Holidays in Holland
Eating in Utrecht
by Mrs. Easy Hiker
One of the best things of any walking trip is the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the local cuisine – not least because that is something you can enjoy even if the weather refuses to cooperate with your plans. A good meal is a good meal, after all, come rain or shine – and that’s something to be grateful for in this coldest and wettest of all European springs on record.
On our recent visit to the Netherlands, we spent a couple of days in Utrecht on the invitation of the local tourism board where we had the opportunity of sampling some of that fine city’s best and most historic restaurants. So if you ever get to visit central Holland’s best kept secret, these are the eating places you should not miss.
There’s Winkel van Sinkel, one of the oldest institutions in Utrecht. Originally a department store, the first and biggest of the town, it has been imaginatively transformed into a café, bar and restaurant.
For the most delicious pancakes in Utrecht, sweet or savoury, go to the Pannenkoekenrestaurant ‘De Oude Muntkelder’. Not only are the pancakes fantastically satisfying, the views from the restaurant are as great as only Utrecht could offer.
The restaurant occupies one of the most historic cellars in Utrecht, where Dutch coins were once minted. If it had not been raining the day we visited, we would have sat on their terrace tables along the canal.
While showing us the town’s historic architecture, our very knowledgeable and efficient guide around Utrecht, Edwin van den Berg, insisted we take our afternoon coffee in Stadskasteel (City Castle) Oudaen, a café and restaurant housed in one of the city’s oldest buildings: built in 1280 and first used as a castle, then around 1758, as a home for the poor and the elderly of Utrecht.
During our stay in Utrecht, the city’s first SPRING Arts Festival was in full swing, where we were invited to participate in a workshop to learn to prepare our own dinner, Kung Pao Chicken, carefully following the instructions of two Chinese artists who happened to love cooking. The resulting “work of art” we created, we can assure you, was good enough to eat. Which we duly proceeded to do.
The SPRING Arts Festival will be repeated next year and you could have the chance to try your hands in this workshop. No previous cooking experience required.
The French brasserie Bresson has quite a good offering of French haute cuisine, both for lunch and for dinner, that you should also try, perfect for a romantic meal in Holland’s prettiest city.
All these cafes and restaurants (and many bars) can be found in Oudegracht in Utrecht and all offer free WiFi:
Winkel van Sinkel, Oudegracht 158
Pannenkoekenrestaurant ‘De Oude Muntkelder’, Oudegracht 112 a/d Werf
Stadskasteel (City Castle) Oudaen, Oudegracht 99
Bresson Brasserie, Oudegracht 214
There are many inviting cafes, bars and restaurants in Utrecht by the canal. Two days to try them all is not nearly enough.
We’ve submitted this post to Foodie Tuesday over at Inside Journeys. Head over there for more drool-inducing posts.