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[NL] Amsterdam

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#1 Rail Paul

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 10:47 PM

Reuters has a travel postcard from Amsterdam, with things to do and see. Several good suggestions for biking, doping, balling (bitterballing, that is).

First, rent a bike. At 12 Euro per day, it's a fast and healthful way to get where you're going. Since it rains 230 days a year, bring your umbrella, too. Consider at least one Rijstafel for dinner, the article suggests Tujuh Maret (Utrechtsestraat 73, 020-427 9865, www.tujuh-maret.nl).


Now is the time to try out traditional Dutch cuisine -- order yourself some bitterballen (deep-fried balls filled with a meaty sauce) and kaasblokjes (blocks of cheese) as appetizers along with your biertje. Make your way from the Nieuwmarkt back to Dam Square and walk down Nes, a small street running parallel to the Rokin. See if you like any of the restaurants there (Brasserie Harkema has recently developed into a crowd favorite). Alternatively, walk on a bit and have dinner at the spacious Cafe de Jaren (www.cafedejaren.nl). De Jaren is also well worth a visit during the day for coffee and cake.

This being Amsterdam and all, dope is available. The coffee pplaces often have selections of marijuana on the menu, and staff advisors can give you insights into the qualities of each. The Greenhouse on Oudezijds Voorburgwal (www.greenhouse.org) can be a good place to spot celebrities, given its proximity to the Grand Hotel. Alternatively, the Asian art work, cushions and lanterns in De Rokerij on Lange Leidsedwarsstraat (www.rokerij.net) are just what you need to sink into a mystical trance.

Dreams come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.

#2 flyfish


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Posted 27 October 2007 - 10:55 PM

What, no mention of hash brownies at the Bulldog?
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#3 Sneakeater


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Posted 11 April 2018 - 08:34 PM

You'd call Amsterdam's dining scene "resurgent" if it were really there to begin with.  So I guess we'll call it "surgent" instead.


The tone of most of the hot new places is very Brooklyn.  But better -- and, despite the relatively weak dollar, cheaper.  The fancy places, certainly, are much cheaper (and obvs better) than their Manhattan counterparts.


On the whole, we ate very well there.


Guts and Glory -- This restaurant features a differently-themed mandatory tasting menu each month.  Luckily for me as a tourist, I arrived for the last day of their "Greatest Hits" tasting menu, reviving favorite dishes from the previous ones.  Despite the different "themes" (countries, cooking methods, main ingredients) represented on the "Greatest Hits" menu, the food seemed to me to be pretty consistent in style.  It was roughly analogous to Battersby in Brooklyn:  refined, but kind of rustic at heart.  Flavors were consistently well-balanced.  The room is casual, the service definitely on the Brooklyn model.  I really enjoyed this.


De Kas -- This is in a big greenhouse in a garden/park.  The conceit is that many of the ingredients are grown on-site.  So sort of like Blue Hill Stone Barns -- except the cooking isn't as ostentatiously ingredient-centered.  This is more in the line of very good "normal" food.  The flavors are clear; the cooking clean.  I loved this place 10 years ago and I loved it this time.


Cafe Bern -- An old counterculture classic on the Nieuwmarkt.  It serves Swiss food.  Nobody's going to say this is one of the great restaurants in Europe.   But it's very congenial and enjoyable.   Their Emince de Veau is better than Maria's Mont Blanc's in New York.


Gebr. Hartering -- Probably my favorite meal of the trip.  This place bills itself as an elemental meatstaurant.  But it's not that elemental:  the food is actually kind of refined for what it is.  The smoked prime rib doesn't taste anything like an English-style prime rib, but it's really good.  Everything was really good. Service , in the Brooklyn style, was pretty much perfect.  Lovely location on a canal.  The locals favor the upstairs dining room, but I'd say the tourist play is definitely the downstairs, which is right on the canal.


The White Room -- This is a fancy hotel restaurant run from afar by celebrity chef Jacob Jan Boerma.  It's supposedly a step down in fanciness from his flagship restaurant -- but I wouldn't have guessed that.  (The dining room, from the late 19th Century, is said to be the oldest one in continuous use in Amsterdam -- and it's gorgeous.)  This is one of those places that drives a New Yorker to despair.  You couldn't have a fancy French-oriented restaurant like this even open in New York now.  If you did, it wouldn't be nearly as good.  And -- here's the rub -- places in New York that are nowhere near as good as this charge more.  Makes you wanna holler.


Madam -- A restaurant at the top of a skyscraper hotel tower in the new Noord neighborhood.  You walk in, and you just know it's gonna suck.  You have to go through some kind of security check to be allowed on the elevator up to the restaurant.  You have to wait long minutes for anyone to deign to come to the hostess desk to seat you when you get there.  The crowd is a mix of obvious tourist and local douches, lads, and bachelorettes.  Service is odd (we had to fight to get them to give us a doggy bag!).  So what's shocking is that the food, while not up to the standards of the rest of the trip, wasn't bad.  Indeed, maybe it's just that it's in Yurp, but it seemed that touch more imaginative, and with better ingredients, than you'd ever see at a scene restaurant in, say, NYC Meatpacking.  Still an unpleasant experience, and our worst food in Holland.

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