Amsterdam offers a whole lot in terms of gastronomical excellence, and you do not have to fork out massive amounts of cash for superb meals. Many of the smaller neighbourhood restaurants that you can find just outside the city centre are absolute gems. They are ignored by the tourist masses and provide high-quality dining experiences at very reasonable prices. Here are my favourite neighbourhood restaurants.
1) Couscous Club
In case you are a lover of couscous, look no further than the Couscous Club at Ceintuurbaan 346. This place offers only a few dishes (all couscous meals of course), but each of them comes highly recommended and the ambiance of the restaurant can be described as affable. This is a neighbourhood eatery attracting a regular audience of friendly people who enjoy free Sunday night chamber music concerts, whilst chatting away and incidentally tucking into their tasty meals, the quality of which is ‘hard to beat’ according to a UK newspaper. Make reservations. Like many restaurants, museums and shops in Amsterdam, this place keeps its doors shut on Mondays.
Another favourite. Your typical Amsterdam food place, Wink is small, does not attract a whole lot of tourists and therefore sticks to an authentic menu of high-quality imaginative dishes. These are rustled up in a minuscule kitchen which you get to see when the serving hatch is open. If you want to get the feel of what the savoir vivant local likes – this definitely is the place to visit. Don’t let the humble furniture fool you; the food is five star! Closed Mondays.
3) La Falote
La Falote is located in the Museum Quarter (slap bang in the middle of the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum) and dishes out typically Dutch food. If you need a ravishing but sturdy meal without frills, go here. The cook seems to know you are hungry. There is good apple pie too! Food is very reasonably priced and the place is open on Mondays (closed only Sundays). This is a popular haunt with both tourists and locals, so try to book a table if you are in for the Dutch food experience.
4) Little Collins
A newcomer, but already a favorite, Little Colins is an Australian-run brunch cafe with great coffee, even by sky high Dutch standards. Although chef Georgina Patterson cooks international dishes, these have definite touch of Melbourne, so I am told. The menu caters especially for adventure seekers, and even offers liquid solace to those who have indulged in a few alcoholic beverages the night before.
5) Cafe Restaurant Braque
Cafe Restaurant Braque is a great place which serves anything except Dutch food. For some, that happens to be a comfort. Located at Albert Cuypstraat, this is a local neighbourhood cafe, which has only a few typically French dishes on its menu. However, the items that are listed are highly commendable, especially the bouillabaisse and the vitello tonnato. The service is quick, there’s water and bread before you order, and many types of wine are sold by the glass at very reasonable prices. This is where you go for a lovely meal and a quiet conversation. There does not seem to be a direct link with the artist (George Braque) other than the French ambiance of the place. Braque phonetically sounds like ‘brak’, which is Dutch slang for ‘hungover’. Whether this is incidental or the byproduct of my excessive love of both art and wine, I have as yet to determine.