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Apr 21, 2009 03:09 PM

Amsterdam--Best, Most Recent Recommendations for Indonesian, Middle Eastern Needed


My husband and I will be living in an apartment in de Pijp for a month again in May. I've perused all the Chowhound posts on Amsterdam going back 1 year---but don't want to go further back---we all know things DO change!

We cook a lot via Albert Heijn and the Cuypstraat market, but like to get some good Indonesian, Thai, etc. Any recent recommendations? For Indo, we tried one place in de Jordaan, and it was awful--and expensive, to boot! I'll be sure to post here when we go back and I spot the restaurant again, as it's a place to avoid!

What is the latest on a great Indonesian place that won't cost us a fortune? We like spicy, we like "not dumbed down." I've seen varying reports on Sama Sebo, Tempo Doeloe, Kantjil en de Tijger (is their takeout OK???)----so please advise. Not necessarily going for the rijsttafel, but that's all good too.

Also, would love to find a good Indian place, but that may be even harder. Do let me know if anyone has a recommendation!

From last summer, we have one fave Ethiopian restaurant right near our beloved Sarphati Park, and a good Thai place in the Jordaan. (Will post their names while we're there).

Cheers, and thank you in advance!

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  1. And I just realized I said "Middle Eastern" in the title!

    Any recommendations on that would also be great. We've eaten at Divan in de Jordaan and of course Maoz multiple times! Any other fave places? We went to Bazar in de Pijp and though it OK, at best.


    3 Replies
    1. re: mmichaels

      De Pijp is a great place for Thai and Indo food. Next to the Duikelman kitchen store is a place called Spang Makandra. A tiny dark place with a big ass tv on the wall. The cooking here is pure nirvana. It's a slight variation on Javanese cooking, as the owner Glenn is Surinam Javanese. But restaurant wise this great place is the closest match to my mother's home style old school Indonesian cooking. The first time I had a Soto soup, I shed a tear, it's really that good. The menu is limited, but if you're here for a month. You need not to worry about lunch, believe me. Forget about dinner, because this place is packed from 5.30 till it closes.

      The other Indonesian highlight is about twentyfive steps across from Spang Makandra. It's toko Ramee. In here you will find the best Indonesian takeout, when it comes to original cooking. Gorgeous dishes that use peteh beans, palm sugar desserts and please don't forget the lemper, the chicken filled steamed rice croquettes, they're soft and creamy beyond any description. Haven't found a bad dish here so far, so order away and enjoy at home. Haven't found a restaurant in Amsterdam that is up to par with the cooking here when it comes to original Indonesian comfort food.

      A lot of Thai places around a in the Pijp these days. A lot of so-so quality, a lot of hacks. But thank god there's also Thai Deum on the Ceintuurbaan, walk from the Ferdinand Bol straat towards Roelof Hartplein, it's at your left hand near Ruysdaelkade. Very powerful, undiluted Thai Cooking here. And I don't mean just the peppers. The cooks here are really skilfull.

      I will write up about middle eastern restaurants in the Pijp shortly, but forget about Bazar please. They're grease peddlers and there are so many wonderful alternatives around.

      1. re: deepsandwich

        Thanks deepsandwich, for the great recommendations! We never made it to Spang Makandra last summer, but definitely will this time around.....and toko Ramee and Thai Deum. We walked past the latter every day but never made it there. Won't make that mistake again.

        Agree that Bazar is really, really sub-par. Would love to hear your thoughts on Middle Eastern restaurants when you have a chance----and they don't have to be in de Pijp---we do a lot of walking!

        Thanks again.

        1. re: deepsandwich

          I enthusiastically second the mention of Spang Makandra--interestingly, though, I grew up in Suriname and found it to be the closest match to what I grew up eating. I would recommend the pitjel and saoto soup, which should already be familiar to you if you're into Indonesian fare. Incidentally, I went back to Suriname for the first time in almost 20 years just a few months after my Spang Makandra visit and found that, of the 20 or so bowls of saoto I had in Paramaribo, only one was as good as the one I had in Amsterdam--I credit the attention to detail/ingredients at Spang Makandra.