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True Italian cuisine in the heart of Europe TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS | PHOTOS: L’ANCIENNE POISSONNERIE
Located in Brussels’ European quarter, L’Ancienne Poissonnerie offers classic Italian cuisine with a modern twist. “We are an Italian team and we are passionate about Italian cuisine. We serve high-quality Italian food in a classy environment. Our chef comes from the heart of Italy and has spent quite a bit of time in prestigious Italian restaurants,” explains Leila Verdiani, the owner. The beautiful 40-seater restaurant is located in a former fishmongers. The shop had been abandoned, and was eventually fully restructured, respecting the listed art deco exterior and interior. The architect retained the true Brussels art deco features, with the original tiles adorning the interior walls, including a magnificent mosaic depicting fishermen navigating a small boat on a stormy sea. The restaurant itself is designed in a sleek contemporary style, focusing on comfort and aesthetics. Every dish starts with traditional Italian ingredients, including the finest olive oil, the 16 | Issue 39 | March 2017
freshest fish, high-quality meat cuts and home-made pasta. “Every dish we serve begins with fresh ingredients and is created bottom-up,” says Verdiani. The menu changes annually, and a number of specialty dishes also vary from week to week.
home-made desserts like the best tiramisù in town, the panna cotta and gelati della casa. Meals can be accompanied with wine from the restaurant’s interesting pan-Italian selection, including white Falanghina and red Morellino.
For starters, L’Ancienne Poissonnerie recommends the crispy octopus with pears (polpo croccante con pere), or the ‘fritto misto’ that includes freshly fried calamari and scampi dressed with citrus and aromatic herbs. For mains, diners can choose from an array of delicious pasta and risotto dishes, as well as several seafood and meat plates. Highlights include the rich ‘fettuccine al ragù di anatra’, a superb fettuccine with duck ragout, and ‘linguine alle vongole’, the classic pasta dish served with clams.
L’Ancienne Poissonnerie is located between the Royal Palace, the US embassy and the European Parliament, with many expats frequenting at lunchtime. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 12pm3pm and 7pm-11pm. On Saturdays, it opens only in the evening from 7pm11pm. Reservations are advisable.
The tuna with smoked tomato (tonno, pomodoro fumé) comes highly recommended, as does the crispy pork belly accompanied with burnt orange and mustard sauce (pancia di maiale). To end a meal, diners can choose from a selection of
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