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Mar 13, 2008 10:03 AM

THE Best in Amsterdam

We need three top picks for a business trip to Amsterdam. Money is no object, and we are looking for good ambiance, delicious food (of any sort) and any neighbourhood. We are not necessarily out to impress business associates but are more interested in a really yummy meal.

Thanks in advance. Also... how far in advance would you book the restaurants?

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  1. The Five Flies ( is far and away my favorite. The ambiance is great (loads of history), the food is fantastic and the service is top notch (even by US standards). Try their multi-course 'surprise' menu; it changes regularly and will blow you away. This is an absolute must and should be booked, even if only a couple of days before..

    Colonization of Indonesia has resulted in many things, some amazing, some vile. On the amazing side is the Rijstaffel, or 'rice table.' The experience is one of foodie dreams: essentially, you'll end up with a table covered in 20+ small dishes of varying description, with the authenticity inherent in having such a large Indonesian population. I can't recommend any specific restaurant...I've tried three, all of which were great and all of whose names escape me. Search around a bit and you'll find plenty of online debate and advice.

    Not that it's unavailable elsewhere, but there is some great food in Chinatown. New King is one of the best and always has a line.

    For a truly 'local' experience, snack in cheese shops, grab some steak tartare (filet americain) from any AH (even if it does look like a 7-11), eat herring from a street vendor, get frites from a hole in the wall and check out the menus at some of the pubs around town...Het Molenpad on Prinsengracht is one of my favorites, with delicious mussels, some great game meat dishes and a menu that changes daily (as well as some damn fine Belgian beers on tap).

    Whatever you do, don't forget a slice of dutch apple pie.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nitsuj

      Thanks for all the tips! I've been to Amsterdam before but missed The Five Flies... I'll definitely try to book something there this time. We had Rijstaffel that trip at Samoe Seba (hope I got that right), and it was quite a wonderful experience. I know people have their favourites, but that was fine with me and could do with another visit.

    2. I have been to Amsterdam three times and never have any luck finding good food. It is hard to come by a good meal. There are tons of yummy desert and snack foods.

      6 Replies
      1. re: k1127

        I hear that! Amsterdam is far from a culinary mecca. Its strength lies in its large immigrant populations, but the foodie fruits of those populations tend to be in holes in hole-in-the-wall eats rather than business class dining.

        Living over there, The Five Flies was my go-to for business, anniversaries & birthdays, out-of-town visitors and the like. Any attempts to stray were disappointing (I tried the town's most highly regarded, Michelin starred sushi bar once and paid a couple of hundred a head for a meal that a decent stateside sushi-train would be embarrassed by). Expensive spots seem to be more about impressing someone by taking them somewhere 'high-end' than about the food.

        That said, I can point you to some of the best sandwiches, 5euro pizzas, shawarma and bitterballen that I have ever encountered.

        In my experience, there is a huge difference in attitudes towards food and drink. In the USA, we often laugh and poke fun at the archaic multi-martini lunch and keep business dealings sober; by and large, I'd say that the Dutch would not only refrain from laughing with us, but ask us why we feel the need to be so judgmental of those martini guzzlers. You tend not to take someone out to dinner; you take them out drinking and, if you haven't already eaten, you eat what is convenient.

        1. re: nitsuj

          Please... do send along any good sandwich or pizza options.. anything you enjoyed. To be honest, I'm not sure about the lack of Americans who drink their way through lunch. I used to work in the town that IBMers and Texaco people went to for their lunches... I could never figure out how they went back to work!

          1. re: zuriga1

            My favorite sandwich joint is Singel 404 (both the name and address). It's only open for lunch and usually very busy. They have a couple of (smallish) floors and tables outside, in season. Their sandwiches are typically so stuffed that you'll have a hard time closing them, let alone picking them up. You'll find great combinations involving things like smoked chicken, goat cheese, pine nuts, avocado, honey...customization is more than welcome. Try something on the waldkorn (a fresh dark multigrain bread) and have a glass of the fresh lemonade.
            There's a takout only place's one shop up the canal from the northeast corner of Leidsestraat and Keizergracht (I think...might be one canal over on Prinsengracht). Always busy, always good.
            Van Dobben, just off Rembrandtplein, is the king of bitterballen and croquettes, but also have an obscenely huge menu of simple, but decent, sandwiches.
            For pizza, I always head down the street on the left side of the bulldog/sports cafe from Leidseplein (Korte Leidsedwarsstraat?). Ignore all the folks trying to drag you into the tourist joints, cross the next (small) intersection and you'll see two italian places, across the street from each other, offering 5euro pizzas. They are the same and they share kitchens; the second was opened to accommodate demand - a hell of a recommendation. The quality/price combo keeps them popular with students, the location is great and they make a killer shawarma pizza.

        2. re: k1127

          I highly recommend a small bistro restaurant called Seasons. They do have a web site so if you google them I"m sure you'll find it. Food was good we went twice in the week we had in Amsterdam. If we lived there we'd be regulars at this lovely restaurant.

          1. re: k1127

            I go to Amsterdam all of the time and I have never had a problem finding good food! Granted, there are also some places that are not great, but if you want a cheap snack or pastry go into any of the little shops. However, as far as dinner, etc goes, it is just a matter of how much you are willing to spend. I think amsterdam has some amazing food, it just tends to be rediculously expensive.


            Zuriga, here are my recs from last year. Not sure if you got these on the UK board before the CH moderators intervened and cut short our chatter.

            I actually don't concur with the views expressed in this thread - I've been numerous times and have always eaten well in Amsterdam but then again I've always been guided by local food loving friends.


            1 Reply
            1. re: oonth

              Thanks, oonth. I'm late seeing this as I always forget to check this board. So little time... so much food. :-) I enjoyed what we ate in Amsterdam a few years ago, and I'm sure we'll have the same experience this visit - especially with the boss paying.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. J

                As I've mentioned on the UK baord, the furthest I've ever travelled just for a meal was Manchester - Amsterdam to eat at Tempo Doeloe. Worth every penny of the flight, hotel and meal.

                I can't recall the place's name but there was another restaurant a couple of doors or so away that specialised in Dutch classics (as fas as my very limited language skills indicate) - casseroles, fish, etc. Perhaps a Google on Tempo's street name might ID it.

                Eet smakelijk


                6 Replies
                1. re: Harters


                  Will do - thanks. I had my first Indonesian feat at age 15. That memory has never left me.


                  1. re: Harters


                    I did a Google of the street and came up with about 8 restaurant names. None seemed terribly familiar, but that doesn't mean much. I've been pondering De Kas and also just found a webpage with some other tips... an Italian place called Envy sounded interesting for Italian.


                    1. re: zuriga1

                      Yeah. I Googled as well, looking to see if I could find an online "traditional" menu at one of them but drew a blank. Maybe it doesnt have a website. Maybe my memory cells are failing faster than I thought.....

                      1. re: Harters

                        I have a friend who lives close to Amsterdam. I should probably just write and ask for ideas, but I feel bad doing that when I really won't have time to see her. We'll come up with something. Unfortunately, Mr. Z. is usually knackered after a day of standing and talking and doesn't care that much what he chows down. You probably just had a senior moment... not to worry. :-)

                      2. re: zuriga1

                        Envy, Supperclub and Nomads are all part of the same group. I've been to events at both Supperclub and Nomads and had a phenomenal time. They are beautiful, Supperclub with its mixed decor, from the minimalist upstairs to it's bizarre lower level and Nomads with its North African theme, but was let down by the food at both. Don't get me wrong; they are decent, but the food didn't live up to the fantastic surroundings. Both are more about the scene than the meal. Having walked past Envy dozens of times (it's a few blocks down Prinsengracht from my flat...and Het Molenpad), I have to say that it looks far better (the front window is on the open kitchen), but I always gave it a miss, based on past experiences with the group. That said, it's worth a look, at least!

                        1. re: nitsuj

                          Maybe you can help with my narrowed down list. We'll be staying near the RAI for obvious reasons and the following sound good... Vis aan de Schelde (fish) and Le Garage (won't be worrying about price). I also like the idea of de Witte Uyl. Oddly enough, our last personal stay was in the same neighborhood, near the Concert Hall and museums. I'll feel right at home. Thanks for your help.