A mere mantecare away from the bustling Gare du Midi train station, Sara Lenzi shines at this cantina like you’d find in Italy. The spot in question? Edison light bulbs and vintage furniture, including a big central table around which the Neapolitan chef (who initially came to France for an internship) describes the menu of the day in her sing-song accent. The day we went for lunch: minestrone loaded up with seasonal vegetables; plump focaccia still warm from the oven, topped with escarole, sheep’s milk cheese and baked ham; heart-stopping fresh, homemade durum wheat pasta doused in beef ragù; and, if there’s any left, a sourdough and walnut brownie with a touch of salt to bring out the flavors, or a generous slice of crostata with bitter mandarin marmalade and lots of butter. Digest the lot while perusing the shelves of the small épicerie section, where you’ll find pistachio spread, Belgian passata, eggs from the Vert d’Iris co-op in Anderlecht, and a kit for cooking like Sara at home (containing a ready-to-prepare meal). // Luce Berdon
FEELING THIRSTY? Some nice organic wines (Kerasos, a Sicilian nero d’avola from Valdibella at €5 a glass), craft beers (Brasserie de la Senne, Brasserie de l’Ermitage, €4.50 to €5), colorful juices of the day (kiwi, mandarin, beetroot, €4.50), lemonades from Brussels-based brewery L’Annexe (€4.20), Chorti coffee – including cappuccinos made with organic milk from La Baraque Fraiture (€3.30).
PRICE: Focaccia €6.50, soup €7, pasta €14.50, dish of the day €22, desserts €3.50 to €7.
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