For all you foodies out there, here’s a quick Maastricht stroll that will make your taste buds very happy. Plus, the atmosphere is good… the walk is good… the streets are quaint. There’s no bad here.
I often end up at Maastricht’s Helpoort – the old Roman gate near the waterfront. There, you’ll find one of two large pedestrian bridges in town. The one in front of you is De Hoge Brug – a fairly new pedestrian bridge with large white arches making it quite distinctive from its older counterpart. Cross this bridge and you’ll find yourself standing in the Ceramick/Wyck part of town in a square called Plein 1992. Standing at the end of the bridge looking towards the open square glance at your 1000 and you’ll see Coffee Lovers, a lovely coffee shop with very nice indoor seating as well as a generous “weather permitting” outdoor seating area.
I thought this was just a coffee shop, but no. The coffee is excellent, but so is the tea and granitas (fruit and coffee flavors), the home made cheesecakes, and the “real” food. Yum! The sandwiches are reasonably priced and absolutely delicious!!! Very high food quality, friendly service (we got caught in a rain storm and ended up sitting for a couple hours with children spinning in chairs and the waitresses actually played with them), and a very nice atmosphere with tall tables and bar stools, large tables for 12ish where different groups can mix, small “normal” tables, and couch/bench areas with comfortable chairs. I will make this a regular stop. The food is quick enough where you can stop in a hurry and still eat a wonderful meal.
Open: M-F 0800-1800, Sat and Sun 1000-1900
If you love the coffee at Coffee Lovers and you’re near the Markt or Vrijthof on the other side of the river, you can buy some bean where it all started at Blanche Dael coffee roaster – the oldest coffee roaster in the south of the Netherlands. Great shop.
6211 GN Maastricht
Ok, so let’s assume you’ve gone to Coffee Lovers on the Plein 1992 and had a cup of coffee and a sandwich and you’re ready for something sweet… exit at the back of the store and look behind it to the small streets behind the Crown Plaza sign. There’s a small orangish brick building with no overt advertising. Go there. Yum.
This isn’t German ice cream. You won’t be fattened with obscene amounts of creamy stuff and piles of spaghetti ice. You’ll pay a little more – 1.25E for a small scoop. But wow. You pay for pure flavor. Nothing extraneous. It’s just heaven on a cone. Pure gelato goodness. Ok, so I’m getting carried away, but truly, this stuff is really good. And beautiful. And… they are open ALL THE TIME, well, for European standards anyway. No website, no email, no business cards to hand out… this is a place you just have to know and you won’t regret it.
Luna Rossa Gelateria
Open: 1100-2300 Every Day
Located in a brick building on the corner as you stand facing Coffee Lovers from the bridge side and look to your left.
So you’re walking along in bliss with your cone… exit the back door of the shop and turn left towards the river. Take your first right before reaching the river front and you’ll enjoy a quiet walk down a very nice “artsy” street with excellent ethnic restaurants and cute shops (and a couple not quite cute shops – but nothing obscene). Get to the end and turn left back towards the river. You have to look or you’ll miss it, but on the left hand side of the street is a small chocolate shop called Friandises. This place was visited by Ronald Reagan during his presidency and the White House has been getting a box of these delicious chocolates ever since. Get a few or a lot. See if they will last the drive home. That is the ultimate test of will power.
Wycker Brugstraat 55
6221 EB Maastricht
Hours: The local norm… closed on Sundays, sadly.
So, you’ve had caffeine in its best forms and may be a little more… cross the St. Servaas bridge in front of you and it’s a straight shot back to the Vrijthof or Markt for another Maastricht adventure.