Exploring Rotterdam can be tiring work; all that walking and snapping pictures with a new discovery around every corner. Pretty soon you get that nagging feeling, call it an “I feel peckish” for the those who love a light snack and “I could eat a horse” mode hearty meal fans. And that’s why I like to keep a list of cozy little spots – 3 fantastic Rotterdam eateries, if you may, which are the perfect stop-over points for my hunger pangs.
1. De Pelgrim
With its quaint architecture and laid-back atmosphere, De Pelgrim is a great place to relax and unwind.
Situated along the idyllic Aelbrechtskolk, Delfshaven, this rustic restaurant is located right next to the Pelgrimvaderskerk (Pilgrim Father’s Church). Combine a historic building with brewery and thus you have an attraction catering to both culture buffs and beer-lovers alike.
First, a little bit of background information. It turns out this historic building, constructed in the 16th Century, first served as a town hall before Delfshaven was annexed as part of Rotterdam. In fact, much of the interior design of the restaurant boasts an air of nostalgia; the dainty chairs and tables, the candles on the ledge, the sturdy beamed ceiling and of course, the old school beer mugs hanging above the bar.
As for the food, what’s on the menu? This is a great place to drop by just for a drink; some port, wine or perhaps some of the locally brewed beer? The Rotterdam Stoombier is a good choice, boasting a smooth, sweet flavor. Also note that De Pelgrim offers seasonal beers; Pelgrim Witbier (Spring), Pelgrim Zomerbier (Summer), Pelgrim Bock (Autumn) and Pelgrim Winterbier (Winter). For something sweeter, try either the Rode Port (Red Port) or Witte Port (White Port); both have a rich and succulent flavor.
De Pelgrim’s choice of meals ranges from sumptuous snacks to deliciously filling dishes – Duck salad, Bitter Ballen, European style omelets, a selection of cheese dishes. Bitter Ballen, which is a traditional Dutch dish is a must; with its deep fried crumbed exterior you almost expect a crispy crunchy snack until your first bite. Then you realize it is a soft, smooth mushroom mixture that seems to melt in your mouth. As for the cheese selection, try De Hollandse Kassplank. This one is for the cheese connoisseurs, with a selection of five farmhouse cheeses one of which is the delicious locally made Pelgrim cheese.
Be it a wholesome meal or just an afternoon snack, Olijventuin has the perfect meal for every occasion.
Located down Nieuwe Binnenweg (where it joins up with Rochussenstraat), this Mediterranean eatery boasts an idyllic atmosphere. You can sit indoors but there is also the option to sit in the cozy courtyard which has a laid-back feel with its lush plants, beautiful grape vines and exotic fig trees.
You can choose between delicious pizzas and tasty pastas (Gizli Bahce, with its generous doses of spinach, cheese and egg is my favorite). Vegetarians will no doubt will be delighted with the various meat-free dishes on the menu. On that note, the Kizartma, consisting of sumptuous portions of aubergines, fruit of the day, potatoes, yogurt and other miscellaneous vegetable portions, is great for those with big appetites.
When we are feeling just a tad peckish, we usually split a pizza or pasta. Our pizza of choice on most occasions is the Kombe which can be best described as a massive baked pastry, stuffed with mozzarella, vegetables and lamb meat.
There are quite a few drinks I would recommend. Their port is a welcome sight on a cold autumn day. There is also the Turkish Thee (tea), which has a sweet, refined taste. The Turkish Koffie is also noteworthy; a smooth, sweet drink that comes in this charming little cup.
Check out the rest of the menu, along with prices on their website. Also note that they have quite a few specials: all pizzas and pastas are charged at Euro 7 on Mondays and Tuesdays; keep an eye out for the buffet on Saturday which starts from 6 pm.
3. Tapasbar Abrikoos
This charming little spot is excellent if you’re in the mood to try ‘a bit of everything’.
It is located in Historische Delfshaven, along Aelbrechtskolk (across the bridge from De Pelgrim).
If you are simply looking for a tasty snack, there’s plenty of choices on the appetizer list – Koude tapas buffet (Cold Tapas Buffet), Salade de la casa (an interesting mix of walnuts, dried apricots and olive oil) and Carpaccio van ossenhaas met Parmezaanse kaas (a dish with beef tenderloin with Parmesan cheese), just to name a few.
Where main dishes are concerned, I myself am a fan of the set menus, a delightful combination of appetizer, main dish and desserts that is wonderfully filling. Menu A is especially tantalizing. It consists of cold tapas buffet for starters followed by your choice of two hot tapas, fried mushrooms, marinated chicken legs, meat balls with tomato sauce and other tasty choices for your main dish, . The set meals end with a choice of dessert – either Dame Blanche or ice cream or yogurt … all with succulent sauces and creams of course.
There’s plenty of other options on the main menu; Menu B (a wholesome combination promising chicken wings, calamari, goat cheese, mushrooms and so much more) and the Abrikoos Special which offers a variety of combinations perfect for two.
Find out more about this restaurant at their official website.
Photo of knife and fork originally posted by Jun Acullador