If you fancy some traditional Dutch cuisine (and sometimes not so much), then look no further to these amazing eateries in Amsterdam.
This was our first dining experience in Amsterdam. We had a very long day of sight-seeing and bus-riding and being all touristy and we really needed food. Proper food. Amsterdam is very notorious for its ‘special coffee shops’ and since we cannot stand the smell of the dreaded herb in the first instance we found it a bit of a challenge to just drop in anywhere for a bite to eat. After a bit of a walk we stumbled across Cafe Mojo. It was busy. It was lively. And, refreshingly enough, it actually smelled of food!
The hubby is crazy about nachos and if there are nachos on the menu, then nachos it is! So we had it as a starter.
Find my Nacho recipe by reading Mexican Fiesta
It was ok. Not the best I’ve ever had. Not the worst I’ve ever had. It was ok. Big.
For mains we had the equally ok Sticky Ribs. The portion size was just right and it came with a variety of sauces (chef’s yummy aioli being one of them!), french fries and salad. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t have the fries. Since I am allergic to fish and shellfish and chefs taking a short-cut and frying everything in the same oil it is a rare occasion that I can have fries (or anything fried) in a restaurant!
As the night progressed it became harder and harder to hear each other over the table. The music became louder and the people became louder. We knew that it was time to call it a night.
We spent the night before trawling through Tripadvisor to find a unique spot to eat after the mediocre meal we had. We were looking for somewhere that was loved by the locals and at the same time give us a memorable meal that we would want to share with the world. We found it at Le Bistrot des Alpes. Ok, we know that this wasn’t strictly Dutch cuisine (wait for tomorrow night for this one!) but it ticked all the boxes for us.
As we entered the restaurant, situated on Utrechtdwarsstraat, we were immediately made to feel welcome. We loved the cosiness of the restaurant, the stylish decor and the fact that we could hear each other speak in normal voices!
As we sat down the hostess talked us through the specials; what we liked and didn’t like and the fact that I can’t eat fish or shellfish. I really fancied the sound of the Soup of the Day, a typical Dutch dish of Ertensoep (pea soup), but there was one problem… It contained scallops. My heart sank and I started to reach for the menu once again, just to be told that the chef will fix me a plate without the fish! I was over the moon and suitably impressed at Le Bistrot des Alpes’ hospitality to say the least. It was the best Ertensoep I’ve ever tasted. It was fresh. It was earthy. It was wholesome. It was just want I needed.
We decided at the start of the holiday that the words ‘diet’ and ‘healthy eating’ temporarily does not exist. It is a good thing we did that since the next dish would’ve blown any good intentions right out of the water! As avid cheese-lovers we had unanimously agreed that Fondue montagnarde aux cèpes (Cheesefondue with charcuteries and porcini mushrooms) would be the chosen dish for the night. Wow!! The molten, rich, velvety fondue tickled every sense in my body. My eyes were treated to a the sight of an oozing decadence only molten cheese can do as I pulled the bread out of its dipping pot. My tongue tingled with delight as I tried to twist it around the cheesy strings in a bid to guide them into my open yap. My teeth applauded every time enamel and golden, crunchy crust met. My throat gulped the treasure to deposit it safely into my eager stomach. I tingled with delight knowing that there was more where that came from. Cheese heaven.
It is not often that I eat desert as I prefer savoury dishes, but tonight deserved to be treated well. There is nothing better than ending an incredibly rich meal with more riches. This time their lemon meringue was the star of the show. Tart, but sweet at the same time. Rich yet satisfying. A very memorable meal. One that I didn’t want to end.
On our very first night here we struck up a chat with the doorman of the hotel. During this conversation I mentioned to him that I would love nothing more than to taste Stamppot. This is a very traditional dish consisting of mashing potato with vegetables and often served with a type of smoked sausage.
I had to giggle when I learned that Blauwe Bliksem and Hete Bliksem are varieties of stamppot where the potatoes have been mashed with either pears (former) or apples (latter). In Afrikaans the word bliksem not only means lightning, but is also used informally as an expletive.
He immediately exclaimed that there is only one place in the entire Amsterdam that he would recommend and immediately got on the phone to book us a table. Unfortunately they were not answering the phone, but he persevered. By the time we came back from our day of sightseeing and discovering, we found a little note in our room with our booking time and reference to Moeders. I was so excited. Finally I can taste some traditional Dutch cuisine!
Upon entry into the restaurant the first thing I noticed was that there was no English-speaking people around. Aaaahhh. Since I speak Afrikaans I’ve tried my best to communicate in Dutch (very similar) and my efforts was well-received! The decor was so very unique! Everywhere there were random pictures of mothers. The name of the restaurant directly translates to mothers and it really has become a shrine to all the mothers in the world. It actually made me quite nostalgic to gaze around at the pictures. Each, I am sure, holds a very special memory.
As a starter I tried Ertensoep again. This time it was homey and stodgy and thick. It instantly transported me back to my grandmother’s kitchen as it tasted just like her pea soup; riddled with thick cut bacon pieces and proper homemade bread.
Then the main arrived: potatoes mashed with sauerkraut, served with locally smoked sausage, a meatball and a rasher of bacon. In the middle of the stamppot was a tiny little indent filled with meat juices. Just like my mum’s cooking.
I am not even going to lie to you: the taste of mashed potato mixed with sauerkraut is odd, yet satisfying. It is filling and it really just hit the spot. Thinking about it, when I return home, I definitely want to attempt to cook this oddly satisfying concoction!
Have you tried stamppot before? What was your experience? Please share your experience in the comments below as I would love to hear from you!
Also read about my recommended spots for Breakfast in Amsterdam.
All of the above opinions are my own. I have not been paid for any content on this post.