Try googling “Café-Restaurant Amsterdam” and all you get is – well – cafes and restaurants in Amsterdam. Like you’d expect. So why on earth you’d call your restaurant Amsterdam is completely beyond me. Even they must realize it’s ridiculous as they’ve named their website (and their servers’ T-shirts) “cradam”. Needing something in the Staatsliedenbuurt area that was open on a Monday night, it was sheer chance we ended up there. But I’m glad we did.
The interior is cavernous: its proximity to a water tower coupled with the huge pumps and levers that punctuate the dining space made us think it probably used to a water pumping station. Despite its size and the bare, off-white walls, Amsterdam manages to feel warm and inviting. They had a number of decent wines by the glass, none of which were hideously expensive, if only you could find a waiter to offer you one to drink. That little ordeal being over, we got onto the serious business of the food menu.
The keyword is classic. There’s nothing adventurous or creative here, but that’s ok because they do classic very well. I ordered a whole poached artichoke to start, which came with a mustardy vinaigrette for dipping. I then moved on to the saltimbocca, which came with a savoury-sweet jus and fresh, al dente fettuccine. Apart from the over-saltiness of the ham wrapping the veal escalope, the dish was ideal.
My date had a basic steak, cooked medium-rare, with buttery-smooth béarnaise sauce, thin yet still hot French fries and a green salad. There was not much to fault, while at the same time not much to write home about.
If you appreciate simple-but-classic food, need a table at short notice, and feel like playing it safe, then Amsterdam ticks the right boxes. That’s if you can find the place on Google Maps. Tricky.