Bokaal is a lively urban café and beer lovers’ bar, with a huge terrace on one of Rotterdam’s most exciting squares. If you’re looking for true Rotterdam hospitality and gezelligheid (as they say in the local parlance), look no further than Bokaal. Come for one of the many craft beers on draught and stay for lunch or dinner – or order your own selection or preset combinations from the extensive menu of cocktail snacks.
De Swarte Leeuw
De Swarte Leeuw is a pop-up tasting room and café in the wing of the Laurenskerk in the heart of Rotterdam, serving Belgian abbey beers and decadent light bites on its spacious terrace overlooking the church square.
This ‘outside only’ bar behind Bohemian Schieblock has made a name for itself as an absolute place to be in Rotterdam in the summer. Long tables, BBQ, DJs, and – this should come as no surprise – beer.
The Suicide Club
Atop Rotterdam’s stately and landmark Groothandelsgebouw (Wholesale Building) adjacent to the Central Station, you will find The Suicide Club. Classic rooftop bar with cocktails, live music, seafood from the BBQ and a stunning view of the Rotterdam skyline.
Fenix Food Factory
Sitting on the quay watching the boats on the Maas sail smoothly past the skyscrapers on the Wilhelminapier – you don’t need more than a cheese plate and a draught beer to catch that sense of senang. And while you’re here, you might also try something from one of the ever-changing variety of food trucks that set up shop here. Plus, an evening by the fire baskets is always cozy and warm.
(More info about Fenix Food Factory)
A la Plancha
You can only catch this pop-up outdoor fish restaurant in the summer when the weather is grand. The restaurant’s open kitchen is built over the water, on the abutment of the old Willemsbrug on the Noordereiland in Rotterdam. The terrace offers a great view of the water and the city skyline. Serving fresh fish cooked on the plancha (baking tray) until the kitchen runs out, so get here early!
Once it was the Tropicana swimming complex, full of children splashing and playing in the pools and waterslide. Today it’s home to the hip Aloha Bar: restaurant, cocktail bar, coffee roastery and riverside patio – the perfect place to enjoy a little summer in the city. There’s a children’s play area during daytime where you can set the kids loose; and at night, there’s usually dancing.
De Tuin van de Vier Windstreken
For many Rotterdam people, summertime means lazy days on the waterside at the Kralingse Plas lake. Nestled on the water’s edge at one of the lushest green places in Rotterdam, you’ll find De Tuin van de Vier Windstreken.
You’ll find Parqiet in the old coach house right middle of the park, next to the Euromast. Get comfortable in one of the beach chairs on the patio and enjoy breakfast, lunch, drinks or dinner. Parqiet also hosts intimate events like living room concerts, children’s parties, or long-table pop-up dinners.
Uit je Eigen Stad
The name in Dutch says it all: urban farm Uit je Eigen Stad is the place to sample farm-fresh products produced right here ‘in your own city.’ From the long picnic tables, you can watch the growers at work while you enjoy a delicious lunch, dinner or just a cup of coffee. There’s a sandbox for the kids to play in and a shop where you can pick up your favourite farm-fresh products to take home.
There’s no better place in town for people-watching than THOMS, with its large terrace right in the middle of the bustling Meent. THOMS’ menu is all about seasonal, local products served the Rotterdam way. You’ll find THOMS in the Timmerhuis.
Op ‘t Dak
On top of the Schieblock at DakAkker, they’re growing fruit, vegetables and herbs and even keeping honeybees. And the indoor and outdoor terrace of rooftop café Op ‘t Dak is open for lunch Wednesdays through Sundays.
As the name suggests, this ‘meat café’ in the Old Port is all about the pleasures of the flesh. Classic and manly meat dishes like steaks, burgers and côte de boeuf are made to order in the unique Josper oven, a Spanish wood and charcoal barbecue, for that perfect BBQ grill flavour. The atmosphere on the terrace, with a view of Het Witte Huis (The White House), Rotterdam’s famous Cube Houses and the backdrop of the Oude Haven, makes your dining experience at Meat complete.
When you walk into tiny Coffeelicious on Nieuwe Binnenweg, you’re welcomed by the cheerful wait staff and the amazing aromas wafting up from the bakery, where they bake all their products themselves – from the bread to the pancakes and their delicious desserts. Don’t forget to take a look out back: Coffeelicious and next-door-neighbours Metz (the design store) have worked together to set up a stunning backyard patio where you can enjoy your coffee and cake.
One of Rotterdam’s newest and hippest hotspots is Bertmans. This breakfast and lunch bar is all about organic, gluten-free and vegan dishes. Come in and try the Chia seed pudding for breakfast, or perhaps the Okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake) for lunch. On the outdoor seating overlooking the Rotte river, you can enjoy cold-pressed juices and smoothies or a nice glass of wine or selection from the cocktail menu.