Mani D’Oro, Gasperich, Luxembourg

We kicked off the week with a place which used to be (and I discovered it is still!) my favorite and we will continue today with a review of a brand new restaurant!

Mani D’Oro (translated: Golden Hands, an idiomatic expression used in Italian to define someone who is gifted in doing manual works) has been opened for less than one month on route d’Esch, just before getting to Cloche D’Or.

Their core is the preparation of fresh pasta: you can eat sur place or take it away, together with pizza, sandwiches and salads. As Mani D’Oro is open from Monday to Saturday, from 11 to 8 pm (Saturday till 3 pm), we decided to visit it for Saturday lunch, which, since I am getting old and I am not partying anymore all night long, has became a very pleasant ritual.

As said, Mani d’Oro is located on the main street and has a lovely terrace on the front side – I am already looking forward to summer apero, I know!
The décor and the atmosphere are sophisticated and refreshing: a big counter as soon as you get in, where you can order or pick up your take away, tall tables on one side and table booths on the others, with a line of chairs in front of the windows with the view on the outside – very much street food feeling. On the back of the booths, the kitchen and laboratory, with bright windows on the main room – so you can see all the preparations.

The menu has a choice of pasta to match: you choose your format and you choose the sauce (including several vegan and vegetarian options), plus pizza in three sizes, sandwiches and salads. Some daily suggestions are also available.

I ordered a pizza La Piccante (ventricina sausage and nduja sauce) in the smallest format while E. went for one of the daily suggestions (home made ravioli with porcini mushrooms and truffle).
We concluded with a tiramisu to share and we were offered two shots of limoncello.

Total bills reads 49 Euro, 24,5 Eur each (for 3 beers, 1 bottle of water, 1 portion of pizza, 1 portion of truffle pasta, 1 tiramisu, as said limoncello was offered).

Pictures of our lunch are followed, as usual, by my impressions about Mani d’Oro.

What I loved about Mani d’Oro:

  • I definitely loved the concept of the restaurant and the decorations: honestly lunch places I have tried so far are going in-between extremely cheap eatery and posh restaurants offering pricey lunch options. Mani d’Oro offers you a very affordable Italian experience in a captivating atmosphere. Also – the restaurant has a great selections of cocktails, Gin and other drinks, so it is not your usual lunchtime place.
  • I loved the pizza and I cannot wait to come back to try more of that: crunchy, not greasy at all, light in the dough and with first quality ingredients. The small portion (12 Euro for the topping I have chosen) was definitely more than enough for just one person and I have found myself imagining there sharing a large size with several friends and a Campari (or Aperol Spritz, depending what you like). E. also said his pasta was delicious, even if slightly smaller in size: the pasta with truffle is the most expensive one (20 Eur – and it is very reasonable as they came to shave the truffle at the table), but other pasta dishes are around 12 Eur, like salads, 6.5 Eur for sandwiches). Again, ingredients are top quality and you can definitely taste it.
  • Service was friendly, with detailed explanations and very present despite the place was very busy during Saturday lunch (better to book during peak hours). I also appreciate very much the take-away and delivery option. I am a fan of pizza al taglio (don’t blame me, I like it more than your typical round pizza) so I would definitely prefer ordering it at home to share with friends.

What I liked a bit less about Mani d’Oro:

  • At the moment, as the place is open until 8 pm during the week, it is perfect for lunch or late lunch, after-work or a very early dinner. If you fancy their dishes after 8 pm, you will need definitely to wait for next day.
In conclusion: I loved Mani d’Oro and as it is not far from where I live, it is going to be my place to go for Saturday lunch and after-work with friends. Their pizza is delicious and they offer a great selection of pasta, sandwiches and salads – together with drinks, also alcoholic – for a very fair price in a charming location. 

Sana, Organic Food & Restaurant, Luxembourg City

After one year almost stuck with the blog, it is finally the time again for one of my favorite moment: trying a new restaurant!

I got this occasion as soon as back from my Italian vacations and the place I wanted to try first was Sana, Organic Food & Restaurant, which opened at the beginning of August just few steps from Place D’Armes, where the historic Banana’s was located.

The concept of the place is quite innovative for Luxembourg city: at the ground floor, Sana has a “pizzeria al taglio” which is open from mid-morning until 7 pm. They have a wide selection of pizza which you can eat sur place or take away. Next to that, you can as well order some salad, small starters as arancini and dessert. Said like that it might look a quite “easy” place, but what makes Sana different is definitely the research of the products: the pizza itself is prepared with a special flour coming from Italy (Farina del Mulino Magri, operating since 1929), and every single ingredient is selected among the top to get to a result that is a “pizza gourmet” – forget about pizza with chicken, here you have authentic Italian pizza prepared with 100% bio tomato sauce from Apulia, mozzarella cheese from a family factory in Molise region, Parmesan aged at least 36 months and cold cuts coming 100% from Italy.

At the first floor, then, you will have the restaurant. The concept behind, again, is simple: the objective of Sana is to present dishes from the Italian tradition in a form of “bistrot” and to give priority to the quality of the ingredients utilized.

Behind the whole concept, there is Andrea Cavaliere, who used to be the chef at Kava, in Bertrange – at the time he was there it was one of my beloved places in Luxembourg – and previously with Roberto Fani, who owns 1 Michelin star. We have been advised that the restaurant has been just opened – less than 2 weeks – and therefore the menu is still “work in progress”. But we were tooo curious to try so we booked a table for last Saturday night.

We have been welcomed at the main door and left to choose if to dine inside (upstairs) or outside. The weather was still pleasant and the terrace is very well presented – with a funny “beachy” feeling just few steps from Place d’Armes. We decided anyway to have just a drink outside and to move then upstairs for the dinner. With a glass of champagne and one of rose, we were offered a sample of the pizza available: italian sausage and potatoes, grilled eggplants and chickpeas cream with mortadella (definitely my favorite). The effort in the research of amazing ingredients for me it is clear already from the pizza and what surprised me most was the lightness of the dought – not greasy at all.

We moved upstairs thought the white staircase at the entrance – watch out if you have heels 🙂 – and we were accommodated to a table on the window in the main room. Again, it is surprising how the place changed completely from when it was Banana’s (closed and dark): now Sana restaurant is full of light and decorated in the particulars. You feel like you are in a countryside cottage where the owner will offer you totally homemade products.

We decided to go classic, therefore we ordered a portion of carbonara to share and to follow the cotoletta, veal, prepared with the bone. To conclude the dinner, we shared a classic tiramisu.

 

 What I loved about Sana Restaurant:

  • What a refreshing new place! A place where the quality of the raw material is outstanding and there is an extreme effort in presenting traditional dishes. I am not a fan of carbonara, but the one of Sana was to die for. The cotoletta was also amazing: so tender you can cut it only with the fork and not greasy at all. Tiramisu is prepared with the classic recipe but without raw eggs and was exceptional. I was surprised by how such a “simple” dinner could have been so tasty. Even the salad which was accompanying the main, instead of the boring fries, was delicious. I cannot wait for Sana to extend its menu and to try new dishes. 

  • The place has its own very strong features and it is not parroting any existing place or trend, they have done a great job renewing it. As said, the interiors are very bright and cared into the details. You totally forget to be in the city center in Luxembourg and it is versatile to welcome a date night, a family gathering or an easy-going dinner with friend. The spent, then, considering the quality of the ingredients and how big the portions are, is very fair: we spent 65 Eur with wine for 3 courses, but you can limit it definitely with only one course, as portions are big. Again, you should consider where the ingredients are coming from: the cotoletta was 26 Eur, which is an extremely good price for a meat dish compared to other locations in the city center. The carbonara, on the other side, was 20 Eur. But then you have to consider that they use only bio egg yolks, cheek lard aged at least 36 months, authentic Pecorino Romano DOP and Sicilian Extra-Virgin Oil. Yes, you can definitely find a carbonara for less, but would it be the same? I don’t think so.

  • A lot of other items made our dinner unforgettable: the kind and relaxed service, with waiters able to give you real suggestions and information about the dishes and the products used, the chef going around the tables to check how things were going, the welcome with the pizza for the aperitif. On my side, I can tell you that my friend who accompanied me is the most picky person in terms of food ever – not a good match for me, that I am eating everything, I know LOL – and he told me that this has been the most delicious dinner we had together and he couldn’t find anything to complain about. Well done!

What I liked a bit less about Sana restaurant:

  • This has been a great night and, even if full, I didn’t have that feeling to have eaten “too much” as ingredients were so good and cooked properly that you don’t feel exhausted by the food. I don’t have negative remarks, just for you to note that the place has been open for 2 weeks now and the menu is still on progress, including the wine list, which at the moment is quite small, but for which Sana has already plans for extension. 

 

In conclusion: Sana is a brand new place in Luxembourg city centre. They have a delicious pizzeria al taglio on the ground floor and a bistrot style restaurant upstair. They propose an authentic Italian cuisine with outstanding ingredients. As Italian myself, Sana is definitely jumping on top on my Italian recommendations for Luxembourg city – and it is perfect for a date or for a night out with friend. Don’t miss their carbonara and watch out for new items on the menu to come.