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Danel: Mix and Match French Style

Restaurant Danel Explore Utrecht 3

You come in through a revolving door and are immediately welcomed by the hostess. Then your jacket is taken and hung up in the cloak room. Chic, proper! Danel is the new kid on the block at TivoliVredenburg, right by het Gegeven Paard. It’s located in the old offices of the Vredenburg building, a whole bunch of renovations took place beforehand. And you can definitely see that! You find yourself in an American diner meets French bistro, a unique location with a unique appearance. I was already at the opening of Restaurant Danel, where I was surprised by the champagne fountain and the musical trio playing awesome jazz. Now I’m curious about the menu, the wines and the service. Alors, en France!

Sharing is caring at Danel

We obviously begin with a glass of bubbly, this one has deliciously fine bubbles and a full flavour. It starts well. We’re advised to mix and match different dishes and to share them… All dishes are about the size of a starter. The menu is divided according to the origin of the product: from the sea, the mountains or the countryside. And when the dish is ready in the kitchen, it immediately appears on your table. A fun way to eat, you see this sort of “shared dining” increasingly often, but not yet with French bistro dishes.

On land, in the sea, and in the air

After taking way too long to choose what to eat, we decide to get something from each category. Fish, meat, and veg: water, countryside and mountains. The tomato salad that we are served first looks crunchy, and the ball of burrata is deliciously creamy. Then we get the sardines, super tender and swimming in a pure marinade. Some oil, some herbs, great! We also get a steak, nothing fancy but it doesn’t need it. When a piece of meat is good, then it doesn’t need any frills. The same is true for the white fish. These bistro dishes are elegant. And delicious. The biggest challenge is the artichoke! The whole flower on the table,  fortunately we know how to handle it. But if you don’t know, then the servers will be happy to explain. Eat all the leaves until you get to the soft heart. And by the way, the wines on the menu are good, French, and they go with the dishes

La Fin: Les Desserts

Can we get another dessert? The île flottante that I choose is a hit. A light, sweet island in a sea of vanilla. And my table companion seems to enjoy her crêpes too. Classically French, classically good. To digest our desserts, we take another walk around the room, peek in the kitchen and eye the cake display. Should we have another? No, let’s go get our jackets. You have the cloak room tickets, right?

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