La Place 4.0, Leiden
Aalmarkt 22, 2311 ED Leiden, Netherlands
We have been following La Place for more than ten years, after we first came across them in Amsterdam and heard all about the brand from inspirational CEO Paul Bringmann.
With its fourth generation overhaul, the Dutch food chain La Place is going big with its emphasis on fresh, local ingredients and culinary transparency.
Presiding over the Aalmarkt in Leiden, the new-look restaurant seats 300 in style – and the experience is all new, right down to its coffee cups. The conceptual shift is from ready-to-eat to made-to-order, and it shows in the quirky yet welcoming design.
A rugged brick wood-fired oven claims centre stage in the kitchen. A glass-fronted prep counter brimming with bright, fresh ingredients encircles it, allowing customers to watch their meals being crafted from scratch – even the mozzarella is prepared on the spot.
With its 4.0 overhaul, La Place is aiming for total transparency, inviting customers into the food preparation experience. All the bread is made from scratch in-house and the meat is prepared at the instore butcher.
Hanging cured meats in the grill section further underscore this on-the-spot vibe, and chalkboard signage lends a rustic, home-style flavour. A glass-walled room used for the preparation of pizza dough – all the way down to the milling of flour – allows customers a glimpse into the dough-making process.
The vast space incorporates a range of seating types and configurations, including a lengthy communal table rendered from knotted wood and buttressed with an eclectic mix of vintage seating. Exposed ductwork, warehouse-style skylights and industrial lighting add a touch of edginess countered by the wooden wall paneling, lime green upholstery, and the cornice-height displays and shelving stacked with jars, crockery and ingredient tins.
Outside, an extensive rooftop terrace blooms with tomato plants and a herb and vegetable garden. Customers get to dine amongst the very vegetables from which their meals are being made – it doesn’t get much more local than that.