Given that I’m in the process of publishing a cookbook about lunches you can make in your office in order to avoid the dearth of decent lunch spots available for office workers, it seems a little ironic that I’m now embarking on a post about where to eat out with your colleagues at lunchtime…
But let’s see this as two different things: Vicky Hampton’s Working Lunch is for when you have half an hour, tops, and you’ll probably spend most of it eating behind your desk anyway. This post is for when the pressure’s off, the deadlines are over, you have a client in town, or you just feel like wagging work and sitting in the sun for a couple of hours. You’ll never make it in and out in half an hour, but then again that’s not the point. These restaurants are for sunny Fridays when you have the time and inclination to indulge…
Near Amstel station in a vast space neighbouring the buildings of Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad, Dauphine is one of those places that everyone seems to know and love. The service is fast and efficient, the food consistently of a high standard, and suits and civvies alike seem to come back again and again. Try the kroketten, ravioli, Caesar salad or Holtkamp cakes for dessert.
In an equally large and impressive location overlooking the water next to Amsterdam’s main public library, Vapiano serves up Italian fast food: fresh pizzas, salads, pasta and more. It has a great terrace in summer, and you can feel all bookish and intelligent wandering about the library afterwards…
Pakhuis de Zwijger
Pakhuis is a cosy spot for an after-work coffee or glass of wine, but it also does a good line in panini, salads and other broodjes. The terrace isn’t exactly picturesque (right on the Piet Heinkade), but it does attract the lunchtime sun and the tables are big enough for groups of colleagues or to share with other customers. Inside, the lighting is softer and the atmosphere relaxed.
By day the Ymere canteen, by night an Italian restaurant, Magazzino is open all day to the public. It never quite escapes the canteen ambience, however, and the village-hall chairs and tables don’t help the impression. The food is decent, if not spectacular, and evening fare takes the form of large sharing platters rather than individual dishes. It’s a handy venue for large groups.