Posted on Feb 15, 2019
It’s always great to meet people who have a real passion for their work and Vincenzo Sorvillo – best known as Enzo – is certainly one such person.
He was only in his 20s when he opened Le Nouvel Artiste way back in 1997. What started as a humble, one-room affair selling, essentially, snacks and sandwiches has grown to become a hugely popular eating spot both for Belgians, expats and Eurocrats.
Located just round the corner from Place Luxembourg, it is actually one of the few restaurants locally that predates the rambling European Parliament that now dominates this part of the city.
Over the years it has counted a colourful selection of clients, including Silvio Berlusconi and MEPs and it’s run by the effervescent and bubbly Enzo who, though he has been in Belgium for many years has lost not an ounce of his Italian characteristics.
After moving to Belgium in the 1990s to learn French and join other family members, Enzo, who is particularly passionate about good food, spotted a watchmaker’s shop for sale and saw a chance to realise his dream of owning his own restaurant.
Le Nouvel Artiste is now a mainstay of the culinary scene in this lively part of the city. While Enzo concentrates on front-of-house and other parts of his thriving business he has a loyal and hard working team in the kitchen who produce some fine Neapolitan cuisine.
The food is delicious and includes several traditional Neapolitan dishes such as pappardelle saucisse calabrese and strozzapreti aubergines, said to be the most popular items on the menu.
There is also a daily specials board containing lovely dishes like pate fraiche Genovese napolitan, a kind of stew and a typical dish from Enzo’s home region in Italy.
Many of the ingredients are imported directly from Italy so as to guarantee their authenticity and originality. Enzo also has a great range of (what else?) fine Italian wines.
After opening it at the tender age of 22, Enzo and his family have worked hard to make Le Nouvel Artiste a success in what is a very crowded market locally.
One thing he hasn’t done yet though is read the many comments (all highly favourable) left by diners in a guest book he keeps. Remarkably, it dates back to when the place first opened. “I’ll save that for my retirement,” he quips.
Apart from the food and cheerful welcome you are guaranteed here, another great thing about this cosy restaurant is the very, very democratic pricing policy. Pasta starts from a mere €11 while a pizza (there are 12 of them on the menu) may set you back as little as €9 – a real snip!
There’s also a 2 course option, costing just €15, comprising caprese and Milanese escalope with veg. It's mostly pasta and pizza but there's also a small choice of fish and meat options to choose from.
There's a vibrant lunchtime trade and the restaurant is also open a couple of nights each week, Tuesday and Thursday.
Italian food is, basically, quite simple but,when cooked as well as this, it’s as good as anything.
Neopolitans, says Enzo, are known for their warmth and hospitality and that’s something else you are guaranteed here.
Le Nouvel Artiste
Rue Caroly 35,Brussels
02 503 5957
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