Amsterdam - Need Help with Restaurants
We are traveling to Amsterdam for a long weekend with another couple. The other couple
has never been to Amsterdam; we have been there before but not for at least 4 years.
We will have 4 nights out for dinner there. I would like one good Indonesian, one
traditional or updated Dutch, one seafood and one other. Suggestions, please!
Thank you in advance.
We returned last night from our 4-night stay in Amsterdam and, thanks in part to this Board, had 4 terrific dinners. Here's a synopsis:
(1) Van de Kaart (Prinsegracht 512, 020-670-0458)- I made this reservation, thanks to Capeanne's review and recommendation. It was the best meal of the trip - enjoyable and pleasureable in every way. I had the 3-course menu with veal as my main course; the 2 guys had the oysters and half-lobster and the other woman in our group had the brill. Everything was delicious, the wine list was terrific and the service was just right: attentive but not at all intrusive. The setting is simple and understated, but elegant at the same time. We would return in a heartbeat.
2) Balthazar's Keuken (Elandsgracht 108; 020-420-2114) - We dined here at the suggestion of the daughter of our traveling companions. We were not disappointed.
The restaurant is open only 3 days a week (Wed/Thur/Fri), with set first courses and
desserts and a choice of two main courses. The mains the night we were there were
rib eye steak with risotto and cod with spinach, crouton, etc. Our foursome ordered two of each and found the whole meal enjoyable. Staff is very friendly but not intrusive and
very good-humored. The dessert was a chocolate mousse cake topped with a small poached pear - delicious!
3) Tujuh Maret (Utrechtestraat 42; 020-625-9251) - We wanted a good Indonesian
dinner one night during our stay and got it here. We ordered the large rijstaffel (sp?),
with multiple choices of chicken, beef and vegetarian, ranging from mild to quite hot,
and loads of rice (white and coconut), as well as other accompaniments. Dinner was
very enjoyable, staff friendly. We would go back.
4) De Knijp (Van Baerlestraat 134; 020-671-4248) - For our last night in Amsterdam,
we had tickets to a concert at Het Concertgebouw, so wanted a place for dinner that
was close to the concert hall. We dined at De Knijp, less than a block away. I had eaten
here once before about 8 years ago and was pleased to find that the quality and service
had not dropped off. This is a two-level restaurant with a fairly traditional Dutch menu and setting. (I much prefer the upstairs to the first floor) Three of us had the Dorade
special, the 4th had salmon. We also sampled the mustard soup, oysters, pate and
shrimp. All quite good. Friendly, attentive servers who clearly are accustomed to getting
their customers out the door in time for their concert or show.
Great weekend overall - Thanks in particular to Capeanne for here recommendation of
Van de Kaart!
I would advise against traditional Dutch. It's indeed hearty, home style stuff. A lot of cabbage, porc meat, stews and similar. Nothing wrong with that. But the restaurants that offer it are usually poor quality catering purely to tourists.
I suppose pancakes is another very Dutch food.
A lot of visitors go for the Indonesian rijsttafel (two t's, one f). I have never quite understood why, to be honest. Sure, it's fun to eat with a larger group since you will be able to sample and share many different dishes. There also are some exotic flavors such as fried banana, coconut flakes or peanut sauce. But it somehow feels like your typical average buffet quality food...
Of the restaurants in this thread, de Kas and Balthazar's Keuken stand out. By much! I suppose they are French / International, but de Kas certainly has a Dutch touch as all ingredients are produced locally on partnering farms.
I was just about to post a review of last weekend which we spent visiting Amsterdam for the first time. First it was incredibly cold ( and we are from Boston where right now it is quite cold but not like AMS) . Second we were a bit spoiled having just spent the previous 4 days in Paris. We had called our Hotel concierge with a list of reservations that we wanted but unfortunately she did not accomodate any of our requests. More on that later. We had requested Blue Pepper for Indonesian ( have read very good things) but she booked us in an Indonesian in Rembrandt Sq called ? Indopura ?. It was not at all memorable, I hated the area and I wish we had pushed her for BP. We had requested De Kas but she informed us upon our arrival that they were closed for the Holiday. I emailed them myself and secured a reservation for the next evening. She had booked us in the Hotel Brasserie after I had specifically that we didnt want to eat in the Hotel..no tip for the Concierge . It is a lovely setting in a large greenhouse about 10 min cab ride from City Center. The deal is that 90% of what you eat is grown/raised on their properties and is truly organic. Beware that there is a set menu for all diners , yes everyone is served the same 5 or 6 courses ( about 50 Euros pp if I recall) and if you don't like surprises and have any meat or fish dislikes state them upfront or ask for pure vegetarian. Our meal was 1) tagliatelle with duck confit and a wonderful sauce 2) leek tart with micro greens 3) poached lobster served with many vegetables 4) a white fish sauteed and served with mussels and clams over a nutty grain and 5) a truly complex dessert of fruits in layers with chantilly creme. We shared a very good bottle of Mersault and the total bill was less than 200 Euros nearly evenly spilt between the food and the wine. The last night we again took the Hotel recommendation for a neighborhood bistrot called Zoud Zeeland and it was wonderful. Small and intimate with friendly service it sits facing one of the canals. My starter was a terrine of game and it was delicious and I had rack of wild boar for a main...there was an amuse of some sort that I can't recall other than it was tasty and we both had dessert which too we enjoyed. A low key and perfectly enjoyable restaurant with reasonable prices ( again about 40-50 Euro for food pp) and a KILLER wine list. during the day we stopped our canal and street explorations for coffees and soup or bitterballen for lunch..and I am hopelessly addicted to the latter. and not on a food topic but I have never seen so many wonderful and creative shoe stores in my life as evidenced by the 6 pair I brought home ( my bad) Have a great trip and if it is soon please pack warmly...
Thanks so much for your description of De Kas, as well as the tip on Zoud Zeeland.
Where exactly is De Kas - we are staying in the canal ring and feel we will be tired after
a busy day so not up for a trek for dinner; on the other hand, if it's reasonably close in,
certainly sounds worth it.
I also have added Zoud Zeeland to our list.
(P.S. Based on your experience with the concierge, I hope we're staying at a different hotel!)