The story so far
Mano a Mano is an established Italian restaurant, which caught my eye a while ago. However it is only recently that we decided to go and eat there. Actually we were looking for a simple Italian, and thought (rightly so) that Mano a Mano will fulfil our expectations.
Busy, busy, busy. That was my first impression. Relief as well, as we had a table booked. The place is buzzing lunch and dinner. During the day time, working people, eurocrats and locals alike mingle over plates of pasta. For dinner it is a mix of families, all three generations, people who obviously worked (too) late, friends, lovers, tinder dates, you name it. The place is absolutely packed day and night.
The food is very simple, yet it impresses exactly through this simplicity. The dishes are divided between pizzas and pasta. There are also some suggestions for the day, but the menu as makes even the most picky of us happy. All food names are in Italian, which I have to admit sound a lot sexier than in French (yet for the un-instructed, like me, translation is available as well).
Service with a smile
No. As simple as that. With all the points Mano a Mano scores with the delicious Italian food, the busy atmosphere, it loses them all with the service. Service is erratic – probably because the place is over-busy. Service is slow – again, because all orders are placed at one time. Never go to Mano a Mano with a group bigger than 4 if you want to enjoy dinner together. Service is unfriendly – we had to wait a long time to order, then were left with our plates finished on the table for a long time, and no one came to take our orders for dessert.
It remains a mystery why everyone (me included) is attracted to Mano a Mano. The food is great, but not exceptional. The service is close to non-existent which leaves me wonder why does everyone go back? I guess it might be the fact that food satisfies all tastes, and as people we are attracted to crowds. The moment we see a restaurant fully booked, it becomes a mission to go to eat there as well. Ciao and buon apetito.
Mano a Mano: website, Rue Saint Boniface 8, 1050 Bruxelles
Hungry for more?
You can also find me tweeting at @onfoodandwine, snapping away on Instagram, or pinning like mad on Pinterest. For more old school you can subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on Facebook. And of course it makes me always very happy if you drop me a comment or a note.