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I know there is another thread with Amsterdam and a few other cities, but... FKGuy and I will be in London and Amsterdam next year (prior to a fantastic British Isles cruise - I still have group space and pricing if you want to join us Wink )

We are looking for suggestions for great dining in both cities, both casual and fancy-schmancy. We will have 4 days in London and only two in Amsterdam, so naturally we want to use our time wisely, and not waste any meals.

Thanks in advance!
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We haven't visited London since 2012 so my stuff might be a little dated but from what I've heard The Ledbury is still at the top of its game. It's sister restaurant The Square is a little bit more fancy-schmancy but also really good.

For higher end Indian Benares gets high marks. For a great neighborhood Indian we love Star of India on Old Brompton. Also on Old Bromton is our favorite Spanish, Cambio de Tercio.

For classic British, St. John is the famous one and is most likely responsible for putting bone marrow on every hipster US restaurant menu over the last 10 years. Their version is still my favorite. Hereford Road is another good British option. Good mix of offal and more classic dishes.

For Italian, the River Café is a bit of a trek from central London but the food and setting is really nice.

For higher end besides The Ledbury and The Square, I've heard really good things about Heston Blumenthal's Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental. Most Gordon Ramsay restaurants should be avoided but the flagship on Royal Hospital Road is really a great experience. The restaurant is tiny and they really do everything right. We actually went for lunch which was nice because then you can walk off the food and wine with a nice stroll down the thames.
The quintessential British fine dining experience is Rules in Covent Garden: http://rules.co.uk/restaurant/ . Oldest restaurant in the UK with a rich and fascinating history - and great food too. We've eaten there at least a dozen times and never been disappointed. And they allow BYOW. If you can't get a table, another option in the same vein is Simpson's in the Strand, though it's not nearly as good as Rules
quote:
Originally posted by bman:
The quintessential British fine dining experience is Rules in Covent Garden: http://rules.co.uk/restaurant/ . Oldest restaurant in the UK with a rich and fascinating history - and great food too.

That's something, don't I don't get this, "A discretionary 12.5% service charge, which is distributed in its entirety to our staff, will be added to your bill." It's a discretion that we add?
quote:
Originally posted by The Old Man:
quote:
Originally posted by bman:
The quintessential British fine dining experience is Rules in Covent Garden: http://rules.co.uk/restaurant/ . Oldest restaurant in the UK with a rich and fascinating history - and great food too.

That's something, don't I don't get this, "A discretionary 12.5% service charge, which is distributed in its entirety to our staff, will be added to your bill." It's a discretion that we add?


I expect that means that if you don't want to pay it you can ask for it to be taken off the bill. Perhaps that is common in high-end London restaurants?
Tops from a recent trip to London:

Clove Club: fantastic. casual restaurant with a farm-to-table approach and great wine pairings

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (in Mandarin Oriental): great dinner. As you would expect though, it's pricey. But the views of the park cannot be beat

Kitty Fisher: very locals-type small restaurant. Fun with good food; good for a casual outing

Gymkhana: I think this is new to the Michelin star scene and one of few Indian restaurants with one or more stars. However, for me this is a must-miss restaurant. Thought the food and experience of being there was merely ok. Had the tasting menu with a friend with pairings and the pairings were mediocre to just plain off

Gordon Ramsey's (Hospital Road location): didn't go there this time, but this is in my top 10 foodie restaurants that I've ever been to. If you were thinking about visiting a destination restaurant where you will be pampered with fantastic service and food for almost 4 hours, this is the place to go
FKG, my daughter goes to Amsterdam for combined business/pleasure every year for a couple of weeks. I told you were looking for some recommendations. Here's her reply:


My favourite restaurant in Ams is Brasserie Keyzer, it's near Museumplein, right next door to Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Not very modern decor, but excellent food every time.

http://brasseriekeyzer.nl/en/

A more modern place in the Dam (downtown near red light district) is Neuf, I've gone there each time I'm in Ams, always very good.

http://www.bistrotneuf.nl/?lang=en

For casual, everyone needs to try Hollandse Nieuwe herring, raw herring sold at stands on the street, served alone or on a hot dog bun with pickles and onions. Sounds gross, took me years to try it, and it's one if the best things I've ever eaten in my life. If you like tuna sashimi, you'll love raw herring. Stubbe's is a good stand, there is also a stand near the flower market that's good, can't remember the name.

Also, Dutch bar food staple bitterballen are wonderful little deep fried croquette balls served with mustard. The best ones I've had are from Hoppe, an old bar at Spui Straat, also near the flower market.

And if they can find hot stroopwafels, try them! Very thin waffles with syrup pressed between them, very Dutch. Hard to find them hot and freshly made though, the cold packaged ones aren't as good (but worth a try still if that's all you can find).

And of course, Rijsttafel, lots of good places for that, the concierge at their hotel can probably get them a reservation somewhere, although in my experience it's better with a big group, it's way too much food for two people.

Hope that helps your friends!
quote:
Originally posted by Seaquam:


And if they can find hot stroopwafels, try them! Very thin waffles with syrup pressed between them, very Dutch. Hard to find them hot and freshly made though, the cold packaged ones aren't as good (but worth a try still if that's all you can find).


We were usually able to find them at the markets in town squares that seem to be on at least a couple of days a week in most towns. Our kids loved them!
Tempo Doeleo is still my favorite restaurant in Amsterdam. Best Indonesian I've ever had (including spending several months in Indonesia).
http://www.tempodoeloerestaurant.nl/

last time my wife and I went there we also went to Restaurant Red on the corner of Nieuwe Spiegelstraat & Keizersgracht. Nice white linen service but its the location that is really great, right on the Keizersgracht canal. very pretty restaurant.

For London, most of the best have been mentioned. Rules is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. ledbury is one of the best restaurants anywhere.

For more "normal" and not world class restaurant food I'll also shill for my 'local' when I'm in london which is the Only Running Footman just off Berkley Square as a great gastropub and there is the Windmill by Conduit street which has world class meat pies.
Just to give another prospective on Rules, I was not a big fan. I found it a bit tired and the service was poor the night we went. We were a big group so that may have played a role or just could have been an off night.

Forgot about Locanda Locatelli in my last email. Great pasta and fresh fish. Wine list is nice as well.
Last edited by glennk
quote:
Originally posted by bman:
The quintessential British fine dining experience is Rules in Covent Garden: http://rules.co.uk/restaurant/ . Oldest restaurant in the UK with a rich and fascinating history - and great food too. We've eaten there at least a dozen times and never been disappointed. And they allow BYOW. If you can't get a table, another option in the same vein is Simpson's in the Strand, though it's not nearly as good as Rules


I second the recommendation for Rules. Went there on my last trip about a year ago. A great experience.
quote:
Originally posted by GlennK:
Oh and a visit to Borough Market is always fun.


Yes, Borough Market is a must. We would go there for lunch then pick up cheese, bread and meats for a "hotel room picnic" as we call it - a nice evening in with a great bottle of wine or two and some infamous British "telly"!
Ledbury is excellent. Was there about 3 years ago. Relatively casual, no jacket required, but not cheap.

I enjoyed Rules, it's a cool spot, quintessentially British.

If you are very motivated for a once-in-a-lifetime experience I highly recommend The Fat Duck, about an hour outside London (in Maidenhead). 3 Michelin stars. Unbelievably inventive, playful and exquisite. You need to buy tickets in advance, I believe it's 3 months to the day that it opens. Can BYO, I think it was 50gbp per bottle, which was a bargain considering how much wine we drank at lunch, 9 bottles for the 6 of us. Don't judge, Lunch lasted 4.5 hours! (it doesn't have to, you can dine in about 2.5-3 hours, but we were having the greatest time). If you're in the mood for a serious indulgence I highly recommend this.

I haven't been to Amsterdam in a very long time. My memories of the place are a little cloudy, not sure why. I seem to remember enjoying the Grasshopper and the Milky Way. Can't remember much beyond that.
quote:
Originally posted by grossie:
I haven't been to Amsterdam in a very long time. My memories of the place are a little cloudy, not sure why. I seem to remember enjoying the Grasshopper and the Milky Way. Can't remember much beyond that.


Big Grin Same here. I also remember a place called the Bulldog and having some rijstaffel at one point. 1985
The trip is over and we are back. Wonderful time.

In London - we had excellent meals all around. Would re-visit all with the exception of Coriander which was delicious and friendly but not noteworthy.

Pollen Street Social
Kitchen W8
Yauatcha - for Dim Sum
The Windmill for pies
Arabica - lebanese-ish
The Coriander for Indian
Lobos for Tapas

Blind Pig - same owner as Pollen Street Social was an excellent cocktail bar.

We did not make it to Rules
In Bruges, we ate at Kok au Vin - excellent little restaurant a little off the main touristy area such as we were the only English (as native language) speakers anyway there.

In Amsterdam, we had Rijstaffel at Tempo Doeloe as per Rob Sutherland's suggestion with a party of 13 - was an incredible meal and truly fun. FoodHallen was also cool

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