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

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

Restaurant De Kas, Amsterdam, 7/4/18

building
building

Restaurant De Kas was located in a park like setting.  The grounds are used for some of the gardens that supply the restaurant and you could watch folks planting while we ate.  More of their farms are located about 20 miles away.  There is a large interior dining room but the day we were there the weather was nice enough to allow use of outdoor tables.  At lunch they offered a tasting menu of 3 or 4 courses with an optional cheese platter.  A special that day was oysters which you could add on – priced per piece.  Wine pairings were available of 2, 3, or 4 glasses.   We chose the 4 course lunch and the wine pairings.  Service was friendly and helpful but the pacing of the meal was really slow.   Continue reading

Gebr. Hartering, Amsterdam, 5/13/17

exterior
exterior

Restaurant Gebr. Hartering is a small place with most of the tiny, closely spaced dining tables on the first floor but with a few tables on the floor below.   The wood tables are covered with a cloth runner and napkin and set with tasty olives.  Service is exceptionally friendly and helpful.  They offer a la carte as well as 5 or 7 course tastings, where the 7 course adds a beef rib steak for 2 and cheese course.  The first 3 courses are served family style.  The noise level is significant with so many people having a good time, many in groups of 4.   Continue reading

BAK, Amsterdam, 5/13/17

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building

BAK is located in a commercial building on the waterfront.  There is a bell you need to ring to get buzzed in and then you have the option of walking up multiple flights of stairs or taking the elevator to the top floor.   As you turn right out of the elevators you will find the restrooms that you’ll use while dining right around the corner.  The view is wonderful with all the boats coming and going as well as a couple of docked boats, one of which I understand is a bed and breakfast.  Music plays in the background, tables are well spaced but small and there is an open kitchen at the end of the long room.  However it is not the only kitchen as evidenced by a dumbwaiter that moves things up and down between the other kitchen.   Continue reading

DAALDER, Amsterdam, 5/12/17

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Entrance

DAALDER is made up of 2 rooms and a small kitchen.  Both rooms are tightly seated and packed with people.  There is no music in the background but plenty of conversations and laughter.  Wood tables are covered with white runners and nice cloth napkins and bathed in subdued lighting .  There is only a surprise tasting of 4 – 7 courses.  We opted for the 7 courses to try the most things.  Service is efficient and super friendly.  They were kind to repeatedly go over the descriptions for me as there was no printed menu and the noise level added to understanding challenge.   Continue reading

De Librije, Zwolle, 5/12/17

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front entrance

De Librije has been located for 3 years in an old prison in Zwolle, a short train ride from Amsterdam. The dining area is downstairs and upstairs is a hotel.  They offer a tasting menu of 5 – 7 courses or a la carte options.  For the tasting there are  4 courses where you have a choice of dish and the additional ones are chosen by the chef.  For our 7 course tasting we both chose different dishes from the options but for the surprise courses we were served the same.  After a moment in the reception area we were moved to a pre-dining room lounge.  Drinks are offered and champagne was topped off as we enjoyed some snacks which were all pretty good.  Also Chef Jonnie Boer comes out to visit about the menu and you make your choices and decide the number of courses.   Continue reading

Breda, Amsterdam, 5/11/17

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exterior

Breda is a fairly large casual place.  The rectangular space has a long bar with a few seats but mostly small closely spaced tables appointed with nice linens.  There is no background music but the sound of the conversing patrons provides a significant noise level, however conversation is possible.  The servers are all friendly and speak good English, but pacing is a little variable.  They serve only a surprise tasting of 5, 7 or 9 courses and they do not adjust portions.  However we got the “Full Monty” or 9 course menu and it was very doable.  Dishes all seem to have a little twist that elevates them beyond the usual and makes them quite tasty.  Tables are set with bread and butter, course salt, olive oil and a flatware rest so you can re-use your utensils.   Continue reading

Bord’eau, Amsterdam, 5/11/17

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restaurant windows

Bord’eau is located in the De L’Europe Hotel which overlooks a busy canal in Amsterdam.  One wall of the lovely restaurant is floor to ceiling windows overlooking this canal – a great seat for a show with your meal.  The tables are good sized and well spaced with faint pop music playing in the background.  Service is friendly and helpful but pacing was too slow leaving lots of time between courses which seemed deliberate since there was no crowd.  The food seemed to be going for more visual punch than flavor.  They offer an a la carte menu as well as tastings of 3 – 6 courses and it is well detailed what is added with each additional course.  There is also an optional duck liver course that could be added to any of the tastings.  (We chose to add that to our 4  course tasting). Continue reading

Graham’s Kitchen, Amsterdam, 5/10/17

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building

Graham’s Kitchen is a medium sized place made up of a couple rooms.  An open kitchen faces the small wood tables in one room and I would ask to sit there, just to watch the “show”.  Graham Mee has been a chef at Michelin starred restaurants and opened his own place about a year ago.  He is from Liverpool, England and thus speaks great English and enjoys chatting with his guests.  Tables are fairly close but noise level didn’t seem to be a problem even with the soft music playing in the background.  Service is efficient and super friendly.  It is a 3 – 6 course tasting menu at night with several choices of optional add ons.   Continue reading

Choux, Amsterdam, 5/10/17

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Exterior

Choux is the first floor of an office building.  They offer a special lunch for workers in the building and you will see many of the workers walking down the stairs to set up with computers or meet with colleagues at the tables.  Tables along the wall are for “outside patrons” who get a choice of a 3 or 4 course menu.   They also offer wine pairings at 7 euros per glass and you can choose how many glasses you want or select from a reasonably priced wine list.  At night the menu is larger and reservations are a must as they have been full every night in the two years they’ve been open.  There is no passed menu just an oral presentation.  I  was able to get one after the meal that is included here.  An open kitchen is on one end of the room and service was friendly and helpful.   Continue reading

Lastage, Amsterdam, 4/18/13

Exterior
Exterior

This is a small three-story business, with the lowest floor being the kitchen and the street level and balcony at the serving areas. We were lucky enough to get a table on the edge of the top-level so we could watch the room, see the food coming up the stairs and watch the kitchen. It is cozy with fabulous service. We ordered the chef’s dinner, where he does an extended tasting of most of the stuff on the menu. Otherwise you order 3, 4, 5, or 6 course meals and pick within the categories. We also asked them to supply wine pairing with each course, thus the number of wines shown.

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