When I first came to the Netherlands in February 2015, I was taken aback by the lack of lunch meals in the University cafeteria. Basically, there are none. Or lets say, there are mostly crocettes (which to me are best described as a different shaped variety of Bitterballen), fries, some varieties soups and sandwiches. That’s it. And for me, being used to some kind of warm, balanced meal for lunch, this was new territory. Unfortunately, the cafeteria café in the library was not that resourceful and creative in their menu planning, thus leaving me with the impression that Dutch lunches are mostly bland and boring.
I soon learned that sandwiches, or what they call broodje here in the Netherlands, which are on the menues of many local restaurants and bars are not only filling but simply brilliantly tasty and…
sometimes breathtakingly creative. And very reasonably priced.
Thus, if you happen to be in Utrecht and care for broodje, these three restaurants are a must:
A bar that is well frequented by students during lunch time as well as in the night (amazing 15 Euro 3 course meals). Walden is located right next to the dome and offers lunch sandwiches, including a drink for 6 or 7 Euros, such as carpaccio with Grana Padano and pesto sauce or a sandwich with chicken, mangochutney and chili mayonnaise.
2. De Beurs
This restaurant can be found in the very heart of Utrecht with its huge terrace and tellingly woos its customers with the slogan “Burger, Steak & Lobster”. However, if you’re hungry during lunch time I strongly suggest you order one of their wonderful sandwich variations, such as the one with pulled pork, bacon and cocktail sauce or this version of a hotdog (which is technically not a sandwich, you caught me there, but it still is one of their broodjes, so I hope it still counts):
A wonderful little café located at the edge of Wilhelminapark, which, quite frankly, is one of the nicest parks I have seen anywhere I’ve been so far – so it’s worth a visit! The café does not only offer a beautiful area to sit outside in the sun and observe the bicycle madness going on around you but you can enjoy some of the best sandwiches in Utrecht there as well. You might need to wait for service for a while or very actively catch their attention, but their really friendly and the food is worth the wait.
Sooo…in conclusion, yes, they may “only” eat sandwiches for lunch, but well, they’ve managed to elevate their brodjes so that even my grandmother was attacking her sandwich with goatcheese, honey, beets and nuts with a youthful and excited vigor I only ever see people displaying when they’re eating their grandma’s food – and grandma always knows best when it comes to food.