Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Aperitifs, Antipasti and Books, oh my!

If you are a stagiaire, are friends with a stagiaire, or have ever spoken to a stagiaire, you have probably heard of Piola Libri. It's a bookshop by day, hopping wine bar for stagiaires (and others) by night.

Not being a stagiaire myself, my radar did identify a few fellow non-stagiaires present at Piola Libri, so all should feel welcome here. In fact, I might even say all should feel obligated to try it out - it's tasty food and easy-drinking wine at a great price.

First, the wines. Five reds, four whites, a rose and two sparkling varieties were on offer during my visit; each glass will run you four or five euros. The wines I tried - a sweet sparkling muscat and a semi-dry white - were not the most complicated flavors, but they were pleasant, and in this busy setting, I was hardly looking for something overly sophisticated.

Here's the bonus: their antipasti bar (free with your wine) features an amazing selection of fantastic vegetarian munchies. Sun-dried tomatoes, olives, potatoes roasted with rosemary, pickled onions, breadsticks, beans, hot peppers and more. It's basically all-you-can-eat - or at least all-you-can-fit-on-a-small-plate (but they don't give you a hard time if you go back for seconds).

Two glasses of wine and two plates of antipasti and I have to admit I didn't even need dinner - my four food groups might not have been accounted for, but for one night, I can let that go. And I can only imagine that the bookstore (filled with Italian books) is worth a visit before 6pm, too. Either way, the books make for a cozy atmosphere, which, by the time we left was standing-room only.

Piola Libri
66-68 rue Franklin
1000 Brussels
Tel. 02 736 9391
Open Monday-Friday for lunch; aperitifs and antipasti from 18h
Get there early.

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