I really love Amsterdam, although I officially don't live in the city (small town near Amsterdam called Badhoevedorp. Don't ask...). I knew when I found out that I wanted to work in fashion that my future home would be in Amsterdam because here is where the (fashion)magic happens. Another love of mine is food but then I mean GOOD food. Off course i'm educating myself with al the healthy things you can eat daily and own a slow juicer but once in a while I really crave good (prepared)food from a stylish, romantic restaurant with good service.
I think I got this from my dad. We had the luxury while growing up that whenever my dad didn't feel like cooking or there were no groceries in the house he said: oke we are going out for dinner. I remember that every time he suggested it I was excited and hoping that my mom would say oke instead of: I'm tired (sorry mom). You can imagine that when I lived in Dubai with my dad for five monts it was restaurant heaven.
I enjoy: dressing up, having a wine at the bar while waiting for our table, hear about the specials that the chef has that evening, drink a kir royale before the first course, trying the right wine with every course, sending pictures to my dad of every course with subscription because he loves good food, have dessert even though every time I go I decide not to and having a great night out without pain in my feet from my high heels.
That said, yesterday was my boyfriends 28th birthday. He said I don't care what we do tonight we can stay at home and eat what's left over from yesterday. Maybe it's the habit that I got from home but I love to go out for dinner for birthdays, it's the perfect excuse!
The problem that I have with finding a new restaurant to try in Amsterdam is that there are too many good rated restaurants. I know it's a luxury problem, in the town where I grew up there is almost nothing, but which rating website can you trust now a days? In the two years that I have lived (near) Amsterdam I've created my own top 5 list:
1. IZAKAYA, a culinary hotspot in Amsterdam, has taken traditional Japanese dining experience to a higher level. In the middle of the vibrant area “De Pijp” at the well known Albert Cuypstraat and minutes away from the Museum quarter you find IZAKAYA. Located at the foot of the chic Sir Albert boutique it offers pure relaxations and indulgence.
IZAKAYA is best translated as ‘pub’, a cornerstone of the Japanese food culture. The concept is authentic but not traditional. The dishes are served on small plates and in line with Asian ‘grazing menus’ guests can order as much as they would like. The dishes are meant to share with one another and they invite you for conversation about new textures and flavours. The vision of IZAKAYA: try at least one dish that you have never eaten before.
IZAKAYA also gives a twist to the bar. An array of house-infused tonics is bestowed, with the Japanese Shochu as the basis. Shochu is distilled from barley, buckwheat and sweet potato. It has proved to be the ultimate basis for the well-being tonics, but also for a wider selection of exclusive and surprising beverages. Of course the more traditional cocktails are also served.
The first time I ate at Izakaya was with my dad and it was one of the few times in my life that my dad was enthusiastic about a good restaurant in the Netherlands.
And just so you know you are surrounded by beautiful people so your dress up is important;)
This French restaurant is located right at the Herengracht canal. Behind the stove are ambitious young chefs Arne Russchen and Tommy den Hartog, who have both cooked at one-star Vinkeles in Amsterdam. It serves a frequently changing, seasonal four, five, or six-course menu. We went here for our six year anniversary and it was heaven on our plates with every course. When we ate here it was only open for a week, we only knew that because they told us so but the experience they gave us was if they where doing it as a second nature.
My favourite taste explosion between courses was this 'oyster'. It's their signature bite. All home made with their own baileys taste liquor in it.
3. De compagnon
A classic French restaurant where they have been preparing meals at a high level in a traditional way since 1992. The attractive restaurant is established in a monumental building bordering on one of the Amsterdam canals and is located in a alley, leading into the Warmoesstraat. It is a unique location in the heart of Amsterdam and offers a fine view over the waters of the Damrak. The restaurant’s wine list boasts around 400 wines and is among the most extensive and unique in the Netherlands. Restaurant The Compagnon is an extremely suitable venue for a complete and surprising culinary evening.
This was the choice that I made yesterday for our dinner. My boyfriend came home and was irritated because I didn't cover up his green egg before it begon to rain, was tired from a long day at work, didn't like the location from the restaurant because he knew we couldn't park near by and that it was located in a touristic side of Amsterdam. After we finally came in the restaurant Marc was still not impressed because he never heard of this restaurant from collegeas and I was nervous because I was hoping that everything would turn out good for his birthday. I asked the waiter for my kir royale but he suggested something else. It was some kind of rosé with fruit in it... Marc looked at me with is: I'm right face. The choice of wine was so much that he couldn't chose, so he said to the waiter please serve as a glas which compliments our courses.
After tasting our starter it was my turn to look at Marc with my: I'm right smile. The wine tasted perfectly with our courses and every course was delicious. I told them on forehand that it was my boyfriends birthday, so when the dessert came I was a little disappointed that there was nothing special done for him. But when we left they gave him a bag of home made sweets with a handwritten card from the team. Thats original!
4. Ron Gastrobar
chef Ron Blaauw took the Dutch culinary world by surprise, when he announced he would be closing his two-star restaurant in the Dutch capital for a small refurbishment and relaunch it as Ron Gastrobar. The aim is to give diners a more relaxed, informal and affordable dining experience. Within a couple of days the restaurant was transformed.
Ron Gastrobar is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday till Sunday. As from 6 May 2013 the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner daily. Ron Gastrobar's menu offers a wide selection of dishes all priced at €15, desserts are €8. The concept is quite simple, you can order as few or as many dishes as you like and the size of the dishes makes them perfect for sharing. The terras is lovely and it started with my gin tonic which was served in a beautiful wine glas with fresh cucumber, that made me love this place already.
5. George W.P.A
George W.P.A is one of the three George restaurants; the other two being Cafe George and George Deli. Located in the quaint and upmarket Amsterdam- Zuid area, George William Parks Avenue comprises three buildings with art nouveau decor and an outdoor seating arrangement. It has the feel of an upmarket bistro and serves food from 8 AM to 11 PM. The cuisine is French served out of an American style open kitchen.
The first time I came here was with my friend/colleague to talk about business plans. We sat down for lunch at two and left at eleven.... we had lots of good food and wine. The reason why it's not higher in my list is because they are also known for their poor service.
The last George they opened is George No.5 which is located on the beach in Zandvoort. It looks very nice but when we came at 9:00 PM we could only order wine not even a little bite or see the menu. I'm willing to give them an other chance and go for dinner at No.5, I'll keep you posted...