Sunday, 20 May 2007
Eating out in Nijmegen
This post is a list - so I'll keep adding to it as the year goes along.
Since I have resolved to be a cheerful expat - let me start this by saying that beer in Nijmegen is good and always cheap. An excellent range of beers and a cosy atmosphere may be found in almost all drinking establishments. Food and Nijmegen however, are a combination that can cause some anxiety in the minds of expats. Firstly shops are closed all day Sunday - which can lead to the disorganised expat getting a little peckish. But you can buy pretty much anything between the supermarkets, health food shops, toko marts (asian food shops) and Turkish and Russian groceries. As far as eating out, food establishments can be very variable, and are always overpriced so the experience can be somewhat deflating. Which is why you need a food guide to Nijmegen....
As it happens one is at hand. Allow me to lead you around the best food options I've found so far. First I'll give you a picture of my tastes - I am vegetarian, but can eat large amounts of dairy (believe me it's come in handy), tolerate a fair amount of grease (in the absence of sogginess), am not so keen on mixing sweet and savoury or salt in large amounts and above all enjoy fresh vegetables and interesting mixtures of spices (as opposed to the prevaliling one spice per item attitude I find around here - oops I complained!).
I've put an address or link where possible, you can always find your way to these places using:
Tips and warnings:
1. Do not go into any old pizza or kebab shop thinking 'how bad could it be?' You will find out.
2. In many places you need to order dinner before 8pm.
3. Many bars have snacks of some type
4. When it doubt order appeltaart (apple pie) it's is always nice.
1. Maoz vegetarian, Grote markt 19
A little take-away with seating for about 8. The food is good and you always find an interesting crowd, although you won't want to stick around as it's always also crowded. They offer falafels in flatbread with a range of salads and sauces as well as chips and drinks. I recommend the carrot salad and the coriander sauce. The chips are actually crunchy, the only place you can get crunchy chips north of the belgian border. Maoz is a chain, but don't let that put you off. People do eat the salad out of their pocket and then refill it, so don't hold back if you get thrilled by this place (I know I did the first time). I find it a nice place to go when I get sick of my own cooking. Leave plenty of time, if you're off to see a movie or something as for some reason it takes 15 minutes to fry a falafel and stick it into a break pocket. But it's worth the wait.
Prices: 4-6 euros depending on your 'meal' option.
(thanks for the tip JP)
2. Weet je wel (y'know), Priemstraat 13
A little cafe down the hill behind the Grote markt. A bit tricky to find but worth finding. The staff are nice and friendly, also quite attentive. The food is relatively fresh and they always have a few different vegetarian options. One time I had a quiche, the next time a lasagne. Both were very tasty. Food is typically dutch here in being very soft in texture. Being used to that I wasn't surprised that there was no difference between the texture of the noodles in my lasagne and the eggplant. I would steer away from the asian food here - which from the look of it is very dutch-style (sweet, salty brown sauces). With your main meals at dinner time you get the traditional 3 bowls to share a dutch (?Nijmegen) tradition. The three bowls are: salad, (!brown) bread and chips. The yellow walls are especially cosy in winter. You can't sit outside at all, but it's still nice in summer.
Prices: 13-15 euros for a main course at dinner time
Note: You have to order dinner before 8pm
(thanks for the tip - M&A)
3. Australian ice cream, Koningstraat 35
You've heard of New Zealand Ice Cream and all those ones with scandinavian names, now it's time for.... Australian ice cream! Complete with dot designs on their chocolates. I found out from their website that they have 2 shops in Sydney which is pretty funny. Click on the website and listen to the didjeridoo:
First I should mention that the ice cream and chocolate at this place is very yummy. Purported to be a Belgian company, it is actually a chain based in Nijmegen. There is also a chain called Australian ice cream in Belgium but their shop-design is different (green and gold) and the ice cream isn't very good.
They seem to be cutting down on the use of dot-patterns in the shop and on the chocolates, I think they got a bit of flack for it - kind of a shame. Australians do not get a discount - I tried already!
Prices: usual ice-cream prices (under 5 euros)
(thanks for the tip Clair)
There are also some nijmegen restaurants reviewed on this website, but most seem to be the fairly touristy ones:
Virtual tourist website