Don’t you just love when the sun hits Brussels? Suddenly the capital of Europe becomes the capital of terraces! Everyone is out … and so are we. This time we headed for a sunny lunch, just like in Italy, to Cocina – Negozio & Tratoria.
You know how much we love our Italian holidays. This (don’t judge!) has turned us a bit into food ‘snobs’ when it comes to what qualifies as ‘real’ Italian in Brussels … and what doesn’t. And trust me, we are still soft in comparison to our Italian friends.
Well, it seems we all agree on Cocina. We are talking proper Italian tratoria across from Parc Tenbosch!
Cocina is Italian in every sense of the word. The food (and I mean all. the. food) is imported from Italy. Yes, we did wonder a bit how environmentally friendly that is or not. Moving on.
The menu changes according to what is fresh and in seazon so again, typically Italian. Written in half Italian, half French we took the usual holiday ‘guess the dish?’ approach: antipasti (what is oca again?), primi (pasta), secondi (meat, no sides) and dolci (should we try the tiramisu?).
Together with every other sun deprived Brussels resident, we spent our lunch on the terrace. The restaurant though is perfectly cozy and pleasant indoors too – a big communal table invites guests to mingle, more traditional 2 by 2 tables cater for this looking for an intimate dinner. The service was as prompt … as in Italy … Being used to have lunch in a business quarter, I had to reset my usual clock (30min countdown) and accept that it’s time to relax and enjoy a more leisurely lunch.
Not as difficult as it sounds.
As we are (moderately) brainwashed by instagram, we wanted to try the burrata … which of course Cocina run out of. Instead we ordered a mix of starters, which were delicious. The grilled calamari particularly. We then opted for 2 pasta dishes – the panciotti with aubergines and grated scarmoza cheese and the scialatielli with vongole and botarga. (Don’t you just l-o-v-e Italian pasta shape names?). My panciotti were tasty, a bit more aubergines would have made the dish perfect. The scialatielli were delicious!
Skipping dessert we had 2 proper Italian coffees, but the tiramisus going around looked divine.
All in all, Cocina offers very tasty, simple food and comes as close to an Italian tratoria as it can in Brussels. High scores from us. There are for sure dishes we will be going back for. Dinner at Cocina promises to be a relaxed and pleasant way to spend a summer evening out.
I would like to extend our thanks to Cocina for inviting us to review their restaurant and organizing this amazing meal and to their staff for hosting us and dealing with our endless questions and cameras with grace.
Disclaimer: as always, all opinions written are our own.
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