Francesco & Julia is
not just a business,
– it’s a love story.
Inspired by the essence of the Italian kitchen and created with love and passion. We provide catering and traiteur services, a Chef at Home experience, bake homemade focaccias and also have a beautiful event venue in the heart of the Antwerp Harmonie district, which is also available for private dining.
La Trattoria is an intimate multi-facetted venue, perfect for private dining, weddings, PR events and other gatherings. Here, spread over four distinct areas, you can enjoy a slice of chef Francesco’s contemporary Italian cuisine, while his wife Julia caters to your every need.
PROSECCO BAR AREA | An intimate space located near the window, ideal for receptions and gatherings of 30 guests or less. The bistro tables near the Prosecco bar provide a lively view of the Antwerpian city life.
HALLWAY AREA | This area is usually reserved for larger groups, and serves as an extension of the Prosecco bar area. A unique feature of the hallway area is that it provides a view of the open kitchen, where guests can experience and smell Francesco’s cooking first hand.
FIRST FLOOR AREA | The strength of this area lies in the diversity in functionality: everything is possible. And because of its intimate, secluded nature, this area lends itself well to private events and business meetings.
GARDEN TERRACE | At the end of the hallway area lies a secret treasure: our beautiful garden terrace, ideal during the spring- and summertime. Surround yourself with chirping birds, a wide variety of flora and beautiful greenery as the sounds of the city subtly fade away in the background.
One of our specialties, and a very gastronomic approach to the Italian kitchen, is the cena all’Italiana. Everything starts with the antipasto misto – a variety of shared appetizers – after which we serve the primo piatto – a pasta dish of your choosing – followed by the secondo piatto – the main course, usually served with fish or meat. If you still have room for desert, we highly recommend Francesco’s Tiramisu à la Minute, freshly made with a coffee reduction and a favourite among guests.
Another possible setting is the all Italiana, where every dish is placed in the centre of the table, ready to be shared among friends and family. The most important aspect of every memorable all Italiana is the number of people at the table: the more the merrier. During the week, we also organise private group lunches and dinners; ideal for business meetings. We have perfected this formula, so that you can be in and out of La Trattoria within the hour.
Please book your reservation a week in advance, so we can plan ahead.
Starting from 8 people.
La Trattoria is also available for events such as weddings, first communions, PR events or even get-togethers with colleagues or friends. The possibilities are endless: in our beautiful garden we have hosted aperitivos, intimate receptions, dessert buffets and themed parties and birthday celebrations for children and adults. Whatever the occasion, we will sit down with you and listen to all your ideas, plans and wishes, after which we will create a quotation tailored to those needs.
Also ideal for smaller groups, conferences and business meetings.
In the early morning before the roosters have sung their song and the Italian sun has risen from behind the hills, an old Italian grandma is already hard at work in the kitchen, kneading the dough. As the morning advances, the locals flock towards the focacceria to get their hands on one of the freshly baked focaccias. This is how it always has been, and always will be.
Just as the French are known for their croissants, Italy is known for its focaccia. This speciality originates from the area of Puglia, where our chef Francesco is originally from. The recipe is as old as Ancient Rome, and one thing has always remained the same: the perfect focaccia is crispy on top, spongy on the inside and fresh from the oven. It’s ideal for lunch, as sandwich bread or even as a base for pizza, but just as suitable as a snack in between courses.
All the focaccias we bake are made from scratch. We knead the dough, bake it in our own oven and cut it ourselves. In the future, Francesco & Julia plan to open a focacceria next to La Trattoria. For now, you can order your focaccias at La Trattoria or through Deliveroo, and we will deliver them to your doorstep.
for more information check www.lafocacceria.be
In Italy, to cater for someone is to care for someone. As you celebrate the important moments with your loved ones, we deliver the best flavours of Italy to your doorstep. Whether it’s a personal or business-related affair, wedding, first communion or PR event, we will make sure that you and your guests can thoroughly immerse yourselves in the experience, while surrounded by the best flavours.
Our culinary repertoire does not limit itself to the Italian kitchen, but takes the best from every culture we have ever encountered. From themed menus and gastronomical delights to dessert buffets or an intimate Italian Aperitivo, the possibilities are endless.
If it’s just drinks you’re after our Lemonade Bar is an elegant apéro alternative to soft drinks during your cocktail party or wedding reception, and made with the freshest fruit available on the market. You can also request our bar all’Italiana, where we will bring our handmade, limited edition (#12 out of 50) La Marzocco coffee machine and pour you the coffee Francesco used to drink back at home. We even provide a varied assortment of red wines, Moscatos and a few rosés for you to choose from, coming from the same region and suitable for every dish and occasion.
As well as preparing the food, we can help with the organisation and concept development of your event, from party favours, decorations and signage. All delivery and take-away services include cutlery and porcelain plates. Allergies and dietary restrictions can be accommodated if you inform us in advance when making your reservation.
“To explain our food is to explain where I come from. My very first memory of Puglia was when I was hanging out at the harbour, looking over the water as the fishermen came back from fishing. One of them had a pulpo – an octopus – in their hands, fresh from the sea and still alive. When you catch an octopus, it is frightened and tenses up, which makes it tough to eat, so to tenderise it is smashed against the rocks a couple of times. This left a very big impression on me, since it was such a raw and intense moment, and all to create a better flavour.
On Sundays, my nonna used to make fresh pasta in the kitchen. I remember one day I was with her in the kitchen as she was making orecchiette with cime di rapa, which is like a broccoli rabe. I could watch her for hours, I learnt to understand the process without realising that, even back then, I already had a love for food. It made me understand how important tradition is and that things can get lost, even culture. So, when I made my first ravioli, I made it with a cime di rapa filling, in memory of my grandmother. Although I didn’t make it in the same traditional way my grandmother used to make it, it was still Italian and very much inspired by her.
These two anecdotes perfectly describe the food we make. It’s inspired by memories, by the essence of the Italian kitchen, and created with the traditional techniques. And the way I cook is very intense and raw; very pure, with respect for the ingredients, all with the goal of creating the best flavour imaginable. Every day, I go to the market to get the freshest and highest quality ingredients I can get my hands on. Every menu I make is inspired by the seasonal harvest, showcasing local food and using only the best ingredients available. Although every Italian chef respects tradition and found their love of food thanks to their grandmother’s cooking, food is meant to evolve. Julia and I, we stray away from what is considered the traditional Italian kitchen, but treat it with the same level
~ Francesco de Candia, chef of Francesco & Julia
Our story started five years ago in the spring of 2012 when we decided to start our catering business. We initially worked from home, but as Francesca & Julia grew we started looking for a location to expand our business.
As if it was destiny, the location where we celebrated our civil wedding became available in 2015. The beautiful space, located on the Mechelsesteenweg and only a 5-minute walk from the Stadspark and the National Bank, became the heart of our operation.
As the years progressed, we built up a loyal customer base and enjoyed many great experiences but in turn, we lost our passion. Most of the work was administrative and there was little room left for experimentation. This is why, back in July 2017, we decided to close the restaurant and rethink the way we wanted to approach the Italian kitchen.
Francesco was born in Molfetta, a little village located in the Italian Puglia region. When he was 14, he started as a dishwasher in the local restaurant, but quickly became the right hand of the chef due to his passion for food. After studying many a book about traditional cooking techniques and Italian culture, the 20-year-old self-taught chef travelled to Belgium to help his brother with his new business. That was where he fell in love with Julia, who was working alongside him at Bar Italia.
Francesco is an official representative of the Belgium Federation of Italian Cooks, the biggest culinary federation outside of Italy. In his free time, he dedicates his skills to charity events such as Antwerp Dinner, where he cooks alongside renowned chefs such as Sergio Herman, Nick Brill and Seppe Nobels.
Although Julia was born in Antwerp she has seen much of the world thanks to her father, who frequently travelled internationally as part of his work. After studying in Kiev, Ukraine, which made a profound impression on her, she returned to Belgium to study fashion.
Despite not finishing her education and quickly finding her way into the hospitality industry, she never lost her artistic touch and love for developing concepts. She met Francesco during her time as manager at Bar Italia and together they found a way to combine her love for concept development and his love for the Italian kitchen. Hence, the concept behind Francesco & Julia was born.
Francesco & Julia
La Trattoria is a seven minutes walk from the parking garage Indigo Nationale Bank.
phone: +32 3 430 93 50