On Maastricht's main square, the Vrijthof, there's a row of terraced cafes looking over the square to the western city's two main churches, St Jan's and St Servaas.
Although the cafes are all sort of a oneness to the casual eye each has its own specialities and at Eetcafe Rekko its much-trumpeted recommendation during my visit was the new season white asparagus.
That made for an easy decision as to where to eat and the next door cafe with its frenzy of football fans (the Dutch having won their World Cup quarter-final match that afternoon) added a celebratory atmosphere to what is already a characterful cafe.
Service was casually efficient, the rest of the menu (which is available in several languages) read well and partitioning out the football frenzy the clutch of customers seemed a mix of locals and fellow tourists.
Favorite Dish: The specials page of the menu offered the asparagus done several different ways. I'd refused the offer of the English version and so perhaps didn't quite get the nuances of the cleverer stuff on offer. But then I'm a simple soul at heart and and had already decided that I just wanted it done "traditionally".
HA! To me (bearing in mind that I'm a professional cook) "traditional" means asparagus finished with a buttery, eggy "Hollandaise" sauce. Here it was done as a deconstructed version. The white spears came well-buttered, the egg being grated hard-boiled, copiously garnishing the dish. A couple of slices of local ham gave the plate an unexpected meatiness, a peppery rocket salad added some greenery and the waxy new potatoes tastily provided the starch.
This was good and the 14.50 Euro price tag more than reasonable. Washed down with a couple of Leffe Blondes (well maybe it was three) the excellent service, made rounding up the final bill to 25 totally painless.
Digressing slightly - I really enjoyed this meal but I do still prefer our own home-grown English asparagus as IMO our green asparagus has much more intensity of flavour but I might just do a variation of the deconstructed version next May when our season (asparagus that is not football) kicks off.
Set in a lovely square right outside Ave Maria Church (I don't know it's real name), Charlemagne has a huge outside section set in a lovely leafy area. The inside of the restaurant is quite charming and just what you would expect in a local restaurant. The staff were paticularly welcoming and helpful and the food was great.
Favorite Dish: Patricia chose the salmon with a white wine sauce and it looked superb. I settled for a locaL casserole consisting of beef and a lovely rich sauce. I would certainly recommend it and would definitely go back.
Coffeelovers is integrated in the bookshop housed in the former Dominican Church.
They serve a number of fresh brewed special coffees.
Mo: 10AM - 6PM
Tu-We: 9AM - 6PM
Th: 9AM - 9PM
Fr: 9AM - 6PM
Sa: 9AM - 6PM
Su: Noon - 5PM
Brasserie Grand Café Amadeus is a great place for people watching in a historical setting (next the the former Dominican Church.
The kitchen serves everything from lunches through main courses and everything in between. The selection on the menu is overwhelming.
Mo: From 10.30AM
Tu-Sa: From 9.30AM
Su: From 11AM
Since 1995 Bufkes is the best local shop for sandwiches and more. There are four stores at Maastricht:
Bufkes Mosae Forum at Laag Mosae Forum 13 - 6211 DV Maastricht
Bufkes Plein at Plein 1992 30 - 6221 JP Maastricht
Bufkes Wijck at Wijcker Brugstraat 49 - 6221 EB Maastricht
Bufkes Brusselse Poort at Brusselse Poort 93 - 6216 CG Maastricht
Favorite Dish: Broodje gezond.
Instant service - well almost, certainly very quick. The menu has pictures of what you can look forward to.
I chose the Doner kebab - thinly sliced "cow meat" which came on some bread but topped with masses of tomato sauce and sour cream; a very nice salad and a small bowl of chips, all for 12.95Euros.
The restaurant is situated in the Market square so has a prime location. Turkish music playing in the background helped create an air of mediterranean ambience and I generally felt comfortable and relaxed.
Portuguese kitchen, with an extensive range of Portuguese, Spanish and Italian wines. Enthousiastic staff entertained us for 3 hours. Lot of seafood. All desserts homemade. Both food and atmosphere excellent. Quite expensive*. but certainly not overpriced compared to quality, quantity of the food, all the attention from the staff, the surprising dishes.
*EDIT: My husband reckons it's not expensive at all and he's often right. Decide for yourself: EUR 50,- pp for 3 great courses +coffee + wine with every course.
Favorite Dish: Homemade chocolatemousse for dessert; stick fish croquettes for starters. And the wine-arrangement- the staff will select a different wine for each course, and explain why it goes well with the food (which is so true)
It was mij dad’s birtday as he treated us on a belgium dinner, at restaurant Witloof. The restaurant is located in the picaresque Bernardusstraat and at the outside a shield has the writing : “vrouwkes en ventjes, hier kunde get of eten voor weinig centjes (special voor den hollender) een driegangenmenu is aan de ocharme 26 euro” Its flamish for “men and women, you can eat here for little money (especially for the dutch) a three coursemenue is at a poor 26 euro. So the dishes are displayed already, and I went for the fish dish (salmon, eel, trout and tuna) as a starter. This was tasty and well prepared with sauces. As a maindish I had mussels in flamish way, that is with coriander, leek and carrots with cocktail sauce. The desert was a Liege coffee for me, although the others had La Chouffe liquor with coffee. The restaurant has a cellar and a groundfloor room, small tables with a bit uncomfortable wooden chairs. The backroom is in old fashioned green tunes like a wall carpet and the room in the front is decorated by a mannekke Pis from Brussels. The service is quick, not too long waiting although it was crowded. The restaurabnt goes very well, since it has been opened. Nexto the wines there is a good offer on special Belgian beers such as Leffe, La Chouffe, Bolleke.
Here you get really nice tapas. They're very cheap and very delicious. They also have a very wide choice of tapas. They serve good wine and the atmosphere is also pretty nice.
Favorite Dish: I think I loved everything. The ailoli served with the bread was espeially tasty. Also the filled tomatos and gamba's were pretty good.
I actually only discovered this place to get breakfast the day I moved to Utrecht when I took my mum out for breakfast because she helped me move.
It was the best breakfast I had in Holland ever!
During the day it's great to get one of the unlimited sorts of coffee and they also serve great italian sanwiches for lunch. But watch out: They don't serve lunch afer 4 o'clock!
Favorite Dish: I don't remember the name exactly but it contained a bowl of fesh fruit.
On a tip from VTer Ger (Ger4444), I ate at the restaurant Pieke Potloed on my second night in Maastricht. It is located on a narrow street in the center of the city. They have seating inside, including a nice bar. They also have a large outdoor terrace in the back covered by umbrellas. Since the weather was great on the evening that I visited, I ate outside on the terrace.
The atmosphere is relaxing, and the staff seems genuinely interested that you enjoy your dining experience. My waiter was both professional and very friendly.
On my waiter's suggestion, I enjoyed the restaurant's specialty -- pickled rabbit. It was served with a brown sauce, fries, and a salad. I highly recommend this dish if you want to try something that is both unique and tasty while in Maastricht.
To drink, I started with a La Chouffe which is a fine Belgian beer. I followed that up with a Wieckse Rosé (see Local Customs tip for review). After my dinner, I enjoyed a regular coffee with a delicious crème brûlée topped with vanilla ice cream.
If you want to enjoy a great meal in a delightful Burgundian atmosphere, Pieke Potloed is an excellent choice!
Favorite Dish: Pickled rabbit - the house specialty
Near the VVV, there is a small shop named Pinky that serves great Belgian-style waffles. More accurately, these waffles are of the rectangular, Brussels variety. See my Liège page for more information on the oval, Gauffres de Liège (Waffles of Liège). You really need to try both varieties!
Favorite Dish: Waffles
Café Jour De Fête is one of the many cafés located on the Markt which is one of the larger pleins (squares) in Maastricht. It has a large outdoor seating area. Like most of the sidewalk cafés, you can just seat yourself where you like -- and a waiter or waitress will take your order.
It was early afternoon when I visited -- and the weather was fantastic. First, I enjoyed a cappuccino. Then, since I was in the Province of Limburg, I decided to order some Limburger cheese. Of course, Limburger cheese is best known for its pungent odor -- which was not as strong as I thought it would be. It was soft and spreadable -- and it was served with a delicious baguette. After I was finished eating, I ordered a Lipton iced tea filled with delicious, fresh fruit. On a warm, sunny day, I highly recommend sitting outside on the Markt in Maastricht with one of these delicious iced teas at the delightful Café Jour De Fête!
Favorite Dish: Iced tea filled with delicious, fresh fruit
On my first night in Maastricht, I had dinner at the Café Charlemagne on the Onze Lieve Vrouweplein. Before my trip, I had made plans to meet VTer Ger (Ger4444) there. Unfortunately, Ger was unable to meet me because he wasn't feeling well.
First, I should note that the Onze Lieve Vrouweplein is one of the most picturesque pleins (squares) in Maastricht -- or anyplace in the world for that matter. It is named after the Romanesque Basilica of Our Lady that is the centerpiece of the plein.
The Café Charlemagne is one of the many sidewalk cafés and pubs located on this lovely plein. On this evening, I ate outside and enjoyed the great atmosphere. To eat, I had satay, fries, and a salad. The satay was served with a delicious peanut sauce. I learned that, since the island group of Indonesia used to be a colony of the Netherlands, Indonesian dishes such as satay are served at many restaurants. To drink, I had a Wieckse Witte (See Local Customs Tip on Wieckse Witte).
In sum, Café Charlemagne is a great spot to enjoy a meal outside on the lovely Onze Lieve Vrouweplein.
Favorite Dish: Satay with peanut sauce
Even though he slides up and down the Dutch culinary chart, for me Toine Hermsen is one of the great Dutch chefs. He has been in the top 10 for years on end.
Now common in The Netherlands is the menu without à la carte. You just choose how many courses you want for one price and then you can choose dishes from the list of Starters, Main courses and Desserts (and of course the many in-between courses).
Toine Hermsen started this trend by chucking out the à la carte formula and just cooking what was best for the season.
Many years ago he worked for restaurant Prinses Juliana in Valkenburg a/d Geul (near Maastricht). When he left, he took a Michelin star with him. I don't know if he still has it but his cooking has been consistently on a very high level.
Favorite Dish: 3 course menu € 45 (2002)
a la carte from € 68 euro (2008)
Som 8 years ago I ate a 6 course dinner here (I remember the price was just about the equivalent of €45). We were seated just in front of the open kitchen which was a conversation killer but such fun! We watched the chef and his brigade turn out one dish after another. It was like watching ballet or theatre.
We were sort of staring open mouthed and decided it was definitely embarrassing that we forgot to talk to each other.
I can only remember one dish after so many years and that was a salmon dish with a foamy champagne sauce.
Picture to follow soon.