Marlein Parlevliet (30) is co-owner of Swordfish & Friend on Oudkerkhof. Her shop-come-living room sells a unique collection of vinyl records and Crosley record-players, as well as clothes, furniture, art and illustrations. She regularly organises in-store performances and social drinks.

By Dieuwke de Boer

Utrecht’s charm
‘Utrecht is a bit folksy for a large city, but that’s what I like about it. I feel a lot calmer here than I did in Amsterdam, where I used to live. The international visitors I speak to are surprised by Utrecht’s charm. They all want to come and live here!’

New district
‘We moved from the Rivierenwijk to the Lombok district quite recently, so I haven’t discovered the best places yet. One of the places we have found is Van de Straat in Surinamestraat, a great place to eat street food from all around the world. The owner is really friendly and enthusiastic. Koffie & Ik on Vleutenseweg is another good place to meet for coffee or sit and work.’

Surinamestraat 5, Utrecht |
Vleutenseweg 169, Utrecht |

No nonsense
‘The food at all those trendy burger and chicken restaurants is fine, but I’m getting a bit bored with them. Le Clochard in Ridderhofstad has become one of my regular haunts. You sit at a table by the fireplace and just get served – no nonsense. They have a great selection of beers too. Café Derat and De Drie Dorstige Herten also pour a good pint.’

Ridderhofstad 2, Utrecht |
Lange Smeestraat 37, Utrecht |
Lange Nieuwstraat 47, Utrecht |

Evening out
‘EKKO, De Helling and TivoliVredenburg are my favourite spots. The programming’s great, the acoustics are excellent and they’re brilliant places to meet people if you’re new to Utrecht.’

Bemuurde Weerd wz 3, Utrecht |
Vredenburgkade 11, Utrecht |

> Swordfish & Friend
Oudkerkhof 43