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A Few Restaurants I Like in Amsterdam

I was thinking that I could blather on about my flight home (napped; had a snack; watched about 137 episodes of 30 Rock; thought about how many different Business Class seats United is currently flying, as the seat on this 767-300 is different from the seat on the former Continental 757-200 I flew over on, which is different than the seat on the 777 I flew on last time I went, etc; for what it’s worth I think this seat on a former United aircraft is quite comfortable,, perhaps slightly more than the 757 version, though I’m probably splitting hairs)

But then I though I’d actually write something that might be useful to someone: the people I work with and I often mention how we always go back to the same 4 or 5 restaurants in Amsterdam because they’re pretty good, and why mess with success? Right, that’s a terrible reason, but that laziness will benefit you as I share the places we like to eat in Amsterdam. The city is not really known for its food culture, but we’ve found a bunch of places that are consistently good, even if they’re none of them are really a can’t-miss kinda place.

– The Restaurant at the Conservatorium. Located in the really amazing Conservatorium Hotel, the food is perfectly good but the room itself is beautiful. It’s in a huge atrium in an incredible building, and I could just sit there for hours (which, because it’s a Dutch restaurant with Dutch service, you may just do anyway). The food is mix that, from what I can tell, has no underlying theme (pastas; fish; bagel). I don’t know why the bagel with cream cheese is on the dinner menu. Yesterday they had a tasting menu where everything had asparagus. But everything I’ve had has been very good, and given the variety there’s something for everyone. It’s right by the Museumplein, so after a day at the Rijksmuseum it’s a nice option.

Casa Di David (Singel 426) is a straight ahead Italian place located on a canal in an old home (I think everything is an old home in Amsterdam). Pastas are solid, as are the pizzas. I like sitting upstairs because it’s just a bit cozier up there. Whenever we ask anyone in the office where we should go to dinner, they always mention this place, and now I’ve started recommending it as well.

La Olivia Pintxos y Vinos is a Tapas restaurant over near Anne Frank house in the Jordaan neighborhood. The food is really good, though I think we like going there because we are always treated like crap by the hostess if we don’t have a reservation. I have probably had this happen 4 times:

Me (walking in): Hi, do you have a table for 4
Hostess: (pause). No.
Me: When do you think a table will open up?
Hostess: (pause)
Me: (continuing to wait expectantly)
Hostess: We are full

But if you call ahead and reserve a table you’ll have a great time

Café George is a little brasserie that has the regular mix of sandwiches, burgers, omelettes and fries. Food it perfectly good, and I’m not sure it’s particularly interesting though it’s near our office and sometimes I just want something easy. The only odd thing is that some nights it’s packed to the gills, and some nights we are the only people in there. Perhaps there’s some secret there that I don’t know about.

– We ate at The Butcher in the de Pijp neigborhood for the first time this trip, and they have really amazing hamburgers. We were talking to the guys who work there, and they knew a ton about the hamburger restaurant situation in New York, and I would put the burger I had there up against anything I’ve eaten in NYC. A really pleasant surprise, to be honest. Also, there’s a “secret” cocktail bar in the back, inasmuch as it’s a secret even though I know about it. You need to get a reservation by emailing info@the-butcher.com. It was closed the night we went, but it’s supposed to be great.

– I’m not sure there’s much special about Palladium, but it’s right near our office just off the Leidseplein, the servers are all extremely attractive for some reason, and they make a club sandwich where they crumble hardboiled eggs on it, which sounds awful, but is actually fantastic. That said, they use mayonnaise like an ingredient, rather than a condiment, so you may want to ask them to hold back on that (though they won’t listen to you).

– I haven’t been to de Kas in years, but when we went it was amazing. Located in a greenhouse 15 minutes outside of the center of town, they grow much of the food that they serve. They do 1 menu each day (3 courses for about 50 Euro), and it was a wonderful experience. Someone told me they went recently and didn’t love it, but I think they must have been full of crap.

– I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Door 74, my favorite bar in the city. It’s a cocktail lounge, and while they have a menu I just tell Leroy, one of the bartenders there, what kind of thing I’m in the mood for (rum, not too sweet) and he makes something up. Then he’ll adjust the next drink based on what you thought. Unfortunately, his last day was this week (he’s going to a place around the corner called Mystique), but I love the place. It’s kinda hidden, and if you can pronounce the address (Reguliersdwarsstraat 74) I’ll buy you a drink. Just write it down and show it to the cab driver – they’ll know.

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  1. The bar at Hotel Pulitzer is outstanding. Great, cozy location, terrific staff that will make one of a kind cocktails and a wonderful desert menu.

  2. Any more tips or places of interest in Amsterdam? I was there in January and am looking forward to going back next January as well. Thanks Jared.

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