The past few decades, Dutch chefs have been surprising diners with their creativity, beautiful products and authentic approach. More and more Michelin stars are falling and new restaurant openings are more exciting than ever before. Several cities, like Amsterdam and Rotterdam, have become true foodie destinations and there are great restaurants to be discovered all over the country. One of the most anticipated openings the past few years was restaurant Joelia from top chef Mario Ridder.
Interior / Exterior
Restaurant Joelia is located in the center of Rotterdam on the famous “Coolsingel” street. This main artery of the city is currently being renovated with wide cycling and walking promenade, trees, city parks, and new pavement and ornaments. Restaurant Joelia is located at one end of the street on the ground floor of the Hilton Hotel. The interior of restaurant Joelia is luxurious, yet playful and above all cosmopolitan. It is divided over three areas, all of them contemporary decorated. The entrance leads to a spacious bar and lounge area, an ideal spot for a cocktail or a digestive. The impressive ceiling decoration definitely is the eye catcher here. On the left and the right side of the bar, there are two spacious dining areas. One of them also features a private dining table with a beautiful view on the open kitchen. Brown and dark colours are contrasted by floor to ceiling windows. Golden accents, colourful plants and modern interior decorations set the laid-back, yet luxurious atmosphere.
Restaurant Joelia is owned and managed by Mario Ridder. Chef Mario was born in Amsterdam and worked in restaurants like “De Kersentuin” in Amsterdam, “De Bokkedoorns” in Overveen and “Park Hill” in Rotterdam. In 2006, he started working at restaurant De Zwethheul located just outside of Rotterdam. Mario bought the restaurant in 2008 and managed to create a wonderful two Michelin star restaurant known for its modern Dutch cuisine. In the beginning of 2015, he was ready for his next challenge, restaurant Joelia. Young, challenging, sexy and cheeky – that is how Mario defined his new project.
At Joelia, Chef Mario Ridder still cooks with ingredients of the best quality and uses these in dishes that focus on powerful combinations. The chef prefers to work with local products but uses other ingredients when they are better and add a real value to the dish. Everything that is added should have an extra value in the taste. The menu offers a great à la carte selection with dishes such as the outstanding tartare of watermelon combined with capers and chili, or the langoustine starter with caviar and watermelon. For a good impression of Mario’s kitchen, opt for one of the tasting menus. The seasonal 6-course menu offers an impression of the best the season has to offer, and the “Mario’s favourite” menu are… Mario’s favourites, indeed. In this menu, you can for example taste the delicious wagyu preparation, served with thick and crunchy fries and ‘Marionaise’ (fresh mayonnaise). Of course, the star of this dish is the excellent meat – a sensation to eat. Make sure to save some room for the cheese trolley – as often a must in The Netherlands.
Wines & Service
The dining rooms are led by the experienced Maître Remko Bögemann, who followed the chef from De Zwettheul. Remko has a natural flair and elegance that makes everyone feel at home. The wine cellar at restaurant Joelia is the only ‘real’ wine cellar in Rotterdam and you can see the cellar through the a part of the floor in the lounge area. Sommelier Johan manages this impressive cellar with more than 9000 bottles from over 750 references.
Restaurant Joelia is a wonderful fine dining restaurant in the center of Rotterdam. Its timeless, cosmopolitan setting set the tone for a dining experience that combines amazing food with a laid-back atmosphere. Chef Mario Ridder uses the very best products in a contemporary cuisine that is accessible, a bit playful, and above all, delicious.
Written by Sven & Johan