Van Rijn: posh nosh for drunk people

Still on the hunt for the elusive top-notch food promised by Thrillist in the Rembrandtplein (I recently reviewed surf ‘n turf restaurant Hummbar and Vietnamese eatery O Mai), I figured that doing it drunk was probably the best way. Most people on the Rembrantplein are drunk most of the time anyway, right?

Ok, so it wasn’t intentional. I’d been to the new Gollem on the Amstelstraat for after-work drinks last Friday. The plan was to have a couple and then move on. But then more people arrived and we decided to stay for a couple more, and suddenly we were five beers deep with no dinner.

It was 10.15 by the time we stumbled into Van Rijn, sandwiched between Escape nightclub and the NH Hotel, thanks to a tip from a reader who’d been following my Rembrandtplein quest. We’d gotten slightly lost on the way there (it’s a long way from Amstelstraat to Rembrandtplein after five Kwaks, ok?), misplaced the Honey Badger en route, found him again, and finally managed to persuade the nonplussed Dutchman who’d joined us that, yes, this Rembrantplein thing really was a good idea.

Frankly, I was already impressed that a) we’d found a table, and b) the kitchen was still open. In a town where most restaurants are winding down by 9.30, we’d lucked out. I was even more impressed when the food turned out to be edible. Better than edible, in fact. I’d ordered this fancy-looking steak dish, which worried me as soon as it came out: it looked far too lean; where were the tasty marbles of fat? I expected it to be tough and tasteless; it wasn’t. Yes, it was lean – but it also cut like butter and tasted like a proper steak.

Van Rijn - Amsterdam restaurant
Steak from Van Rijn

It came with the welcome tang of sauerkraut, earthy artichokes, and fresh little florets of romanesco broccoli. The sauce was creamy, which I’m not usually a fan of with steak, but this one worked because the beef was so lean.

The rest of the dishes I tasted were good, too. Naturally, I can’t remember them (I was hammered) but you’re just going to have to trust me that my tasting faculties are as astute drunk as they are sober. Err-hem.

Of course, you pay for all this posh-food-late-at-night-in-the-most-touristy-square-in-Amsterdam business. Dinner came to €33 each, and we literally only had a main course plus a glass of red wine. But I’d still recommend it if you find yourself on the ‘plein, off your trolley, and liable to have lost your credit card by the next morning anyway. Otherwise, what are you doing on that square in the first place?!

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Van Rijn (European)


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