Italians in Ixelles, Brussels

I once read that there are more Italians in Brussels than French or Dutch natives. Throughout the past year, I have regularly quoted that. Most disagree but we all agree there are certainly a lots of Italians in Brussels. In Ixelles, this is evident in the sheer number of Italian restaurants there are.

My understanding is that large waves of Italians migrated to Brussels from around 1890 to 1930 for mining work and kind of stayed put. Why thank you. As a great lover of Italian food, the presence of spectacular and authentic Italian food in my neighbourhood is certainly a blessing in my eyes – and of course, all the lovely Italians I have met.

As a gesture of good will – because it’s already difficult to get a table at these spots – I share below details of some of my favourite spots in Ixelles for deathly irresistible carb-i-cide (*death by overindulgence of carbs*).

You know they’re great restaurants when they’re beaming with Italians *grazie*.

La Piola, Rue du Page

The pasta haven. As creatures of habit, James & order the same dishes every time we go. The creamy burrata to share followed by their meaty sausage pasta.

Top tip – book in advance – even just a couple of hours in advance, I do not know anyone that has been able to get a table without a reservation.

Cŏcīna, Rue Washington

By far the chicest Italian spot in Ixelles, especially in the summer when its terrace spills out onto the street. Their menu hosts a range of starters that I would recommend sharing before moving on to a main dish. It’s a perfect way to stretch out your evening and enjoy all the fresh flavours encompassed in their dishes.

If you like red wine, order the “heavy bottle” from the waiter, they’ll know which bottle. It’s divine but we can never remember its name, luckily the weight of the bottle makes it identifiable.

Gusto Trattoria, Rue Fourmois

On a blisteringly cold Monday evening and in search of something hearty, my mother, James and I accidentally stumbled across this restaurant. It was early into our expatriation in Brussels and we did not know at that stage that most restaurants are shut on Mondays.

Honestly, you’d walk past it if I did not tell you to look out for it. It kind of blends into the background, I think it’s because it is painted brown *hmm*. Moving on, the food is something to write home about and for once, as is the service. The friendliest faces I have come across.

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La Trattoria, Rue Américaine

The perfect pizza piazza. The above recommendations are known for their pasta dishes, this is the pizza hotspot. Enjoy in their restaurant or take away. We were lucky enough to indulge with fellow expat friends on their terrace one perfectly sun kissed summer evening.

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