De Matroos en het Meisje

Fine-dining without a menu, or table d’hôte, as we call it in fancy French. The go-to place for me to do such a thing is a little restaurant called ‘De Matroos en het Meisje.’

Take a trip to Katendrecht and have the chefs decide what you’re going to eat! The weekly changing menu is dictated by the season, with local products the kitchen staff has at its disposal at the time.

Despite the choice between 3, 4, 5 or 6 courses, there is no need to worry about overfeeding yourself; the portions are always carefully adjusted to the number of courses you choose and every dish is literally a feast for the eye. For each dish there is also a wine to match and, should you want to try them all, ordering half a glass is an option as well.

Besides the great cuisine, ‘De Matroos en het Meisje’ has a very warm and cosy atmosphere with an an overall blue interior that beautifully celebrates Rotterdams maritime character, flourished with an occasional red detail. The staff is very knowledgeable and more than happy to tell you more about what, to most, looks more like an edible painting on a plate.

A little piece of advice: although the staff will always ask you beforehand if there is anything you don’t like, I strongly advise you to allow yourself to be surprised. As far as I’m concerned ‘De Matroos en het Meisje’ has proved to be an enriching culinary experience time and time again.

De Matroos en het Meisje | Delistraat 52, Rotterdam | http://www.dematroosenhetmeisje.nl/ | Open: Tue-Sun from 18:00

Laurensius

 

As much as I love Rotterdam, let’s face it, the one thing the city is lacking is a crêperie. Or ‘was’ a crêperie I should say. Because my wish has finally been granted, in the form of a little bistrot called Laurensius.

This brand-new and inviting venue is the brain child of the French-Dutch couple Sarah and Laurens. Housed in a beautiful classic building on a side street of the Nieuwe Binnenweg, Laurensius is the place to go to for a delicious crêpe with a glass of freshly squeezed blood orange juice.

The bistrot is located in a charming corner building and has a very French ‘paysanne’ air to it, with beautiful French tiles, sandstone crockery, books in the windowsill, and a unique amber chandelier to top it off.

The menu consists of several buckwheat crêpes and galettes, coffee, tea and French patisserie to go with it. Most of what Laurens and Sarah are offering is biological cuisine and the choices are unlike anything I have seen before. From goat cheese with date syrup to orange marmalade, to seaweed tartare.

All in all a great place for lunch, but also perfect to stop by for a quick latte with a madeleine. On Thursday- and Friday evenings they host their so-called ’table d’hôte.’

With their excellent crêpes Laurensius has definitely made its way to my list of favourite lunch and coffee places. I’d say Rotterdam yet again became a little bit richer.

Laurensius | Saftlevenstraat 17b, Rotterdam | http://www.laurensius.nl/ | Open (for coffee and lunch): Tue-Sat 10:30-16.30 | Open (for dinner): Thu-Fri 17:30 to ± 20:00

Boijmans Van Beuningen

Rotterdam is home to over thirty museums and art galleries, but a definite must-see is the Boijmans Van Beuningen, located in Rotterdam’s very own Museum Quarter. The museum has a very diverse permanent collection and is known to host various engaging temporary exhibitions. 

What particularly appeals to me about this place, is the fact that it has quite the reputation where it comes to modern and contemporary art. During my last visit I learned, for instance, that Boijmans Van Beuningen was the first Dutch museum to acquire a Van Gogh! And it doesn’t end there: the museum’s collection includes abstract works from Piet Mondrian and Pablo Picasso to works by well-known surrealists René Magritte and Salvador Dalí, to name but a few.

And surrealist and abstract paintings are only a part of the collection. The works on display vary from paintings by 18th century Dutch masters to applied arts and design. As you move from place to place, you’ll notice that your walk through the museum is a journey in itself, leading you from rather small and intimate rooms to spacious halls, upstairs, downstairs and through long and colourful hallways. 

All in all I’d say Boijmans Van Beuningen does a marvelous job in keeping your museum experience very lively and refreshing until the very last minute. 

Boijmans Van Beuningen |Museumpark 18 | http://www.boijmans.nl/en/ | Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11.00 to 17.00 | Price € 15,-

Schaakstukkenmuseum

Who knew there was something like a chess piece museum? Well, there is. And it’s right here in the beautiful city of Rotterdam. Personally, I doubt I would have ever thought to search the country for a museum that focuses solely on chess pieces. But as soon as I knew there was one in my hometown, I knew I had to pay a visit.

I wasn´t disappointed. Tiny as it is the Schaakstukkenmuseum is literally filled to the brim with any type of chess piece you can imagine. From pirates to Egyptians, Vikings and knights to Portugese pieces from Chinese porcelain, the animals that populate La Fontaine’s fables and J.R.R. Tolkien characters.

Each set of pieces tells a different story and represents part of a culture. For those who read Dutch, Marjolein Overmeer’s blogposts on the Schaakstukkenmuseum provide a great introduction on the history of some of the pieces on display.

A nice touch is that the museum is located in one of the so-called ‘Cube Houses’, a set of tilted cube-shaped houses (who would have guessed) near the Rotterdam Blaak station.

All in all I’d say de Schaakstukkenmuseum deserves a spot on anyone’s museums-you-never-knew-you’d-want-to-visit-but-are-so-worth-it list.

Schaakstukkenmuseum | Overblaak 94 | http://www.schaakstukkenmuseum.nl/ | Open Saturday and Sunday from 14.00 to 17.00 | Prices € 4,- incl. 1 beverage

Yendor

If you are into comic books, graphic novels or anything of the sort (or if you know anyone who is) then Yendor is definitely a great place to go to when you’re visiting Rotterdam. The store has been in the city centre since 1977 and is said to be the oldest comic book shop in the city.

I have to admit I am not a comic book fan in the traditional sence; I don’t have Tintin or Gaston Lagaffe albums piling up in my apartment, nor do I risk any bookshelves collapsing under a heavy load of Spike and Suzy´s or The Adventures of Asterix´s. However, ever since I first read Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel Persepolis a few years ago, I have been intrigued by the so-called ‘graphic novel genre’, a subgenre of the more familiar ‘comic book’ genre.

Suffices to say that when I first walked into Yendor, the long table of graphic novels from various authors was bound to attract my attention. Yet rather than leaving the store after checking out the graphic novel table, my senses were then triggered by the walls surrounding the table, which are literally covered in traditional comics. And it doesn’t end there. The back of the store (downstairs) holds a fair collection of English-language comics and manga’s, as well as a large selection of comic book character figurines and other merchandise. It might sound a bit impulsive, but being surrounded by so many comics at once just makes you want to join in on the fun and start your own collection.

All in all I’d say Yendor is a name to remember when you’re looking for something specific, but also a great place to browse when you’re not looking for anything in particular.

Yendor | Korte Hoogstraat 16 | www.yendor.nl | Tue-Thu: 10.00 – 17.30 Fri: 10.00 – 21.00 | Sat: 10.00 – 17.00 | Sun: 12.00 – 17.00

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