> Features

The complete foodie guide to Rotterdam

The complete foodie guide to Rotterdam

by Emma Harrison 08 January 2019

From Latin American dishes and classic French cuisine to secret tasting menus and experimental Michelin-starred cooking, Emma Harrison lets us know the best places to eat and drink in the surprisingly foodie destination of Rotterdam in the south of Holland.

Located in the south of Holland, Rotterdam is Europe’s largest port city and, like most port cities, it has a cosmopolitan population consisting of 176 different nationalities – something that results in a varied and exciting food scene that’s flourished in recent years. The city is dynamic and bold, dominated by glistening skyscrapers of all varieties which is the result of Rotterdam’s ongoing reinvention after it was all but destroyed during World War Two.

Eating out and buying quality produce to cook with at home is clearly a priority to the city’s inhabitants, as demonstrated by the many restaurants, eateries and cafes found throughout Rotterdam, as well as the food halls and markets. The newly-opened Foodhallen in Wilhelminakade is a cavernous but cool industrial space filled with stands from some of the most popular restaurants in the city. If you want Chinese and your companion wants Italian, no problem! You can take your respective dishes to the communal area that sits in the centre of the space. From Indonesian to fresh seafood, there is something for everybody. At night, the space becomes a bit more buzzing and lively thanks to the local DJs performing.

image
image

You could argue that Foodhallen possibly wouldn’t have existed without the success of Markthal, an intriguing horseshoe-shaped building that’s home to an incredible eighty different restaurants, food shops and stands selling fresh produce. It is the biggest indoor market hall in the Netherlands. More than 4.000 colourful tiles cover the inside of the arch, making it the largest artwork in the Netherlands too. There’s pretty much everything a hungry person would want within the market hall, but the calibre and variety of restaurants on offer throughout the rest of the city definitely makes it worth exploring. Here are some of the highlights.

Ayla

image
image

Ayla in Kruisplein offers authentic Mediterranean small plates (it’s worth noting that the majority of Rotterdam’s restaurants encourage sharing). The restaurant’s interior is an eclectic mix of cultures and styles from Casablanca, Beirut, New York and Barcelona which again is evocative of the city’s multicultural reputation. There are fusion-based light dishes such as burrata with poached egg, hummus, sweet and sour red onions and cauliflower alongside heartier fare with the likes of red snapper with crab bisque, beetroot and fried capers or Iberico pork with white onion and bourbon. There’s an impressive cocktail list too.

ayla.nl

Op het Dak

image
image

Rotterdam is synonymous with reinvention and Op het Dak is a perfect example of that. Situated in a 1970s former office block close to the Centraal rail station, it is a delightful rooftop garden restaurant which overlooks the Netherlands’ first urban rooftop farm (which is also the largest in Europe). Op het Dak (which literally translates as ‘on the roof’) grows its own produce, but it also sells its surplus to nearby restaurants. Simplicity at its finest, diners can choose from deliciously fresh dishes such as poached eggs in farmer’s curd (spiced yoghurt) with Das Brot sourdough, as well as mackerel with potato and leek stew, raw beetroot and fermented figs. Take a wander around the garden to get a feel for how the team is cultivating a whole host of different herbs and vegetables.

ophetdak.com

Aloha

image
image

If you love quirky, then Aloha is right up your straat! It is a restaurant and bar situated in a former swimming pool complex where sharing is the name of the game, but what really entices foodies here is the ‘Feed Me’ menu where your server makes the food selections for you, bringing dish after dish to your table until you say stop. With ingredients like cod, pumpkin, couscous and pulled goose cooked in all sorts of interesting ways, saying stop is harder than you’d think!

Aloha tries to be as sustainable as possible by reusing products wherever it can. For example, the team uses leftover coffee grounds to grow oyster mushrooms, which are then turned into Bitterballen (balls of crispy deep-fried beef). As night falls, partygoers visit Aloha for drinks and dancing at the infamous ‘Silent Disco’ which is strangely popular yet enthralling in equal measure. Yes, I did dance!

alohabar.nl

Supermercado

image
image

It might sound like a Spanish supermarket, but Supermercado is in fact a very cool cocktail bar and restaurant that celebrates Latin American culture and cuisine. Diners can enjoy traditional dishes such as Argentinian ribeye steaks, empanadas and Mexican tacos, with everything prepared on smoking charcoal grills. If meat isn’t your thing, then Supermercado also offers some great seafood options such as yellowfin tuna, seabass and ceviche.

supermercadorotterdam.nl

Héroine

image
image

At Héroine, a fine dining restaurant and cocktail bar, you can choose a four-, five- or seven-course meal from chef Michael Schook's ever-changing menu. If you love to be surprised, then Héroine is a superb choice as the menus are never revealed to the public. You don’t know what you’ll be eating until you get to the table and as you progress through your courses, your server will garner more of an idea of what your food preferences are, adjusting the dishes accordingly. Schook aims for simplicity – prioritising simple dishes that are executed to perfection using the finest of ingredients. One example of this is eggs with morels, barbecued peas, bean miso and wild garlic.

restaurantheroine.nl/en

Louise Petit Restaurant

image

For classic French cuisine, Louise Petit restaurant is certainly worth a visit. Set in a beautiful location on the Veerhaven in the Scheepvaartkwartie district of Rotterdam, it Is the brainchild of twenty-one-year old Loesje Tieleman who hails from a renowned family of caterers in Holland. Dishes include all the traditional staples: salmon tartare, escargots, cote du boeuf, tarte tatin and crème brulée.

louisepetitrestaurant.com

FG Food Labs

image
image

Michelin-starred restaurant FG Food Labs is utterly fascinating and encourages curiosity before you have even walked through the door. Located in an impressive railway tunnel, chef-patron François Geurds has created an immense restaurant experience with innovative dishes such as bananas dipped in liquorice with an emulsion of tarragon, liquorice ice, crispy fennel and lemon leaves, or haddock with mussels and oxheart cabbage. Diners can choose from the à la carte menu or the ‘surprise menu’ which can be anything from four to nine courses.

François has previously worked at world-famous restaurants such as Per Se, The French Laundry and The Fat Duck as well as the Netherlands’ own Parkheuvel, which in 2002 became the first Dutch restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars. As well as FG Food Labs, François owns the prestigious two Michelin-starred FG Restaurant (also in Rotterdam).

fgfoodlabs.nl

Get in touch

The complete foodie guide to Rotterdam

 
 

Please enter text

The message must have at least characters

The message must be less than characters

Unfortunately, a problem occured and we are not able to send your comment. Please try again later.

Technical details: