zondag 22 juni 2014

Spring Update : Amsterdam Restaurants - Bars - Terraces

Cafe Radijs

Exploring the city by bike is fun, on our way back from the Zimmerfarm petting farm we explored some uncovered terrain and found Cafe Radijs. We stopped for a break and a snack.

Radijs is a local hang out, oozing sustainability, pure products, quality, originality. It's a very cozy place, good music, toys for kids, a lot of wood in the interior. The place has a very homey feel to it and the staff is very friendly.
Situated along Admiralengracht the terrace will be a nice place to chill on warm afternoons and evenings.

We had a few snacks and drinks here, but we'll definitely go back for a decent meal.


Cafe Luxembourg

Cafe Luxembourg is an Amsterdam Institution. It's one of the few grand cafes in the city. It's big, elegant, classy, stylish, big-city-esque.

The last few years locals, including me, shunned the place. It had tourist trap written all over it: mediocre food, steep prices, soulless.
But, not so long ago Louis Röst (owner of Cafe Wildschut) joined forces with Belgian InBev Brewers, so we gave it another try during a book shopping walk. There was a jazz band setting up, the soup we ordered was tasty, well presented and well priced. They even served Guernsey butter with the bread, those kind of details I like! Guernsey butter is the best, and I should know since I've lived in Guernsey for 5 months.
It feels like big city grandeur and class came back to cafe Luxembourg, rightfully so.


Restaurant Oost

The good thing about working on a construction site in Zeeburg is that I get to bike to work. To keep the commute interesting I try new streets every now and then. Recently my eastbound commute brought me past Restaurant Oost. I noticed it was an Italian place and had huge lights designed by Marcel Wanders inside. That was reason enough to put it on my 'to do' list. Soon after we stopped there after an afternoon at Pure Markt at Frankendaelpark.

It was a sunny sunday evening, and when we arrived the waitress told us they were one person short in the service staff. I like that expectations are managed. We were not in a rush so we didn't mind, as long as glasses of wine were being poured when needed. 

The interior is very light and bright, I love the rounded windows they have. The design is pretty minimalistic, showing off 2 sets of Marcel Wanders (crab leg) chandeliers.

The wines were tasty, the place was fully booked and a lot of people came to collect their take away pizza. No rest for the kitchen staff for sure.
Appetizers came after a long but not unpleasant wait: 3 variations of bruschetta. It was a bit dissapointing.
It felt like cantine food, in an Italian restaurant you'd expect a lush and pure version of this classic dish. I think they got the bread from an Italian deli and used canned products from the same deli to make their bruschetta. Personally I prefer it pure and simple. Some sort of bread, fresh delicious tomatoes, good olive oil, basil. That's it.

Main course was a pizza and papardelle con salsiccia, pasta with a spicy italian sausage. This was good, tasted like an italian dish, pure and simple and nothing eclectic. The pizza was perfect. Perfect dough, well baked, delicious toppings. Definitely one of the best pizza's in town.

All in all we enjoyed a good dinner, we will try it out again. Maybe different appetizers next time.


On fridays we often venture out in the neighbourhood to get some lunch. Because of it's vicinity to our site we often end up at Studio|K. It's a boho film studio complex with a hip bar and restaurant. They serve a lot of nice organic juices and lemonades. The lunch menu is for Dutch standards not bad at all.

Having a sunny outside terrace also helps. We had a burger, an aubergine salad and a Dolce Vita sandwich. It was genuinely very tasty. Excellent price/quality. You'll spot me and my collegues there quite often on a sunny day. 

Not that we would mind sitting inside on a rainy day.


Cafe Milo

Cafe Milo is a cool little place with an art deco kind of interior. What I like about this place is:
- it's pleasant to sit there, interior, noise and crowd wise.
- the friendliest staff in Amsterdam, seriously!
- a nice outside area which isn't too crowded or filled with boozing students

They serve ok food too.


Cafe Restaurant 1900

Sometimes local hangouts shouldn't be published and exposed to you lot. Cafe Restaurant 1900 is one of those hidden gems. Safely tucked away on a square in Oost there's a very sweet cool relaxed locals bar where people have birthday receptions, meet friends before having dinner, hang out on sunny sunday afternoons while their kids play on the square. The outside terrace is big city relaxed. There's not much to do or to see here, except spotting some locals going about their business.

We watched the Holland - Australia game there and had a burger and lasagne with a salad while watching the game. It was good enough, knowing it was prepared during a hectic football game. Cafe Restaurant 1900 should happen to you. Good luck.



It was the buzz in town for quite a few weeks. The new restaurant that was going to open at the old Film Museum in Vondelpark. We booked a table on the opening weekend (they were doing trial sessions with invited guests for 2 weeks before they opened for the audience). First of all, service was bad. Very bad, even for newly opened places. Someone in the restaurant's management team seemed to miss that things were going really badly and chaotically. People coming in had to hoover for half an hour at times before someone would approach them. Our waiter Puck was very enthusiastic, half hour after we were seated and were waiting for a menu she raced to our table and said she would be our server and take really good care of us.... we never saw Puck near our table again.

Anyway, with a lot of perseverance we managed to receive a menu, and place our orders. The menu is American. They boast bringing salad culture to the Netherlands, but there's not much creativity that goes beyond the Ceasar Salad, the Salade Nicoise, Quinoa/Avocado salad and goat cheese Salad on the menu. Other items include: burgers, fish & chips, steak and lamb rack. Don't go there if you crave a creative dish. After a very long wait (1h15 and 1h20) we received our dishes. It was standard mediocrity, as one would expect in a standard touristy American restaurant. 

The wine: not all that bad. But leaving a glass of wine on the bar for half hour before bringing it over doesn't help the appreciation. The interior is cool, very modern, chic, as you would expect in money loaded Oud Zuid. The restaurant's best feature will be it's grand terrace. Without a doubt it will be packed on every dry day between March and November with people drinking rose wine and eating bitterballen. There are worse places for doing that. 



This place was on my to do list for a very long time. For some reason I never felt the urge to actually book a table there. But because of it's vicinity to my work spot, and because 2 Belgian colleagues came over from the Antwerp head office I felt bold enough to escort them there for a meal before they headed back to Antwerp. 

The setting is really cool, it's an old pumping station (gemaal), but it's not as cool as Pomphuis in Antwerp. Foodwise things didn't start well. The waiter explained they didn't have the seasonal menu because they just had "restaurant week" (cheap one fixed menu only type of festival in town), only steak. That's a bummer, and it wasn't mentioned at the time of reservation.We ordered first and main courses. I remembered the steak being decent, but somehow it wasn't memorable. Steak focussed restaurants should really wow you with amazingly tender and flavoured steak. This was OK but not that spectacular at all for the price we paid. The only thing I remembered from the side dishes is that they were expensive and tiny. That is not a good thing.

Pompstation: not recommended.


Cafe Kobalt

When days are short and nights are long, what is there to do in town? Well on sunday afternoon, when dusk falls, there's sunday afternoon jazz in many bars in Amsterdam. Cafe Kobalt, located very close to Central Station and Jordaan, flanked by tourist ridden coffee shops, is one of our recent favorites. It's a really really really nice, cozy bar. With great staff, great bitterballen, good jazz. 

The crowd here is mixed. A lot of Dutch people who spent a day in Amsterdam chilling with some jazz before hopping on a train, some stray tourists, expats, some jazz loving locals... Well, rest assured, you'll often see us warm up with beer and bitterballen on a cold winter afternoon.


Cafe 't Sluisje

Early spring, there is a need to go out, soak up some sun... why not take the new ferry from Java Eiland to Noord? Noord is very cute. Especially Nieuwendammerdijk is nice. It's an old dike, lined with old houses, churches and a bar. Het Sluisje.

It's over 100 years old, and a stop for a lot of bikers and hikers exploring Amsterdam Noord. The interior hasn't changed much over the years. It's a very authentic old Dutch bar. They have a nice terrace as well. The 16th century building is located at the Nieuwendammer sluce, hence the name. In summer there is a small ferry service from the sluce to Centraal Station.


Kanis & Meiland

Java Eiland is new. Brand new. There is a bar in a new building that is trying to look very old. It's funny, but it's OK, it's cozy there. Kanis & Meiland is tucked away off the KNSM round about, overlooking the Ertshaven. We stopped by for lunch. Service is a bit cold and stiff, but they made me a very very good pastrami sandwich!

For the record, this is the place where I got introduced to Cassis and decided to like it.

Samhoud Places (Lounge)

Samhoud Places in Amsterdam is the most expensive restaurant in the Netherlands. It has 2 Michelin stars. Some food critics and chefs warned me not to go to Samhoud Places because the experience is not worth the sky high bill. Howeverrrr... 3 things. 1. there's something called Restaurant Week in Holland. A cheesy concept luring restaurant shunning people to restaurants with cheap menu formulas. 2. Samhoud Places has a more budget friendly lounge restaurant. 3. Samhoud Places was using Restaurant week to test their new Street Food concept. 25 euro per menu is not a bad deal, not even at the cheaper Samhoud Lounge. A perfect place and occasion for a team morale boosting session.

The interior is very modern and comfortable. They try to create some kind of cosmopolitan, all culture embracing vibe inside, the good thing it's not that noticeable. Service is very warm, friendly, enthusiastic and correct.

The food was very very good. Very original dishes, composed with 

Burgers Patio

We tried Burgers Patio for a quick dinner on a week night. 
Retro interior without it being designed to look retro I think. Not a bad thing. There's a no fuss atmosphere in the restaurant. Which I liked.
The place feels a bit cafeteria like. But with a serious kitchen. The service was friendly but not spectacular, but mostly, the food (steak) and lasagne wasn't memorable. Perhaps we had unrealistic expectations after reading some good reviews of the place.

Not really highly recommended. But we might give it another go on a weekend.


Brouwerij Troost

A new initiative in De Pijp from the guys of Cafe Kostverloren in West. They built a brewery in an old office complex. It's very very cool. It's all about beer and burgers. The beer is very good, I am a big fan of their IPA. They brew all the beer in the brewing area behind the glass wall.

The burgers: delicious, they have a burger with blue cheese. The best burger in town! Definately. Service is friendly, cheerful and swift. It's one of my favorite spots in town.

Highly recommended.



A fairly new addition to Oud Zuid, but very needed indeed. Located on Marathonweg overlooking Noorder Amstelkanaal and surrounded by a nice terrace is Marathonweg, a true grill restaurant. The crowd is upper class Oud Zuid and expats. The decor is nice, a lot of wood, it kind of feels tropical even. 

The place is always packed, so make sure you reserve well ahead. Service is a bit chaotic, but a lot of effort is made to give diners a pleasant experience. 
They have 2 green eggs barbecues in the kitchen. So equipment wise, no issues there. The quality of the meat is top notch as well. 

Very well prepared quality meat, great interior and accoustics, so good so far. Only down side was that the first course salads and side salads are nearly exactly the same, also in size (pretty huge). Apart from that minor glitch, (the restaurant took back the extra side dish salad, and didn't charge us) we had a very good time at Marathonweg. We will be back (often).

Highly recommended!


Bedford Stuyvesant

Good coffee! It's one of the essential ingredients in life. The good thing is that a lot of places emerge that serve good coffee, in good style. Bedford Stuyvesant (named after the Brooklyn neighbourhood where they get their coffee from) is one of those. 100% hipster crowd, macbooks, indie music and an amazing ristretto. Try the sandwiches as well, and the juices! To die for. My favorite coffee spot in town.

Highly recommended


The Amstelveense weg in Amsterdam Oud Zuid is a restaurant lined street. Next to Albert Hein there is now Supermercado, a Mediterranean restaurant with a Spanish flair. Decent healthy food. Nice modern interior. Nothing fancy, nothing weird, pretty straightforward and cheap. Lots of students and locals.  



Cafe 't Smalle

Very small, cozy bar in the Jordaan. One of the oldest pubs in Amsterdam, with a nice sundeck in front of it.

Cafe Pistou

A little gem in BoLo. Excellent Cote-a-l'os! Plain and simple. Recommended.


THE place for tea in town! Off Noordermarkt, a little oasis of zen and tea. Very very cute. One of our favorites. Highly recommended

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