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Since 1975, this Italian restaurant with its excellent location close to the cinemas and theaters, has become one of the most famous in Rotterdam. With a lovely cozy Mediterranean atmosphere, this place offers the best from the Italian kitchen. All the delicious rich flavors so typical of this country are present in every meal. Many different hors d'oeuvres, main courses and desserts prepared with fresh ingredients and following traditional recipes, can be enjoyed along with exclusive Italian wines from the best wineries.
For a quick lunch in the center of Rotterdam, Sessa! offers the more sophisticated bite to eat. Frequented by an urban working crowd, its interior has a simple urban elegance, and its cuisine is all-round Italian. For a light lunch, there are ciabattas with various fillings around 5EUR, warm or cold, with ingredients such as eggplant, mozzarella, prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes. Also, there is a daily pasta-special for 6EUR, which suffices as a simple and quite filling lunch or dinner.
Located in the busy Beursplein, in the heart of Rotterdam's shopping district, this branch of the London-based coffee store is popular with professional types and tourists. Even the outdoor patio manages to have a somewhat sophisticated feel, thanks to the shining stainless steel patio furniture. The interior features sparkling display cases, wood furniture and large windows that let in plenty of sunshine. Espresso drinks are the star of the show here, although pastries and smoothies are also offered. While you can get drinks to go, most people prefer to relax on the patio and watch the people go by.
Located on the third floor of the Beurs Gallery, this informal eatery offers savory hot or cold sandwiches on bagels or regular bread. This is yet another Dutch eatery that has gone wild with the concept of bagels and cream cheese. While you can get that Jewish classic here, it's easier to order a smoked chicken, pepper and sprout sandwich with aioli on an onion bagel. Bagels or regular sandwiches make tasty lunches, and the yogurt shakes are quite a treat. The Beurs Gallery Hot & Cold offers plenty of seating, most of it in the mall proper. The signature blue and orange colors dominate much of the third floor.
Located in one of the busiest parts of the city center, just next to the 24-hour Easy Everything Cyber-Cafe, this cozy little restaurant is the perfect spot to take a breather after a day of shopping or working. It's casual and comfortable, offering a full menu of old-world Italian favorites. Dine on pizza, fresh fish or pasta. Pasta fans should sample one of the specialty lasagnas while heartier appetites may prefer the Osso Bucco alla Milanese. Several pizza combinations are also available, including Hawaiian and Marinara.
Although this restaurant is centrally located, it's tucked away on a side street just across from the back entrance to the Hilton. It's easy to reach, but once inside, you feel sheltered from the hustle of downtown. Upscale Italian in decor and cuisine, La Gondola is the perfect place for a business lunch or a quiet dinner. It's sunny and open, with potted plants and champagne magnums accenting the decor. The menu features three kinds of carpaccio -- tuna, beef and salmon -- and a variety of house made pastas, among other things.
Don't be deterred by the modest look of this place; it's quite a favorite with locals. The delicious food, super-quick service, downtown location and rock-bottom prices are evidently working: there always seems to be a line here. Choose between snacks or full meals. The menu is in Dutch and Surinamese, but customers are free to make their selection by pointing at it on the menu. Menu items include vegetable samosas, Javanese chicken soup, vegetable roti and chicken with rice. Some of the dishes are extremely spicy, so if you're averse to spices, ask before ordering.