Da Pepe is a very pleasant Italian restaurant situated at the very heart of the village (Zaventem) that gave its name to Belgium’s national airport.
And it’s not a cliché to say that that, thanks to the authenticity of its cuisine and very friendly service, this place has (a bit like the airport) proved a soaraway success over the years.
It is, in fact, just one of four in the Brussels Capital Region which are owned by Italian-born Angelo Pepe who first arrived in Belgium in the early 1970s. The first to open was Sogno d’Italia (Chaussée de Boondael), followed by Au Repos des Chasseurs in Boitsfort, then Da Pepe and, finally, Ciccio Bello in Watermael-Boitsfort.
While each undoubtedly has its own unique characteristic and charm all four share one thing in common: an emphasis on good food and wine.
A very good wine selection includes some (availabe at each of Angelo’s other restaurants) which are produced on the Southern Italy wine estate run by Milena, one of Angelo’s daughters.
Like the food lovingly produced by the Moroccan/Italian chef here, her wines are delightful.
The very extensive menu features a great range of fine Italian food, including Sicilian specialities such as swordfish, together with some Belgian classics like kidneys (available the “Italian way” in garlic or with the more traditional mustard).
Other favourites include scallops with mushrooms, duck cooked in a sweet wine and a (surprise) duo of pasta. Given the quality, the prices are extremely reasonable.
As well as the à la carte, there’s an excellent suggestions list and the daily €12 lunch menu (2 course) is a real snip. The restaurant does a thriving takeaway trade and has also recently entered into an arrangement with a well-known online meal ordering and delivery platform.
After Angelo bought an adjacent shop Da Pepe expanded and now seats up to 100 people, directly overlooking the village square.
Whether it’s a big family occasion or intimate meal for two, this lovely pizza and pasta restaurant is a great venue.
Good to know:
Address: Da Pepe, 25 Kerkplein, Zaventem
Telephone: 02 725 6686