Monday, March 15, 2010

Something pretty in the EU Quarter

Looking back over my blog entries, I see that Italian is the most popular of the various cuisines I've covered here. I find that kind of amusing, because my husband likes to point out that when I'm in charge of making dinner, we end up with something Asian (stir fry, curry) whereas when he's the chef of the night, we end up with something more European (e.g. Italian).

But I can hardly say I have anything against Italian food, and indeed, one restaurant in particular is a lunchtime favorite amidst the boring sandwich shops in the EU Quarter.

Carina means "pretty" in Italian, and seems to be pretty authentic - from the Italian ladies who run the operation, to the beautiful, fresh ingredients.

Vegetarians will find plenty to choose from here. On the cheap/quick side: opt for one of the paninis, displayed in the case at the front of the restaurant, heated up on order. Thick ciabattas, marinated vegetables, and flavorful cheeses - you can't go wrong.

You'll also find their exquisite vegetable plates, featuring fresh and marinated vegetables, usually some lentils or other protein source, and half a ball of fresh mozzarella. The price is a bit steep for a plate of vegetables (around 9 EUR) but I occasionally indulge myself in this treat nonetheless.

Salads and pastas are also available - last week, I opted for their ravioli in a sage-butter sauce. Rich, but not heavy. Sit down for your meal (instead of partaking in their bustling take-away business) and enjoy fresh foccacia with your order.

I don't often have a lunchtime dessert, but their fresh fruit salad, displayed in the take-away case, is truly a work of art and sometimes proves irresistible.

Carina is a popular lunchtime option, and may even suffer a bit from its success: all those diners make for quite a din - I often have felt like I'm shouting to my tablemates just be heard. A small price to pay for good, fresh food, though.

Rue de la Science 10
1000 Brussels
Tel. 02 230 81 88
Open lunchtimes Monday to Friday
Reservations recommended

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