For this week’s restaurant recommendations I’ve been going through my business cards of Dutch style restaurants, called ‘eetcafé’ (eating cafe) by the locals. These are probably the most commonly known type of restaurants one can find in The Netherlands.
Eetcafés are quite literally what the name suggests: it looks like a pub/casual restaurant where one can have lunch and dinner, and some will, from around 11PM, remove tables so that it becomes only a bar. However more and more are popping up that are just proper restaurants – and with that, overall food quality goes up.
The food can be classified as Dutch fusion – often you’ll find dishes like Dutch style satay or steak with fries and salad alongside some pasta and/or fish. It’s always casual, never overpriced and one can always find a very diverse range of guests – young, old, rockers, business people, students…they’ll all visit an eetcafé once in a while. So, it’s quite a place to discover the Dutch!
Amsterdam of course has countless options for you to sample, so today I’ll help you making your choice a little easier by naming my current top – 5.
1. Kop van Jut
It’s Dutch from head to toe in this little restaurant! Near Leidseplein, it’s our favourite to bring guests from abroad who need a crash course in Dutchness, or just with friends for a nice eetcafe meal. The restaurant is full of little Dutch decorations from the Royal family to footballers, the satay and fries are wonderful (so is the rest of their menu – simple yet very acceptable). Don’t forget to order a coffee ‘Kop van Jut’ after your meal, which comes with a typical Amsterdam liquer and stroopwafel (syrup waffle).
2. De Fles
Look down! This restaurant is actually in the basement so no peeking in through the windows here. However, trust me – it’s worth a try. The decor has been taken from the inside from a ship, and they did a good job of making it pretty cosy. Food prices are just a little on the high end of what one can expect at an eetcafé (20 euros for a main) but it’s worth it. I especially enjoyed their tuna steak the last time, friends recommend the salads.
3. Restaurant Dubbel
Another option which is just steps away from Leidseplein, unlike Kop van Jut, this is a place where I’d go to we’d have a group to entertain. Not the most exciting in terms of looks, but good service, all usual suspects can be found on their menu (and one of few who usually offer mussels, a Hungryhelen favourite meal), and all at a more than reasonable price.
4. Van Kerkwijk
no website, map and Dutch reviews here
Close to Dam Square, this place is quite often packed at weekends, which is not a surprise. Here, your waiter will join you at your table to go through the menu of the day, and the menu is great every time we’re there. It’s not possible to reserve a table here, so just walk in and have a drink or two until it’s your turn – I never mind having some pre-dinner conversations with fellow hungry guests.
5. Eetcafé Van Beeren
no website – map and Dutch reviews here
Just off Nieuwmarkt square this eetcafé can be found. Can’t remember how many times I’ve been here for whatever reason, but food is always good, atmosphere good, house wines are nice…all very relaxing. Their – daily -very cheap – special usually sells out before I can even try ordering it.