Food writer Monique van Loon on ordering in
Whether she’s whipping up a delicious creation in her home kitchen or reviewing takeaway meals (dream job doesn’t begin to cover it!) for Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool, Monique has the insider edge when it comes to the dining and drinking scene that’s constantly evolving in the Dutch capital. While dining at a restaurant is presently a fond memory, the innovative Amsterdam hospitality sector is cooking up creative ways to retain business via takeaway adaptations of their best-loved dishes to enjoy at home. And while we're faced with more choices than ever before, we put the tough questions to a foodie with the answers - because we all wish we had that friend who actually knows where she wants to eat.
What is the best restaurant in Amsterdam (for home delivery) for:
- Vegetarian or vegan?
Tigris & Eufraat on the Javastraat has great falafel and other Middle Eastern cuisine snacks. You won’t even notice there’s no meat!
- Special occasions?
RIJKS, the Michelin-starred restaurant where chef Joris Bijdendijk cooks delicious dishes, is also doing home delivery now. Very special, it’s like having a restaurant in your own living room.
- Comfort food?
Barbecued dishes from Pendergast are a real treat; the brisket and the meaty beans are the ultimate comfort food.
- After a long day of working from home?
Ahh, the pasta from Spaghetteria. Always makes me feel happy.
- That kids will like, too?
The tartlets from Waldo are sheer perfection, and a perfect little culinary present for your family to reward yourselves for surviving another long day at home together.
Which Dutch food should everybody try once?
White asparagus, traditionally served with roasted new potatoes, good butcher’s ham, a soft boiled egg, parsley and melted butter. The season of fresh white asparagus just started and I try to the eat it at least every week!
Who are the most innovative Amsterdam chefs?
I have a culinary crush on Schilo van Coevorden from restaurant Taiko at the Conservatorium Hotel. I think he’s one of the best, yet somehow still never rewarded with a Michelin star. Everything he serves me is delicious. I’ve never had a bad dish in his restaurant and I’ve been there many, many times!
Several fine dining and Michelin-starred restaurants are now offering delivery and takeaway for the first time. Which are your favourites?
Oh, how I love their enthusiasm and creativity in these challenging times. So nice to see. I loved the takeaway (and sometimes a little ‘do it yourself’) meals from restaurant Floreyn, restaurant Bord’eau and the collaboration between Wijmpje Beukers and Sjefietshe.
Do you have any tips for how people can support their local bars and restaurants while they are closed?
Check the websites or Instagram accounts of your favorite places. See if they are offering takeaway or delivery meals or other options that allow you to support them. I bought a few gift vouchers from good restaurants that I can hopefully spend in a few months! Let’s all try to help these hard-working entrepreneurs get through these hard times.
What’s on the rise in the Amsterdam food scene right now?
Takeaway was already on the rise and now it’s tremendously increased. So I like that, of course, also because I’ve been doing delivery reviews for the newspaper Het Parool for two years now.
Besides that, I see more and more low-key places with really well-performing kitchens. Like Bambino or Domenica – they’re so small and cosy, yet you eat better dishes than at most fancy ‘Michelinny’ places.
Which food trend are you tired of?
Everything with artificial colouring; rainbow cupcakes, unicorn lattes… yugh. Also: ‘concept restaurants’ with ginormous waiting lines outside, filled with tourists who just want an Instagram picture and are not actually enjoying a good meal.
What dishes are you cooking in isolation?
A lot of pasta, haha. I love the recipes by Alison Roman - really home-like, easy to make and full of flavour.
Best tips for creating a restaurant ambience at home?
Light the best candles you have, dim the light and get out your most beautiful tableware and cutlery. And wine – wine always helps!
5 restaurants or bars you can’t wait to go back to?
Favourite restaurant outside of Amsterdam (or in the region)?
I love Maastricht and can’t wait to spend weekends there again. Steak tartare at Harry’s, zoervleisj at Café Sjiek, and I still want to visit the new place, Onglet.
Find more foodie inspiration and restaurant recommendations in Amsterdam.