Two restaurant recommendations in Amsterdam
The long version: My husband and I moved to the Netherlands last summer. Unfortunately for us foodies, we are out in the middle of the Dutch countryside, two hours from Amsterdam, with little variety or quality in the restaurant or grocery options near us. It all seems to be cafes with Senseo coffee and cheese tostis. So whenever we go into the larger cities, we always try to find something good to eat - even if it means splurging for a nice night out.
Last month we spent a weekend in Amsterdam, which included an excellent dinner at VandeMarkt. The restaurant was next to impossible to find, partially because my husband didn't mark it well on our map and partially becuase it's in a really weird location. But when we were lost and called the restaurant for better directions, the chef-owner himself drove out to pick us up in his car. I was worried about what it meant for him to be able to leave his kitchen during dinner time, but we were not disappointed! According to our old Fodor's book, he goes to the market every morning, sees what's best and puts together a new 3- or 4-course menu for the day based on what he finds. (I think a regular a la carte menu is also available.) We started with an amuse-bouche - bites of smoked beef rolled with gorgonzola and goat cheese with a little balsamic vinegar. EXCELLENT! I had the hot starter of scallops (perfectly cooked) in a Thai green curry, and my husband had the cold starter of duck pate (outstanding - even for this gal who isn't normally a pate-eater). Our entrees were filets of sea bass, and for dessert I had the chocolate torte with mousse and husband had the creme brulee. SO GOOD. All was excellent -- particularly the duck pate and the chocolate torte. VandeMarkt is worth the trek out of the city center for a nice evening out.
Yesterday evening we tried to go to dinner at D'Theeboom, where we'd had a good meal on a visit four years ago. They were hosting a large reception, however, and couldn't seat us. But they did recommend a place around the corner called De Luwte. Great dinner again! I had the cream of asparagus soup (yum!) and the fish of the day (a name I didn't recognize but related to sea bass - it was good but not outstanding) with a bernaise sauce and polenta. Husband had a roasted rabbit roulette starter and duck leg confit - both were excellent and I wished I'd ordered them for myself. I had the chocolate dessert (flourless chocolate-almond torte with chocolate mousse and chocolate ice cream) and husband had the creme brulee; both were quite good. An added bonus for this pregnant lady was a non-alcoholic aperitif listed on the main menu! We will certainly be recommending this place when all our parents visit Amsterdam later this year.