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May 16, 2010 04:29 PM

Amsterdam: Searching for Rijsttafel...

Walking down a street in Amsterdam 20 years ago, my traveling companion and I were lured by the exotic aromas and glut of locals into an Indonesian restaurant. Casual, intimate and inexpensive, we savored an outstanding rijsttafel that has ever since held an honored place in my gastronomic travel memories. I will be returning to Amsterdam this September and looked forward to sharing the experience with my husband; but my internet research has turned up scant praise for any Amsterdam rijsttafel. The few that earn laurels are pricey and appear tourist-infested (translation: The praise is mostly from tourists and the restaurant [Tempo Doeloe] is expensive). Are there no more rijsttafel restaurants in Amsterdam that still appeal to locals?

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  1. I enjoyed the rijsttafel we had a few years ago. We ate at Sama Sebo, and the waiters were very nice explaining each dish to us, as it was the first I'd had rijsttafel in about 30 years. I can't remember the cost, but the amount of food ingested was huge! We didn't have a reservation but went by in the afternoon and they squeezed us in for that evening.

    4 Replies
    1. re: zuriga1

      Thank you for the suggestion, zuriga1. Sama Sebo looks nice, albeit somewhat expensive. We could keep the cost down by ordering a la carte or going for lunch. There's a Trip Advisor reviewer who asserts that Sama Sebo is bland and tasteless compared to a few years ago, though. An authentic rijstaffel should have some spice, and why I was hoping to hear of a place the residents favor, even if it isn't located in the tourist center.

      1. re: lanapinkerton

        I've got a Dutch friend who doesn't live in Amsterdam now but did. I'll ask her if she has any good suggestions for an interesting rijsttafel place. I can't remember what we paid at Sama Sebo, but the amount of food was a bit staggering!

        We were lucky on our last trip.. business.. and meals were paid for Sama Sebo was on us another time. We ate at some wonderful places that I'll probably never get to again. If you can swing De Witte Uyl, that was very memorable as being a bit 'different.'

        1. re: lanapinkerton

          you may be looking for 2 contradictory things, as many Dutch do not like a lot of spice.

          1. re: thew

            Although, if they're visiting an Indonesian restaurant, it's very probable that they do.

            The way they set out the meal at Tempo D, was in order from mild to strong (by way of chilli). The hottest item was the hottest thing I've ever eaten (and, frankly, much too hot for my palate) - everything else was well spiced.

      2. In October, my boyfriend and I went to Tujuh Maret on Utrechtsestraat. We didn't get the rijsttafel, but most all of the other patrons did. The service is very nice and friendly, our food was delicious, the rijsttafel looked impressive and the prices were very reasonable.

        2 Replies
        1. re: charlesbois

          Thank you charlesbois. Tujuh Maret has received mixed reviews, but is recommended by many guide books. I'm actually looking for something that is off the guide book radar, but that may not be possible (Where do the Indonesians in Amsterdam like to eat Indonesian food?). Does anyone know anything about Sie Joe? Sie Joe has the price point I'm looking for (cheap).

          zuriga1, thank you again. I would LOVE to hear your Dutch friend's suggestions!

        2. I've only been to Tempo Doeloe.

          I'd heard about the food. We flew to Amsterdam; had dinner; stayed overnight; flew home next morning (furthest I've travelled literally just for a meal). Worth every euro, IMO. Stunning eating experience. As far as I could tell, all other diners near our table were Dutch speakers but obviously don't know if they were locals or tourists from another part of the country or Belgium.

          1. I love the food at Djago (Scheldeplein 18). It's off the beaten path but the tram will take you there from the center in 15 minutes or so.

            I would advice against Blauw (Amstelveenseweg 158). It's been getting great reviews but the dinner I had there a couple of weeks ago was very disappointing. Bland and tired food and the service wasn't great, also they have very strange ordering polices (several dishes can't be ordered except as a side dish, you pay extra if you want to share a main dish etc.)

            For reasons I've never been able to understand, Indonesian take out is consistently better than in sit down restaurants. I like Kediri (Linnaeuskade 2, in the eastern part of town, also off the beaten path!) and Toko Ikan Mas (Eerste Constantijn Huygensstraat 61)

            4 Replies
            1. re: Klary

              Klary, these are really great suggestions. Thank you! Do you have any other recommendations for Amsterdam (even if they aren't Indonesian)?

              1. re: lanapinkerton

                Singel 404 has awesome sandwiches. They're located on Singelgracht in the Spui.

                de Struisvogel offers really nice 3-course menus for as little as 23 Euro.

                1. re: lanapinkerton

                  DuLac , i think on haarlemerstraat, is a great restaurant

                  1. re: lanapinkerton

                    one of my recent finds (not food, but drink, hope that's ok ;)) is Bar Arendsnest
           on Herengracht. They only serve Dutch beer, and if you think that means nothing but Heineken, this place will change that: 100 Dutch beers in all styles, 30 of which on tap.

                    another recent favorite is Vlaams Broodhuys (various locations, I like the large one at Eerste Constantijn Huygensstraat best). It's a great bakery to pick up bread or croissants to go, but in their restaraunt they serve delicious open faced sandwiches, very fresh, mostly organic and local ingredients. very nice for a light lunch or late breakfast.

                    Might have more recs if you let me know what you're looking for!