where to eat and drink in groningen.

This is the list we give our Airbnb guests, but maybe the rest of the world could use it too, I know I sure could have ect ect ect. The list of places not to eat in Groningen is wayyyyy bigger than this so, you know, ask if you have any questions.



Paviljoen Sterrenbos, Helperzoom 3b. A grown-up restaurant kitchen with adventurous, educated cooking in a large, modern yet weirdly informal space attached to a fitness center. I know. Obviously it can’t quite figure out what kind of restaurant it wants to be but the kitchen shows a great attention to detail. Vegetarian options are a little less satisfying but equally delicious if you don’t mind a little foam. “Moderate” prices but portions are small. They have a terrace which should be nice if it ever gets warm enough and/or stops raining.

Osteria Da Vinci, Turfsingel 33-1. A simple, affordable, unpretentious Italian restaurant with real Italian food. It's been around forever but somehow we've only just discovered it, so we've only tried their bruschetta and pasta (rotolo! you never see rotolo), no idea how their pizzas are. Only disappointment of the night was a too-heavy tiramisu.

Wadapartja, Gedempte Zuiderdiep 39-41. Informal, a bit loud, but the vibe is fun and the cooking was pretty well-executed when we were there. They do breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the biggest influence is New Hip American, “small bites”, waffles, burgers, sandwiches, pasta, fondue, none of which sounds exciting but they do try to put a fresh spin on things.

Houdt Van Eten, Herestraat 96. Another grown-up restaurant, this one with better decor and a bit over-ambitious fancy, professional chef food with eager and charmingly inept collegiate service. Expensive but not Michelin-level.

Satéhuis, Herestraat 111. If you’re not Dutch and you want to try Indonesian food (and you should definitely want to do this), maybe this is a good start. It's close to the house, a cheap Indonesian, no fanciness. It’s not mind-blowing or anything but TripAdvisor says it's only the 237th best restaurant in Groningen (out of 300), and that seems to be borderline delusional given the majority of the other meals we've had around town. Anyway, this is our Indonesian take-out/delivery of choice.

, Oosterweg 35a. If you’re Dutch and you want a non-standard Indonesian toko/takeout experience, you may want to try this. Super-friendly, zero atmosphere but no fluorescent lights either. Check the hours and opening times before you go.

Moro, Gedempte Kattendiep 21. Totally doable Spanish food at double Spanish prices. Everything is bit like a Disney version of Spanish food but the quality is pretty reliably good and the setting can be semi-romantic. If Moro is full, they have two other restaurants in the same neighborhood, Hemingway’s and Cervantes, that we haven’t eaten at but we hear are similar in every way, I know, not normally a reason to recommend something but trust us.

Café De Sigaar, Hooge der A 2. In the summer the terrace is one of our favorites because it's big and on a canal and they have an above-average tosti (grilled cheese sandwich), but I don’t think we’ve eaten anything else on the menu. Maybe goat cheese croquettes, which have a "fine" next to them in my mind. It looks like a nice cafe inside.

Grandtaria Friet van Piet, Meeuwerderweg 112. Not exactly a recommendation, but if you're going to eat at a snackbar in Groningen, this is the the most outlandish/ambitious/potentially healthy, and it's right around the corner. Extra pro: they have vegan and vegetarian options, and apparently everything is really homemade, a true rarity among Dutch snackbars. Con: it's only open til 21:30, which is not the time of day you're most likely to need a vegan kapsalon or a pile of frites with horsemeat stew ladled on top.

De Stadstuin, Hereweg 42. What to say about this. People often ask us “What’s the closest restaurant,” and this is the answer to that question. It’s not really like anything you’ve ever seen before in terms of decor, it’s like a cross between an airport business-class lounge and an expensive hair salon. The food? “They try.” Sometimes too hard, and for vegetarians the options are sometimes way more "interesting" than "good". They do have a nice terrace in the back if the weather’s nice. Anyway, if you’re starving? This is the closest restaurant.


In de Molen
, Uiterdijk 4, 9959 PK Onderdendam. Probably the best restaurant meal I've had in the entire province. Maybe 15km from the city? A half hour drive at most. Anyway, it's a windmill, you eat in the base and you can spend the night upstairs, I highly recommend doing both. Also: maybe the most interesting and affordable wine pairing I've ever had, which isn't saying a whole hell of a lot but there I said it anyway.

Hotel/Restaurant De Oude Smidse, Dirk Wierengastraat 36, 9969 PD Westernieland. No idea how good the whole menu really is, but last week we found ourselves hungry and in the middle of nowhere and we knew there was "a restaurant" in Westernieland, population 175. So we said ha ha ok, we'll bite so to speak. And the cooking was, either due to our sub-zero expectations or the chef's own actual merits, totally professional and delicious. All we had were mushrooms on toast, a slice of quiche, fries and a salad, but everything was perfectly cooked and the whole affair seemed to promise good things. Maybe worth a stop if you're up north and hungry...you could do a lot worse.


Waterloo Bar, Verlengde Oosterweg 51. If people ask us, “where’s the nearest bar,” this is the answer. It always seems slightly “off”, you feel somehow like the people there are making bad decisions they would not normally make, or maybe it’s just habitual bad-decision-makers sucking innocent victims into their web of intrigue and regret. Anyway, juuust something not right. But if that’s your thing, this is the place. FYI: we have not worked up the nerve to eat here, please let us know if you do.

Merleyn, Meeuwerderweg 121. CASH ONLY. A old bar with a snooker table (note to self: learn to play snooker) and a good beer selection and really unpredictable music selection, for better and for worse. A favorite. No food to speak of except some nuts and nachos, maybe cheese and sausage plates. Possibly a Pringles machine.

Café Mulder, Grote Kromme Elleboog 22. An extremely cosy brown cafe option on a little street full of cosy brown cafe options. Sorry that's all the information I have, I was too warm and sleepy last time I was there but Nelson likes it a lot. It's quiet and they have simple bar snacks so I hear.

Café De Klikspaan, Rabenhauptstraat 78. More on the cheesy and sleazy side, or maybe just always playing crap music and always full of students and almost always featuring at least one really really drunk person, for some unknown reason this happens to be our default setting for “getting a beer.” If you want to eat here you can (we think) still order a pizza from the place next door via the bartender and they’ll deliver it here.

Café De Drie Uiltjes, Oude Ebbingestraat 47. A good downtown bar, a nice mix of classy and lowbrow, usually blues, jazz or classic rock deep cuts on the stereo. No food that we’ve noticed. Nice back terrace too.

Café Der Witz, Grote Markt 47. The only good bar on the Grote Markt in our humble opinion, very friendly, great service, and random plates of free hors d’oeuvres that show up from time to time. Used to be a bit of a hangout for us. Small food menu: tostis, cheese, sausage, nuts, etc.

Cafe De Sleutel, Noorderhaven 72. This is the only place on the list we haven't officially been to, well Nelske probably has but isn't sure. Anyway, it has a great reputation and looks nice.


Vera. The place to see an indie-rock show, way bigger than it looks.

De Oosterpoort. The place to see a high quality alt-country or jazz-pop show, this is where “national acts” perform.

Simplon. Kind of hard-to-define venue, handles a lot of in-between stuff like hip-hop and Latin that’s not always right for Vera and not always right for De Oosterpoort.

: The place to see an unknown rockabilly/biker/stoner band from Amsterdam. Not open every night. In fact, rarely open it seems...check their Facebook page.

De Smederij
. The place to see a regular “jazz jam” on Tuesday nights at around 22:00, though it’s usually not a “jam”, and sometimes it’s not quite jazz. Let's leave it at “YMMV.”

. A real pool hall, with, I don’t know, 12 or 14 nice big tables, a rarity in Holland.

Cafe De Kar.
Only been once but really liked it. Big yet divey in an old Vegas kind of way. Well never mind that, they closed on July 1. Suck.

Cafe De Crown. Hmm. An entertaining mix of college bar, jazz jam session with kids from the conservatory, and seemingly randomly-chosen music acts that go on upstairs. This is not generally a place where one ever starts the evening but you could very well end up here if you're not careful. 

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