Image by kevingessner
By Reshma Krishnan Barshikar
Yours truly has never been to Amsterdam and our Eat See and Do is all about picking stuff that isn’t in the travel books. So in light of the Amsterdam Music Festival (19th October to 23rd October), I turned to my favorite Amsterdam local Pritham Nambiar, a chaddi pal in the true sense of the word, to give us the finest places to chow down on pancakes and taste the best of this gorgeous city.
He starts big and points us to the three Michelin star restaurant, The White Room, that belongs to Jacob Jan Boerma and is housed at the Krasnapolksy hotel in Dam Square and suggests that you head to The Tailor, a bar at the same hotel, for fantastic cocktails designed by the worlds best mixologists for pre drinks. Pritham admits that Dutch cuisine is not really a foodies dream and so recommends only one Dutch restaurant, Kop Van Jut.
He says you can’t come to Amsterdam and not eat Indonesian food. His pick is Tempo Doeloe. If you fancy a more low key bazaar like atmosphere with food to match, then Hotel Bazar for some Turkish cuisine and Café De Klos for the best lamb shoulder and ribs. ‘Vegetarians beware,’ he adds.
Apart from the aforementioned The Tailor, Pritham loves the Double Tree Hilton for gorgeous views, especially in summer, (go early for a table, no later than 7) and Hiding in Plain Sight (‘I love this place.’). His favorite bar ‘in the world’ he says, is The Whisky bar which boasts 2300 ++ types of whisky. ‘Wine and beer drinks should expect to get dirty looks,’ he smirks. He also lets us in on a little secret, Door 74, which he says only locals know about. (Reguliersdwarsstraat 74I, 1017 BN Amsterdam).
Pritham’s top three places if you’re visiting Amsterdam are Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum – The Museum of the Netherlands, which of course houses the best Rembrandts, Vermeers and painters from The Hague School, and the Van Gogh Museum. If you are, like I am, a Dutch Master groupie, then Amsterdam is your heaven. If you’re less art, more outdoors, then he suggests a canal cruise, which might be touristy but nevertheless worth the cheese and suggests a look in on the cafes even if you are not a smoker. He also suggests day trips to Giethoorn, a mostly free village called the Venice of the north filled with waterways and footpaths. It reminds me a little of Narnia. If your day is sunny, then head for a picnic at Vondel Park, a supposed blue print for Central Park in New York. ‘After all New York used to be called New Amsterdam and was designed by the Dutch as a ‘home away from home,’ says Pritham, waxing historical about a city he loves.
Pritham, his wife Ramya, and his two little tykes, Ved and Aryan, call Amsterdam home. Ramya and Pritham both work for IT companies, and moved to Amsterdam with the idea of staying there for a year. Ten years on they are still posting mind blowing photographs of a city they have come to love and call home and a people who, outsiders might think are direct and unfriendly, but who actually are quite warm and lovely. Check out Pritham’s photography here.