In the heart of the city is a place of passion, that particularly shines on Fridays. Here you see colours as bright as the sun, subtly smell fragrant spices, hear urban beats rising, feel the Southern temperament and above all, you savour the most adventurous Mediterranean dishes.
People settle down on the sunny garden and façade terrace, sipping on their cocktails, watching the city go by. The bar is packed, guests enjoy their tapas, while their glasses of cava happily sparkle. The DJ is playing his vinyl, well-dressed people on the couch wait for their date and waiters are passing by with Spanish beers, pata negra and padrón peppers. The weekend has started, time to let loose.
Fridays at Ayla are just epic and by far the favourite day of the week for owner Nikki van Dijk. “Our legendary ‘Ayla Friday’ is definitely our calling card and the best representation of our identity. This is how I always envisioned it, this is how Ayla is meant to be. While the bartenders prepare their latest creations, our wine specialist –and Italian beauty – Barbara shows you the most special bottles on the list, secretly (or not so much) favouring her Italian gems. Of course the kitchen is at its best; it’s an organised chaos, just like it’s supposed to be. And trust me, the chef knows what he’s doing. This is the highlight of our week, when adrenaline reaches its peak. It makes me very proud.”
"This is the highlight of our week, when adrenaline reaches its peak."
Just like on the Med, at Ayla you usually don’t have dinner at six. You can if you want though, but also those living on a more southern European clock, will never be empty-mouthed. Our kitchen is open until midnight. Where else in the city can you satisfy your late-night cravings for fresh oysters with chili pepper or delicious cuttlefish with sausage? “And don’t forget to order Ayla’s Kapsalon with pata negra to end the evening in style.” To officially celebrate the weekend, Nikki also found the ultimate Friday cocktail. “Absolutely the Rosée du Soir, made with our rose gin, lemon juice and apricot liquor. It’s the perfect Friday night caught in a glass.”
Not only do the aromas, colours and flavours blend perfectly on Friday, our guests do as well, creating our typical international vibe. Ayla has become a household name among expats, world travellers, dim sum lovers from the Kruiskade who aren’t afraid of a Mediterranean adventure, business people and just any Rotterdammer who seek a culinary surprise. Nikki: “Our international atmosphere literally makes everyone feel at home. Every single guest is part of that dazzling energy of a metropolis. Whether you’re here for an after-work drink, a full-blown family dinner, an exciting first date or catch up with long-time friends: Ayla stirs the soul and gets the city shaking.”
“I wish it could be Friday every day. Unfortunately, in Holland there’s still a big difference between Mondays and Fridays when it comes to a great night out. Maybe in a couple of years Rotterdam is like London or New York, where the city sparkles seven days a week. Until then, we have our amazing Ayla Fridays.”
"I wish it could be Friday every day"
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