Many of the de Pijp neighborhood eateries have risen to the status of "must try" Amsterdam restaurants, and a Spanish restaurant on Governor Flinckstraat called "Vamos a Ver" ("Let's See") is one I've had my eye on for a while.
Hubby and I went there last night to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. The minute my nose got inside the door, I knew I was in for a good meal. That "yum" something wonderful is happening in the kitchen smell. The atmosphere is welcoming, low lighting, cosy warm, bustling kitchen in the back.
We were invited to sit at any table of our choosing. There were a few tables occupied on this Monday evening, and a patron or two at the bar. We settled into a corner table and a friendly woman gave us menus and asked for our drink order immediately. (American readers: this is not normal in Amsterdam, where wait staff routinely ignores all customers.) I enjoyed being close enough to the kitchen to hear our server speaking to the cooks in Spanish. Okay, they really have Spaniards in the kitchen, this is a good sign.
We started with an order of calamari a la romana, which was okay. Better than some I've tried but far from the best. Perfectly cooked, but nothing special in the breading or seasoning, and no red sauce alongside. In fact, now that I think of it, I only get the red sauce about half the time when I order breaded calamari in Europe.
My entree though, was out of this world. "Pollo al ajillo" or chicken with garlic, is a traditional Spanish dish, and they did it proud. Piping hot, perfectly cooked, delicious chicken thighs thoroughly infused with savory garlic. My husband had some sort of steak thing but I was so into my food I totally forgot to ask him about his. I let his clean plate do the talking.
They brought our entrees on big black round plates brimming with food. The order was accompanied by loads of steak fries and veggies, and everything was hot and tasty. Bread with alioli sauce was complimentary, and when I asked for a glass of water we were given a ceramic carafe for the table, nice.
We couldn't finish everything on the plates but I still took a gander at the dessert menu. Not a lot to tempt: I was too full for the house desserts, flan and crema catalana, and the rest was ice cream or fruit or a combo of the two, yawn. My husband immediately rejected the dessert menu: no chocolate.
We were in and out of there in record time, yet we never felt rushed. I loved the soft lighting and the decorative ironwork all about. I liked the look of the patrons at the other tables. They seemed to be an older, savvy set that had been here many a time before. I noticed a gentleman dining alone at the bar as we left, happily chatting with a waiter. Indeed, it is the kind of place you could wander into alone and still feel cosy and cared for.
I loved it. I'll be back.
Vamos a Ver
Pin accepted. Closed Tuesday
Govert Flinckstraat 308
1073 CJ Amsterdam, Netherlands