In our beloved Utrecht new restaurants are popping up like mushrooms. Because of the enormous amount of choice, it’s easy to lose track of where to go. Even though I love trendy places, I also find it important to shine a light on the classics of Utrecht. That’s why this article is a tribute to the golden oldies!
1. Stadskasteel Oudaen
Oudaean goes waaaay back! This famous castle at the beginning of the Oudegracht was built around the year 1280 (!). Throughout history multiple wealthy families lived in this building. The building owes its name to the Van Houdaen family, who have lived in the castle for years. Did you know Oudaen even has their own brewery in the basement? Go have a look and try a delicious, freshly brewed beer.
Website | Oudegracht 99
2. De Winkel van Sinkel
The Winkel van Sinkel originated as a concept from Amsterdam, where Anton Sinkel opened it as a fabric store. On the first of May 1824 Sinkel bought a building in Utrecht and transformed it to the first department store of the Netherlands. The first things that will catch your eye are the big cast iron statues at the entrance, throughout the years these were called the British whores. Placing the statues went horribly wrong. During lifting the statues the upper part of the crane broke off, which resulted in the statue and the crane itself ending up in the Oudegracht. Nowadays the Winkel van Sinkel is used as a grand café and an event location.
Website | Oudegracht 158
3. Karel V
In Medieval times the Grand Hotel Karel V was home to knights, priests and emperors. As the name suggests, the fourteenth century monastery in the heart of Utrecht is currently used as a luxury hotel and restaurant. Have a night of gastronomical dining in Restaurant Karel V or enjoy a bite at the more accessible Bistro Karel 5. Feel like pampering yourself? Have an overnight stay in the 5 star hotel and enjoy the wellness that Karel V has to offer.
Website | Geertebolwerk 1
4. Belgisch biercafé Olivier
Where nowadays hundreds of beer lovers enjoy different craft beers at Olivier, Catholics used to come to pray in secret. The church was used during the times that Catholics were not allowed to have religious gatherings. Olivier was the first ever bar in the Netherlands that was located in a church. Many architectural landmarks were preserved: the altar, the arches and the organ. Olivier is an absolute must-see and the perfect place for a beer and a “bitterbal”.
Website | Achter Clarenburg 6a
Grand café Luden is based in the former dining halls of Hotel Des Pays Bas on the Janskerkhof. The building is an official cultural heritage site and it really shows. It’s easy to imagine yourself as a part of history because of the high ceilings with murals and the eighteenth century interior. Are you a student? Then Luden is your place-to-be! From Monday through Friday you can enjoy a special student menu: a fresh sandwich or a salad and two drinks, for only €6!
Website | Janskerkhof 10