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Questions re rijsttafels (Amsterdam) and Seafood Restaurants

Questions re rijsttafels (Amsterdam) and Seafood Restaurants

Sep 26th, 2010, 01:07 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,128
Questions re rijsttafels (Amsterdam) and Seafood Restaurants

We (DH, 11yo DD and myself) are planning to have a rijsttafel meal for dinner one night in Amsterdam. DD eats lot of different things (DH is Indian, so the Indonesian food will be somewhat familiar to us), but doesn't eat as much as an adult. Rick Steves (boo-hiss or yay, depending on your preference) says in his books that it's acceptable to order a rijsttafel for 2, and with the addition of an appetizer or main course for the third person, share it three ways. Is that REALLY appropriate, or is that just another one of those Rick things? (Actually, I really like Rick Steves' guides for practical information and museum guides, in conjunction with other resources.)

Also, I'm seeing a huge variation in the pricing for rijsttafels, and what people report that they pay. For example, one helpful website, dutchgrub.com, reports paying €29,50 for one person at Restaurant Blauw, and says the prices aren't cheap while speaking highly of the place (as in, it doesn't seem like a dive). But Blue Pepper's website gives prices of €70, €62, and €53 for their various rijsttafel choices. Please tell me that's per table, not per person! (I've sent an email to the restaurant, but haven't heard back).

Also, does anyone have any seafood restaurant recommendations for Amsterdam? I gather that, other than herring, seafood is not extremely popular there, for whatever reason.
Lexma90 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 01:15 PM
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Rijstafel was originally a festive multi-course event in Indonesia, and I mean multi - 25 dishes or so, served over many hours of a festive special day. Not a meal, but an extended feast, a cultural event.

Well, nowadays in places like Holland it has become a how-much-can-you-eat gimmick, and just how many dishes you get and how much is on each plate or in each serving bowl all varies hugely from one restaurant to another.

You can order anything that comes as part of a Rijstafel individually, and if you know Indonesian food, then that is a better way to control your intake...

If you don't know Indonesian food, talk nicely to the server and explain that you want to try a number of dishes, that your daughter doesnt' eat as much as you both do, tell them how hungry or otherwise you are, and don't just blindly order a Rijstafel "as is" on the menu.

If it's a nice place, not a rushed touristy joint, and you engage them in a nice conversation, you will get what you want and need, and you'll have a blast. It may be that you'll agree on ordering the smaller version of the Rijstafel as per the menu, times two, and your daughter shares. But it might turn out that you agree on something else - whatever works.
DalaiLlama is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 02:58 PM
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For seafood, go to Lucuis ( www.lucius.nl) It is located at 247 Spuistraat and near trams. We liked it so much we back a second night for dinner.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 03:22 PM
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Don't eat seafood in Amsterdam. We ate at a recommended and expensive restaurant and the food was god-awful! It was so bad to be obvious the Dutch don't know anything about seafood, otherwise the place would have been empty. Truthfully, we have eaten seafood in many different countries prepared in many different ways and the seafood we had in Amsterdam was the worst.
rocoloco is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 03:38 PM
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Dolly Llama puts it very nicely - and do not judge a Rice Table by the number of things they include as this can be rather fraudelent at times - a rice wafer being one of the number of dishes included in the Rice Table for instance.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 03:55 PM
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Thank you for the advice; I guess I got kind of hung up on the fixed-price part of the deal. We're definitely not into "all you can eat" (we never are), but instead some good dishes to try. We're leaning toward Restaurant Blauw, which sounds less touristy. Try as we might, we always (ok, mostly me) end up obsessing about food on our vacations!
Lexma90 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 04:09 PM
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You really don't need to zero in on a restaurant ahead of time. I would actually be more suspicious of one that gets written about a lot on the web. There are so many small and nice and non-touristy Indonesian restaurant wherever you look, I'd prefer a family-run unobtrusive place in a nice street to one that has its publicity machine going on the internet.

Holland used to rule Indonesia, and that's why you have all these Indonesian restaurants - they are not exotica to the locals, they're just another option among their "normal" choices, like Mexican restaurants are in many states of the US.

Discuss what you need, ask about "what is this and that" if the menu doesn't explain it in English (which, to me, would be a good sign!), order two dishes each, all different, accompanied by rice of course, maybe a soup? Share them around, if you want more, take another look at the menu and get another one or two dishes. That's more fun and more economical than a set selection going by that fancy name - you'll make up your own Rijstafel that way...
DalaiLlama is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 08:30 PM
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That all sounds very good. We don't have Indonesian restaurants where we live, so we're looking forward to the Netherlands' version of them (Mexican restaurants, we have by the hundreds).
Lexma90 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2010, 09:04 PM
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"...(Mexican restaurants, we have by the hundreds)..."

Exactly, and the more dressed up and glitzy they are, the less sure you are that real people in the kitchen cook up a storm of "real" food - the same applies here.

Try Gado Gado - it's a vegetable "salad" dish, eaten as a main course, that is memorable because of the spicy peanut dressing. Now if you don't like peanut flavor, don't order Gado Gado, there's plenty other good stuff to explore. Not all is very spicy, as you'll see. Dang, I'm getting hungry over this, look what you've done now...
DalaiLlama is offline  

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