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Chufi

The foodlover's guide to Amsterdam

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I've had 5 or 6 meals at Lab 111 (Arie Biemondstraat 111, between Overtoom and Kinkerstraat) this month (because I'm working in the building), and I really like the place. It's a small menu, 6 or 7 appetizers, 6 or 7 entrees.

The appetizers have been much more interesting than the entrees so far: I've had duck rilettes with an onion compote, seared scallops with raw golden beets and a red beet vinaigrette, mixed greens with sweetbreads and calves' tongue, etc. Each of these is around 8 or 9 euros, totally reasonable.

It's not mindblowing food, but consistently good and interesting, and the cafe itself is a nice dark place with a bit of a somehow non-cheesy lounge vibe happening. It's loud, with lots of candles and arty people.

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going to amsterdam tomorrow (i know, last minute) . staying in de pijp. would love any recommendations: looking for good, honest food, not necessarily michelin recs, but if you have anythign specific, id love to hear. also , looking for things that are delicious but budget-conscious. heard there is a great variety of surinamese, indonesian, int'l food. specifically interested to try an indonesian rijsttafel. any recs? what is the price range? any thing uniquely dutch? any very good coffee/espresso places (real ones)?

thanks !!

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In de Pijp you're in great Surinamese territory...

the classics are Albina (Albert Cuypstraat 69) and Warung Spang Makandra (Gerard Doustraat 39)...at Albina a broodje for lunch might be a good idea, basically a sandwich similar in concept to a banh mi, but minus crisp vegetables or pate. My favorites are pom (malanga and chicken casserole), babi pangang (kind of a sweet and sour Indonesian pork), and kerrie kip (chicken curry, sometimes also called hete kip. If they ask you if you want peper and zuur (chiles and pickles) on your sandwich, you do. For pictures and more background check out my eG foodblog (linked in my signature)...a broodje is 3 euros or less.

At Warung Spang Makandra i'd go for either the Javaanse Rames or the Indo Rames. These are like mini-rijsttafels, usually 4 or 5 dishes with rice and noodles, but in quantities designed for one person.

Don't have any rijsttafel recommendations, they're out of my budget these days....

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You can check out Spang Makandra's menu online...it's in Dutch, but I think you can figure it out. I should say that Spang Makandra's broodjes are probably great too, I've just never had one there. And frankly, I haven't eaten at either place in maybe two years, but they've both been around forever and consistently come out on top in the polls, although there's a small hint that Albina may be slipping...maybe Spang Makandra is a better idea.

And don't forget to get a Turkish pizza somewhere (also less than 3 euros). There's a good spot at the east end of the Albert Cuypmarkt on the corner of the Van Woustraat, can't remember its name.

+++


Edited by markemorse (log)

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thanks so much for the quick response! last night, had a meal in teh neighborhood since the weather was a bit disagreeable. visited orontes and shared some nice grilled lamb chops and the meze. today, will head to albert cuyp market, and wander a bit aimlessly. will definitely have a surinamese snack (or two). thanks, and if there is more, do let me know! will probably also check out de koffie salon, IJschype (sp? - the ice cream spot), and whatever seems interesting and delicious.

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You might check out Carlo di Luca (website) for espresso, he's at Gerard Doustraat 224. No idea what the format is, but he's been written about a few times locally as someone who's passionate about coffee, roasts his own beans, etc.

And please do report back on your snacking!

mem

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I second the recommendation for Turkish pizza and donner kebab, for good budget priced food. In fact, if you buy them from the street stalls or take-aways, it is (IMO) the cheapest and best quality fast food in NL. As already posted by others, it costs about 3 to 4 Euros, and enough for a quick lunch. And you can find them almost anywhere. The one I particularly like, because it is less salty than many others that i have tried, is a market stall at the eastern edge of the Dappermarkt, ie when you are at Dapperplein, walk eastwards until you reach the T-junction with Pontanusstraat, and it is right there at the intersection, and usually there is a line up / queue. The Dappermarkt is a pedestrian street market that basically runs east-west, and is interesting if you like flea markets with food stalls, and then and have a great donner.

Falafel bars can also be a good bet, if you like such.

If you do not know what Suriname is, then google for it, and it will be a very interesting read. Its cuisine is a fusion of cuisines from 'surviving aboriginals', African slaves, indentured Asian (Indian, Chinese, Indonesian, etc) laborers, whatever, and from wherever the Dutch colonials could rope in and ship to the S American colony to work on their plantations (and the Dutch swapped New York USA, to the Brits for Suriname, would you believe that?, yes, hindsight is always.... ).

Anyway, back on topic. Being a fusion cuisine of so many diverse cultures, it can be expected that Surinamese cuisine is not homogenous in the sense that some would tend to be more Indian, others more Chinese or more African. Try the 'roti' or 'moksi'dishes if you want a more Indian influence, and for a good example of a more Chinese influence, try the restaurant Kam Yin, at the top of Warmoesstraat , ie nearest to Amsterdam Centraal, THE amsterdam central railway station – and a convenient location for most tourists. Surinamese cuisine is basic asian/african home cooking (unlikely to earn a Michelin star anywhere, any time soon), but excellent value in NL. Try it as an example of grass roots fusion cuisine, rather than fusion as dictated by some celebrity chef who had run out of ideas on how to promote himself/herself, or who were clue less in the first place.

I am not a fan of Dutch cuisine, which for me seems to be mostly meat and potatoes, ie mostly boiled/mashed potatoes, cheese, ham, boiled or braised/stewed meats, boiled to death vegies, and sandwiches. But for visiting family, friends/foes i usually recommend a DIY lunch, eg karnemelk (a kind of buttermilk, but if you dont like the idea of buttermilk, then just regular milk; and yes, try milk for lunch and dinner for the dutch culinary experience), a variety of cheeses - try cumin (Komijn) cheese, ham, some breads, some pickles and greens (all available packed and ready to eat from grocery stores) – and find a street vendor for raw (actually pickled) herring, a broodje haring with onions and gherkins. And find a nice spot for your picnic, and there are many parks or squares, eg Vondel Park, Niewmarkt, etc. And after your DIY lunch, look out for Vlaamse Frites for snacks. And these are all at budget prices.

If i were looking for a 'real, authentic, classical' Dutch cuisine in a cafe/restaurant for visiting friends/family, i will search the menu for a 'hutspot' or 'boerenkool stamppot' which is a kind of kale hash. I am not Dutch, and will differ to those who will or have posted their recommendations for real dutch cuisine in cafes/restaurants. What i have been told, as i have never been there, is that the D'Vijff Vlieghen on Spuistraat is very popular with tourists, looking for genuine dutch cuisine, but you will not find many, if any, Dutch customers in there.

Haute cuisine in NL is mostly French, Italian, Spanish, etc, ie foreign, or at least heavily foreign influenced and not typical Dutch; and over-priced for what you get, ie when compared to the Euros that you would pay for equivalent menu and quality if you were in France or Spain, etc.

What i would NOT recommend in NL is rijsttafel in particular, and Indonesian food in general (and yes, there are exceptions, but those exceptions are usually not located in central, touristic Amsterdam). Please note, i am only talking about Indonesian food in NL, and not about Indonesian cuisine in Indonesia which, for me, is one of the greatest cuisines in the world. In fact, i have had much better experiences in Indonesian restaurants in London and NY, than anywhere in NL.

You would have a hard time finding anything called 'rijsttafel' in Indonesia, outside of tourist hotel restaurants. Rijsttafel is somewhat like Chop Suey in the US; its an adaptation to suit local tastes, Dont get me wrong, i have nothing against such cuisine, but all admiration for such ingenuity. What i am against is, as alluded to by markemorse, 'they are out of my budget at the moment', and there is no reason for such over-pricing of mediocre Indonesian cuisine.

Rijsttafel is over-hyped, over-promoted by all the touristic propaganda from NL, as something 'exotic' or unique, or a must have, to be experienced when in NL. For me, it is the biggest tourist trap, and rip-off in NL (and there are many tourist traps in NL, as one would expect in any popular tourist destination anywhere in the world).

Conventional wisdom is, check out, ie look in before sitting down at any rijsttafel restarant recommended by tourist boards/restaurant reviews/etc, and see if you can find one with Indonesian or S E Asian customers. Please let us know when you find them.

You could assemble a DIY rijsttafel. Find a small Indonesian toko cafe/restaurant, or better still a take-out place, and then just order small portions of several different items..... you can then choose what you really like, ie not be locked into a Prix Fixe menu, and it will be way more authentic Indonesian and much cheaper.

But, if you are a tourist with limited time, and must experience this 'must have' rijsttafel' that you have heard so much about, then check out Sama Sebo, somewhere between the Marriot Hotel and the museum area, and reservations are recommended.

there are many good and varied reasons to visit and even to live/work in NL, but food is not one of them,


It's dangerous to eat, it's more dangerous to live.

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going to amsterdam tomorrow (i know, last minute) . staying in de pijp. would love any recommendations: looking for good, honest food, not necessarily michelin recs, but if you have anythign specific, id love to hear. also , looking for things that are delicious but budget-conscious. heard there is a great variety of surinamese, indonesian, int'l food. specifically interested to try an indonesian rijsttafel. any recs? what is the price range? any thing uniquely dutch? any very good coffee/espresso places (real ones)?

thanks !!

For an authentic Dutch lunch head to Van Dobben and have a broodje kroket ar halfom (liver and beef, eat it with lots of mustard).

Whatever you do, stay away from d'Vijff Vlieghen.

Another uniquely Dutch thing is ofcourse a herring sandwich. Best hangover cure I know, should that be applicable ;)

If you like pastries, bakken met Passie is a very nice patisserie in the Pijp area.

Check out Biercafe Gollem (various locations, one in the Pijp) for sampling great Dutch and Belgian beers.

have fun!


Edited by Chufi (log)

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We have an up and coming restaurant in my hood, Bella Storia, a family-operated Italian. Great fresh pasta.

Bella Storia‎

Bentinckstraat 28

1051 GL Amsterdam, Netherlands

020 4880599‎ – 06 28766999‎ (Mobile)

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It is really a pity no one is posting here.

A few more I recommend

Cafe Kafka

Cafe Kafka on the Wittenkade, very nice burgers. Small, fresh menu. Tremendous outdoor seating

De Wittenkade 190-192

1051 AP Amsterdam, Netherlands

020 4880062

Nam Kee

Very authentic Chinese, oysters in black bean sauce to die for

Zeedijk 111 - 113

1012 AV Amsterdam, Netherlands

020 6243470

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Not dining, but coffee related.

I'm not sure if any of you have been yet or not, but there is a pop-up outpost of Portland's famous Stumptown Coffee located at Albert Cuypstraat 101 in the Sid Lee building ... they are open from 7:00 - 19:00 mon - saturday

Seriously good lattes! These kids know what they are doing.

http://www.stumptowncoffee.com/locations/amsterdam

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Hey there Ore, wish I could help with the lodging thing, but whenever we have friends in town they tend to stay with us or with friends of ours...though wherever you end up, I would say safety should not be an issue. It really never enters my mind when recommending anywhere to go in Amsterdam.

As for sweets, make sure you go to Lanskroon, mentioned upthread somewhere. Amsterdam is also a great place to sample Turkish sweets, but I don't have a specific place to send you off the top of my head...maybe post again after you know where you'll be staying and I can give you a pointer or two...


Edited by markemorse (log)

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well, you're in a pretty good location...i'm not over there as often as I used to be, so my recs are a little out of date. if you're interested in cheap/street food, here are a couple ideas, all of which are found if you head west along the Overtoom. You should know that as soon as you start heading north of overtoom and west of 1e constantijn huygensstraat, you are pretty much not in tourist country anymore...nothing to worry about, but the further northwest you get, the less picturesque it gets...

If you're thinking about a picnic in the Vondelpark (and you should think about this), you might stop into Marqt (Overtoom 21) for snacks. I wouldn't do all of my shopping there, but to pickup something fresh and interesting for a picnic. Nice cheese counter and gorgeous fish.

heading west, you pass the 1e constantijn huygensstraat, my recs for this street are found upthread here. some changes: Proef is now gone, taken over by another Gollem venture, so expect good beers and decent food.

Another change from that post: Abyssinia isn't my fave Ethiopian anymore. that would be Fenan Klein Afrika, haven't been there in a year or so, but went there quite often for a while. Super Ethiopian/Eritrean food. Don't go if you're in a hurry, count on two hours and relaxed service.

on kinkerstraat, there's a market called ten katemarkt, mostly household stuff, but there's a great Surinamese toko called Surima Tropische Markt (Kinkerstraat 184). I would definitely get a couple of sandwiches (broodjes), a broodje moksi meti or pom would be a good place to start. if you like bitter melon, their broodje sopropo is one of the best I've had.

i think somewhere earlier in this thread i went into a little detail about how to order this kind of food...

there's also a nice fish shop at kinkerstraat 181, Viscenter Volendam, they're much better than my upthread rec for Smit. They do all kinds of fried seafood in little 2 to 3 euro portions. Maybe the best way to order is to ask for "a portion of fried ____" she'll ask you if you want sauce, my favorites are ravigotte (a bit like tartar) and and pikante (a bit like thai chili sauce for dipping).

OK, that should get you started...oh, also, definitely get a turkish pizza at Kismet (Kinkerstraat 350) if you make it up to Kinkerstraat.


Edited by markemorse (log)

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We'll be staying at NH Amsterdam Center - $85/night on priceline...SCORE!

Do you know how long the drive is from Brussels to Amsterdam?

And now that you know we are at the NH Center - any other recommendations you can throw out?

Thanks!

So, how was Amsterdam? where did you eat?

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a good brunch? anybody?

Previously there was the LoveFood pop-up brunch and while it was nice to be able to get eggs benedict in several varieties, there wasn't a lot of consistency. That being said, the house-made sausages were delicious (when fully cooked) and there was even a Make your own Bloody Mary Bar... but alas, the LoveFood brunch is (for now, at least) a thing of the past.

Does anybody have any good (or even great!) brunch / breakfast dining out suggestions?

Not looking for the tourist "Full English" or "Full Irish" ... preferably something that shows some creativity and quality ingredients, well prepared.

I know, I'm asking for a lot. :)

Thanks!

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Spent a lovely evening at cocktailbar Vesper last night. They've been open since February, so I'm not sure why this was my first visit, but anyway it won't be my last. :wink:

Bartender made me a couple of lovely drinks after I told him what kind of flavors/ spirits I like.

Highly recommended.

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Chic geek,

the only thing I ever had here was a sandwich, so I can´t really vouch for the food, but they do have both oysters and Eggs benedict on the menu (they call them ´poached eggs on toast with hollandaise´)

Dauphine

Have you guys try Cafe George

on Leisesgracht? I heard they have pretty good breakfast and also they have egg benedits on the menu.

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Have you try Door 74? They also have a really nice cocktail menu. A bit pricy but it is never crowded!

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