Restaurant Vinkeles, Amsterdam, 7/7/18

entrance
entrance

Vinkeles is a one star restaurant in the boutique Dylan hotel.  The hotel faces a canal but you can’t see it from the restaurant. The small indoor dining room has an enclosed patio with closely set  2-top tables in it.  The glass roof is shaded by trees and buildings and some kind of garden area is behind it. Music is in the background but it might have bled in from the bar area you walk though to get to the restaurant.  There also happened to be a wedding there in the large center court of the hotel.  It’s noise level permeated the patio space but I’m guessing they seated most of the guests there as the inside dining room was even more affected.  However it was a warm night and we asked twice to have some more air conditioning which had the slightest affect. Being hot, cramped with a thumping background noise did not seem to be the experience they were going for but hopefully it didn’t color my impressions of the food that seemed to decline in flavor as the evening went on. Continue reading

Ron Gastrobars, Amsterdam, 7/7/18

entrance
entrance

Ron Gastrobars is a large place with one Michelin star.  There are several locations, all with different themes.  Here there was a large indoor dining room that was not being used as everyone was seated on the huge covered patio that looked out on a busy street.  Soft rock music played in the background and the small tables were set with salt and pepper grinders.  A very casual crowd was there, many as family units.  The menu offered a number of small dishes which they suggested you get several per person and split them.  We opted to order the Tomahawk beef chop for 2.  The problem we had was that they told us it would take 45 minutes to cook but it ended up being twice that long.  I wasn’t sure what the problem was but worried that it might have tainted my experience here – which did not leave me satisfied or anxious to ever return.   Continue reading

Ciel Bleu, Amsterdam, 7/6/18

restaurant entrance
restaurant entrance

Ciel Bleu was a 2 star Michelin restaurant on the 23rd floor of the Hotel Okura Amsterdam.  The good sized formal dining room offered a spectacular view of the city as the room’s walls on 3 sides were windows.  Even tables in the middle of the room could enjoy the view but they were nice enough to move us to window table as its occupants left shortly after we arrived.  Music plays in the background, purse stools are available, the large tables are well spaced, all tables except those next to the wall (where guests sit side by side so both can enjoy the view) are covered with white linen and each place is set with small salt and pepper wells and a dish for olive oil.   There were a couple larger tables for parties on one end of the room.  They offered 3 tasting menus with one being vegetarian.  We chose the Ciel Bleu Guestronomy.  Service was attentive and friendly.   Continue reading

The White Room, Amsterdam, 7/6/18

hotel building
hotel building

The White Room was a large one star Michelin restaurant located in the NH Collection Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky. The lovely room re-opened in April 2016 after extensive restoration of the room and paintings.  Gold and white dominated the very ornate room with white upholstered chairs and banquettes, white walls with gold trim, white table clothes and frilly chandeliers.  The panel paintings in the walls date back to 1885. Windows look out onto the street but have opaque sections at head level whereas the windows facing the hotel have gold stained glass patterns.  The menu offered 4, 6, and 8 course tastings, a la carte options and 2 and 3 course surprise lunch menu with wine pairings available.  The lunch is interesting because different tables will get different things.  We chose the lunch menu with the wine pairing and portion control was good and the wine pairings a generous pour.  I would call it technically perfect food served with some flavor.  Service was friendly and timing was good.   Continue reading

212, Amsterdam, 7/5/18

building
building

212 has only been in business since January 2018 and surely will become a hard reservation to get once word gets out, so get to it now.  The seating was at a u-shaped counter (with drawers for extra flatware underneath) surrounding the open kitchen, where Chefs Thomas Groot (there that night) and Richard van Oostenbrugge work their magic,   The chefs and some of the staff previously worked together at Bord’Eau.  A couple of high-top tables on the sides are available for larger groups.  A lovely wood ceiling, dance music in the background, comfortable bar seats, two walls of windows looking over streets and canals and a hum from the happy crowd set the ambiance.  The atmosphere is casual rather than formal and even a bit noisy.   It was a fantastic meal and service was out of this world- really friendly, fun and welcoming.  It all adds to an unconventional and memorable dining experience featuring a spectacular meal.   I would easily go back.   Continue reading

Calla’s, The Hague, 7/5/18

building
building

Calla’s was in The Hague, just a short train ride from Amsterdam.  It has been in business for 20 years and has a one star Michelin rating.  The red brick exterior did not prepare me for a very modern interior.  The white interior and linens were highlighted by a number of different red blooms and all of the nine dining tables, except for the chef’s table, were located upstairs.  Downstairs were the kitchen, waiting area and bathrooms.  Windows to the exterior let in natural light in the daytime and the windows within allowed you to catch glimpses of the action and plates coming out of the kitchen.   Some modern music played in the background but the tables were well spaced enough that noise was not an issue.  The menu included an a la carte section, 2 tasting menus and a lunch special.  The special’s options sounded best to us and so we chose it.   Continue reading

Librije’s Zusje, Amsterdam, 7/4/18

hotel
hotel

Librije’s Zusje is a 2 star Michelin restaurant located in the lovely Waldorf Astoria hotel.   Chef Sidney Schutte has been in this location for 3 – 4 years having  worked at Zwolle Librije for 10 years.   The medium sized, well-spaced tables were fully draped with nice linens and set with comfortable leather chairs and purse stools, rhythmic music was in the background and the lighting is lowered.  Smaller velvet chairs match the banquette seating along one wall.  Windows look out to the beautiful grounds,  paintings and mirrors tastefully decorate the walls and a huge arrangement of gorgeous flowers graces the center staging table.  The room has a wonderfully elegant feel.   Continue reading