Where to eat… dosa in Amsterdam

One of my abiding memories of living in Brixton, south London, in the mid-2000s was the incredible Indian food. Not least the dosa: a crepe-like disc (made with ground rice and black gram instead of wheat flour) stuffed with all manner of tasty, spicy fillings. The only one I’d found in Amsterdam worth eating came from Saravana Bhavan, of which I’m a huge fan. But then a new friend told me about a restaurant on the Overtoom called Dosa, which – we assumed – must have its name for a reason. We ventured off to find out…

Dosa Amsterdam restaurant review
Left: dosa stuffed with paneer and potato. Right: bharta curry.

Indeed, there were plenty of south Indian dosas on the menu, and we opted to try one stuffed with paneer cheese and potato. The dosa itself was light and crispy, as it should be, but the filling was rather dry. This was at least partially counterbalanced by the sauces it came with, although overall I still came down in favour of Saravana Bhavan’s dosa. Wanting something with a bit more sauce, we tried the bharta (a smoked aubergine curry) as well. As bhartas go, this wasn’t the best – the texture resembled wallpaper paste, perhaps from too much thickening starch, although the flavour was ok.

But the major win of the night was the paani puri, or golgappas, which were recommended to us by the people sitting at the table next to ours. Made from wheat or cornflour, they puff up in the deep fat fryer to create perfect hollow globes. You then fill them with a spicy mixture of potatoes, mango chutney and green masala water. If your mouth is big enough, it’s best to pop them in whole, as biting into them creates a bit of a mess. They’re crunchy, spicy, a little sweet and perfectly balanced – I’d go back to Dosa for the paani puri alone.
Paani puri at restaurant Dosa
Paani puri at restaurant Dosa

It was a Tuesday night, so we split a carafe of the house rosé wine which was not bad for the price. In fact, dinner only came to €26 each, which included an extensive explanation of paani puri and how to make them from our extremely patient and accommodating waiter. Has anyone discovered these little flavour bombs anywhere else in Amsterdam? Let me know in the comments below!

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Dosa (Indian)


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