Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Newcomer to the EU Quarter

Today's episode brings us back to the Quest for Good Lunch Food in the EU Quarter! There is a new arrival on the scene, and I couldn't be happier about it: Guapa. Not only is it nearly the closest eatery to my office, but they have a respectable amount of vegetarian lunch options, and they are first and foremost a juice bar, with a mouth-watering selection of fresh fruit juices made to order.

Let's state up front that Guapa is outrageously priced for what you are getting. That is (unfortunately) in line with just about every other eating establishment around here, however, so I can't condemn them too much. The killer is the juice; at around 3.50 EUR a pop - and that for the small size - adding a drink to your lunch suddenly involves quite a price hike.

While I can't justify a daily juice, I justify the ones that I do buy by reminding myself that people the world over are buying Starbucks coffee for twice this price and they aren't getting any of the vitamins or just plain yumminess of fresh squeezed juice.

The ambiance: bright, green and clean, but not for the hard-of-hearing - those juicing machines do make a racket...

The food: two soups each day, one or both vegetarian. Often on the salty side but they don't shy away from giving their soup some really flavor - definitely among the tastier soup options in the area, which is great as the chill of winter sets in. Four quiches, again with some vegetarian inclusions.

Then there's the (ubiquitous and seemingly obligatory) fridge full of prepared food. Their first day open (yes, I was there, I'm that desperate for new food around here) their "meal of the day" was a salad with smoked salmon, leeks, and a poached egg. Super. Most daily meals feature meat, however. I'm also a fan of their spring rolls with a spicy dipping sauce, and some other salads and sandwiches make for a decent, if smallish, selection.

Their vegetarian meat-alternative-of-choice is a product I had (shamefully?) never heard of: Tzai. I have scoured the interweb but all I know is that it's soy-based. Can anyone help? I feel my vegetarian credentials are taking a big hit here. It does taste pretty yummy but I always like to know what I'm eating.

Guapas are all over the city, so drop in on one, pick up a lunch, and if you feel up to it, splash out on a juice - Ginger Lime is at the top of my list. What's your favorite?

23 rue de Luxembourg
1000 Brussels
Open Mon-Fri from 7:30am to 7pm
Also at various other Brussels locations - see their website

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