Restaurant Fier – as in French for proud rather than Dutch for four – is uncomplicated dining Belgian style.
The menu is simple. There are six choices on the menu, all tried and true comfort food favorites: Burger, chicken, hangar steak, pot roast and a daily fish and vegan special. Each is accompanied by a choice of different style of French fries, veggies or salad, and four sauces.
Most of the food is cooked in the Big Green Egg – an ever more popular combined grill, oven and smoker. It turned out lovely smokey chicken, juicy burger with lots of truffle sauce, and succulent rare, almost blue hangar steak.
The opening hours are convenient. Every day from 10am to 10pm for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks at the bar until late.
The service is quick and friendly, the tap water put on your table right away without having to ask for it, the wine list short but adequate, with all wines available per bottle or by the glass, and the beer options vast.
The decor is simple with bare brick walls, a semi-open kitchen, a long bar and also ample seating outside.
And prices are quite affordable at € 16,- for any of the main courses.
We dined quite comfortably and without any complications!
De Clercqstraat 79
1053 AG Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 22 17 449
Open every day from 10am to 10pm
Public transport: Tram 3, 12, 13, or 14 to De Clercqstraat
Neighborhood: Oud West
Price: €30 to €40 per person
One of the questions we get asked the most is “what are the latest trends of the Amsterdam food scene?”. And while we would love to come up with a surprising and insightful answer every time, that’s not how it works. It’s usually some rather unexpected event that triggers us to recognize a new trend. And so it happened last weekend on a trip to our favorite wine and liquor store Ton Overmars.
There are a lot of new local microbreweries in Amsterdam!
The Veterans – Brouwerij ‘t IJ and Brouwerij de Prael
It’s not that there were no microbreweries in Amsterdam before.
Actually, Brouwerij ‘t IJ has been around since 1985, and we have enjoyed many of their tasty brews throughout the years, especially on their lovely terrace by the windmill in Amsterdam Oost.
And it wasn’t just us, as Brouwerij ‘t IJ has been very successful. They extended their tasting room a few years ago and opened a second brewery in early 2013. So today you can find their distinct ostrich logo (a pun on IJ and ei, which means egg) in many bars and shops, and enjoy their regular selection of brews as well as seasonal specials.
Equally successful, although not around for quite as long, has been Brouwerij de Prael, another established household name in beers in Amsterdam, with its selection of beers named after Dutch chanson singers and tasting room smack in the middle of the red light district.
Given their success, and the microbrewery craze that swept the US, it’s probably surprising that nobody else was concocting fresh IPAs or mean Belgian Tripels around Amsterdam. But that has changed now.
The Rookies – Brouwerij Pampus, Two Chefs Brewing, and Butcher’s Tears
The self-proclaimed old salts at Brouwerij Pampus spent much of 2012 and 2013 experimenting with different brews, gathering extensive feedback through their Facebook page and participating in countless beer festivals with a wide variety of beers. All their beers seem to follow a sailor’s naming scheme, such as the Drenkeling (drowning person), a Juniper Ale, or Seeheld (hero of the sea), an IPA that we quite liked for its bitter yet somewhat unexpected but lovely creamy flavor.
Two Chefs Brewing also started in 2012. Coming from a background as professional chefs and looking for interesting flavors they are on a mission to put more barley, more hops and just generally more flavor back into beer. So far they have made available an IPA called Green Bullet, which indeed is heavy on the hops.
The last newcomer is Butcher’s Tears, located in small-scale industrial zone by the tram depot in Amsterdam Zuid. The tasting room and website look distinctly grungy, but there seems to be a rather professional organisation behind it if the range of beers and the list of distribution points are any indication. We liked hanging out in their tasting room where both the Night Cap, a smooth pale ale, and the refreshing Green Cap went down well.
Where to Taste
Quite a nice list if we may say so! But there appear to be even more such as Brouwerij De 7 Deugden, which provides work opportunities to disabled people, Jopen, the pride of Haarlem, or Oedipus Brewing who are currently looking for investors through a crowfunding platform.
We are probably still missing a few, so best to do some exploring yourself. Here’s where:
Brouwerij ‘t IJ, Brouwerij de Prael and Butcher’s Tears have fun tasting rooms:
1018 AL Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 528 6237
Open daily 2pm to 8pm
Public transport: Tram 10 to Hoogte Kadijk stop or tram 14 to Pontanusstraat
Cuisine: Limited selection of cold snacks
Vibe: Love all
Oudezijds Armsteeg 26
1012 GP Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 408 4469
Open Tuesday to Sunday 12pm to 12am, weekend until 1am
Public transport: Any tram, metro or train to Central Station
Cuisine: Snacks and small dishes
Neighborhood: Red light district
Vibe: Living room
1075 LB Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)6 5390 9777
Open Wednesday to Sunday 4pm to 9pm
Public transport: Bus 15 or tram 16 to Haarlemmermeerstation
Two of our favorite beer bars that serve some of the above, next to an amazing selection of specialty beers on tap and bottled, are Café Gollem and Arendsnest:
1015 BS Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 421 2057
Open Daily 2pm to 12am, weekend until 2am
Public transport: Tram 1, 2, 5, 13 or 17 to Nieuwezijds Kolk
Cuisine: Limited selection of cold snacks
1012 VZ Amsterdam
Open weekdays 4pm to 1am, weekends 12pm to 2am
Public transport: Tram 1, 2, or 5 to Spui
Cuisine: Cheese snacks
Vibe: Dive bar
Or bring a few bottles home at one of these two great specialty stores, De Bierkoning and Ton Overmaars:
1012 ZL Amsterdam
Open Monday to Saturday 11am to 7pm and Sunday 1pm to 6pm
Public transport: Tram 1, 2, 5, 13 or 17 to Dam
1059 CV Amsterdam
Open Tuesday and Wednesday 9am to 6pm, Thursday and Friday 9am to 7pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm
Public transport: 2 to Hoofddorpplein
The weather in Amsterdam has been incredible for weeks now. When the weather service initially warned of a heat wave back in early June, I chuckled. But when the sun kept shining, with temperatures at unprecedented 30 degrees centigrade for weeks on end, I smiled. And while this meant less eating out, it also meant lots of time on Amsterdam’s terraces enjoying many a Weihenstephaner Weissbier or IJwit from Brouwerij ‘t IJ.
With more nice days expected to follow, I decided to update my list of Best Amsterdam Terraces and added long-time favorite Café Onder de Ooievaar as well as the new crowd pleaser Bar Brandstof. So check out Amsterdam’s best spots for a cool brew, hope for more good weather and join us for a cool brew: Best Amsterdam Terraces
The Man Who Cuts The Meat is the caterer in residence of recently opened hipster hangout Bar Brandstof.
Who is The Man? For a start you have to love the branding! The name, a web site in black reminiscent of Chicago in the 20s, an image of a man with a big chef’s knife carried like a gun ready to be pulled and lots of stories of a certain Mario the butcher are very intriguing. And there is substance, too, gained through 15 years experience as a chef at places like ‘t Jagershuis in Ouderkerk, Vermeer in Amsterdam or Zafferano’s in London. Having started his own business, The Man is now available as a caterer for breakfast, lunch, dinner, party or other occasions.
And every Sunday The Man cuts the meat at Bar Brandstof, a new bar on Marnixstraat that is trying hard to serve good food without being a restaurant. On Sundays, The Man serves a set three-course menu for € 22,50. The menu consists of a mixed starters platter, a main and dessert. And The Man promises to please vegetarians by preparing a customized menu with the same dedication.
We went a few weeks ago and had a great time. Bar Brandstof manages to be cool in a friendly, laid back way. Dinner in the back of the bar was comfortable while the bar was brimming with life. And the mixed starters platter fit the set-up perfectly, several small tapas style snacks, served on a black rugged slate board, ideal with a cool brew. The snacks were a mix of different cuisines including Spanish serrano ham, Japanese tuna and wasabi, and Idonesian Pangsit.
For the main course we had tenderloin, which was nice and tender and presented with a fine red wine sauce seemed a lot more sophisticated than the carnivorous talk of knifes and butchers had made me expect. The Man then made a personal appearance to serve the dessert, a chocolate cake with rum and ginger. While serving sweets and chocolate again seemed to rather contradict the meat cutter image, the tattoos and skulls on the menu reassured us that we had come to the right place.
All in all a great dinner and the perfect way to have some good fun and food when the weekend winds down.
Update October 11th, 2010: We just received an email from “The Man Formerly Known As The Man Who Cuts the Meat”. Chris got an offer to move to Saigon, Vietnam and closed his Amsterdam catering business. His latest project is called Flow. Be sure to check it out when you’re in Ho Chi Minh City.
More and more frequently reports about beer fraud (Dutch) are coming in. Supposedly, bar owners buy cheap no name beer and sell it under the name of brands like Heineken or Brand. As the story goes, the pubs will buy kegs of cheap beer and hook them up to the taps of contracted brand beers.
While this is certainly hard to verify, it seems plausible. The large beer brands in the Netherlands have been raising prices frequently and aggressively, with the average cost of a 50 liter keg rising from € 90 to € 100 in just the last year. And where pub owners used to be able to pass the raises on to consumers or reduce the size of a regular beer, this has become increasingly more difficult.
Expectantly, cheaper beers like horecabier are entering the market aggressively claiming that generally Dutch pilsner beers are very much alike in flavor and therefore hard to distinguish by drinkers.
I do wonder about that hangover the morning after the last night out at the bars…