The beauty – Cíes Islands! – and scent of Gallicia are unforgettable. Everywhere you go, you ‘bathe’ in the fragrance of pulpo (octopus). Traditionally it’s prepared in a simple way: cooked, sprinkled with salt and paprika and drizzled with olive oil. Pure food that excels in its simplicity. Just like the octopus salad I had at newcomer Tijger & De Vis. Juicy octopus, a fresh mix of peppers, onions and potatoes with a bite. If that doesn’t make you shout olé, you are a crybaby. This salad and the other good stuff – fried fish, soups, Thai fish cookies – are made by cook and food consultant Erik Huibers, who was trained in restaurants based in Holland, New York and Koh Samui. I totally recommend his no-nonsense crab burger too: huge chunks of crab, a bit of mayonnaise. From behind the counter friendly Remy advised me to try the fish sticks. ‘Much better than the ones of Iglo.’ I bet they are. The fish comes straight from the fish auction and Erik obviously knows how to handle fish. Next time I’m at this cool fish store/lunch spot I’ll make these sticks mine.
Tijger & De Vis Octopus salad, 100 g, €2.60
Lindengracht 158, City Centre (Jordaan)
+31 (0) 20 331 13 71
Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday 10 am-6pm, Sunday 11am-5pm
Don’t be fooled by the innocent looks of this flammkuchen. The thin crust of this Alsatian ‘pizza’ is covered with crème fraiche. So far so good, you might think. Yes, sure. But wait till you get to the tomato sauce. Ai, ai, caramba, who let the chilli peppers out? Hot, hot, hot. Sooo good. And there’s more devilish good stuff: bits of juicy pork with some fat and a full, slightly sweet taste. This pork neck shouts quality. It’s organic and comes from the region of Baambrugge, a village close to Amsterdam. My favourite flammkuchen is not to be missed for lunch and also recommended for dinner – as a starter, that is, well, at least in my case. Any time is a good time to visit restaurant and bar The Lobby. Love the French fish soup with grilled catfish for lunch too. For dinner put your hands up for the farm fowl with smoked bacon. The American pancakes, maple syrup and blueberries make waking up less painful. All this is served by welcoming and funny employees. They have cool looks, but lack the cool (arrogant) attitude. Yes!
The Lobby, situated in Hotel V
Flammkuchen (Alsatian pizza) with spicy pork, one, €10.50
Nes 49, City Centre
+31 (0) 20 758 52 75
Opening hours: Monday -Sunday 7am-1am
Welcome to the pleasure dome! That is if you like all things smoked. Be it tofu, organic chicken, wild boar, mussels, wild Alaska Salmon or shrimps. The minute you enter Frank’s Smokehouse you are struck by the scent of smouldering hickory, a North American tree of the walnut family. This fragrance whirls from a room just behind the counter: the smokehouse where Frank – originally from Baltimore, raised in a Jewish family of delicatessen owners – creates almost all his high quality stuff. His big smoked shrimps with a bite are not to be missed if you serve fruity (citrus) white wine: a New Zealand Chardonnay or Frank’s house wine, a Viognier made by Domaine Gayda. These unsealed cooked beauties have been marinated in olive oil before they ‘went up in smoke’. They have a full and slightly salty taste. Once you get started, you’re hooked. Frank’s place comes highly recommended for lunch too. A king crab legg (200 grams) with toast and mayonnaise, a salmon cake with mango chutney, a fish soup with halibut, scallops and shrimps. It’s not your cheapest ticket to heaven, but hey, c’mon you’re worth it!