The Thai Bird is actually two places, located across from each other on Zeedijk near the Chinese temple. One is the Thai Bird Snack Bar, which dates back to the eighties when the Zeedijk still was dangerous and to be avoided. Undeterred, consistently good food at low prices lead to success and later to the opening of the much larger restaurant by the same owners.
The Zeedijk is the street that connects Amsterdam’s Nieuwmarkt with the Central Station. You can still feel that it must have been an important artery during the glory days. Bordering on the red light district, it was in disgraceful state in the early eighties, rife with criminality. It has made a roaring return since and today is a lively mix of Chinese shops and restaurants and traditional Dutch brown cafes serving Pils, Bitterballen and Jenever.
Both the restaurant and the snack bar are about food, not looks. The snack bar is small, usually crammed with people and simple but clean. The restaurant is large, meandering up and down and left and right behind its small entrance. Don’t be turned off by the appearance. Do walk in and enjoy the excellent food, which is authentic, fresh and always well executed.
Also don’t let yourself be turned off by the crowds. There is usually a line of people waiting at the entrance of the restaurant, especially on weekends. But somehow it seems to clear more quickly than you would think. The snack bar is the same. It always looks packed, but somehow the staff finds a way to squeeze in a few extra people.
Go to the restaurant if you are with a group. Otherwise go for the snack bar and try to sit on one of the high bar stools behind the large window and enjoy the steady flow of tourists and freaks!
Thai Bird Snack Bar, Zeedijk 77. Thai Bird Restaurant, Zeedijk 72-74. http://www.thai-bird.nl/.