5 x places to eat this month in Amsterdam
This month’s tips include beer pairings at a recently opened brewery and tasting room, a modern take on Dutch classics and scrumptious Mexican street food.
The new one
POESIAT & KATER
A former gas distribution station that once kept the city’s street lamps lit, is now home to a brewery and tasting room, with an enlightening story. Bart Poesiat and Klaas Kater were important figures in the early Dutch trade union- and social housing movements, and master-masons at the Van Vollenhoven brouwerij, Amsterdam’s biggest brewery in 1900. In 1949 the brewery was incorporated into Heineken and would’ve been forgotten had a local foundation not held on to its recipes, which are now in the possession of Poesiat & Kater. Resurrected Van Vollenhoven beers, made using the original recipes, include the ‘famous’ Extra Stout, with notes of black liquorice, coffee and caramel, and the ‘legendary’ Princesse, a traditional spring blond, which made up 40% of the brewery’s production in 1885, yet tastes surprisingly modern, with a coriander and orange peel aroma and tart, wheaty flavour (€3.25). In addition to shiny new brew kettles, the handsome building houses plenty of 19th-century factory features, including large Neo-Gothic windows and high beamed ceilings with a rare retractable roof. The menu includes beer-paired bar bites, such as always-popular Dutch veal bitterballen, cod-cheek kibbeling and fried chicken with an IPA-dip (from €6.50). On the sunny terrace, you’ll find a mix of young local residents, craft beer bar crawlers and grey haired civil servants from the nearby municipal district office.
The trendy one
At this hip eatery named for an all-male brothel, Dutch hospitality tycoon Casper Reinders’ signature eclecticism creates a genuinely warm and charming whole: think art nouveau stools along an antique mirrored bar, rattan Panton chairs, vintage circus posters, and the odd touch of taxidermy. The menu is a world tour of comforting flavours: black Angus tartare with sesame mayo, sambai vinaigrette and crunchy crackling; creamy gnocchi with zingy heirloom tomatoes; and white chocolate marbré with textures of tropical fruit (from €39.50 for 3 courses). The excellent cocktails are very reasonably priced, too (at €9.00, on average).
The critic’s choice
This Dutch food specialist gives traditional dishes a light, modern twist. The décor too, is a picture-perfect combination of past and present, with original arched leaded-glass windows, a restored 17th-century ceiling and -staircase, and copper lamps over a marble bar. There’s also a large reproduction of Dutch master Frans Hals’ famous militia portrait, which inspired the name and colour scheme, and cinemagraphs bring other Dutch paintings to life. On the menu (€35.00 for 3 courses), you’ll find dishes like pan-fried haddock with pointed cabbage, pink radish and bacon vinaigrette, sirloin steak with cheese-stuffed roast onion and beet jus, and cranberry sabayon with pomegranate and Dutch fondant sweets.
The classic one
5&33 AT ART’OTEL
An all-Italian kitchen is often a sign of delicious things to come, and at this high-end hotel restaurant you’re in the capable hands of chef Nadia Frisina, whose love of seafood shines through in generously proportioned shareable plates of linguine with vongole, bottarga and prosecco (€48.00), and frittura di mare (deep-fried soft-shell crab, calamari and tiger prawns) with lemon mayonnaise (€23.00). There’s a well-considered wine list, with plenty of options by the glass (from €4.50), and the cocktails are particularly good here, with one of the best Penicillin’s in the city (€12.00). Be sure to take your drink and stroll through the basement art gallery before you go.
Prins Hendrikkade 33
The quick & simple one
CHIAPAS TACO CARTEL
While the Mexican street food here may not always be authentic, the décor certainly looks the part, with distressed walls and a kitschy Mother Mary altar with multi-coloured candles. We recommend the tangy Al Pastor, with grilled pork, apple guacamole, pickled onions and salsa verde (€7.95 for 2), with extra habanero sauce if you like it hot.
Van Woustraat 29H
Text: Karin Engelbrecht for A-Mag Amsterdam Magazine May – June 2017