A quiet treat of a restaurant
TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS | PHOTO © L’ANA THÈME
Searching for first-rate Franco-Belgian cuisine in central Brussels? Look no further than L’Ana Thème, a cosy restaurant in the Ilôt Sacré, a listed area close to the Grand Place. The idea behind the restaurant, explains head chef Ana Firmino, is to offer a menu focusing on the quality and freshness of the products.
The restaurant is a place to relax, whether dining alone, as a couple, or with friends. People come to have a good time and get away from the stresses of day-to-day life. “At L’Ana Thème, we take the time to do things well. It’s not a place for people in a hurry,” says Ana. The clientele is made up of local regulars and business people, as well as tourists looking for a tasty meal at an affordable price. L’Ana Thème’s ethos is to provide sustainable dining by eliminating food wastage as much as possible and crafting dishes using seasonal produce, which Ana purchases locally, every day.
Ana Firmino joined the team in 2016 and later bought the restaurant. “The name is a play on words: despite the word’s negative connotations, the original meaning of ‘anathème’ is an offering to the gods,” she says. Having arrived in Belgium from Brazil in 2005, she quickly fell in love with French cuisine. She studied gastronomy in Brussels and later at the École Grégoire-Ferrandi, one of France’s leading professional training schools. After having worked in several high-end restaurants as part of a team, working as the sole chef was a challenge Ana was happy to rise to.
L’Ana Thème’s menu comprises four starters, four courses and three desserts, and changes monthly based on seasonal availability. Only the homemade shrimp croquettes, and the beef cheek cooked to perfection in Belgian beer for five hours, remain on the menu permanently.
For Christmas and New Year, the restaurant will serve a five-course menu priced at 60 euros. The restaurant seats 24 people, and it also has an upstairs room suitable for groups.
The restaurant is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 7pm to 10pm.