This Neoclassical paleis (palace) started out in the 18th century as Holland's first department store and is now Utrecht's foremost social hot spot, a restaurant, café, and nightclub. Fronted with columns and cast-iron statues of women, it conjures up images of Grecian luxe and abundance. The enormous statues were produced in England in the mid-19th century and shipped over, but they were too heavy for the crane that unloaded them, which collapsed, thereby earning
the ladies the nickname "the fallen women." You can dine either on the terrace overlooking the canal or in the high-ceilinged Grote Zaal. The menu is designed to satisfy all tastes, with tempting selections such as paella, rib-eye steaks, or, for vegetarians, a delicious spring vegetable ravioli. Simpler meals such as rolls and salads are served at lunch. Try not to be in a hurry however, as service is not always that prompt. If you fancy eating after-hours, the Nachtrestaurant serves tapas until late, and a nightclub kicks in late every weekend. Monthly events include salsa and Latino nights.