As you have probably worked out by now food is a big factor for DJ and I when travelling, so naturally, a lot of our trip to Rotterdam centred around food, and we were not let down at all. Rotterdam has a massive food scene, from typical Dutch food to the heavy middle eastern influences, the city is full of independent restaurants, markets and wonderful little cafes, there really is something for everyone. Over the weekend we visited a variety of different places all with different cuisines, so I thought I would create a quick guide to our favourite food in Rotterdam.
Witte de Withstraat
This is seen as the ‘main street’ in Rotterdam, it is full of bars with outdoor seating, fabulous street art and plenty of restaurants, we actually ate on this road three times on our three-day trip.
After arriving late Friday evening, we were incredibly hungry so we set off looking for a quick but satisfying meal, thankfully stumbling across Hamburg. A small, hipster style place that serves a wide range of burgers and beers surrounded by walls full of various illustrations. My favourite thing? They had a decent selection of vegetarian burgers, and I am not just talking generic vegetable patties. I had the Hot Nuts Burger – Spicy sweet potato, peanut and coconut burger with lettuce, tomato, pickled onion and carrot, salsa verde, it was glorious.
We actually ended up here just looking for a light afternoon snack and ordered off the tapas section of the menu. However, we of course over ordered and pretty much ended up with a full sized meal of pizza, sweet potato fries and chicken tenders. It was great. Wunderbar is predominately a bar, rather than a restaurant but they serve good food with a great atmosphere as well a lot of outdoor seating – perfect for people watching along Witte de Withstraat.
A huge restaurant with attached hotel that offers North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. Firstly, the restaurant is beautiful, hundreds of intricate glass lanterns hang from the ceiling across the three floors creating ambient lighting, the food is also brilliant with a wide array of vegetarian options, I have a massive thing for middle eastern food at the moment so this place was a winner. However, we did actually receive pretty poor rushed service on our visit, they were incredibly busy but it was a shame, thankfully the food made up for it so I would still recommend visiting but perhaps not on a Saturday evening.
Converted from a closed swimming complex, Aloha bar is now a bar, restaurant, coffee roaster, and riverside patio overlooking the water. They didn’t actually have an English menu when we visited and not being able to read Dutch I picked one of the veggie options at random, and oh boy it didn’t disappoint – I was served a flavoursome warm chickpea and vegetable curried pitta dressed in a cool mint sauce (Gegrilde pita). I could have eaten it a million times over. Despite being summer, it was actually pretty chilly during our visit, but I can imagine when it’s hot the patio area is wonderful for eating lunch with some cocktails.
Phoenix food factory
A bit off the beaten track, but this place is a hidden gem. Essentially an indoor hall of various food stalls and a small bookstore, here we sat and ate a cheese platter (4 Euros) while sipping on tasters of craft beers from the brewery – it made me incredibly happy. The Phoenix Food Factory reminded me very much of an indoor Borough Market – but more secret.
One of Rotterdam’s more famous attractions but still worth a visit or two, despite how busy it can get. The cylindrically shaped structure, much like the Phoenix Food Factory, is full of food stalls as well as various restaurants. Here you can grab a bit to eat while also buying your weekly vegetables and all the fresh spices you will ever need. In the Markthal I filled my craving for Dutch pancakes and sampled yet more traditional cheeses. Also, do not forget to look up, the ceiling is absolutely stunning.
Bike and Bite Tour
Undoubtedly my new favourite way to see a city, you can read my whole review on Rotterdam’s bike and bite here and if you have an afternoon spare I urge you to take part. It is a fantastic way to sample restaurants you would otherwise walk past as well as see parts of the city that are not in the books.
In short, Rotterdam satisfied this foodie’s stomach, I have made no effort to hide how much I have fallen in love with this Dutch city, and their food scene played a massive influence in this. From large outdoor eating areas to fresh markets selling spices from around the world, it is easy to see food plays a big role with the people who live here and is massively part of their social lives. In my opinion, the people of Rotterdam have got it just right.