Most of Tel Aviv recognizes this title by now. Or at least the photo. Another little hot spot in the city. A cosy coffee spot with great snacks. And the small details that make the difference, like those little dog snacks. I don’t even know the name of the place. It’s located on Ben Zion Boulevard right by Habima, the national theatre and where Rothschild Boulevard starts.
“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.
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.
(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.
(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).
Dance the night away in Antwerp’s nightlife + SPECIAL SURPRISE FOR OUR READERS!
All pictures are under copyright protection
(c) Sien Josephine 2013
Sometimes I want to write about Tel Aviv. Sometimes I just want to show it to you. Christina Marien is a big fan of Tel Aviv , a loyal visitor, a returning customer. Luckily she always has her camera with her. Proud to introduce her as our guest photographer for this post. Here are some random TLV pictures. Thanks Christina.
Brasserie Top class French food open 24/7 – Ibn Gvirol Street
Coffee & Snacks on Rothschild corner Maze
Coffee & Snacks on Rothschild corner Herzl (oldest kiosk)
A common sight, wedding photos on Rothschild Boulevard
Delicatessen Yehuda Halevy Street 79/81
Sunset happens everyday
Another common sight in Tel Aviv: hot guys
Fresh fruit juice on Shenkin Street
Israel has the best watermelons in the world
Famous Dizengoff Square Fountain by Yaakov Agam
When you travel and you don’t really have a clue what to expect or where to go (or you only have a copy of just another typical travel guide), you can easily get stuck in tourist traps and mainstream shops. But all we really want is to get to know and experience a city like a local. That’s why i thought it was a good idea to share my Treasure Map: some of the shops and bars/restaurants in Antwerp i like to spend time at. Since there are a lot of these places and so little space to write about them in one article, I’ve decided to go all Peter Jackson on my script and turn it into a Travel Trilogy. This is the first part.
A SATURDAY AFTERNOON IN ANTWERP – “No one ever started a successful treasure hunt on an empty stomach!” (I’m pretty sure some pirate somewhere must have said this a long time ago), so let’s start with brunch. I must admit I like to eat a lot of junk and take-away, but my Saturday/Sunday-brunch has to be healthy. That’s why I prefer going to De Biologisch-Dynamische Bakkerij (1). The menu offers organic and vegetarian (sorry meat-freaks) salads, burgers, granola, walnut cake, speculoos, homemade lasagna and everyday another fresh homemade soup. These are but a few things the Biologische Bakkerij has to offer. Want more? Take home one the many sorts of bread (made of sunflower seeds, Tibetan barley, whole-wheat bread, …) or one of the many varieties of artisan cakes.
Onward to the shopping streets, even though winter sales are still on display. When I was in University i used to work in a store for years; I must have created an aversion for anything that has to do with the word “Sale”. Still, there are some boutiques in Antwerp that don’t attract sales-crazy people and in which I can look around and try on things without putting my life in danger. At Fresh15 (2) for example, you can find the beautiful brands of Sessun, IRO, Humanoid and on some Saturdays you can also find the beautiful Merrymaker Ruth van Soom in this store. (By the way Fresh15 has another store Fresh34 which you can find across the street from De Biologisch Dynamische Bakkerij.) Another store I like a lot is Step by Step (3). The window filled with barbie-dolls is a real attention grabber, even more so is the range of brands they sell here: Isabel Marant, Alexander Wang, Band of Outsiders, Current Eliott, Joseph and (yes thank you Lord) my personal favorite: GGDB sneakers (Golden Goose Deluxe Brand). If you’re looking for something more different, exclusive and most of all graphic, you really should consider visiting concept store The Public Image (4 & 5). Get Glam Rock and Roll on a Skateboard (I can’t find a better way to describe the collection): Your Eyes Lie, Kid Vanilla, MinkPink, Staff By Maff, Actual Pain, Andrea Crews, Pantheone, Blood is the New Black, Jeffrey Campbell shoes and jewelry by Melody Ehsani (to name a few), TPI introduces brands as if it was presenting breakfast. Yes, TPI owner Nele Moens is on a (rock ‘n) roll (or as they say in Antwerp: ‘goe bezig’).
(2) Fresh15 – Lombardenvest 15 – 2000 Antwerp
Legs all tired from shopping? Need some caffeine? Wanna listen to some records while enjoying your coffee? Go to Coffee & Vinyl (6). What’s in a name? Owner Lars Cosemans, never shy for a joke, moved his old record-store (called Vinyl) and added a little coffee bar, so people could sit down, relax and listen to their favorite records. It doesn’t stop there though: the bar is also a gallery. Now on display is art by Frederik Schnieders. Free WiFi, great coffee, cool art and good music. What else?
For something decorative or something to read i recommend two places! (Studio) Helder (7) offers the most original and practical design. The shop oozes creativity. That’s probably because the team behind this store (an accessories designer and an interior architect who both worked with renowned fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester) use their talent as a platform for presenting their own creations. You can buy a Crying Candle here, which cries tears as the wax burns, or Y-shaped tabletops as a multi-employable base for a coffee table, cabinet legs or even a book shelf. There’s so much to explore in this shop, it’s like a little adventure. If you want to feed your intellectuality some more go to ‘t Stad Leest (8). It’s a huge bookstore which offers you a look inside the favorite books from the owners themselves! Nice personal touch. And open on a Sunday.
Upcoming things to do in Antwerp:
- January 22nd – January 27th: FOMU BOOKSALE – the Antwerp Museum of Photography is selling it’s stock for ridiculous prices (Waalsekaai 47 – 2000 Antwerp).
- January 24th: N8N PRESENTS THE RUS NERWICH QUARTET at (the bar/restaurant with the most beautiful name) Josephine’s – this is one live show you don’t want to miss. They’ll bring their new live show ‘The Wondering Who’, followed with an aftershow DJ set by N8N remixed. Reserve your tables now or just join in for good music and drinks (Gentplaats 1 – 2000 Antwerp).
- January 26th: DOUBLE TROUBLE X GUS & SENSE X MAGIC at Magic Club – dance the night away on the best dance-classics, brought to you by Gus & Sense (Desguinlei 94 – 2018 Antwerp).
Special thanks to
Ruth Van Soom (just for being you), Brecht Baert (for coffee in golden cups), Nele Moens (also for coffee but most of all for being an inspiration), Lars Cosemans (great apple-pie) and Bart Deweer (for holding his pose while choking on a cookie).
about Food & Drinks. A BYOB-free invitation to Antwerp’s bars and restaurants.
All pictures are under copyright protection
(c) Sien Josephine 2013
As you might have noticed, these past few weeks i haven’t really been active on our little blog. Main reason? Swamped with work. Anyway, instead of boring you with stories about what i’ve been doing, I’ll just show you:
Contemporary Fashion Days, Antwerp – organized by F.F.I.
Shooting the new Philadelphia cream cheese commercial
PR agency OONA‘s Housewarming
Above and Under: Vascobelo‘s baristabar @ Contemporary Fashion Days Antwerp: great coffee, amazing taste. This pop-up coffee bar was the perfect getaway from my busy life. Thanks to Jaime for taking me there!
Above and Under: N8N‘s performance in Amsterdam. Play that funky music white boy!
A LA PROXIMA!
When it comes to writing a blog there are two things you need: connection (preferably the internet-kind of connection) and coffee. Both are (well) provided in Caffè Internazionale: not the newest, still the hottest but most of all my personal favorite, located in the south of Antwerp.
More than a year ago, Marco Migliore turned a dark empty restaurant into a warm open lunchbar with a vintage and international feel. Popular dish (and also very new for Antwerp) is the pastrami-sandwich. Although this Romanian Jewish specialty has been a famous treat in New York since Katz’s Deli (a kosher-style restaurant) introduced it in 1888, it’s safe to say that Antwerp has also fallen for its beefy charms. Pastrami is typically sliced and served hot on rye bread, accompanied by coleslaw and a salted pickle.
Other foody goodies on the menu are salads, pastas, classic homemade soup (different day, different soup), a huge breakfast choice (which you can get all day long, very interesting on a Sunday) and of course desserts, delicious cheesecake included.
The food is not the only reason why I keep coming back to this place (although it plays a very important role). To me Caffè Internazionale equals home: the staff as well as the regular customers (a.k.a. the people I happily call my friends) are all one big family.
The moment you enter the place you feel the creativity and smell the coffee that goes along with it. Musicians, artists, graphic designers, fellow bloggers, people with ideas; everyone finds their own place at Marco’s huge front room table. A shot of extra caramel in your café latte, a pastrami to go, a freshly cooked, afterhours dinner for Marco’s friends, he’s done (and I’ve eaten) it all.
Thank you Marco, for bringing us all together!