Rotterdam: wine and dine

Rotterdam: wine and dine

Okay, so you’ve been to the main sightseeing spots in Rotterdam and you’ve enjoyed the port and the great skyline but now there’s the eternal question: where to go for a drink and a bite? The Netherlands is not really popular for its great local cuisine, so is it going to be a hunt for one of those great places you find on a first day and then go there every time till you leave? Don’t sweat it, we got you covered!

Rise and shine!

Inside De Bakkerswinkel
Inside De Bakkerswinkel

De Bakkerswinkel is great for coffee and a bite in a cozy homey atmosphere.  Situated at Oostplein, it’s close to the city center and the lovely Kralingen neighborhood. They offer fresh breakfast and coffee specialties but most of all, you’ll love the art on the walls – it’s for sale, so if you like it, you can take it home with you.

Pancakes for breakfast? Probably the best ones you can find around here are in Kralingen – by the lake in the Kralingse Bos (bos means a forest in Dutch). The place is called De Nachtegaal and it’s perfect for a lazy afternoon. A great variety of pancakes, including the cute little poffertjes so typical for the Netherlands.

There’s one word to describe De Tuin in Kralingse Bos – VIEW. If you are lucky and it’s sunny and warm outside – go to this place, right next to the lake and enjoy the breeze and the great food. What better combination?

Not going for apple pie in Dudok is like not visiting the port in Rotterdam – you simply can’t miss it! This is one of the most popular desserts in the Netherlands and Dudok is the place to try it. The bakery is located at Meent – one of the lively shopping streets of the city and while you’re at it (if you were blessed with good weather during your visit), walk down on Meent and grab an amazing cone of ice cream at the IJssalon.

Lunch or dinner?

If you’re staying in the center – Vessel 11 is a classic Rotterdamish experience! On the deck of this amazing ex-British lightship you can enjoy their great menu (I’d definitely recommend the Sunday brunch – the blueberry pancakes are to die for!) or the extravagant selection of beers (personal favorite – the Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout but be careful, this one can be sneaky! :-)). In addition to all the wine and dine options you have – checkout the agenda of V11. Quite often you can enjoy a live band evening or a board game day!

Awesome burger fans you have a loooot of options! For the sake of variety, I prefer going to Hamburger on Witte de With or to Burgertrut right next to the Markthal. Both are conveniently located in the center, cook extremely delicious and have a very vibrant atmosphere – the first is bustling and loud, the latter is the not-so-crowded, living-room setup kind of place. If you feel like experimenting burger wise – the perfect place will be Ellis Gourmet burger (right next to the Central Station or near Beurs station in the center). They change their menu relatively often and have season burgers going beyond the traditional recipes – you can try here a fig, blue cheese or a crazy veggie burger. Enjoy!

If you’re more the let’s sit on wooden pallets outside and watch the river type of foodie – the Fenix food factory will win you over! The concept is simple – several food entrepreneurs offering their products under one roof – the roof of an old factory. There’s also live music and great atmosphere inside and out so if you can take the time to go (it’s a bit far from the center) – grab your bikes and go!

There are a couple of “areas” I usually recommend to tourists where you have concentrated quite a few different types of restaurants and you can find the one that suits you best without having to walk around in the neighborhood.

Oude Haven

Stockholm bar at Oude Haven
Stockholm bar at Oude Haven

One of these areas, great to dine with a view is the Oude Haven (the Old port) – here you can find the typical Dutch finger food at Kade 4, great cocktails at Stockholm, yummy Mexican at Popocatepetl or burgers and French fries (yepp, they’re everywhere in the Kingdom!) at the Dutch Maritime pub.


Right in the center next to Blaak station is the Markthal – yet another spot made for foodies! Jamie Oliver fans pay attention – here’s the only Italian restaurant of your fav chef in Rotterdam (there’s also Fifteen in Amsterdam!), Markthal can also tempt you with a beer garden, great Greek food at Elliniko and Spanish tapas at 21 Pinchos. The plus side of the Markthal is that it’s actually a market place so before or after grabbing a bite, you can actually grab some of the best Dutch cheese to bring home, Spanish chorizo or Belgian chocolate!

Coconut beer serving in a coconut at De Smaak van Afrika
Coconut beer served in a… coconut at De Smaak van Afrika

You have to give it to the Dutch – their national cuisine might not be world-renowned like the French, Italian or Spanish but they do appreciate the world of tasty meals that all other places in the world have to offer. Proof number 1 – De Smaak van Afrika (literary the Taste of Africa). It will send you to another continent instantly. The atmosphere, the dishes – it’s all very authentic. Forget about European manners – here you’ll drink beer from a coconut and you’ll eat with your hands! Yummy!

What would you expect to see in a port city more than a fish restaurant?! The newly opened Fish Market in the center of Rotterdam is what all sea lovers will be looking for – mussels, king crab, shrimp, seabass, salmon…

Feeling a bit fancier tonight? Right next to the Maritime museum and its lovely harbor you’ll find Fjord. Not Michelin star fancy but definitely more upscale than the regular steak and burger joint. They have a couple of options for surprise menus – 3, 4 or 5 courses – that you can choose from or you can go for regular a la carte.

Witte de With

If you think that talking about the “world of tasty” refers only to Africa – think again! The ultimate hero of Witte de With is Bazaar – straight out of the Orient. Once you enter the street you’ll notice their colorful eye-catching tables and when you go in the interior will add even more to the experience. The menu is full of North African and Middle Eastern specialties so dig in! On the party street of Rotterdam (Witte de With St.) there’s plenty more to explore! Surrounded by art galleries and coffee shops (yepp, those ones that are legal here!) you will find a lot of great places worth checking out. If you’re up for drinks with the bohemian crowd of the city – De Witte Aap is calling, if you’re a fan of cocktails (especially gin because they have more than 50 different ones!) you should go to the Ballroom that’s also famous for their meatballs by the way! A new spot for Latino food and drinks is Supermercado – truly street vibe and good food. Most of the places at Witte de With won’t disappoint you, these are just the most famous ones but feel free explore and report back! 🙂

Vegan & gluten free

If you’re vegan try Gare du Nord – it’s a bio vegan bistro inside an old train carriage. Except for good food here you can find cooking workshops and a unique atmosphere! Another place not specifically vegetarian or vegan but with great variety of veggie dishes is Little V. This cute Vietnamese restaurant is next to St. Laurence Church and has great surroundings and interesting interior. Up for desert? Heavenly cupcakes offer gluten free cupcakes and vegan dishes in general. At several locations in town you can find Bagels and Beans who also have vegan and vegetarian options of their bagels and sweets.

Eet smakelijk!

To be continued… Meanwhile – let us know if we missed your favorite place so we can include it in the next post!

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