Oudt Leyden - Gastro Obscura

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Gastro Obscura

Oudt Leyden

This institution has been serving up some of the best pancakes in the Netherlands for over a century.  

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Pannenkoeken, pancakes that range from dinner plate- to wagon wheel-sized, have been a Dutch specialty since the 17th century. Unlike fluffy American flapjacks, these thin, eggy pancakes use no leavener, but still have a bit more heft than Parisian crepes. Both sweet and savory pannenkoeken are served all over the Netherlands, but not all are created equal—and few, if any, are as good as those at Oudt Leyden.

Opened in 1907, the restaurant has retained a fiercely loyal local clientele, despite its considerable fame. On any given evening, the main dining room is packed, usually with at least one large birthday party. Celebrities and politicians, including members of the Dutch royal family, have been known to pass through. 

That Oudt Leyden has held onto its reputation for more than a century is a testament to the quality of the cooking. It’s one of the few pancake houses in the world to have ever held a Michelin star, which it retained from 1957 to 1979, then again from 1985 to 1989. There’s a selection of regional specialties, including a creamy, punchy mustard soup and the requisite fried seafood with frites. But the pannenkoeken, which come served on enormous Delft porcelain plates, are the undisputed star of the show.

All of the classics are well-represented here, from sweet options with Nutella or stroop (syrup made by boiling down fruit sugars) to savory numbers with bacon and cheese. Your best bet though is to look at the “Specials” section of the menu, which contains combinations like goat cheese with honey and walnuts or smoked salmon with crème fraîche and capers. 

For something sweet, it’s hard to beat the apfelstrudel, a pannenkoek rolled around cinnamon-kissed apples with almond paste and a blizzard of powdered sugar on top. It’s just about the ultimate iteration of pancakes for dinner.

Know Before You Go

Reservations are strongly recommended for dinner. There are three adjacent dining rooms, one of which only serves a bistro menu and two of which are dedicated to pannenkoeken.  


 

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