Mano a Mano

pastaWe are back to the St. Boniface area. After trying out the Port d’Attache, the L’Ultime Atome and recently the Cuisine, I now went for a girlie night to the Mano a Mano.

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.

First impressions
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
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.

The verdict
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

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  • Anonymous

    Had dinner at Mano a Mano’s yesterday. It was my first time in the St. Boniface area and I really loved it. I can relate with most of your critique and it is definitely true that people are more attracted by other people then by quality. But you must admit that the atmosphere around the area is quite amazing. Reminds me of a restaurant in the Swiss alps, on top of a mountain: their food is crap, but the view is amazing .. and of course everyone is delighted.

  • Andreea

    hi, glad you dropped by. same feelings here. love the st boniface area! i’ll complain a lot, yet i am back there regularly 🙂

  • kjell

    Their service is actually quite good useally.
    I eat there quite often and they manage to be friendly despite being incredibly busy.

  • Been there as well. Food is good, not expensive and the service was ok, even when they were very busy.

  • Shahed

    Great review. I ate here last night and absolutely loved it. Was looking for their website, do you know the url ?

  • Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for the review! I never tried Mano a Mano actually, but I tonight we were planning to go. They just hung up on me when I called to reserve a table. How NICE! The food better be excellent… If there is a table free that is…