Uncovering ExpatOwned Restaurants in Rotterdam

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Rotterdam's Hidden Gastronomic Havens

Rotterdam, the second-largest city in the Netherlands, is a melting pot of cultures, thanks to its diverse expat community. This bustling city not only offers tourists remarkable architecture and museums, but it also boasts a thriving culinary scene that caters to expats craving a taste of home. However, not all the city's gastronomic delights are as well-known to outsiders. In this article, we take you on a virtual culinary tour, revealing the hidden gems that lie beyond the tourist trail.

The Significance of Expat-Owned Restaurants

Expats relocating to Rotterdam often miss the familiar flavors and dining experiences of their homeland. These restaurant owners saw the need for authentic cuisine, filling in the gaps for expats in their new environment. These hidden culinary treasures not only offer delicacies that transport visitors back to their countries of origin but also foster a sense of community and cultural exchange.

Guide to Rotterdam's Expat-Owned Restaurants

From cozy bistros to hole-in-the-wall eateries, each establishment offers a unique dining experience characterized by authentic flavors and a warm atmosphere. These are some of our favorites:

1) Taste of Kabul

If you're missing Afghan cuisine, head to Taste of Kabul in the city's central Kralingen neighborhood. This restaurant, owned by expat Mehmood Fatimi, offers traditional Afghan dishes such as mantau and lamb stew, as well as vegan options.

2) Sake En

Sake En, located near the river Maas, is directed by expat Masako Ferrera. The dinner menu boasts a fusion of Japanese and Italian cuisine, such as sashimi with truffle oil, while drinks include sakes from all over Japan.

3) Piri-Piri Mexicola

Originally from Portugal, restaurant owner Patrícia Pereira moved to Rotterdam and launched Piri-Piri Mexicola. The name itself suggests a mix of Portuguese and Mexican flavors, and it certainly delivers, with dishes such as chili baked camarão and bobó de camarão.

4) The Tasty Meat Company

Former international chef Ryan Sezenek put down roots in Rotterdam and established The Tasty Meat Company. The menu at this steakhouse combines Brazilian meat cuts with Dutch flavors, including frikandel and bitterballen.

5) Jamaica House

Reggae music and Jamaican flair await at Jamaica House, where expat Steve Doran presides over a vibrant restaurant. From ackee and saltfish to jerk chicken, this eatery provides an authentic taste of the Caribbean.

Insights and Experiences

We spoke to expat restaurant owners and regulars to find out more about the unique dining experiences they offer.

From Appetizers to Desserts

Rotterdam's expat-owned restaurants offer an enticing array of dishes spanning breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menus are diverse, showcasing traditional favorites alongside innovative fusion creations. Here's a taste of what's on offer:

Chat Cafe and Bar

This bar, owned by expat Peter Zonneveld, is known for its Mexican-Dutch fusion menu. Enjoy traditional Dutch breakfast items such as hagelslag with a Mexican twist or try their famous "ambush" burrito stuffed with random fillings.

Metallico EzzelATo

Fondly called Metallico, EzzelATo is an Italian restaurant run by expat Luigi Tullio. The menu features classic southern Italian dishes such as spaghetti carbonara and ossobuco alla Milanese.

Pura Brasilia

Owner Gustavo Lobbato brings a bit of Brazilian culture to Rotterdam with Pura Brasilia. The restaurant offers typical Brazilian dishes such as feijoada and coxinha, and also hosts samba nights on selected evenings.

Fonda Colombia

Owned by Colombian expat Claudia Duque Matthews, Fonda Colombia offers authentic Colombian flavors such as buñuelos de yuca and chicharron seafood soup.

Join the Culinary Conversation

We encourage readers to contribute to this discussion and exchange recommendations on their favorite expat-owned restaurants in Rotterdam. Share your experiences and connect with the local culinary community!


Rotterdam's expat-owned restaurants are a testament to the thriving expat community in the city, who have found ingenious ways to balance their love for food and culture with their new homes. From traditional favorites to innovative fusion creations, these hidden luminaries offer a unique culinary experience. We hope you've enjoyed this guide and that you're hungry to explore Rotterdam's fantastic expat-owned restaurants. Come and join us, and savor the flavors of community and connection!