On my first holiday ever I went to Spain with my mum. We got addicted to horchata (tigernut milk) and discovered calamares a la romana (deep fried squid). These bites were not always to the liking of my mother. If they sucked, she said ‘adoe’ (similar to OMG), rolled her eyes, shook her head and looked traumatized. I found that terribly embarrassing. Why couldn’t she pretend she was normal? We were talking food here, not politics. Looking back I realize this Dutch-Indonesian lady wasn’t exaggerating. We did had some pretty awful versions. Too greasy, too salty, too rubbery and/or with a crust that was way too thick. Making the perfect calamares is an art and the cooks of Royalvis are fish Picasso’s. This Amsterdam fish store equals a covered mini fish market with some tables. The freshest fish and seafood are bathing in crushed ice: anchovies, oysters, tiger prawns, lobster and squid. If you like what you see, just order it. Upon requested the cooks will grill or fry it on the spot. Life is good when you eat the fried squid: juicy with a crunchy crust, finely chopped parsley and a spice mix of powdered paprika. Squeeze the lemon, add some harissa (a North African chilli paste) and just be.
Royalvis & Traiteur
Calamares a la romana, one portion, €3.50
Van der Pekstraat 88-90 H, North
+31 (0) 6 2194 09 90
Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday-Monday noon-8pm
(different opening hours from July-August)