This article was originally published at Maastricht Region: to Live.
A new(ish) restaurant has joined the small, but entertaining mix of places that offer high tea in Maastricht. Located on Helmstraat 2a near Markt square, Taart offers high tea, or just cake, in a sunny, semi-casual atmosphere. Dan and I made our visit last Sunday with the help of discount vouchers from Socialdeals.nl.
Of the places I’ve eaten high tea in Maastricht, I think Taart has my favorite atmosphere. The bakery has a large seating area filled with old-fashioned furniture (tables, chairs, and even a couch) in bright rooms with prettily decorated cakes everywhere. Tea is served in slightly mismatched china tea cups and pots, and the all the small Victorian and English details make it relaxing and fun. While the dining is casual, the environment makes you feel like dressing up a bit and treating yourself. The staff was very attentive during our high tea visit; even cajoling/tempting us into staying longer with an extra slice of creamy cake.
There are two types of high tea on offer at Taart. The one we experienced was the regular high tea service (20 euros/person, minimum 2 people). The service started with a glass of Prosecco and a pot of fresh Earl Grey tea accompanied by two slices of quiche. These were followed by three tiers of sandwiches and sweets and the promise of a refill for both the tower and the tea if we desired. We found the sandwiches rather plain (cheese and vege), but the sweets were delicious. The small cream puffs in particular were extremely fresh and wonderful. Although the amount of food was less than comparable high teas in Maastricht, we were still full by the time we were offered a dessert; our choice of a slice of cream pie, strawberry shortcake, and a fresh fruit cake.
For those who want an even more decedent tea service, Taart also offers a Royal High Tea which includes better sandwiches and more sweets (for 25 euros/person, 2 people minimum). We found the regular service to be plenty, but might consider the Royal one in the future to get access to the smoke salmon sandwiches.
Taart is near the Markt square but perhaps a little off the beaten path for the average tourist. They are open four days a week from approximately 10 am to 6 pm. Anyone can walk in for a sampling of their fresh sweets, but you’ll need to make a reservation for high tea. Learn more on their website.
Type of Place: Restaurant
Location: Helmstraat off the Vrijthof
If you’re looking for a classy, date atmosphere with all you can eat sushi and some of the best tuna we’ve had in a while, you should take a look at Sashimi. Located just off of the Vrijthof, Sashimi is a cut above the usual sushi restaurant with fresh tasting short-grained rice and a wider menu that our usual all-you-can-eat choice. In four courses you can chose between a variety of sushi rolls, nigiri, handrolls, cooked dishes, and soup (although surprisingly not sashimi). The lunch menu is naturally cheaper at 16,50 euros, and dinner cost 23,00 euros. For dinner you get fewer items per round, but more variety.
The interior of the restaurant is really nice, with a dark and soft glow. The two floors are dominated by a huge, dark wood Buddha statue which sits in the center of the restaurant. Wall decorations and furniture are modern and help to enhance the romantic atmosphere. If I was with a family, I’d still eat at Kashi, but for a date or adult meeting, Sashimi would be my first choice (at least until we find another option).
Type of Place: Café
Location: Glacisweg 26, Maastricht
I’ve probably written about Coffeelovers before, but it seemed best to mention my newest writing place: the Coffeelovers St. Pieters. Coffeelovers is, of course, a chain of cafes in the Netherlands not unlike Starbucks in the United States. They have good, but very strong coffee, and tasty desserts. The St. Pieters location is along the edge of St. Pietersburg, in the “old” part of Maastricht. A lot more convenient for me.
The St. Pieter Coffeelovers is a cozy, yet modern cafe with maybe a dozen tables and a little outdoor seating. Unlike the larger restaurant in the Ceramique area, they do not have a full menu, but there is a small selection of cheesecakes, sandwiches, and usually a soup available. All food and beverages can be ordered at the counter and the staff busses your table when you leave. The smaller size is nice for just having a cup of coffee (or tchaipuccio) and typing on your computer or reading a book. Personally I find the staff friendlier than the larger location as well.
Coffeelovers St. Pieters is open Mondays – Fridays from 9 am to 6 pm and Saturday – Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. There are several other Coffeelovers in Maastricht and one in Eindhoven. Visit their website for more information.
Type of Place: Pancake House
Location: Markt Square
The Dutch claim to have invented the pancake. I don’t know if that’s true (how hard can it be to make a circular, flat cake from runny batter), but I do know that the Dutch version is delicious. Eaten as a snack, dessert, or sometimes savory lunch, Dutch pancakes are very large and thin with tasty things baked in. Until De Smaak Pannenkoek opened its doors on the Markt square, we had to take the train out of Maastricht to find pannenkoeken with more than apples or bacon in it. Now we have our choice of 70 varieties. Lekker.
De Smaak Pannenkoek is a typical pancake house with a comfortable interior. The front part is more family oriented, with bright (slightly creepy) wallpaper featuring the owner and his kids. The back is dark and cozier, just right for a casual dinner or lunch. If you like watching your food, you can see the cook preparing pancakes behind a half wall in the front of the store. Outdoor seating is available as well (as always).
The menu is inexpensive compared to other dinner options in the area and basically features one large pancake filled with increasingly complex combinations of food. I really enjoyed the pizza pancake which contained lots of pizza fillings with a huge dollop of red sauce on top. Dan also had a savory pancake which he found enjoyable; although he simply cannot eat a pancake without syrup. Naturally you can get beer, coffee, soda or whatever you prefer with your meal.
The only real downside to De Smaak Pannenkoek is that they are not open early for breakfast. That would have make it perfect.
Type of Place: Cafe
Location: Vrijthof 15; 6211 LD Maastricht
We always call it “the ostrich place” because I can’t pronounce the name, but In Den Ouden Vogelstruys is actually a famous cafe that some believe is the oldest in Maastricht. The building with the golden ostrich on it has been around since 1309 and it is believed that some sort of food was served out of this building as early at the 1700s. The name itself comes from an ostrich egg reliquary that was kept in the St. Servatius Church. Exotic in its day, the shell drew pilgrims from all over to see it.
In Den Ouden Vogelstruys is a typical Dutch cafe located directly on the Vrijthof. It is very popular with locals and tourists alike, which can sometimes make it difficult to find a table. I’ve only been there for coffee, but it has a nice atmosphere and the inside is cozy and dark for those days when it’s too cold or rainy to be outside. It is also the only cafe on the Vrijthof with a menu in the local dialect rather than Dutch. Fortunately it isn’t too difficult to figure out. Next time I visit, I’ll be sure to try the vlaai.