Katy Bennett takes us on one last stroll through all of her favorite restaurants in the city
The clock is ticking people! KMB has been coming to ISE for years now, and we only have one left in Amsterdam before the show moves to Barcelona in 2021. While we won’t miss the winter weather in Venice of the North, we will miss the food, drinks, and overall rockin’ good time to be had in this amazing city. So we’re making this year one to remember and will hit all our fave spots, along with some new ones we’ve been longing to try. Allow us to recommend a few. And don’t forget to make reservations, these places can get busy!
Eats & Treats
Mayur Indian Restaurant – Conceived by New Delhi native Pramod Sharma with his son now at the helm, you can trust that the food at Mayur is authentic. Authentic doesn’t always mean delicious, but Mayur does both exceptionally well and at a reasonable price with great service and personable staff. Traditional North-Indian dishes in a warm atmosphere make you feel like you are dining in someone’s home. We love this place.
Balthazar’s Keuken – We are very excited to hit this spot at Elandsgracht 108 (in old town) with Mark Cichowski, Kevin Main, Steve Haas, and Lisa Slayman. It is a tiny place and the kitchen is literally at the end of the room where the seating is located. It’s a fixed menu so come with a flexible pallet. Wine pairing as well. Mark dined here a few years ago and said “it was exceptional, with a quaint ambiance.”
Casa de Sergio (Italian) – This is a cozy spot with Italian spirit on the Korte Leidsedwarsstraat near the Leidseplein in Amsterdam. You’ll find traditional Italian dishes like homemade Margherita pizza, Risotto ai funghi porcini (yum!), meat and fish, plus delish Italian desserts. Good, solid food, but sometimes service can be inconsistent (gotta keep it real).
Midtown Grill (Steakhouse) – Sometimes after a long day at the RAI you need a little red meat! This steakhouse opened in 2010 and is now known as one of the best in Amsterdam. Add a meticulously curated wine list, craft cocktails, exceptional service, and you’ve got a recipe for an unforgettable evening. They’ve even scratch-made us chicken noodle soup when we / our clients were been sick! (Tim at D-Tools can attest to this.)
Oriental City (Chinese) – We always wrap up our ISE experience with a dinner here with friends. Near the Royal Palace, the red-light district, and Chinatown, the restaurant specializes in authentic Cantonese dishes with chefs hired from Hong Kong. Dimsums, roasted meats, and fresh seafood all totally to die for. It’s off the charts.
Restaurant de Utrechtsedwarstafel – Mark Cichowski introduced us to this place in 2019, and we’re going back in 2020. Within strolling distance from Theatre Carré this is the stage of culinary artists Hans Verbeek and Esther van Meerten. Their performance is a ballet of wine and food. Indulge yourself with the culinary compositions by Esther the Chef and the wines of Sommelier Winemaster Hans.
De Vier Pilaren (Dutch Pancakes) – Poffertjes. You have no idea. These pancakes are so, so good. I mean, c’mon, a thin, European butter-and-powdered-sugar-topped circle of happiness? You can get savory ones as well. Either way, these babies make any trip to Amsterdam a little more special.
More KMB Foodie Tips
FEBO – Walk up to the counter for fast treats like french fries and hamburgers, or get a Dutch snack out of the automated vending machines, like krokets, frikandellen (a sort of minced meat hot dog), and Kaassoufflés, which are basically cheese, wrapped in dough, and deep fried. Add fries—order those at the counter first—and you’re set.
We love the OJ in Amsterdam. Stop and get a juice at least once during your visit. After all the wear and tear of ISE, the Vitamin C immunity boost will do you good! The food at the RAI is also very good and fresh, try the smoothies for a healthy boost or the high-quality hand-pressed burgers.
Recommendations from KMB Friends
Mike Blackman’s Picks
Mike Blackman, friend and Executive Director of ISE himself, recommends these amazing culinary experiences:
• Izakaya – Avant garde and exquisite. Just look how beautiful their sushi is below to get an idea of the artistry that goes into this fare.
• 212 – Fewer rules, more adventure. During lunch and dinner, former Michelin chef Richard van Oostenbrugge and Thomas Groot create a gastronomic spectacle. Amsterdam’s first no-table-restaurant, get cozy with your neighbors and enjoy!
• MOMO – MOMO is still one of the city’s hotspots, offering fusion cuisine in a very fun, fashionable setting. Bento (Japanese lunchboxes) are served at lunchtime, followed by a menu designed for sharing in the evening. Can’t wait to try it.
• Pesca – Aka, “Theatre of Fish” offers fish and only fish near the RAI. Their goal is to “make fish accessible again!” A place where can you find good quality fish for a good price in a cozy environment. We don’t often go out for fish, but based on Mike’s rec and the fun video on their site (watch it), we’re gonna try it!
• The Harbour Club – Mike also recommends the Harbor Club, and while KMB has not been there, the look of the wine cellar and funky art is enough for us to get our reservations on! Definitely a must for KMB.
David Hiltner’s Picks
From friend, artist, and Executive Director of the Red Lodge Clay Center David Hiltner: “Ciel Bleu (pictured below) was by far the best meal I have ever had… ever! It’s very pricey, but amazing! The Bluespoon was the restaurant in the Hotel Andaz and very good as well. A lot of creative culinary experiments on the menus. On the hand written list shown below are all favorite recommendations of the Hotel Andaz’s bar manager, who is an amazing foodie. Bussia Italian very high-end Italian. Those are my top three.”—David Hiltner
Do & See
Markets (Citywide) – On Saturdays, you’ll find large street markets peppered throughout Amsterdam. There are many treasures to be found here. We like Albert Cuyp Markt, which runs through the middle of de Pijp, known for its 19th-Century architecture and culinary scene. Noordermarkt is really three markets in one. On the left side is Boerenmarkt farmers market, to the right, antiques, books, vintage clothing, jewelry, fairtrade bags, etc, and around the corner, Lindengrachtmarkt, one of the best food markets in the city. Nieumarkt still holds a daily market as well as an organic fare market on Saturdays, but we like to go there for the cafés and restaurants, too. On the must-try list is the Ijhallen, a gigantic (700 stalls!) monthly flea market filled with vintage bargains that, we hear, is very worthy of a day trip.
Take a Canal Boat Tour – We never get tired of eating at KMB, but if you are looking for something to do during your time away from RAI outside of grub, you must do a canal cruise at least once in your life. Amsterdam’s history is so deeply intertwined with the canals, it’s a great learning experience and also incredibly fun!
The Anne Frank House – On July 6, 1942, the Frank family went into hiding in the building at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam. You can visit it here and learn her story through quotes, photos, and videos in an authentic and subdued environment. Definitely an experience.
Rijkmuseum – Located in Amsterdam’s Museum Square, the Rijksmuseum is renowned for its world-class Dutch masterpieces that illustrate the story of The Netherlands, with highlights like Vermeer’s “Milkmaid,” Van Gogh’s self-portrait, and Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch.” Get a little culture shot while you are here and see some true masterpieces! Of course, there are many other museums worth checking out, if you’ve got the time….
L&B Whiskey Cafe – This smooth whiskey bar has a collection of more than 2100 whiskeys! Scottish malt whiskeys, Irish, American, Canadian, and Japanese bottlings are all on the list, as well as 100 bottles from all European corners. Single malt, blend, bourbon, cask strength, single cask—all types, sizes, ripening and ages can be tasted here. Bartenders will advise you if you get lost and are also up to snuff on all the new bottlings that haven’t made the menu yet.
We hope to see you at ISE 2020! Let’s make this year one to remember friends!
In the meantime, follow along with us before, during and after ISE by liking us on Facebook!
Katy Bennett is CEO and Chief Strategist at KMB Communications in Red Lodge, Montana. This post originally appeared on KMB’s website.