Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How do you say "yum" in Italian?

Not only was it Monday, it was the Belgian National Holiday. If it weren’t for Google, we would have been eating some combination of whatever-was-left-in-our-fridge. Instead, we got Sale Pepe Rosmarino – quality Italian in Saint Gilles.

This sweet little restaurant was packed, even on a Monday, even on a National Holiday – maybe because it was both a Monday and a National Holiday, but I don’t think so. The owner seemed to know about half the people who came through the door. The operation has menus but also has one single specials board which is small enough that they bring it to your table one at a time. There’s no wine list, just some shelves in the back where you choose your bottle (prices are posted on the shelves).

You can do a true Italian dinner here – platters of antipasti are layed out at the back, and a few people were ordering up their pasta to be followed by a second course of meat or fish. Gidon had a tasty mushroom tortellioni (although a bit on the small side; perhaps better when paired with a second course or at least an appetizer). I enjoyed a very satisfying and not too big pizza. We split a fantastic tiramisu for dessert that basically evaporated off of our plate. And we spent a sizable part of the meal reminiscing about our last vacation in Tuscany.

Despite the friendly atmosphere promoted by the owner, we did wait an exceptionally long time to be served, but a few others around us were served very quickly. I read online that it's a place that really embraces, ahem, the 'Italian pace of life', shall we say, and you should be prepared to sit tight until your food arrives. If you're starving or just generally impatient, take a pass; otherwise I think you'll find it's worth the wait.

Sale Pepe Rosmarino
Tel. : 02.538.90.63
Rue Berckmans 98
Saint-Gilles 1060
Closed: Saturday lunch & Sunday

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