An Iranian blogger friend of mine (DishTales – you might know his fabulous food photography) told me long ago about the best Iranian restaurant in Amsterdam (or at any rate, his favourite): De Aardige Pers. He warned me that it wasn’t much to look at, and
First came a house selection of three starters: two involved aubergine, but one was a sort of tomato/egg scramble, and the other involved crispy fried onions and two secret sauces: a fragrant, herbal-tasting one and a creamy/yoghurty one. In the middle was a sort of spinach frittata. I wish I could tell you the names of any of this stuff, but just trust me and ask for the trio of dishes at the bottom of the first page of the menu. They are all served with olives, a selection of fresh herbs, Iranian cheese and pillowy-soft flatbreads with which to mop everything up.
Next came a mixed grill that was heavy on lamb (there were both lamb kofte kebabs and succulent slices of lamb loin) plus chicken that tasted like it had been cooked in lemon and saffron. The meat (which was enough to feed a small army) came with simple but perfectly cooked rice and roasted tomatoes. We only managed to finish half of it, but our earlier saviour boxed up the rest and let me take it home. I still haven’t finished all the leftovers, and I even ended up freezing some. Mr DishTales had clearly been right – and I can’t exactly claim he didn’t warn me…
The whole meal, washed down with half a litre of perfectly drinkable Shiraz, set us back just over €30 per person. Which is possibly the best value I’ve experienced in Amsterdam in quite some time. Couple that with the friendly service (I have no idea if De Aardige Pers is family-run, but it feels like it is) and you’ve got a winning combination. The only kicker? I lived about a kilometre from this place for over a decade and never knew it was there… Now I live on the other side of the city – gutted.