Di Vini e Cucina, the real Italian restaurant a stone’s throw from Wavre

Two words in the name: Di Vini e Cucina necessarily refers to una volta trattoria who modestly announced Wine and cuisine, namely: here we cook (a dish or two) and serve wine, generally red or white, one and that’s it. By adding this “sun”, unusually, Giuseppe Latinizes the sentence a bit to tell us that here we will deal with wines and cuisine, which is much more ambitious! And cooking, Giuseppe knows how to do it, we had no doubt when we arrived at this picturesque terrace, whose proximity to the E411 we immediately forget. It warms thirty degrees, we quickly cross the pretty room to get to the terrace, we will come and taste the atmosphere in the first frosts.

With the menu in hand, it takes a few minutes to realize – with the help of the brilliant waitresses – that Chef Santoro has hit the mark with a relatively simple concept. Left page, signature dishes (from €21 to €34), Italian classics that make you want: tagliolini with truffles (color is announced here, in summer we serve summer truffles); roasted sea bream, large Milanese, etc. Opposite page, a menu organized in Italian style as in Italy, with antipasti, primi, seconds that promise us small portions and whose prices vary reasonably from 14 to 20 €, while these are mostly very prepared dishes. I don’t remember being able, except in restaurants like Racines (Ixelles) or Senzanome (Brussels), which practice the set menu, to order without fear of choking on the calories, a menu Come home (not the lasagna, but like in Italy, like in a real restaurant on the Riviera). In short, Florence, who doesn’t listen to me, takes two antipasti and a primo, while I stay true to the Italian dogma of antipasto, primo and secondo.

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On the plate

Fried egg yolk overflowing with summer truffles for Madame Hainaut (€16, clean, sliced, punch), raw Gallipoli prawn tartare for me (I’m crazy about it) on a bed of inevitable stracciatella and a nice tower of tomatoes, what a joy to we eat these products from season to season, we want it to last all year, then vitello tonnato (€14). Ten years ago, Belgium discovered this Piedmontese classic, but we can’t get enough of it, because unlike other Italian standards – such as bifala – here the talent of the chef counts, and Giuseppe’s “tastes” the taste buds, as it should .

Florence, who literally adores vitello and who, after a recent stint in Bordighera, will be spicing it all up with delicious homemade durum wheat bread. I went for the tagliolini with truffles (€16), lightly seasoned with Parmesan cream, which would have benefited from being a bit smaller, denser around the pasta. While Florence spins with absolutely delicious duck-stuffed conchiglioni (€16), I enjoy my second, parmesan-crusted lamb (€18), cooked pink but “pierced to the heart”, namely hot from the inside. All this does not sufficiently describe our unanimous feelings: first, we have fun, second, we eat exactly what we need without exaggerating, third, we need to talk about the internal team.

At a time when the profession is struggling to recruit, a dedicated, smiling team moves smoothly and efficiently from table to table, with humor, modesty when you don’t know, curiosity, empathy, in short, welcome and service is simply fantastic. Come on, let’s order dessert, a lemon tart (€12) unstructured (ahhh this vocabulary) for Florence, delicious on the palate (we would like more shortbread) but not proud on the plate and tiramisu (€12) revised for me. Served by Giuseppe’s nephew – a clerk – a beautiful chocolate crust that houses the aforementioned tiramisu and which is revealed under the hot coffee poured in front of the eater.

In the glasses? The sommelier – suggesting her start in the profession – will recommend in Florence a nice gin with olive oil (yes, yes), while we will follow the short list of wines by the glass (two whites, two reds) with no ill pleasure (especially the white Fiano from Puglia). , while regretting that Venetian red pours itself upon us a little too liberally, especially at a time when Wallonia thinks it is Andalucia.

Discover our menu in pictures:


A concept that invites us to eat Italian style (in the right order and without eating spaghetti to garnish the dish that drives me crazy when it happens again), a very big job in the kitchen where we cook, a chef that guarantees and a team that pampered us with freshness, dishes that sometimes fly straight away, we really liked this address, which is not a joke… for the wines and the cuisine.

The address? 26 rue de Genval, 1301 Bierges. T. 02.503.66.94. divinicucina.be

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