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..

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Brasserie Herve, Luxembourg – a pleasant discovery!

In my last posts of the series “What to do” regarding the Station and Bonnevoie area, I was complaining the lack of a refined and fashion place to dine.
After learning about its change of management, I decided to head with Patricia to Brasserie Herve for a relaxed lunch. Brasserie Herve is, unluckily, located in a not very fashionable area, just few steps from Luxembourg Main Station.
Indeed, since its opening, I was attracted by the décor and the intimacy of the location. Unfortunately, previous management seems not to be able to use the potential of the place.
On Tuesday, we had indeed an amazing lunch.
We were welcome by a very kind and professional waiter speaking both English and French perfectly and we received a great amuse-bouche prepared with truffle cream and dried tomatoes. This was just an initial indicator that our experience was going to be exceptional.
The restaurant, for lunch, has a menu du jour selection (choice among 3 dishes) for 12.5 euro, plus chef suggestions between 9 and 16.5 euro plus “a la carte” menu.
We were advised by the waiter to go for the “Italian burger”, prepared with sautéed peppers , pesto and beef meat. He was also available to explain in details other dishes on the list we were interested to – but at the end we follow his experience.
We accompanied the lunch with two glasses of wine – again, the waiter made us try the wine, even if it was just the “home selection”, to be sure we were fine with it, before serving. These are the small little things most of the places are not taking care about and that, for me, are doing a big difference.

After the pictures of our lunch, you will find as usual my impressions about this restaurant.

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Things I loved about Brasserie Herve:

  • Unbeatable ambience: around the station you cannot find such elegant and fashion place. Once you enter the front door, you can forget where you are, like you directly transported in a Manhattan fancy bar.
  • Great food: everything we had on our table was exceptional. From the truffle amuse-bouche to the burgers to the apple pie served as dessert with the menu. You can definitely understand the quality of the materials is really important at Brasserie Herve, and I especially loved the truly amazing meat taste.
  • Quality/Price and Choices on the Menu: 12.5 euro for a Brasserie Herve menu du jour that includes an amuse-bouche and on Monday/Tuesday also a dessert is a very good deal for Luxembourg city and above all for this kind of restaurant. Just some weeks ago, I paid 18 euro for a pasta dish around the corner… and here you have meat, fish, veggie choices for all the tastes and for all the prices – so not only on budget, but also recommended If you want to spoil yourself.
  • Authentic customer service: through my interviews of “Barefoot in Luxembourg meets people“, I realized that what most expats complain about in Luxembourg is the level of the service. At Brasserie Herve, it was clear they really care. We never had to ask, we were always served before and never bothered by the waiters. From bread, to water, to mayonnaise, everything was taken to the table on time.

Things I liked a bit less:

  • You might not be attracted by the surroundings, but this is definitely not restaurant’s fault. Indeed, I find refreshing to have a fashionable place to visit also in the station area, without the needs to find yourself each and every time walking past the same places in the city center. We had great time at Brasserie Herve – our lunch was delicious, the atmosphere is very modern and fashionable and the service was outstanding.

    This is the perfect place for a lunch with your girlfriends before some shopping, for a relaxed happy hour with your colleagues during the week or a fancy business dinner after a day of meetings. We will definitely come back.

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 🙂

La Cantine @ Hotel Le Chatelet, a delightful, romantic dinner date

I had already a chance some times ago to eat at the Cantine of Chatelet Hotel, on a quiet side of Hollerich/Gare area, but I did not write a review as having been there only for lunch, I supposed it was not extremely indicative. I had some lovely fish and chip on that occasion and the service – even if, as said, was just a business lunch – was great.

I came back with hubby this week for our weekly date. We called for booking a short while before and we were proposed a table on the terrace.

The restaurant has in fact an open space on the street – for drinks -, a main dining room, a bar lounge and a backyard covered terrace, that is very pleasant during summer time.

I had a ham/melon starter and hubby a beef carpaccio, while for main we shared a “cote de boeuf“,  that was served with vegetables and fries.

Our dinner was just perfect – except for this Spanish guy calling all his f*ck*ng family on Facetime at pretty loud volume just next to our table for hours – nothing could have been better.

We had a great St.Emilion Gran Cru that was always served by the waiters, the starters were delicate and tasty, and the meat was indeed delicious – maybe next time I will go for the Chateubriand, instead, as this cut was just a bit too nervous, but only for my taste, hubby loved it.

The final coffee was accompanied by a yummy almond cake and, with the bill, we were offered two digestives – oh mon dieu, how much time had passed since a restaurant offered me some final drink? Well done and highly appreciated!

I have also to say that, together with the ambience and the food, one of the best thing of this place is the service. Talking with hubby I said: for me, tonight, this is exactly what I consider the real perfect service. Waiters were smiling, kind, affable, always there when you needed them but not bothering rest of the time.

I will definitely visit La Cantine more often and I highly recommend it for a couple or friends date. If you fancy good food and refined atmosphere, you would love this place!

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Postkutsch Restaurant, Esch sur Alzette

We discovered Postkutsch Restaurant recently as we were looking for some fancy places to have dinner a bit off the city chaos. At the same time, as I totally avoid driving if I plan to drink even a glass of wine  and I am not keen travelling with someone that did (I am sorry, démodé, maybe, but I really do care about my safety), so Postkutsch appeared as the best solution, as it is located just 5 minutes off Esch/Alzette station and trains from and to Luxembourg are running until 1.20 am – luckily enough we live at a walking distance from the Gare.

As said, after a first amazing experience, we decided to come back with my sister and her fiancée. Be careful, you need to book a bit in advance for week ends: we placed our reservation three weeks earlier in order to secure our place, as it was the only night we were all available.

The internal décor of the restaurant appears to be coming from another age: a bit old-fashioned, maybe, but I love to be projected in this 20s atmosphere, with big round tables, mirrors, candles. As client, indeed, you are not feeling obliged to dress up – as in many same-style restaurant in the city center – and this makes us feel even better. A simple shirt and jeans for men is enough for enjoying an agreeable dinner.

Coming to the food, the restaurant as a formula called Temptation, with a fixed menu and some in-the-middle choices (starters, main, sorbet or cheese). The price is really affordable, 48 Euro, for the quantity and above all the quality of the food received.

As “amuse-bouche” we received a cappuccino of mushrooms with truffle and a mousse of ham. Both of them really tasty. Following, I opted as started for an Hamburger from the Sea, a very structured dish that was served with a mousse of ketchup (yummy!) and avocado. It was a great start, my husband only did not really enjoy his dish – roe deer terrine – saying it was too gummy and fat.

The next dish for me, main course, was Saint Pierre fish, cooked with meat jus and potato gallette. Also this dish was great, as it was a perfect combination between the sea taste and the aroma of truffle with the jus. My sister had the same, while her fiancée took a kind of saltimbocca and my husband the picanha. Everyone loves his dish.

Next step was the chariot of cheese, that is always an extremely interesting adventure for me – I love cheese! I took three strong softy cheese and I really enjoy them – the Calvados Camembert was one of my favorite.

At this point we were already pretty full and our train was about to leave. We had the dessert, composed by a combination of tree small dishes, and the coffee, accompanied by chestnuts mousse and some sweets. I was not even able to finish my dessert, as it was really a lot to eat, but everything was perfect.

As drinking, they have as well some standard formulas that include aperitif – several choices of “maison” cocktails – wine through the dinner and coffee. Being Saturday, we had to opt for the formula for 37 euro each – while during the week you have as well the one for 22 euro – and it was a great combination. I started with a vodka strawberry cocktail – normally strawberry cocktail are always a bit too sweet but this was not the case, it was balanced and flavorful. I continued with a Pinot Blanc for the starter and another white mineral wine, a Viognier,  with the rest of the dinner. My husband and my sister’s fiancée had red with the main.

Once again, it was a really nice experience, next time we will only try to arrive a bit earlier – we were there a quarter to nine – in order to relax a bit at the beginning and avoid the rush between aperitif and starters.

Postkutsch is the perfect place if you love French cuisine but you don’t want to squander, you will get spoiled there by all the treaties they propose and it is perfect for family celebrations.

Check their website for menu and other updates:

Postkutsch
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