Looking for restaurants in Rotterdam? Want to know where to eat in the Netherlands city? Local food writer Daisy Allsup shares her insider tips for the best restaurants in Rotterdam, along with where to find kimchi noodles, vegan bakeries and Michelin-starred restaurants.
olive’s top 10 must-visits for foodies in Rotterdam
Madame Cocos – for pastries
The illuminated ‘horn of plenty’ artwork that wraps around the walls and ceiling of the city’s Markethal is a sight to behold. As is the covered market beneath it, home to more than 100 food stalls. Look out for Madame Cocos, whose warm coconut pastries are a must.
Ter Marsch & Co – for burgers
They don’t take bookings at Ter Marsch & Co so expect to queue at this buzzing burger joint. There are three (award-winning) burgers on the menu but the best is the ‘Burgeresse’ with truffle mayo. It’s served Dutch-style (ie still pink and drippingly juicy).
Restaurant De Jong – for seasonal dishes
White tablecloths, vintage lights and a chequered floor add charm to Restaurant De Jong, set in a former train tunnel. The set menu (four, five or six courses) changes daily but revolves around seasonal vegetables (spring highlights include buttery white local asparagus), an experimental ethos and natural wines.
Old Scuola – for pizza
A disco ball glitters over the industrial interiors at Old Scuola, with its open kitchen and twin wood ovens. The chefs spin the best pizzas in town so they need only the simplest toppings. Try a salame piccante with a white negroni.
Hinoki Noodle Soup – for ramen
Tucked on a scruffy street corner you could easily bypass Hinoki Noodle Soup but that would mean missing out on steaming bowls of spicy-sweet goodness. Order fried chicken gyoza to start and then the Red Special, made with pork.
Op Het Dak – for vegan food
Rotterdam’s innovative architecture is exemplified at sustainable hot spot Op Het Dak, which has turned a disused rooftop into a kitchen garden and bee farm. Go for a meat-free lunch such as noodles with kimchi, shiitake, tempeh and green toppings or choose the daily special for the best of the day’s pickings.
Fenix Food Factory – for street food
In the trendy Katendrecht district, the Fenix Food Factory is a former warehouse turned culinary hangout. Artisan produce, street food and Rotterdam’s renowned Kaapse brewery thrive under one roof. Order a pulled pork bun from the Firma Bijten BBQ stand and a biertje from Kaapse Brouwers, and eat with the locals, dangling your feet from the wall overlooking the Nieuwe Maas river.
Visser & Ko – for the sun-soaked terrace
Visser & Ko gets Rotterdam’s morning sun: soak it up at one of the tables that spill out onto the pavement overlooking the city’s old harbour. The Dutch love their toasties and sandwiches – order them here along with a mean flat white or zingy Jessica Rabbit juice (made with orange, carrot and ginger).
Sharp Sharp Cake Bar – for vegan cakes
Vegan and gluten-free is the name of the game at Sharp Sharp Cake Bar, where a rainbow of organic cakes is made using maple syrup or dates rather than refined sugar. There are fruity tarts, no-cheese cheesecakes and gooey chocolate brownies but the cookies are exceptional: try the cash cookies with cashew nuts and fennel.
FG Restaurant – for fine-dining
Two Michelin-starred FG Restaurant is run by Rotterdam’s most famous culinary name, François Geurds, and features a dedicated flavour laboratory. This is seriously cheffy food – typical dishes include venison with kimchi bonbons and Anjou pigeon with cherry sorbet, benzaldehyde and duck liver – but it’s a surprisingly inclusive spot; there’s a dedicated vegetarian menu and no dress code.
Alternatively, if you’re only in town for the weekend, sign up for a Saturday Culinary Experience at Suite Hotel Pincoffs and you get an overnight stay with breakfast plus a five- to nine- course tasting menu dinner at FG (with paired wines) all wrapped up in one package.
Words by Daisy Allsup