The Hague

As many other youngsters here, I have spent 6 months in The Hague to do an internship in an international organisation.
I originally come from Montreal, a rather big metropolitan centre, filled with warmth in spite of its winters’ raging cold and where boredom is the exception rather than the rule, if you know how to make the best out of what the city offers.
Needless to say, with its shops closing at 5pm and its schizophrenic weather, The Hague came as a bit of a culture shock; in fact, the adaptation was harder than in many other towns I had visited or stayed in, some of them even further away from my own cultural standards and lifestyle than this Dutch administrative hub.
Yet, all in all, it eventually gave me the opportunity to develop some of the most precious friendships I was given to experience and to lead a less stressful and hectic life than the one I was leading back home. However, there was a cultural trait I was not ready to surrender; a Montrealer’s extreme fondness for real coffee and no-frills, honest food. Stomach gurgling, I got used to roam around the city on my bike and discover hidden treasures with an childlike sense of victory. Here are some of my most precious finds:

Unfortunately, I did not take any picture while I was there.
This one does not do justice to the
enveloping warmth this place exsudes.

Molenstraat 63, Den Haag (Location)

Sun-bathed café in one of the cutest parts of the city, a few steps away from the touristy and crowded Spui straat. Their quiche is rich in veggies and their homemade brownie, an absolute killer. In the summer, they make a very refreshing mint lemonade, that you can sip on their little terrasse, weather-permitting, of course.
I would run there like an addict as soon as the sun would timidly show up, to get my fix of chocolate, caffeine and sunshine.

Haagsche Bluf 17, Den Haag, Netherlands

Their blackboard says it all: “Coffee, tea or me”.

If you can find this little café in the city centre, hidden in an inner little square, you will be welcomed by a joyous multicultural trio. Very opinionated when it comes to tea (one of the owners is half-english), they serve mouthwatering, freshly baked deserts, invigorating English breakfasts (best cure to a massive hangover) and other no-nonsense meals.

Chicken & mushroom pies

Major pluses, it’s open 7 days a week and for those who had too much of a rough night to overcome the language barrier just yet, the whole menu, just like the place, is in English. The staff’s smile and genuine care for their customers, as well as the cook’s intermittent humming, betray their pride for this truly unique little gem.

Side note: if it had not been of my most recent attempts to show a certain level of good manners in public places, I would have savagely attacked their entire cinnamon rolls platter after the first bite in the  steaming-hot-half-baked-in-the-middle one I had ordered. Word of caution for the lactose intolerants: make sure to ask for the roll to be served without cream.

Homemade deliciousness

Café Quirky
Tasmanstraat 128, 2518 VS Den Haag

Again, the picture is not from me, but from the café’s website

Free wifi, enthusiastic owner and, for once, outside the centre; café Quirky is good for brunch, lunch or simply coffee or tea. The decoration is modern, yet has a je-ne-sais-quoi that adds authenticity
I have met many Quirky aficcionados, ranging from the families with newborn babies on Sundays to the international interns and freelance writers on Saturdays. A friend of mine is an absolute unconditional of the place and is particularly loyal to its “death by chocolate” tart. Tried it once and I was also conquered; once you lift the spoon, you’re trapped until the very last crumb. Granted, when chocolate is in range, I am easy to satisfy, but only a lucky few will induce such a, errr, devouring passion.

As if the food was not enough, the café also shelters a book swap shop, poetry nights, and a gallery, where the work of independent young artists will be displayed for a few weeks. There’s also a play area for children.

Crunch café
Piet Heinstraat 108-A, 2518 CM Den Haag

Opened late (8pm!), this café has an extensive menu for brunch and lunches and serves one of the best granola in town, along with free wifi.

Picture taken from google, but that gives a good general idea of the atmosphere in Crunch!