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May 28, 2013 05:35 PM

Amsterdam - best Rijsttafel?

Hi all- not much Amsterdam-related traffic and not much of anything on one of the city's famous cuisines! I am going to be in Amsterdam next week and am interested in tracking down the city's best Rijsttafel! Any ideas?

More details - I don't really care about authenticity since I've never had the real thing and won't know any better, just want good food and a fun place. Just as soon go casual as someplace fancy, but will go fancy if that's the best option. Anyone have a recommendation?

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    1. I was in Amsterdam at the end of last year.
      I went to Tempo Doeloe
      It's the only time I've had Rijstaffell so can't say it's the best.
      It was though, damn tasty and they were very friendly. Would go back if I'm back in Amsterdam.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Paprikaboy

        It's some years since I had my only rijsttafel experience to date. It was at Tempo Doeloe and it was bloody marvellous.

        Dunno if it still is or if it's now been overtaken by other places.

      2. Thanks for the recs! We ended up at Tempoe Doeloe. Food was good if not amazing, but regardless a fun experience, would do it again!

        1. We're going to be in Amsterdam for a couple of nights prior to a cruise in August so I'm also looking for a rijstaffel place. I had found both Blauw and Tempo Doeloe (Blauw gets slightly higher ratings on Zagat). My problem is that I don't eat red meat, pork or shellfish, but I do eat poultry and regular fish. Blauw's menu says they don't do substitutions on rijstaffels, so I may end up having to eat vegetarian. Does anyone know if you have multiple people at a table, does everyone need to order the same rijstaffel, or can one person get the meat, another the vegetarian?

          Also, where should we eat the second night? Should I do a second rijstaffel, or try someplace different? Part of the cruise group is going to a floating Chinese restaurant, which doesn't get particularly good reviews online,is kind of pricey, and strikes me as a gimmicky place. I'd love to find someplace with really good food, preferably reasonably priced and something unique to the area (like rijstaffel). We will probably be staying at the Marriott.

          9 Replies
          1. re: MisterBill2

            When I went Tempo Doeloe we had a vegetarian in the party and they were happy to provide a vegetarian rijstaffel whilst the rest of the table had the non veg one.

            1. re: MisterBill2

              Blauw is notorious for their 'no substiution'rule, and their rule that you are not permitted to order their side dishes (which are all the sate's) withut ordering a main course, which makes it impossible to have a simple dinner of soup, rice and sate - it's one of the reasons I've been kind of boycotting them.

              I've always liked Djago a lot
              but it is a bit out of the city center (which does mean less tourists).

              I would definitely NOT go for a second rijsttafel (note the spelling - rijst = rice, tafel = table; it's a table full of little dishes to go with rice) the next day.

              Go to a place like Gebroeders Hartering, Fa. Speijkervet, restaurant As, Wilde Zwijnen, or Cafe Modern instead for a taste of what the young chefs of Amsterdam have to offer ( reinterpretations of Dutch classics, offal, home cured meats, local and seasonal ingredients).

              1. re: Klary

                Thanks.. the problem is that my 2nd night is a Sunday, which apparently limits my choices. How far away is Djago from the city center? It would be nice to find something that we can walk to. Will they or Tempo Doeloe do substitutions?

                1. re: MisterBill2

                  Not very far: it is in a central neighbourhood, a bit south and east of dead centre. You might be able to get there very quickly by tram; check google maps itinerary with your departure point and that resto as your destination.

                  It would be a long walk though.

                  1. re: lagatta

                    So, I am leaving in a few weeks and finally trying to figure out where to eat. I am staying at the Hotel Fita (Jan Luijkenstraat) and others in my group are at the Marriott (which is closer than I expected). It seems that none of the 3 choices (Djago, Blauw or Tempo Doeloe) are all that close, but Djago appears to be as convenient as any of them and the 12 tram is a pretty direct route (or a 30 minute walk per Google Maps). Are there any other places closer to my hotel that I should be considering? As you said, being away from the city center is probably a good thing).

                    1. re: MisterBill2

                      Djago is in an early-20th-century modern (Amsterdam School) neighbourhood south of the city centre - if you are at all interested in architecture it is worth your while, also just to see a district with "normal" families and everyday life. It is ten minutes' walk from the townhouse where Anne Frank's family actually lived at Merwedeplein (Merwede Square) before having to take refuge behind the family business office. I can't go into history on this foodcentric site, but you can easily google the detail with those two locations.

                      I think the 30-minute walk is a bit optimistic, but you might enjoy walking "home" after your meal, or not. Amsterdam has excellent public transport.

                      I've never eaten there and can't guarantee anything, but the critiques look good.

                      Please write back if you do go there: I'm also interested in other dishes, besides the rijstaffel.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        I'm planning to buy an all day transit pass, so I won't likely be doing the 30 minute walk.

                        I'll have to look into the Frank townhouse.

              2. re: MisterBill2

                Dear MisterBill2, I wonder if you'd had your stay in Amsterdam yet?

                I'm glad you avoided the floating Chinese restaurant. I've heard of that place, if it is the same one, and nothing good.

                The main thing that could possibly be problematic for a non-seafood eater at a non-veg rijstaffel (whether due to allergies or if one is keeping Kosher) is the possible presence of dried shrimp or crab in sauces. If the staff is fluent in English that should not be a problem. Beef would be clearly marked, and pork is rarely a problem; Chinese Indonesians may eat pork but Indonesia is a majority Muslim country and menus reflect that.

                I hope your trip goes well!

                1. re: lagatta

                  Hi.. we in Amsterdam at the moment. We had dinner last night and Op De Tuin and tonight at Restaurant Max. Both were really good. The answer to the question about the rijsttafel at Max is that they have a separate card they give you which offers it for 35e. It consisted on a salad and small plates of all of their Indonesian dishes. Since there were some of those dishes that I could not near, they suggested that I not order it. Just as well, since the gravlax (on the menu as graved lax) I had as my first course was excellent and would not have been included.

                  We also found a great ice cream place, IJscuypje (a small chain, it seems) and had a great "lunch" of that on Sunday.

              3. Are you familiar with Restaurant MAX? I found it on TripAdvisor and it's currently rated #11 of all restaurants in Amsterdam. Their website is down, so they emailed me their menu but did not include the rijsttafel. What they sent me looks very interesting, and it's a bit more convenient to where we will be on Sunday (and they are open Sunday).


                Update - got a reply back and their 3 courses (not including dessert) for 35 euro menu is what they consider their rijsttafel.


                5 Replies
                1. re: MisterBill2

                  If you are asking me, I've never been there, but the Jordaan is a lovely neighbourhood just west of the city centre (past the area where Westkerk and the Anne Frank House are located - I mean the museum in the backstore of the Frank family business where the family took refuge, not the family"s pre-war home). Definitely worth a visit and the restaurant sounds really nice. 35 € sounds most reasonable for the quality.

                  By what Professor Clements writes, the three courses sound fine:

                  "The food was excellent. We had the Rijsttafel, the classic Indonesian meal composed of many little dishes. Our starter, chicken in a peanut source was exceptional and then we had a curried fish which was also excellent. Then we got the set of small individual dishes. Every single aspect of the meal was first class. We'd eaten in other Indonesian restaurants but we'd never had such beautifully (and subtly) flavoured food".

                  His description sounds very precise and there is a set of small individual dishes.

                  1. re: lagatta

                    I agree it sounds excellent but I don't see anything about the "set of small individual dishes" on the menu they sent. When I wrote back and said that it did not appear to be the traditional 12+ course rijsttafel, he wrote back and said "Surprise yourself a little bit !" (whatever that means).

                    Would you recommend it over Djago?

                    This is the menu they sent me. Max does appear to be more convenient to where we will be on Sunday afternoon.

                    RESTAURANT MAX AMSTERDAM
                    International cuisine

                    2 course menu € 29
                    3 course € 35


                    Rilette of tender duck meat (smooth pâté) with sweet and spicy red onion compote

                    Gravad Lax, marinated salmon with mango-pineapple salad and soya-lemon vinaigrette

                    Max’ pan fried scallops with white wine cream and Max’ cinnamon caramel

                    Crispy envelop of mushrooms and asparagus from the oven with truffle pesto cream sauce

                    Green rocket salad and green asparagus with hand cut Parmesan cheese and crispy bacon (or without)

                    Buffalo mozzarella topped with (warm) Mediterranean sauce of baby tomatoes and basil

                    Second starters

                    Max’ favourite: Crispy crepe with salad of spicy Balinese chicken curry

                    Max’ classic, Javanese chicken satay on crispy salad

                    Max’ very spicy aubergine curry salad with green garden herbs

                    Max’ speciality: Bang Bang Rendang, spicy Indonesian beef curry on crispy vegetables salad

                    Main course

                    Confit de canard, crispy skin tender duck leg slowly oven cooked in it’s own juice

                    Filet of lamb with green asparagus, with port sauce and Max’ coconut curry cream

                    Bigger portion of mushrooms and asparagus from the oven with truffle pesto cream sauce

                    No spicy on the skin pan fried fish filet (seabass, spigola, lubine, bar) pan fried with garlic oil and tomatoes

                    Max’ favourite: Indonesian seasoned seabass filet in banana leave with spicy lemongrass sauce

                    Max’ classic: tender chicken (no bones) with MamaMax Indonesian sweet soy sauce

                    Max’ spicy aubergine curry on rosemary potato and crispy vegetables salad

                    1. re: MisterBill2

                      As I haven't eaten at either, I can't recommend a choice, but Max is very much on the radar looking at Amsterdam sites, and has very good ratings, for a price that sounds very reasonable. In terms of food choices, it is a matter of whether you want a more traditional rijstaffel or a more contemporary take on the idea.

                      I will tell you though that Herenstraat is not actually in Jordaan, but in the Western Canal Belt area (Grachtengordel-West) between Jordaan and the "microcentre" so if you are staying in a hotel dead centre, it is definitely an easy walk. Jordaan is just west of there, on the westerly side of the Prinsengracht.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        We're going to be at the Jewish Museum beforehand, and have to end up at the Marriott after dinner to meet up with some people. According to Google Maps, it seems to be a 25 minute walk both to and from the restaurant. Obviously we could take a tram/bus instead. I think we'll do Max instead. I'll report back, possibly Sunday night if I get a chance (we leave on our cruise Monday).

                        Given that I have restrictions on what I eat, ordering strictly off the menu would make things much easier for me, although it wouldn't necessarily have the variety of the "real" rijsttafel (unless that option does exist but is not on the menu).

                        1. re: MisterBill2

                          If you are at the Jewish Museum (Mr Visserplein) you are south and west of the "microcentre" of Amsterdam, but the 14 tram will take you very close to MAX. Take the tram in the Sloterpark direction and get off at the Westermarkt stop. You are very close to Herenstraat, which is a bit north of the stop. It is quite a long walk from Visserplein to Westermarkt.

                          I think the 170 bus is the best transport option to get to the Marriott, if you don't feel like walking (pretty walk along the ring canals, southbound). But you should check at google itineraries or the Amsterdam public transport site