Casual Elegant Fare at In De Waag

Amsterdam is one big eating fest – full meals, snacks, sit down places, on-the-go food, and everything in between. One of the nicest parts about this city is how relaxed dining is. aren’t looked down upon if you order an entree and nothing else or if you order a couple of appetizers and sit for hours at your table.

You are sort of ridiculed if you don’t drink beer, but that’s just the price you pay.

amsterdam day 3 042 In de Waag is a typical Dutch restaurant in that it is totally laid back. There is nothing homogeneous about it. At the same restaurant were a pre-fixe engagement dinner, a retired couple ordering dinner, some ladies out for girls night, and a family stopping for a snack.

And, of course, our rag-tag duo.

amsterdam day 3 046

This beautiful restaurant, located in a beautiful building from the 1400s (that’s right, kids…we aren’t in America any more). It’s huge and stark white with beautiful dark wooden beams. The space is reminiscent of an ancient convent with its circular candelabras and soaring ceilings. It’s really a great place for a casual dinner, though I would come here for a few drinks and snacks, too.

amsterdam day 3 044 Quick note – this is a disposable muddler that comes with every lime and lemon enhanced drink. When I order a lemon in my seltzer, I usually have to mash it around with my straw like a blind cavewoman. Why don’t’ we have disposable muddlers in NYC? This way, I got some lemon dispersed in every sip of fizzy water. Totally delightful.  amsterdam day 3 045 Smoked salmon and dill creme amuse bouche

Because everywhere in Amsterdam likes to feed you multiple courses. This salmon is very simple but excellent – slightly smoky, slightly salty, very buttery and rich. it’s actually lightened by the lemony dill mayonnaise. It’s an ideal way to whet the appetite.

amsterdam day 3 048 Crispy chicken salad

After a week of fried food, I needed a respite. Fresh, sweet lettuce. Crispy, juicy chicken that is both crunchy without and juicy within; redolent of thyme. And the salad itself was odd and wonderful – pickled onions, juicy olives, earthy lentils, a couple of the sweetest roasted tomatoes I have ever had, and a plethora of other items were in there. The mild vinaigrette was neither too bracing more insipid, and the warmth of the chicken wilting the lettuce made for a wonderfully satisfying yet light meal.

amsterdam day 3 049 Spring vegetable risotto with saffron aioli, feta, and a poached egg

The egg is woefully overcooked but other than that this is lovely. Thick, creamy risotto studded with fresh squash and tomatoes. Topped with arugula and piquant feta cheese, it’s a fresh and very bright take on the usually heavy rice dish. The rice is chewy but not hard, and the saffron aioli adds a wonderful richness to the vegetable based dish.

This is highly recommended. It’s reasonably priced (though everything is expensive in Europe), the service is lovely, and the food is really tasty.  Order a feast or order a nibble – you will be thrilled either way.