This year the highlight of my visit to Amsterdam apart from the Rijks Museum & the Stedelijk Museum was Grandpa’s Bistro located North East of the city in Sumatrakade. Everything about this little cosy restaurant reminded me of the importance of family, with an emphasis on food being the essential glue that holds us all together. Grandpa’s Bistro is truly a family restaurant with Grandpa (Chris), Grandma (Nel), Mom (Kirsten), Dad (William) and Tim – the young, owner of the place whose business mind and creative genius gave birth to Grandpa’s Bistro, all working at the restaurant. This hit a special note with me as it’s very rare that you come across a truly family owned and run business.
I would pass Grandpa’s Bistro every day while walking to the bus stand to catch the No. 48 into Central Station and I was rather curious about the food it served so I finally walked into the Bistro on a sunny Tuesday evening ravenous and craving lamb chops – I didn’t know what was on offer but I was hoping against hope that they had lamb on the menu as that is something I always look forward to when traveling in Europe. I walked in and was instantly greeted by an extremely friendly and chirpy young man whom I was later introduced to as the owner – Tim Brandenburg.
I skimmed through the menu which was in Dutch and because I can only understand a few words in the language I had to call on Tim to give me a translation of what was available and the moment he said lamb chops I jumped at it and ordered them with fries and mushroom sauce. I know lamb is usually meant to be eaten with mint sauce however I went on the recommendation of the Chef and ordered it with a rich mushroom sauce.
I also ordered a glass of rose and proceeded to enjoy my evening snapping a few pictures and taking in the surroundings, enjoying the solitude of dining alone and listening to the lovely background music.
The lamb chops arrived in about 20 minutes and I didn’t mind the wait as there was a lovely American couple dining next to me and we were busy chatting and talking about our mutual love for Amsterdam and I was telling them that they had to visit the Rijks Museum even if it meant standing in a queue to get in because it was an absolutely unforgettable experience and worth the EUR 15 that I paid for the admission ticket.
The lamb chops were excellent; flavourful and cooked to perfection! The thick mushroom sauce really blended well with the meat and the thin green beans they were served with – the dish was simply divine, the lamb melted in my mouth and the potato wedges that were served with them really filled me up so much so that I was not able to even think of dessert and vowed to go back and try the Crème Brulee or Grandma’s Special Cake which I am told is one of the fastest selling desserts on the menu.
The meal only cost me EUR 20.75 (lamb chops, potato wedges and a glass of wine). I was absolutely satisfied and made a mental note that I had to go back for another meal before I left Amsterdam and true to my word I actually did go back to Grandpa’s Bistro for my last supper in the cty.
This time I went in for an early dinner as I had to catch the 7pm train to Schipol and I was pleasantly surprised as they also have a special menu everyday from 4pm to 5.45pm for just EUR 7.50 and you eat whatever Chef William has prepared for his staff and it ranges from anything between fish to lamb which I think is absolute value for money. I had the pleasure of chatting with Kirsten and Tim and having a delicious pasta with a beef stew which was lip smacking good – I washed it down with some white wine and I was ready to leave Amsterdam feeling satiated.
Once again I wanted to try some dessert but I was not able to due to the fact that I was too full after the main course and I also had to catch my train but I did have time to try out something called ‘Zoet Hout’ which is like Sugar Cane but the Dutch version of it which is actually used to make licorice and is said to prevent cancer – let’s just say it’s an acquired taste and I tried it out in the spirit of being adventurous! 😉
The overall dining experience at Grandpa’s Bistro is excellent – the staff are friendly, the service is quick, the ambiance is great and the décor is simple and elegant. I love the place and will definitely go back the next time I am in Amsterdam and would totally recommend the place to anybody passing through Amsterdam on a business trip, holiday or even if you live there and want a new dining option – you will not be disappointed.
Selection of Wine: 7/10
Portion Size: 8/10
Value for Money: 8/10
Business Hours: 1600 to 2200 hours from Tuesday to Sunday
NB: you can only pay by cash as they do not accept any credit or debit cards – I learnt this the hard way and had to leave in between enjoying some bread and wine to dash to the apartment and recover some Euro’s from my travel case.