Last time I visited Rotterdam it was 1999, Easter time, during my first year in London.
The city was an exciting place where contemporary architecture was changing the nature of what historically had been a port town into an urban city with large squares and tall buildings.
By contrast with nearby Amsterdam, Rotterdam’s nature as an economic centre has turned it into a multicultural city which thrives from trade. The largest port of Europe, sees citizens from all corners of the planet pass by and shape it.
An exciting cultural centre, it has become a must for anyone visiting Holland… I will be writing a second post with some tips another time; but today I will be telling you about a wonderful place to have lunch at, the Hotel New York restaurant
Situated in the former HQ of the Holland Amerika Lun from which Dutch emigrated to New York, not only offers a delicious menu but fills you with a sense of history from the moment you enter the building. You will enjoy your meal overlooking the harbour in a space full of unpretentious charm.
The hotel used to serve as the centre of operations to coordinate emigration not NYC, not only for Dutch citizens but also Europeans who , depending on where they came from, needed to stop over in Rotterdam a few days before taking a steam boat/ship on their way for a better life . (read more here)
The restaurant has a spectacular fish and seafood menu full of fantastic choices. It is not cheap but the quality is outstanding.
I have to admit to you that on the day we visited, we had planed to eat in different places and so, we kept it light. Despite this, we really enjoyed our meal.
We started with an oyster selection platter (2 papillon, 2 fines de claires and 2 zealand oysters) which was delicious and gave us a chance to taste, not only local oysters but some delicious French ones that surprised us.
We also chose a starter selection platter which had a shrimp croquete with a delicious garlic mayo, beef carpaccio, a caprese salad as well as a ceasar salad and tuna tartar.
The beef and the tuna were, to me, the best; but as a plater to share it was very enjoyable.
Finally, we had a sashimi mix of tuna, salmon and seaweed salad..
We accompanied all our dishes with a deliciously crisp tasting white wine that our waiter recommended. I have not said this but the service was great. Dutch are the most accepting and low key in Europe, in my opinion at least. No matter whether you are in a simple joint or a posh restaurant, whether you are wearing expensive cloths or jeans and a tshirt , you will always be welcome. Such a contrast with Anglo-Saxon cultures where your appearance , class and job often determine the way you are treated creating what philosopher Alain de Botton defined as “Status anxiety” .
Sitting by the windows, looking out to the water, it felt like the world had stopped and we were about to launch in the type of journey that those emigrants would have launch themselves into all those years ago.
Photographs by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
Text by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
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