Le Petit Mercado

Le Petit Mercado Restaurant (Saint-Gilles)

© Le Petit Mercado

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A corner location, a tiny terrace, a U-shaped tiled counter surrounded by well-stocked shelves, and something to snack on all day long… This café-grocery store inspired by Argentinian markets was inaugurated in 2019 thanks to the Saint-Gilloise foodie dream team: founders Mano de Robiano (ex-Tero) and Pia Renaudat (a former graphic designer), as well as Anaïs de Borchgrave in the kitchen (who trained at the Cordon Bleu in London), Juliette Farges handling the sweets and brunch, and the whole adorable gang of waiters, Tim, Mila, Inès and Luz. One of the friendliest spots in Brussels, where the other afternoon the chalkboard menu promised a zero-waste lunch, sourced straight from the store itself, featuring: a soup (curried leek velouté); a vegetarian main (eggplant parmigiana and mozzarella di bufala); their popular well-spiced pork and beef meatballs, roasted carrots with carob molasses and ricotta cream, bulgur, fresh herbs, green olives and fried parsley; and swiped from the cake display, a blood orange madeleine with ganache, one hell of a dessert. The sammie of the day? Ciabatta with arugula pesto, capocollo (a sort of coppa) and sun-dried tomatoes; or a baguette with Comté cheese, and cumin and za’atar stewed leeks. On weekends, opt for the “big breakfast” – basically brunch fit for a king! // Ringo de Balmalon

FEELING THIRSTY? Matcha or chai lattes (€4), fresh juice (€4 to €4.50), draft Redor beer (€2.50 for a half-pint), and natural wine – Plein la Vue, a Sauvignon from Jeff Carrel (€16 a bottle), or Nouvelle Vague, a red from Wilfried Valat (€21.50) – to drink in house with a €10 corkage fee.

PRICE: Sandwiches €6.50 (to take away) or €8.50 with a salad eaten in, soup €6, main course €12-14, pastries €4, breakfast €7, brunch €25 (Saturday and Sunday).

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