These are my personal tips -based on experience and research- for a great experience in Rotterdam! This resulted in a good list of tips! You can click on the bold text to get to the Google Maps location of the establishment.
Bierhandel De Pijp A down-to-earth and very Rotterdam restaurant, with the best baked potatoes, beef stew, sole. It’s full of graffiti and 1000 ties hanging on the walls. You will definitely have a conversation with your neighbors. Hidden in the Gaffelstraat.
Little Vie Good Asian food, almost next to Erasmus Statue and Laurens Church. Easy to find after the tour ends!
Bertmans Good vegetarian choice of food, especially for a nice lunch on the Schouwburgplein. Also serves a chicken burger for your non-vegetarian companion.
Hotel New York Vibrant spot on the south side of Rotterdam town. Take the Water Taxi from Leuvenhaven, Point 47and get yourself dropped at point 44. Order their vongole in white wine sauce as a starter and the tuna as a main course, with a Pinot Grigio. Then cross the Rijnhaven bridge to Katendrecht at De Ouwe Hoer (The Old Hooker), on the Deliplein square.
DUTCH SNACKS & SWEETS
Stroopwafel, but only the orginals from Gouda. (buy them in the Markthal, red bag from Van Vliet)
Bitterballen, the Dutch version of a tapas dish. The ones at the Frietboutique on the Witte de Withstraat are arguable one of the best.
Apple pie at Dudok, best in town (and possibly the country).
When in the Netherlands, you must try a herring with onions. Eat it like the Dutch, raw and off its tail. There it goes…
Foodhallen Wilhelminakade Wilhelminakade Foodhallen are a nice concept, with a lot of cuisines, a bar and plenty seats. You can select from Japanese food, while your companion goes for TexMex.
Markthal The start and ending point of the tour is a great place to enjoy all the finger food stands and restaurants.
Markt Binnenrotte Every Saturday there is a market, right in front of the Markthal. Order your fresh herring here!
Melief Bender The bar of my younger days was, and still remains this cafe at the Oude Binnenweg. Nothing special, just a good spot to check out the best beers and meet some real Rotterdammers.
This used the be the hangout spot of Jules Deelder, my favorite Rotterdammer. Unfortunately he passed away in December 2019, but this place still pays great honor to this extravagant poet. Go to the male toilet to have a good laugh.
De Witte Aap You can visit any pub on the Witte de Withstraat, but the most crowded one is the ‘White Monkey’. Once chosen by the Lonely Planet as the best pub in the world!
Depends on what you’re looking for, my personal favorites are Jazz & Blues cafes Dizzy and Bird. Both host regular live music nights.
Stadium De Kuip Birthplace of the Feyenoord soccer team. Take the Watertaxi and hop off at point 10, to admire the Champion League Cup won by Feyenoord as the first Dutch team.
PARKS / EXTRA
The Park Visit ‘Het Park’, right under the Euromast. Sip a white wine on a sunny day in one of the restaurants like the Harbour Clubor when you are on a high budget Parkheuvel(2 star-Michelin restaurant).
Kralingse Bos On the east side of Rotterdam you will find the Kralingse Bos. Enjoy the terraces of De Tuin Van De Vier Windstreken or De Schone Lei, or just make a nice stroll in this long stretch of green in Rotterdam. Ideal for running your usual miles around the Kralingse Plas lake.
Under The Brienenoord Bridge
The small island, on the south side and close to the bridge is a special place to visit. Nature along the river highway to Germany and under the road going south to Belgium and France.
Looking for a special running route?
Start at the colorful Marathon Runner Monument near the Erasmus bridge for your signposted run of 5, 10, half-marathon and the Bridge Run of 3,6 km across the Erasmus bridge and Willemsbrug.