There is only one place in our city where we truly love to eat and this is the famous restaurant Baracca in Leuven. Hip and trendy, the atmosphere and the ambiance invites all folks of society into a cheerful Italian big mama hug. You cannot avoid it, you cannot replace it and you are suddenly surprised to find you actually miss it once you exit the door. Slightly dark and mysterious the interior simply draws you in with a promise of a story. What cocktail is on display today? What new dishes grace the menu? The waitress greets us with a smile and the story rushes to unfold.
Designed as food sharing concept, the restaurant draws inspiration from the recent past. When the Italian migrants worked in the coal mines during the day, they couldn’t wait for the evening to fall and share their delicious stories in wooden barracks while they ate and drank together. The restaurant owners wanted to recreate the same spirit of togetherness between the different city generations. In Baracca, there is always something for everyone – classic wood burn oven pizzas, oysters and truffle pasta! The food borders with sublime and the cocktails – daring and merry.
Yet, this is far from your average Italian in town. Baracca offers a rare combination of easy going casual charm and an exquisite touch of fine-dining sophistication. Waiters take the order with a speaker phone that does straight into the kitchen. Open kitchen floor gives you access to a step-by-step preparation glimpse into a vibrant team of chefs assembling your order. The menu changes with every season offering new tasty dishes one wishes to collect and forever cherish as a secret treasure trove. You fall in love with a dish, hoping to repeat a truly gastronomic taste once you enter yet again into the restaurant, only to be surprised and fall in love with something else. Could there ever be a happy end to a continuously unfolding happy fairy tale?
Baracca’s food taste and style remind me of Milan and the prestigious Michelin star graced chef Felice Lo Basso. Highly talented with a sophisticated style, his food is all about experience and passion. Anchored in Italian tradition, yet daring to experiment with textures, shapes and colours, mixing tastes and offering a pleasing final touch of perfection, his dishes never seize to amaze. Situated on the top floor of the famous Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, overlooking Milan’s majestic Duomo, Felix Lo Basso Restaurant can take your breath away. Luckily, there is no need for a trip to La Scala and ending the night in a fine-dining dream. Baracca offers already plenty of Italian perfection and to me, it is a pure dream.