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Eat and rest in Utrecht, the Netherlands

Eat and rest in Utrecht, the Netherlands

by George Black

The fourth-largest city and a municipality of the Netherlands, Utrecht is not the city that immediately comes to mind when discussing the top places for tourism or business travel, but still, it is an important hub for both rail and road transport, the home of the oldest university in the country, and it has the second-highest number of cultural events in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam. The fact that a place like this can be overshadowed and left nearly unknown to ignorant foreigners is saddening. However, a well-informed guest will find a lot of joy in exploring the city. This, of course, includes food.

1. Croissants to start the day
Croissants to start the day
Croissants

A buttery, flaky pastry with a golden crust. It is very popular for breakfast. Its texture is reached by wrapping dough with butter in layers and baking with a special technique called 'laminating'.

#50 of 1545 restaurants in Utrecht
European, Swiss
Wittevrouwenstraat 2, Utrecht, Netherlands
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We shall begin with an old reliable that just so happens to be one of the most popular choices for light food in all of Europe, the Netherlands not being an exception. Croissants are beloved by many, which is completely understandable due to the consistency, diversity, and universally satisfying nature of the dish. Everyone can eat a croissant and feel that light puffy feeling of consuming something resembling a cloud with a filling of choice ranging from syrup to chocolate.

Bakkerswinkel Utrecht offers some of the best locally made croissants.

2. Gelato to feel sweet
Gelato to feel sweet
Gelato

It's traditional Italian ice cream acknowledged to be one of the best frozen desserts in the world. Gelato was introduced by the Italian chef in Paris in 1600. This dessert contains 3.25% milk and sugar. It has a lower percentage of fat and less air, that's why it boasts of a richer texture.

#1 of 259 restaurants with desserts in Utrecht
Dessert
Poortstraat 93, Utrecht, Netherlands
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This Italian alternative to regular ice cream has won over many European hearts ever since the process of mutual integration of cuisines of different countries began. Gelato usually contains just the right amount of frozen flavouring and butterfat to go down as smooth as it appears to be, especially while it's melting. Of course, the trick is in the preparation, and decent gelato should be sought out in big cities. Luckily, a hub of transport and culture like Utrecht is just the right place.

The name Roberto Gelato is pretty obvious. You can pick your gelato of choice here.

3. Risotto to get serious
Risotto to get serious
Risotto

This dish comes from Northern Italian whose climate is ideal for growing rice (riso means 'rice'). The key ingredient is semi-rounded short-grain rice cooked with meat, fish or vegetable broth. Try risotto with parmesan cheese and white wine. Add saffron for flavour and yellow colour.

#7 of 169 Italian restaurants in Utrecht
Italian, European, Seafood
Vredenburg 34, Utrecht, Netherlands
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Another offering that shows just how important cultural exchange is. Risotto was invented as a dish when rice from Southern Italy finally drew the attention of people preparing food and ingredients for it. The dish is cooked with broth until it reaches a creamy consistency which makes it a perfect choice to follow up on a meal with something like croissants being the starter. Add some white wine, a bit of butter, or even some sensibly mixed or sliced meat or seafood, and you can have a grand experience.

Piatto Utrecht is a good Italian place to enjoy some risotto.

4. Salsa to add to the meat
Salsa to add to the meat
Salsa

The classic salsa sauce differs in the way it is prepared on the basis of tomatoes. At the same time, depending on whether the tomatoes are heat-treated, they distinguish: "salsa fresca" (also known as pico de gallo - a raw sauce that is made from fresh tomatoes), and "salsa roja" (translated as "red sauce "), which we will prepare today is a classic recipe for salsa sauce, in which tomatoes are heat-treated in some way.

#46 of 1545 restaurants in Utrecht
Japanese, Sushi, Asian, Vietnamese
Veemarktplein 42, Utrecht, Netherlands
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Spices and sauces have become inseparable from food preparation over the centuries, and curiously enough, some of the sauces used as condiments for tacos and other Mexican and Mexican-American foods have found their way into European restaurants to become highly demanded. Salsa is best used with meat, naturally, and Utrecht have no shortage of that product. The best way to try European-style salsa is with a thick steak or a mix of different meats of your choice.

Miyagi & Jones Utrecht will offer just the right experience.

5. Carpaccio to cool off
Carpaccio to cool off
Carpaccio

It's an Italian appetizer made from thinly sliced raw meat or fish, drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil and served with onions and capers. Carpaccio was introduced in Venice in 1950. A restaurant owner cooked it for a countess who couldn't eat boiled meat for medical reasons.

European, Healthy food, Seafood
Enghlaan 17, Utrecht, Netherlands
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If salsa is too spicy and steaks are too heavy for your taste, have a soft drink or enjoy a quick bite in one of the many cafes and restaurants Utrecht has to offer while enjoying a bit of carpaccio. This Italian appetizer is particularly suitable for the busy life of a big city, because eating thin slices of beef, veal, venison, salmon or tuna served raw is quick but classy and requires a lot less preparation in the short term. That's why carpaccio has become a go-to food locally, it seems.

Restaurant Dengh is just the place for this kind of food experience.

6. Halva to switch gears
Halva to switch gears
Halva

This name is simply generalizing for a category of sweet dessert dishes. Prepare halva from a wide variety of products: from fruits, nuts, seeds, and even from vegetables and some cereals.

#59 of 1545 restaurants in Utrecht
Italian
Brugstraat 2, Utrecht, Netherlands
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This time we have a Greek treat on the menu. Halva has been known for a long time and has become such a common product that in some countries it can even be found in stores as a packaged product. But the real strength of halva is in careful preparation, so hand-made varieties are preferable, and a curious visitor in the mood for something sweet and less commonplace than ice cream or candy can check out the restaurants that offer this rather exquisite dessert.

Restaurant Blij has good halva and something to drink with it.

7. Tenderloin to really bite into things
Tenderloin to really bite into things
#1 of 67 steak restaurants in Utrecht
American, Steakhouses
Oudegracht aan de Werf 139, Utrecht, Netherlands
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If we're done with lighter treats and small bites, let's go straight to something really serious. Tenderloin is one of the most popular and tastiest filets of pork or beef known to modern cuisine regardless of the region and preparation traditions. Since Europe has perfected the art of the cut, meat in the Netherlands is as good as can be, and with the minimal amount of searching, you can find a restaurant serving the nicest tenderloin steaks and mixes along with different suitable side dishes.

In this regard, don't let the name Broadway American Steakhouse fool you. The place has an abundance of steaks of European quality.

8. Coleslaw to go green
Coleslaw to go green
Coleslaw

This salad belongs to America for more than 200 years. Its first mention in literature will carry us to 1785. Coleslaw is served with BBQ ribs and fried meat. It always has a place on the festive table and the Americans never give up on it.

#45 of 789 pubs & bars in Utrecht
Wine bars, Fast food
Drieharingstraat 1, Utrecht, Netherlands
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It's not really that surprising that a famous American dish made it into our list. It's pretty obvious that the popular dishes in Utrecht are pretty international, and coleslaw is yet another proof of that. However, what few people realize is that coleslaw has many variations that people invented around the world. Also, coleslaw goes pretty well with some of the meat mentioned previously, as it is a side dish consisting primarily of finely shredded raw cabbage with a salad dressing or condiment, commonly either vinaigrette or mayonnaise. 

Firma Pickles Burgers & Wines offers great coleslaw.

9. Bitterballen just to be safe
Bitterballen just to be safe
Bitterballen

Delicious, deep-fried crispy meatballs are traditionally served with mustard sauce. This snack can be found in the menu of almost any pub in Amsterdam.

#16 of 941 cafes in Utrecht
European
Donkere Gaard 11, Utrecht, Netherlands
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It's quite a generic list if it describes the food scene in the Netherlands and features next to zero native dishes. but we've saved the best for last. Bitterballen is a meat-based snack, made by making a very thick stew thickened with roux and beef stock and generously loaded with meat. Bitterballen are very similar to the more common croquettes but differ in shape and sometimes in taste, since the stew can be played with to create a little bit of uniqueness in the taste.

Eetcafé De Vingerhoed has great bitterballen.

10. Halo-halo to polish it all up
Halo-halo to polish it all up
Halo-halo

It's a traditional Filipino cold layered dessert consisting of shaved ice, sweet beans, coconut strips and fruits drizzled with milk and topped with ice cream. Halo-Halo is a great summertime treat and it literally means "mix-mix".

#1 of 1545 restaurants in Utrecht
European, French, International
Biltstraat 20, Utrecht, Netherlands
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The final offering of the list is a real mixed bag but not in the bad sense. Halo-halo has a cute name and a cuter origin, it's a popular cold dessert in the Philippines made up of crushed ice, evaporated milk or coconut milk. Why is it a mixed bag then? Because the term "halo-halo" translates to "mixed" in English since the dessert is meant to be mixed before being consumed. The mixed nature results in no set combination of ingredients being the canonical one, so you can wild reinventing the dessert.

Restaurant Concours is probably the best place to find some halo-halo.

Utrecht is a city full of life, a real representation of the modern Netherlands. Enjoy its atmosphere and have fun checking out the food!

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Eat and rest in Utrecht, the Netherlands