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Sweet sangria, deep red wines, mouth-watering tapas and sharing plates… When I’m looking for relaxed Mediterranean vibes and rich flavours, I like to head off to one of Rotterdam’s tapas restaurants and bars. And since my trip to Spain’s Basque Country, pintxos (aka pinchos) have now also firmly made it onto my food radar.
In this article, I’ve put together a list of my favourite tapas and pintxos bars and restaurants in Rotterdam, as well as suggestions from fellow WiR bloggers. If I’ve missed out your favourite tapas restaurant, let me know in the comments below as I’d love to check it out!
Top pintxos and tapas restaurants in Rotterdam
1. De Huismeester
I keep returning to De Huismeester for its homely feel, friendly atmosphere, and quality Spanish food and drink. The eatery is set over several floors of a tall, historical townhouse on the Meent, with a sunny front terrace and steep interiors. I’d recommend their pintxos plank, a couple of your favourite tapas, plus a big plate of their nachos with fresh, bold toppings, accompanied by a rich red wine.
Meent 115, 3011 JH Rotterdam
Spanish kitchen Destino in Rotterdam Noord is one for a more special occasion. The restaurant serves up a more sophisticated and therefore pricier tapas menu, which changes regularly according to the seasons and daily market offerings. Enjoyed what you ate? The chef will be happy to share the recipe with you – except for their secret croquette and cheesecake recipes of course! I loved Destino’s sleek and intimate atmosphere and delicate dishes, especially the marinated anchovies, calamares a la plancha, jamon and cheese tapas, plus the great wine list.
TIP: While Destino is often fully booked on Friday and Saturday nights, last-minute bookings and walk-ins are usually possible on other weekdays and at lunchtime.
Zaagmolenkade 37/38, 3035 KA Rotterdam
3. 21 Pinchos in Markthal
Due to its location inside the iconic Markthal, 21 Pinchos is where I take friends and family on their first visit of Rotterdam. But this tapas bar is popular with locals too. As the name suggests, it serves 21 types of pintxos, as well as a classic selection of tapas ranging from croquetas to batatas and gambas. You can sit downstairs at the bar lined with ready-to-grab pintxos, but I prefer to break away from the bustling Markthal crowds to sit atop 21 Pinchos’ “roof terrace” with a stunning view of the market hall and its colourful ceiling.
Markthal Rotterdam, DS Jan Scharpstraat 298, 3011 GZ Rotterdam
The warm interior of Mediterranean restaurant Ayla invites you to enjoy an extensive dinner or even a long drawn-out brunch. But you can also simply visit them for a cocktail or sangria, perched up on one of the stools which frame the bar. The tapas come in different rounds: starting with the aperitifs, then the platos pequenos and lastly the platos grandes. Some of our favourite dishes include the burrata, mushroom polpettes, and artichoke and parmesan. Not sure what to go for? You can also opt for one of their set menus with matching wine arrangement.
Kruisplein 153, 3014DD Rotterdam
5. Lokanta Proeflokaal
In the east of Rotterdam, you’ll find Lokanta Proeflokaal, a friendly neighbourhood tapas restaurant. Its charming interior full of colour make it a lovely place to spend a cosy evening with friends and family. Here you can share both authentic Spanish tapas and contemporary Mediterranean dishes, plus seasonal plates, breads, cheeses and ham, and a handful of pintxos.
Waterloostraat 148A, 3062 TW Rotterdam
6. Lola Bar & Kitchen
Tapas restaurant and bar Lola is my go-to place for spontaneous drinks and snacks with friends on a Friday evening around Rotterdam’s Witte de Withstraat. Although it’s usually pretty busy, I always seem to find a spot when I need it. I’d again recommend the pintxos plank, with a couple of warm Spanish and Mediterranean bites, alongside one of their delicious sangrias or gin and tonics – to enjoy on the terrace or inside the lively restaurant.
Schiedamse Vest 56, 3011 BD Rotterdam
7. La Cazuela
Friendly Mediterranean restaurant La Cazuela is set among a medley of restaurants which flank a small crossroad behind Rotterdam’s Central Station. La Cazuela’s tapas menu includes influences from Spain, Italy, France, Portugal and North Africa. Choose from fried anchovies, manchego and serrano ham, gambas and scallops, truffle ravioli and more. Fancy something classically Spanish? Then go for a traditional paella to share, accompanied by one of the Mediterranean wines on offer.
Proveniersstraat 38, 3033 CK Rotterdam
Enjoy your night filled with good tapas, refreshing drinks and Mediterranean vibes at one of these amazing tapas restaurants in Rotterdam!
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Olivia De Beukelaer
Olivia De Beukelaer relocated from London to Rotterdam over a year ago. She now takes every opportunity to explore her new home, and writes about her experience in blogs and restaurants reviews for Weekends in Rotterdam. Next to blogging she works as a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Sana Commerce. She also enjoys eating out, cheerleading, aerial hoop and travelling. Follow her Rotterdam adventures via her Instagram @olivia.in.rotterdam.