Lunch at Jamie's Italian Markthal, Rotterdam

I have wanted to visit the Jamie's Italian in the Markthal, Rotterdam for some time already and I finally went there with someone for lunch last Tuesday.

The waitress lead us to our table, which was right at the entrance of the restaurant. Waiters and customers were walking in and out from both sides of our table, but the tables were almost all taken - even during late in the afternoon and on a weekday -, so nothing could be done about it. The good thing about is that it was easy to get the attention of a waiter or waitress for ordering food and asking for the bill.

Jamie's Italian markthal Rotterdam drinks homemade lemonade and sanpellegrino limonata

I ordered the homemade lemonade and the other person ordered the Sanpellegrino limonata. The homemade lemonade consisted of sour lemon juice, plenty of mint leaves, and lots of crushed ice. I liked that it wasn't too sweet, but you can better call it a lemon-mint water. Water and drinks came swiftly and we waited only a little bit for the snacks to arrive afterwards.
 Jamie's Italian markthal Rotterdam wooden table pepper salt shakers cutlery

Nibbles, bruschetta, and antipasti

Jamie's Italian markthal Rotterdam crispy squid

Crispy squid €6.75

The thick strips of squid tasted super fresh and the tempura crust on them was light and crisp. It may look like a lot in the picture, but there were only 5-6 strips of squid and 3 fried garlic slices. The creamy garlic mayonnaise with a little bit of chili was great though.

 Jamie's Italian markthal Rotterdam crab bruschetta

Crab Bruschetta €6.75

The bruschetta (aka toast) turned too soft and soggy. I think they needed to wait for the other snacks to get ready and bring them to our table together and I also snapped pictures for a few minutes. I wish the slice of bread was thicker. It would make it more filling for the price and it stays crispy longer. I heard good stories about the crab bruschetta, so I was surprised to find out that the crab tasted a bit fishy (and I am a total seafood fanatic). It was also slightly dry, cold, and lacking in flavor. I discovered a tiny shard of crab shell, but that could happen when you are using fresh crab meat. The strips of fennel (white lettuce like vegetables in the picture) were soft and not crispy. I also couldn't really taste what the orange paste on the bread was, but I think it is a kind of tapenade?

Jamie's Italian markthal Rotterdam Italian Nachos

Italian nachos €4.95

The Italian nachos were the highlight of the lunch. I have never tried something like this before. Crunchy and puffy pillows of ravioli pasta: thin crunchy coat on the outside and a soft and chewy (al-dente) pasta layer right underneath and in the center, a soft and creamy cheese paste made with three kind of cheeses (note: not the liquid, melted cheese kind). As a dip, there was the spicy arrabiata tomato sauce. It tasted nice together, but you can also eat the fried ravioli on its own, as the tomato sauce can cover the cheese flavors too much.

Jamie's Italian markthal Rotterdam Porcini mushroom arancini

Porcini mushroom arancini €5.50

Arancini are basically the gourmet version of the Dutch "nasi bal". It has a crunchy outer layer, which is similar to the ones of the Dutch "kroket" and "bitterballen". Inside, the porcini mushroom risoto is a tad bit too dry, not moist and sticky enough. I think it is a vegetable stock risotto with spinach and mushrooms. It does not have a lot of flavor on its own, so it tasted better and with more layers of flavor, when you put some of the arrabiata tomato sauce and the grated cheese (fontina and mozzarella) on top after taking a bite.

 Pasta and side dishes

Jamie's Italian markthal Rotterdam prawn linguine

 Prawn linguine €14.95

I shared the prawn linguine and I think I got lucky, because I somehow got the top half of the pasta, which wasn´t drenched with the spicy arrabiata sauce. It tasted really good to me and not too spicy at all. The sauce had a rich garlic flavor, some sweetness from the shrimps, and wasn't too sour (which I fear the most with tomato sauces and the reason I stick to cream sauces). The prawns were a bit small, but very fresh, sweet and crispy (not mushy and soft). There was a fair amount of prawns (about 8), several soft strips of fennel, a couple of halved cherry tomatoes, and a handful of rocket lettuce. The linguine pasta was amazing: cooked al dente and loved the chewiness and flavor of the pasta.

Jamie's Italian markthal Rotterdam funky chips

 Funky chips €3.75

I really wanted to try the funky chips and it didn't let me down. It was full of potato flavor and very crunchy, but the amount is quite small. For that price, I could get a large bag of fries from Bram Ladage, which is located just outside. I also couldn't really taste the garlic and rosemary, but maybe you were supposed to mix the rosemary herbs and thin garlic slices (warning: raw, so very spicy) yourself, but the tin was too small for that. I also added some of the coarse sea salt that you can find on your table in a shaker on the fries.

Jamie's Italian markthal Rotterdam rainbow slaw

 Rainbow salad €2.50

It is similar to a coleslaw salad but then made with thin strips of red beets, carrot, and I think, parsnip? It has a very light dressing made with mint, lemon, and yogurt. I could really taste the fresh flavors of the vegetables in this rainbow salad, but some might want more dressing.


It was a late Tuesday afternoon and the restaurant was still pretty full, but we could easily walk in without any waiting time or reservations. The staff was very busy - walking back and forth constantly (could be due to the location of our table) -, but I still felt like the waitress was able to give us proper and personal attention. I think the best service you can get, is when you feel like you are sitting on the only table in a restaurant and the staff is fully catering to your individual needs. I think they did a great job giving us that feeling. Here, are some examples:

  • There was actually no drink menu available at the time for us to look at, so the waitress named some of the drink choices, which was a long list, without getting impatient. She also kindly offered us the choice of bottled water or free tap water, after ordering the drinks. She only asked us if we wanted to order more drinks once, when she saw that a glass was empty, and she wasn't pushy about it.
  • The waitress asked us for the order of the food to be served. We agreed on first, the snacks all at once, and the main pasta later with the fries and salad. 
  • The waitress was very attentive and gave me an empty plate in advance, without me needing to ask. She knew by what we ordered that we planned to share the pasta, salad, and fries.
  • The wait for the food and drinks wasn't very long. It felt very natural, as I never felt impatient and asking myself where the food was or that it was coming too fast in a row.

Some nitpicking

  • The table was a bit too small. I wanted to put my bag somewhere, but there was barely enough space under the table to put my legs, so I had to put my bag behind my back, on the chair. You could add a small drawer like compartment (but without the actual drawer) under the table to store personal items. I saw that in Japan before. 
  • The table didn't get cleaned in between courses, so there were some crumbs and oily stains on the wooden table. A quick wipe with a towel would have been nice. 
  • The strands of linguine were too long. I couldn't even divide it in two portions in an easy manner and eating was a bit difficult without cutting the pasta. But that comes from someone that usually eats pasta with chopsticks.
  • I think that it would have been nice, if they just had a menu booklet. We had to ask for a drink menu, which wasn't there (someone else was looking at it at the moment?). We also didn't know anything about the desserts, but maybe we needed to ask for the dessert menu after having our main course.

What do I think?

I was pretty shocked when the bill arrived. Although I kind of knew that the lunch would be around the €40-50 range, I didn't feel it was worth that much. It could be because we just ordered the wrong things. We didn't order any wine, desserts (to get a full 3-course meal feeling), or very impressive mains with a lot of meat. The crab was disappointing, there were too many dishes with the same arrabiata sauce, and the portions of many dishes were smaller or were just different than what I expected.

However, the food was very fresh and not flavored too salty. That's exactly how I prefer it and that's why my favorite food is Japanese food. There were also some interesting surprises in flavors and flavor combinations. My main recommendations are the Italian nachos and the prawn linguine. The pasta in both of the dishes was soft and chewy. Perfectly al-dente and it had a great flavor. Freshly and daily made pasta really made the difference. 

You might want to come in a bigger group, so that can you can sit in the cool and comfortable looking, rounded, leather couch against the tiled wall with references to the city Rotterdam.

Jamie's Italian markthal Rotterdam Netherlands

My other reviews of Jamie's Italian Markthal:

Popular Posts