Racines Restaurant (Brussels)

© Christian Hagen

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Ever since 2015, Capri-born chef Ugo Federico and Florentine sommelier Francesco Cury have made Racines a Brussels beacon of pan-Italian cuisine, located next to Monella, their small shop serving pizze fritte. The setting? A long counter facing the stoves and a white-bricked dining room overlooking the garden. Mixing the finest seasonal, local and transalpine supplies, the evening menu (which can be upgraded with two bonuses, a huge ravioli filled with a whole burrata, and black truffle agnolotti) lined up: mini antipasti – roast meagre in an insanely good tomato-caper sauce, a surprising ricotta croquette and pear puree, sublime coppa on a cooked potato roll, and a white bean and cabbage leaf soup, an elevated version of a classic peasant recipe; flawless pasta served as a nest of tagliatelle alla genovese (onion sauce) topped with raw smoked amberjack; heady Spanish Basque beef tenderloin with braised endives and a red wine sauce; and a red-stained pear cooked in (even more) red wine, with crumble topping and white wine sabayon. // Ringo de Balmalon

FEELING THIRSTY? Crates and bottles are displayed at the entrance, and the 50-page list of living Italian (and French) wines proves that Racines is as much an enoteca as it is a trattoria. Served by the glass, there are wines of the moment at €10, like Jakot, a Tocai from Radikon in the Venezia Giulia (€28), and Brea Vigna Ca’ Mia, a Barolo from Brovia (€38), along with other exceptional bottles. Wine pairing €35-120.

PRICE: Menus €32-46 (lunch on Friday) and €75, extra dishes €12 and €30, food and wine pairings €40-50.

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