Burgundian route through Rotterdam
Rotterdam Highlights part 3
If you know me well enough, I don’t need to explain that I’m an addict for pavement cafes and traditional alehouses. You can blame it on my roots… If you’re born in the South of the Netherlands, you’re often being raised in a place where people spend a lot of time preparing meals, organising diners with friends, having cheese platters every Sunday afternoon and drinking a glass of fine wine… Every evening ;). This (cliche, but in my case true) lifestyle is the so-called Burgundian one and we’ve probably inherited it from the French during the 14th and 15th century, when the Low Countries or let’s say Pays-Bas Bourguignons were part of the House of Valois-Burgundy. My Burgundian lifestyle is reflected in every city trip I make, so no wonder my trip to Rotterdam (and its upcoming district Zwaanshals) was partly dedicated to: enjoying life with plates full of cheese or meat and drinking local beers in extravagant environments. Let me show you my route full of Burgundian refinements you shouldn’t miss during your city trip!
1. Bokaal, Nieuwemarkt 11
At Bokaal (Dutch translation of bowl or goblet), they offer an extensive drinks (lager beers, blond beers, amber beers, beer beer and more beers) and food (or should we say viands…) menu full of cheese and charcuterie platters. Next to that you can also order delicious sandwiches and pot roast with fries. The masculine interior design is expressed in the use of rough woods, cognac coloured leather bar stools and a big steel bar where the (mostly beer) glasses are standing, hanging and waiting to be filled. BIG plus: during our sunny Dutch summers (yes we have them… Sometimes… Ever…) they have a HUGE terrace with wooden picnic tables!
2. OPA, Witte de Withstraat 49A
The second must visit place is OPA. After a thorough renovation in 2014, this 12-year-old bar/ restaurant has now written warm and homelike all over it. On the right side, you will find a collage including portraits of different grandpas (because OPA means grandpa in Dutch). On the left side, there is the bar with a dark wooden drinks cabinet and a mega chandelier! There are two eating areas, one in the back and one on the mezzanine. OPA is thé chilling spot with a nod to the swinging Sixties. All dishes are made out of natural ingredients. Cooking without fuss with a great ambiance. Try their starter Delen met OPA (sharing with Grandpa)! A platter full of mini starters for at least two persons! Nomnomnom, lekker!
3. Markthal, Ds. Jan Scharpstraat 29
Nowadays no city is complete without a food market! Don’t forget (well, you literally can’t deny the building so that won’t be the problem) to stop by at the newly built monumental Markthal designed by the architects of MVRDV. Built as an arch for a covered market hall and apartments on both sides, this clever designed building is very impressive. The same thing goes for the amazing Horn of Plenty by Arno Coenen, the biggest art work in the Netherlands, applied to the Markthal’s ceiling and already named the Sixteenth Chapel (ok, ok, in my opinion that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but still…) of Rotterdam. The only thing I didn’t get of the concept is why there is a store of De Tuinen (a big commercial Dutch chain of health food stores) in a “traditional” market hall? I would have loved to see a more authentic market hall inside without well-known restaurants like Jamie’s Italian…
4. Fenix Food Factory, Veerlaan 19D
While I strolled around at the Katendrecht peninsula I found another amazing initiative: Fenix Food Factory. The former industrial warehouses in this district are redeveloped into living and work spaces including a heavenly food court! Next to the seven young culinary entrepreneurs (Kaapse Brouwers, Jordy’s Bakery, Firma Bijten, Rechtstreex, CiderCider, Stielman koffiebranders and Booij Kaasmakers ) who have a permanent spot in the warehouses, there is a food market with more local specialities every last Saturday of the month! YEEY!
5. Biergarten Rotterdam, Schiestraat 18
My Burgundian route through Rotterdam wouldn’t be complete without Biergarten Rotterdam in the Schiestraat. This outside only bar offers you the best and simple things in life, think about: picnic tables (yes, yes I love them!), BBQ foods like hamburgers and Deutsche Bratwursten, beers, music and chilling with a bunch of easy going people. They organise special Friday night drinks and if you don’t want to go home after they close at 1AM, put on your dancing shoes and go to their neighbour bar Bar for some serious clubbing.