Great Indonesian in Amsterdam/Utretch?
In September I am going to Amsterdam and Utrecht for a few days, and would love to find some good Indonesian restaurant recommendations.
I will be with my parents - so "great and caters to Western tastes" opposed to "very authentic" might be appreciated. If I can trick my parents into "very authentic" - even better, but if the place/menu looks 'scary', I'm going to have a harder sell to them.
I ate at Sama Sebo in June and thought it was quite good. It's very expensive but the portions are enormous...had the rijstaffel with 4 other people and we had so much leftover. I've spent 5 weeks in Indo but not in the areas that a lot of those dishes are from (I assume mostly Java and Sumatra, I was only in Kalimantan and Sulawesi) and still thought it was pretty tasty. The service was super-friendly, not sure if we had the owner serving us or just an older career waiter.
I'm another fan of Sama Sebo. I have a friend whose family lived in Indonesia for generations until the 1940s and has tried most of the rijstafels in Amsterdam and thinks it's the best. I've eaten there twice with her including on my last trip to Amsterdam just a few weeks ago and it was delicious. I've tried 2 other places but they were not as good. The secret with Sama Sebo is not to order a rijstafel per person as it's too much food. We went with a group of 5 and ordered rijstafel for 4 people - 3 regular and one vegetarian to get more vegetable dishes. And even then we couldn't eat everything. It's not cheap but its very good.
The suggested restaurant is good, not scary, some might even call it tame.
But insiders and people who really know Indonesian food introduced me many years ago to a place in Den Haag called Soeboer. www.soeboer.nl/restaurant/index.html. (website in Dutch, but the contact details are fine.)
Ever since, the idea to eat indonesian food elsewhere than at Soeboer has never again crossed my mind.
I agree; although Tempo Doeloe is good, it's certainly not the best in my opinion.
If you can make it to Leiden, try Surakarta http://www.surakarta.nl/. It's a bit different style than most Indonesian in Netherlands and ranks right up at the top. Just like you and Soeboer, I never think to go anywhere other than Surakarta.
However, next time my husband is in town, I can wait to give Soeboer a try!
In Amsterdam, I've enjoyed the rijsttafel at Tempo Doeloe. In fact, it's the furthest I've ever travelled simply for a meal - flew to Amsterdam, ate, slept, flew back next day.
The fact that rijsttafel is a product of the Dutch colonial era means it isnt, as such, authentic. But who cares about "authentic" unless you happen to know what "authentic" tastes like.
It's too many years since I've been to Utrecht to offer an opinion.
Just to clarify what I meant by authentic versus caters to Western tastes, is that my mother is far more willing to be adventerous in a place that looks like a standard Western restaurant, regardless of the food.
Recently, we went to a new Chinese/pan-Asian restaurant that took the place of a chain restaurant that had constructed the building. So from the outside, and the decor the place looked like a million and one other restaurants in suburban America, but the menu included more adventerous dim-sum and Chinese offerings. My mom didn't try the jelly fish or chicken feet, but she was far more open to going outside her comfort zone food-wise since the place looked familiar.
So I guess that's more my point than going into colonial Dutch/Indonesian food vs Indonesian from Indonesia food.
Tempo Doeloe still fits your bill, if the food suits. Looks like a western restaurant. Caters to westerners (it's in the middle of a western city, so most customers are westerners). English is spoken by some staff (which was just as well as I have no knowledge of Indonesian languages and my Dutch is extremely limited).
That said, as anywhere in the world, most restaurants are catering to locals.