Last October, I wrote this round-up of my favorite foodie finds in Amsterdam. Per Matthew’s suggestion (@elrolio), two girlfriends and I tried Cafe Open. It was a cold ride after our viewing of the tween vampire flick New Moon, but we had a very nice dinner. The soup, the fish, the wine – all excellent. It’s a pretty fancy, quiet, romantic place. I think it would be even nicer when you can see the view now that the daylight lasts much longer as it’s a raised box made entirely of glass.
The Dark Angel and I also tried Nam Kee per @pammy528’s suggestion. This one just didn’t do it for us. I think I just am not an oyster fan, so the famous black bean oysters will not bring me back. And the rest of the food was unmemorable chinese fare. Plus the service was so incredibly rude – the epitome of what Holland is known for – that I don’t have any interest in returning.
As far as success stories, Nomads, pictured above was the perfect spot for a small birthday gathering for our friend Sietske. There was a nice selection of music and it was so relaxing to eat and drink sans shoes as we lounged. We went for the fixed three course menu and enjoyed almost all of it, but I think next time we’ll opt for picking and choosing ourselves. There was some anchovy paste as one of the selections in the appetizer course and some stuffed sardines in the main course that we all could have done without. The tabouleh, humus, chick pea salad, and lentil salad were fantastic served with a selection of breads (and remember, the Dark Angel is half Syrian, so we are quite critical of arab foods). Worth returning just for these stand-outs, the atmosphere and the belly dancing.
We were probably the last to discover De Bakkerswinkel, but they have given our previous favorite Saturday lunch spot, De Soepwinkel, some serious competition. In De Bakkerswinkel’s favor: the soup is even better here, though there’s only one choice. The quiches are also delicious, plus their salads whether your whole meal or as a side are always fresh and they add pistachio nuts – a nice touch. We don’t care for their cakes – De Soepwinkel we’ve decided makes the best ones in the city – but the cranberry scones with cream and jam are a perfectly acceptable dessert alternative. The atmosphere is also much more lively and the restaurant is huge, so even though we generally stand in line for 10-20 minutes, it’s not unbearable. Even with a group of six last weekend, we were sat in about 10 minutes. We heard they’ll take reservations for larger groups and they do high teas and breakfast that we have not tried.
Speaking of high tea, Gartine deserves an award for this. I’ve only been twice with my lady friends and didn’t see a man in there other than one of the owners. It’s the ideal spot for a female catch-up, mother’s day, baby shower or any other girly event. Both times, we’ve gone for the three course high tea and have never been disappointed with the amazing freshness and creativity of the soup, the sandwich/quiche course, or the painfully decadent dessert course. Each course is paired with your choice of tea. You must book ahead and give yourself at least 2 hours to enjoy.
My good friend Mariota and I serendipitously stopped into Restaurant Peper & Zout when we were looking for a dinner spot one week night. They happened to have one table so you should book if you plan to come here. We went for the starter, main and dessert for 29.50 plus a few glasses of wine. My roasted red pepper soup with a prawn in the middle was perhaps the best soup I’ve EVER had. I went for a delicious vegetarian main and a cinnamon ice cream(!). Rota had a prawn starter a tuna steak main and a creme brulee. We were both in love with our food. The atmosphere is quiet and the place is small. The service was efficient and polite. Remembering this meal makes me want to get back here soon…
Finally, the highlight of this round up goes to Lovefood. Jason Hartley, a fellow marketing strategist and foodie, has poured his heart and soul into this pop-up restaurant concept that allows him to chef every so often. And we are the beneficiaries. Each Sunday when Jason is in the kitchen he provides the most amazing brunch in Amsterdam – the Sunday Munch. His English breakfasts are bang on as they say (he is English) and his American choices are a sure thing. He just started adding a biscuit with gravy to his “Full Mikey” – the American breakfast with sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, a pancake and a biscuit with gravy. I had it yesterday and being a Southern girl I was so happy to have gravy. He also does an English roast from time to time, and in the summer he does a Loveboat concept where he does a barbeque aboard a boat that goes through the canals. I didn’t get a chance to go on one of these last summer, but I hope to this year. I would highly recommend joining the group AND becoming a fan on facebook to keep up with the times and new offerings as he’s always improving.
That’s all for this edition. Curious to know other places to try. On my list: Bo Cinq, Tempura, Tekada, Goud Fazant, Klein Janzen, De Italian, Renato’s, Cafe Struik, and Tomatillo.