Antwerp · Food · Restaurants · Travel guide

Josephine’s Treasure Map to Antwerp (2)

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” It was Luciano Pavarotti who once said these words, and he is a wise man. For most of you it might not come as a big surprise, but I love food. I love it so much, I’ve dedicated more than one blog post to it. That’s why the second part of my Antwerp Treasure map is all about: food.

FROM BRUNCH TO DINNER AND BACK AGAIN – Lately I enjoy waking up early on a Saturday morning (i still have to get used to saying that, as my former hobby was sleeping in) and assembling friends and family to go for breakfast in one of the many coffee bars Antwerp has to offer. I remember when I moved to Antwerp about 10 years ago, there weren’t many nice and cosy (and free WiFi-ed) coffee bars as there are now. Or maybe I didn’t know they existed, since I was mostly busy with my other hobby back then (sleeping in, followed by my anti-hobby: running to class). Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but it seems to me that going for breakfast (or brunch) is becoming a bigger thing than going out all night.

On a Saturday morning it’s always nice to visit the open air market. Since shopping for food on an empty stomach might hurt your wallet (as my mom says), get some breakfast first at Perruche (1). This small restaurant offers a very good breakfast and an even better service. Sweet Laura, that girl knows the drill of running a place! Adding up to the feeling of being at home: her mom occasionally pops in (actually she popped in once and never left) to provide happy customers with toast, special sandwiches, provincial spreads, spaghetti, soup and cake. Fun fact: Perruche, which is the French word for parakeet, used to be a small store which sold – you guessed it – parakeets (and other tiny, noisy birds). If you are a bagel lover I recommend Barnini (2),which is also in the same area (maybe you can try both, who cares about the market, right?!). No parakeets here, only owls. By the way, they have great coffee (in every size and color, with m&m’s on top or a good splash of chocolate sauce). I know because owner Annick used to train me in how to make the perfect coffee.

(c) Sien Josephine(1) Perruche – Oude Vaartplaats 60 – 2000 Antwerp (pope-approved)(c) Sien Josephine(2) Barnini – Oude Vaartplaats 10 – 2000 Antwerp

Time for lunch! Probably the most well-known place in Antwerp to go for lunch is Lombardia (3). Everybody knows this place, including Sting, Moby and Steve-O! Yes, big artists have fallen in love with Alain Indria’s gluten-free veggie health food love-temple. The interior looks like a huge container filled with pictures, colors, a giant golden bull, more color, graffiti and plants. You always feel sunny California in here and you would almost expect some half naked surfer dude walking in, straight from the beach, board still under his arm (if he ever does, ladies: I saw him first!). I love this place. Alain’s mom, Odette, opened Lombardia in 1972. Back then it was only a health-food shop. The most famous product Alain is serving is without doubt the Ginger Love tea (supposedly Alain came up with Ginger Love at table nr 18 in the back – so for any creative inspiration i suggest you take your lunch at table 18). It’s so good even Starbucks wanted to buy the recipe and the Wall Street Journal tipped Alain’s Ginger Love tea as a must when visiting Antwerp. Other good stuff I think you should try: Beasty Boy sandwich, Hot Mexican Tuna, the Magic Mushroom and Moby’s own Moby Juice.

Lombardia

(3) Lombardia – Lombardenvest 78 – 2000 Antwerp

Check out what Sting has to say about Lombardia:

For the real treasure hunters there is RA Kitchen (4). Located right in between antique shops, you will find this very cool restaurant (which in fact is part of a whole concept fashion store). The dining area alone is worth a visit: a mix between vintage tables, an informal living room lounge area, a mezzanine daybed and (on sunny days) a summer terrace. Ra Kitchen is all about fresh ingredients, a seasonal and eclectic menu, traditional flavours, unconventional methods and a touch of the past. As the Word magazine describes it, it’s a “quiet culinary universe of coolness”. Fun fact: every month, Ra Kitchen invites a special friend or talented individual for an event open to all! Take a look at their Facebook page to stay updated on upcoming events.

Blogpost 22

(4) RA Kitchen – Kloosterstraat 13 – 2000 Antwerp

Other great places to get your food-groove on:

  • ULTIMATUM, Grote Markt 8: food, drinks and an occasional GREAT party
  • CHEZ FRED, Kloosterstraat 83: the best “stoofvlees met frietjes” in town
  • POTTEKIJKER, Kaasrui 5: for the romantic and nostalgic hearted people
  • FISKEBAR, Marnixplaats 12: it’s all Fish and all Scandinavian

Special thanks to

Alain Indria (just for being you), Steven Neuman (for countless breakfasts), Romain Brau (for inspiration) and Laura (for two eggs instead of one).

Next episode:

Dance the night away in Antwerp’s nightlife + SPECIAL SURPRISE FOR OUR READERS!

All pictures are under copyright protection

(c) Sien Josephine 2013

Antwerp · Restaurants

Leave nothing on the grass… but footprints

FINALLY! After a long period of waiting the sun has arrived and temperatures have risen with it. It’s the perfect occasion to go outside with friends, watch the sun set, look at the stars, fall in love…. yes, i’m a true fan of summer. In Antwerp there are lots of places where you can enjoy the sunny weather (it’s too hot to sleep anyway), but there is only one place where you can do all of the above mentioned activities together at once. Yes, even falling in love.

Every year, the city of Antwerp organizes a sort of “festival” which takes place all summer long. It is called “de Zomer van Antwerpen” (Summer in Antwerp). Next to theater shows in open air, a circus, live music in streets that are otherwise quiet, and so many other festivities, they also organize “de Zomerbar”. The first time I discovered this huge hide-away just out of the city center, was 2 years ago.

Walking on the long torch-lit path, feels like walking into a fairytale (please don’t insult it by comparing it to walking towards “the island council” of Temptation Island, thank you very much): there’s a forest with tables and chairs made out of tree trunks. There’s a beach with matching beach chairs and umbrellas. There are lights and hammocks hanging quietly in between the trees. Big plus for book-fanatics like myself: during the day you have access to an open air (!!) library. You can rent a book and just lay yourself down on the grass, or in a hammock, covered by the shade of a tree.

There’s a restaurant with delicious food, a wine bar, a bar with excellent mojito’s… It’s a little piece of heaven (in summertime) on earth. Oh and when you bring back your empty glasses yourself, you get some money back. Smart way to keep the grass clean!

Pictures by Sigrid Spinnox (c) & Stad Antwerpen

Zomerbar,Ledeganckkaai
2000 Antwerpen

from 07-07-2012 untill 19-08-2012
during the week: 16u-24u / in weekends: 14u-24u

Antwerp · Fashion · Food · Restaurants

Catering by Caffè Internazionale

Carrying around a bag filled with Polish pickles was not how I imagined visiting Paris during Fashion Week. The Chinese sales girl who sold me a backpack (the paper bag broke somewhere between getting of the train in Gare du Nord and running to the subway-station) looked at me like I was some kind of pickle-maniac. “What it for?” she asked with a heavy Chinese accent. “Oh, it’s for the caterer!” I must have left that girl even more confused than she already was, at least I had a tear resistant way to transport the pickles to their destination: Rue de Saintonge, temporary home to the Ann Demeulemeester showroom.

Marco Migliore, the beloved and praised owner of Caffè Internazionale (Antwerp),  known for it’s delicious pastrami, was (once again) asked by BVBA 32, the company behind celebrated Belgian fashion designers Ann Demeulemeester and Haider Ackermann, to take care of the catering for staff, models and of course clients in both their showrooms. Marco is not new to this job, as he already had taken care of catering for the Haider showroom during the last Paris Fashion Week S/S 2012. The first time was a challenge to him. But, being able to dive right into the vibe, Marco quickly found his way around the business. People loved the food and atmosphere he created in the showroom.

This time he feels more prepared, mainly because he knows what is expected of him. Also, he thinks very highly of both Demeulemeester and Ackermann. “I’m a fan of their work. C’est la classe.” That’s why Marco finds it very important to show his love for the designers in his work as well. From the carefully selected menu to the high quality products; everything is highly finished to perfection. To even add some variety, a different “food-theme” is used everyday: Italian, French, Spanish, Jewish-Lebanese and Asian. “To me, Fashion Week is very internazionale”, Marco explains. “You feel the atmosphere of fashion everywhere, not only here in the showroom. Paris is without doubt my favorite city in the world. It’s a dream that I can work in this beautiful city for such great talents and friends, creating that what I love most. I feel truly blessed.”

For all information on catering by Caffe Internazionale:

www.caffeinternazionale.be

marco@caffeinternazionale.be

+32 (0)3 248 00 25

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