?
For clothing I like Boggi but I use online shops too, like Herrenausstatter. I like cooking too and I find the choice in Auchan very good, additionally for the Italian food Enoteca Italiana in Foetz is helpful too. I like fish and I think is a pity that La Provençale doesn’t serve private families too.

What do you like about Luxembourg life?
Everything but the climate… however exceptionally this year I cannot complain, it was a wonderful summer! The nicest since I am living here.

What would you improve?
I think the public transports are not enough, mainly in the countryside. There are many villages where you cannot live without a car and on Sunday you are almost totally isolated. The management of the traffic is also bad, sometimes I have the feeling Luxembourgers like to create the traffic jams…

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?
Probably the nicest place around Luxembourg is Trier, however everybody knows it. I would like to suggest a visit in a sunny day to Saarburg, not far from the Luxembourgish border of Wormeldange.

What is the best adjective to describe Luxembourg.
Quiet.

If you want to discover more about Vittorio’s musician and composer activity, here you find the link to his FB page.

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Best pizza in town: Pizzeria La Torre, Luxembourg

For an Italian, pizza is not an easy matter, I know.
I suppose it is like going to the hairdresser for girls. The one you find A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, was the shittiest experience ever for your friend (#truestory) and the one you would never enter again, it is your pal’s bf. Definitely like that: it is a question of taste. So for example, hubby loves really tiny pizza – the one in Italy we call “alla romana” – while I can have it just as a slide for snack and, on my side, I prefer the really thick one – “napoletana“.

This short preface was requested, as I know my favorite pizza place, in Luxembourg, could not meet your expectations. I love La Torre in Limpesberg – just next to the water tower, short pleasant walk from Glacis – as they are doing a thick pizza and they have my favorite version – white focaccia with mozzarella cheese, tomato and Parma ham.
They have several “really Italian” pizza tastes, I mean, nothing with kebab or fajita chicken spread over – another favorite of mine is the one with porcini mushroom and sausages – and if you are not up for a pizza, they are also thick on the menu side, so you can go wild – I have never had anything different from pizza, so I couldn’t help with suggestions.

Be aware – pizza could be expensive here – for example, my favorite Parma ham is over 20 euro sigh. I don’t come here too often*, so I still find it acceptable and a good quality value.
The atmosphere is Italian and informal. Service is very friendly.

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*It could seem strange I declare my unconditioned love for a place and then state I am not visiting it often.. You know what, there I had my last date with that  boy and after years (five?), I still cannot look out of those windows without feeling uncomfortable. Illegitimate, but honest.

Another Sunday, Another Italian Restaurant: Sapori, Luxembourg

Since I came back after ten days abroad alone, I wanted to make hubby happy and let him choose the restaurant for our Sunday date.  When we woke up the weather was great, so we opted for a location with the terrace and we ended up in Beggen, in a restaurant located in Place d’Argent called Sapori. It was long time I wanted to try it, but being out of our area, we always chose closest solutions.

The restaurant has a small terrace in front, overlooking the main street, two large but intimate rooms internally, and another terrace on the back, where we found our table.

We started with a Prosecco, we had a small gazpacho as welcome from the chef,  I continued with beef carpaccio with truffle as starter – and I had to share it with hubby, who initially was not convinced enough for taking one but, after seen it, decided it was worth eating half of mine. As main, I had 7-hours roasted lamb while hubby had lamb tagliata, and we closed our lunch with iced mascarpone and cheese.

During the meal we had one of my favorite wines, Marina Cvetic Montepulciano, and for the dessert I had a glass of sweet Recioto della Valpolicella.

Here some pictures of your lunch, followed, as usual, by my general impressions.

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I loved almost everything about Sapori:

Food was outstanding: best quality materials, great techniques, fair portions, lovely presentation. The menu card was wide enough to have a good choice but most of the dishes were daily suggestions, therefore prepared with very fresh ingredients.

Service was extremely attentive and available: we called just fifteen minutes before arriving for booking and we have never been there before, but they were indeed nice to accommodate us in the best way possible. We have always had our glass filled, bread on the table and the timings of the lunch were perfect. I appreciated very much the aperitif was asked at the arrival, so I had it while looking at the menu – and not when we had already chosen, no sense then.

Special mention to the wine card: it is one of the best Italian wine card I have seen in Luxembourg. Great names, nothing too commercial, fair recharges.

Nothing was disappointing about our lunch, if I have to find something to improve, the appearance of the back terrace is not in line with the rest of the restaurant – people were coming out to smoke from the kitchen, not very pleasant to see. It needs also to be said, the bill, depending on what you eat, might not be cheap – but the quality has its price and I would definitely be extremely happy to come back to Sapori really soon.

Sunday dinner at “La Veranda”, Luxembourg

Since hubby has started to work again with busy schedule during week-ends, the only night we can actually have a proper dinner out is Sunday.

Before my business trip to Amsterdam, we decided to spoil ourselves with some truly Italian food and we went for “La Veranda” restaurant in Howald.

We had some starters (charcuterie, cheese, pizza) and then, as main, I had grilled meat and hubby went for lamb. We accompanied it with a bottle of Tuscan wine from Bolgheri, a lovely one.

See the pictures of our night and find after some impressions about the dinner and the restaurant.

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Things I loved about dining at La Veranda:

– Food was definitely outstanding quality: I loved the cheese and the pizza was yummy. My main course included lamb, entrecote, beef filet and sausages. Everything was very good, special mention to the entrecote that was just perfect, thin and soft.

– Portions are huge but the quality is so great you can arrive at the end of a glorious dinner like ours without feeling sick.

– Service was also extremely fine: attentive and available for suggestions and clarifications about the origin of the productions and the dishes composition. Not very common in Luxembourg.

Things I liked a bit less:

– The interiors are a bit dated and old fashion and the terrace is overlooking Route de Thionville that is definitely not a fancy view.

– If you are choosing a good wine and meat/fish main and you add up some dessert and digestives, the bill is growing pretty fast.

In conclusion, I definitely enjoyed our dinner at “La Veranda”, it is a good place for an informal dinner with friends and family and, even if the surroundings are not fancy, it is definitely worth a visit.