First times: eating olives, kissing gently, and the first time on vacation alone and without parents to a restaurant. We all have memories of our first times, the locations of which are etched on our retinas. Moments we can’t do over – even if we wanted to. And that’s why, yes, that’s why locations matter. Each of these restaurants is uniquely situated. Perfect for an unforgettable night out.
Speaking of firsts, have you ever thought about the history of the restaurant? Because why do we eat between four walls at a set table by candlelight, music in the background, and beautiful dishes served by a black brigade? And not, say in small individual greenhouses ?
From inn to restaurant
For that we have to go back to the Paris of the 18th century. Before restaurants took off, inns were mainly places where travelers were fed and sheltered. You came, you sat down and ate what came in the pot. The Netherlands also has such an old inn, namely Grand Hotel De Draak in Bergen op Zoom that was opened in 1397 (!).
Wina Born writes extensively about the history of the restaurant in her book Eating through the Centuries . In 1792, in the early years of the Revolution, the restaurant evolved from a necessary evil – having a drink and a snack – into a place where culinary culture could grow and creativity was stimulated. It was no longer Prince Pietje’s cook or Marquis Jantje’s cook who gave direction to the dishes, but the chef of an independent restaurant
So the first restaurant was opened in Paris by a certain Beauvillier. He derived the name ‘restaurant’ from a soup kitchen where soup and stock were sold, which the owner called Bailleul restaurant : something that invigorates, according to Wina Born. Just think of the English restore.
We are still reaping the culinary benefits of the development that followed, because the originally Parisian concept was copied worldwide. But these Dutch restaurants are breaking with tradition and rediscovering the form – and in particular the location – of the restaurant. 10 restaurants in a special place.
Restaurants in special places
1. The Desert Island Location
A few years ago the glass (like a greenhouse) restaurant on the Vuurtoreneiland in the water between IJburg and Durgerdam (the IJmeer) was opened and since then it has been packed every summer. Fortunately, this did not go unnoticed and the owners decided to open a winter restaurant there!
Every summer you have to hurry: from May to September, the Vuurtoreneiland opens the doors of its restaurant, which is only accessible by boat, and above all is sold out in no time .
From the Lloydhotel in Amsterdam you will be taken by boat to the island, where a sizzling four-course dinner awaits you. The pleasure starts already on the boat with a homemade snack (and glass of bubbles), after which you enjoy the rest in the glass restaurant on the open water. A fat recommendation!
2. Shipyard location: Slope 7
This Amsterdam newcomer to the NDMS yard overlooks the last active shipyard in the city, or rather: the restaurant is part of the shipyard. As Het Parool wrote, you can see the sparks falling from the terrace at Damen Shiprepair.
Architect Marijn Droog has incorporated old materials from the yard in his design, which gives the building something cinematic and adventurous. For example, the wooden floor is a former ship’s deck and the piles are old struts that were used in shipbuilding. The extendable patio cover is made from a hangar of Rotterdam The Hague Airport.
In the kitchen of restaurant Helling 7, cooking is done over an open fire, just like the new restaurant Bois on the Hem site (also worth a visit!). Chef Dirk Mooren is master of the fire and experiments with it. He smokes pineapples over the fire for dessert and transforms celeriac into gently caramelized steaks.
3. The 70 meter high location
Eating at high altitude? Yes, you can in the Smaakrad, a 70 meter high Ferris wheel with gondolas that have been transformed into small atmospheric private restaurants. You can come and eat in the wheel from early in the morning until late in the evening, because coffee, breakfast and a two-course dinner are served. The gondolas are completely closed and windproof, so you can comfortably enjoy the view and the food. There is always a choice between meat, fish and vegetarian and on Thursday evenings you can enjoy tasty street food snacks.
The Smaakrad is an initiative of Bram Verleg of Foodtastic Events and was located in Enschede at the end of 2021. They are expected to return this year. Book your gondola here .
More restaurants in special places:
4. WT Urban Café , Utrecht: dining in an industrial water tower.
5. Sterkwater : dining along the Dutch Waterlines. This line formed the defense of the Randstad against enemies from the south and east. This breathtaking defense line is the location of pop-up restaurant SterkWater.
6. Hoftrammm , The Hague: 2.5 hours of dining in a moving tram. The menu is composed by Pierre Wind.
7. Culinary : dining in the only hot air balloon restaurant in the world with dishes by master chef Angélique Schmeinck who cooks with the hot air from the balloon itself.
8. Panorama Rail Express : During a three-hour ride on the Dutch railway network, you’re served a four-course dinner, curated by star chef Edwin Soumang.
9. REM-eiland , Amsterdam: from illegal pirate channel in the North Sea to restaurant in the Amsterdam Houthaven. So dining in an old transmission tower!
10. Villa Augustus , Dordrecht: a beautiful place, in the middle of the vegetables of the vegetable garden. This restaurant is located in the former pump building and an oasis if you like to eat from farm to table .