Restaurant review #19 – Restaurant Lombardia is a well know place in Antwerp. Despite the announcement on their website (“Our menu card is more than 80% vegetarian, so we can proudly call ourselves a vegetarian restaurant“), Lombardia is not a vegetarian restaurant, since they also serve fish (tuna) and meat. They do have vegan and gluten free options standardly available. It is only open till 6 PM, so no dinner. There’s also the option of take-away.
We’ve been here a couple of times over the years. Last time was some weeks ago. We actually wanted to try out raw food restaurant Eten Vol Leven, but unfortunately that was closed.
The Lombardia experience
Least that can be said is that Lombardia’s interior is very colourful.
The walls are decorated with scraps and clippings from magazines and newspapers, often boasting about the restaurant or its owner, and enlarged printed tweets from (pseudo-) famous people mentioning their visit to wonderful Lombardia. It’s a chaotic patchwork of different bits and pieces glued together.
The place is jammed packed with different types of chairs and small tables, and especially when several tables next to you are also occupied, you can practically eat along from the plate of your neighbour.
To our taste, it’s a bit messy, disorderly and very presumptuous. Together with the fact that the lady of the house can practically bite your nose off (don’t sit there!! you’re sitting in my way! I can’t pass properly!!), a visit to Lombardia in our minds doesn’t really stand for a joyful relaxing experience.
But Lombardia’s asset is: they do have vegan food available in a city that otherwise doesn’t appear to be very vegan friendly. And most of it is supposedly organic.
The plastified menu cards on the tables have had their best times though and are missing bits and pieces around the edges. This also means what’s on offer at Lombardia hasn’t changed much over the years. Vegan items are clearly labelled with double V.
We like the fact that there are freshly pressed juices available. On this visit, I had a pineapple, mango & strawberry juice (4,20€). Very nice, but expensive for a rather small glass.
We had the small size soup of the day (said to be always vegan), which was chervill (4,30€). A nice starter.
Our main order followed quickly: the Mexican burger (with guacamole and falafel) (12,73€) and the Japanese love burger (with tofu, black sesame seeds and cheese) (not standardly vegan, but veganised upon request, coming with vegan cheese) (10,46€). Not bad, but also not particularly causing any spectaculair sensations on our taste buds. The size of the stuffing also entails that you better eat these with knife and fork, trying to eat them ‘hamburgerwise’ is a bit unhandy.
There’s only one vegan dessert on the menu card: vegan banana with chocolate, ice cream and whip. A huge portion for one, but nothing culinairy exciting (a simple sliced banana?) and rather expensive (6,40€).
Coffee (2,42€) came with a cookie and little cup of milk. When asked which cup of milk it was, it was said to be cow milk. Although we had specifically asked for vegan when ordering the soup and burgers, we were told we should always repeat it with everything we order, also the coffee. I presumed the cookie might not be vegan then too, so left it.
every thorn in the desert looks like a rose
Our overall impression of Lombardia: disorderly and messy, expensive fast food (tasty enough though), often unfriendly and not that much vegan on offer. Nonetheless Lombardia is often mentionened as the place to be for vegans in Antwerp. I guess the saying “every thorn in the desert looks like a rose” applies here very well. Maybe it’s one of those places where there’s no in between: you either love it or you hate it, but we’re not lovin’ it.
I guess my tweet won’t make it to the Lombardia wall.