Bistro Vischmarkt 49 | Harderwijk (NL)

A recommendable bistro for a relaxed dinner out with comforting and satisfying classic flavours, at astonishingly good value for money!

You probably guessed that Bistro Vischmarkt 49 is situated at the Vischmarkt in Harderwijk. I call it the culinary square of Harderwijk, with no less than 5 restaurants dominating this quaint historic square. Next to Basiliek *, Da Gabriele, ‘t Nonnetje ** and Ratatouille, Bistro Vischmarkt 49 has established a name for itself in the 5 years it’s been open.

The restaurant was opened by Cindy and Bart Onstenk in March 2016, both hospitality veterans with about 30 years of experience under their belt. Cindy is responsible for the front of house while Chef Bart is running the kitchen. Before they opened their own restaurant, the couple was running two restaurants in nearby Nijkerk, Afslag Tien and De Orangerie.

Bistro Vischmarkt 49 is open for lunch and dinner on Wednesday to Sunday. They offer a separate lunch and dinner menu. With the lunch menu offering an array of dishes, including a 3-course lunch menu for € 29,50. The dinner menu offers 4 starters (at €), 4 mains (at € 21,50 – € 27,50), 2 desserts (at € 8,25) and a cheeseboard (at € 11,75). On top of that all they also offer an Experience Dinner (5-courses at € 39,50 and 7-courses at € 45,00).

Looking at all the different choices, it felt silly not to go for the 7-course Experience Dinner, which we did. We had dinner two weeks ago and started off al fresco on the terrace overlooking the beautiful square.

Bread, Butter & Tapenade

To start us off with some slices of white and brown baguette, with black olive tapenade, creamy herb butter and a tapenade of roasted bell peppers.

Beetroot Salmon, Rocket & Lime

Good quality salmon, marinated in beetroot, sitting on slices of crunchy beetroot and rocket, surrounded by some dots of lime crème. The salmon was really lovely, with a nice combination of flavours and textures from the rocket and beetroot. The lime crème was a needed addition to the dish as well, bringing a fresh note and creaminess. We just needed far more of it to give the right balance in the dish!

Asian Beef Noodle Soup

A bowl arrived filled with noodles, shiitake, egg, spring onion, beansprouts and parsley. A savoury and clean Asian beef broth was poured at the table. Nice taste and flavour. Unfortunately the broth was just about warm enough. This dish needs a piping hot broth to be poured over the vegetables, to blanch them slightly and take away the bare rawness.

Smoked Chicken, Avocado & Green Curry Sauce

A little stack of smoked chicken, avocado, mango, tomato, cucumber and pine nuts. A sesame seed cracker and dots of green curry sauce. The sesame seed cracker was made with lots of sugar, a kletskop as we would call them. Nice on it’s own, but way too sweet for the dish and it clashed with the other flavours. A shame, as the chicken and avocado mixture was very nice and I loved the green curry sauce!

Grilled Sea Bass, Rosemary Puree & Beurre Blanc

Sea bass, perfectly grilled in garlic, with smooth rosemary puree, beurre blanc and rosemary oil. Loved that puree with a pungent rosemary flavour. That worked really well with the sea bass. As did the creamy beurre blanc. A great well executed dish with classic flavour. Excellent!

The weather started to change and we decided to continu inside, where a table was reserved for us as well.

Vegetable Tart, Nuts & Cheese-Mustard Sauce

Savory tart with vegetable and nuts, with a sauce of mustard and cheese. Couldn’t fault it. Good pastry with an enjoyable filling. Nuts bringing not only crunch and texture but also complementing taste. And the sauce married all parts together as it should. Only thing was, that it didn’t belong in the menu. Maybe as a main for a vegetarian menu, but our main was still to come. To me this is more a lunch dish. Having said that, I still enjoyed it a lot!

Duck Breast, Spring Vegetables & Orange-Red Pepper Jus

Duck breast with spring onion, spring vegetables and a sauce of orange and red pepper. Well cooked duck, beautifully pink as you want it. Nice variety of vegetables and a comforting finger licking jus, with just the right amount of sweetness. Presentation could be improved a bit, certainly compared to the other dishes, but a very tasty and comforting dish!

Dessert Trio

Dessert came in threes and I liked all of them! I started with the limoncello mousse in the small glass, topped with a limoncello jelly and a raspberry. Next the strawberries marinated in booze with a dollop of hangop. Which is a creamy Dutch dessert made from strained yoghurt. Finally the limoncello ice-cream with an almond crunchy cracker. Great finish of a lovely menu.

Really like the informal atmosphere at Bistro Vischmarkt 49 and the service complements that. Cindy Onstenk wasn’t there that evening, but we were in the capable hands of Joycelin, who lead the front front of house comfortably and made us feel right at home.

Chef Bart Onstenk delivers great dishes that showcase a classic training. You can taste that everything is housemade, as it should be! I must say, I was a bit sceptical when I first saw the menu on the website. The dishes on the standard menu gave me a different view of the restaurant and a tasting menu didn’t marry with that view. But fortunately I was pleasantly surprised and, although some dishes could do with some fine tuning, I truly enjoyed it.
I can’t believe they only charge € 45,00 euro for that 7-course menu. Astonishingly good value for money! A recommendable bistro for a relaxed dinner out with comforting and satisfying classic flavours!