il ponte (mmm+) any faster would be creepy

van woustraat 206
or order online


food: 7.5 (Good food to "order in" including pizza, pasta and turkish meals.)
service: 10 (Fastest delivery in Amsterdam. The best record so far was 15 minutes. Any faster would be just creepy.)
decor: n/a (Our own apartment. A bad score would reflect on the "management" and a good score would imply bias, so I'll stick with neutral.)
mmm rating:
mmm.5/mmmmm (While very good, it is just pizza etc.)
This is the best take-away when you come home hungry and want to eat soon! Delivery times from Il Ponte are always amazing.

One among many "Turkalian" or "Italish" restaurants, Il Ponte always delivers good quality food, and there lots of menu items to choose from. (The extensive menu can be a problem for me, as can the mixture of cuisines: "Do I want Italian, or Turkish? If I order the Lasagne, can I still have the PiliƧ GuveƧ? . . . )

While we were busy tranforming our apartment from a vacuous cement bunker to the beautiful delight that it now is, Il Ponte came to the rescue many times, as it did this week when we arrived home from work famished. Or rather, I arrived at home famished.

This week, I ordered a Turkish Pizza, which was very nice (lamb, herbs, cheese, pepper and onion) and a salad that had the most lovely feta I have ever eaten. Gorgeous. Unlike Greek feta, Turkish Feta is quite creamy and mild. You can't so much crumble it as spread it.

Overall, I would say reliable, fast, good. Great qualities in a restaurant that delivers.

turkish pizza
Turkish cuisine
What iens had to say


panini (mmmm) dessert mayhem is good thing

vijzelgracht 3/5,
(020) 626 49 39

food: 8 (7.5 for fresh sandwiches and 8.5 for delicious desserts)
8.5 (our server was outstanding; attentive, interactive, and efficient)
decor: 7.5 (comfortable and relaxed)
mmm rating:

Yesterday, I met up with my writing group for our "kick-off" lunch. (I almost wrote the word "luncheon" but this sounded even more pretentious than the fact that I am part of a writing group... think of it as a support group and it sounds ok.) We met on a little Italian restaurant, Panini, that serves very nice panini, salads, pasta and other tasty treats.

Our little group sat in a lovely empty corner of the restaurant and talked about our summers' experiences: featuring solitary retreats to isolated islands, frightening hotels in Istanbul with blood colored stains in the bathtub, and team building events that enforced manual labour as "fun". At any rate, our wonderful waiter kept arriving at the table just as someone was making outrageous statements like: "I looked down and he was just lying there, as limp as seaweed." (Ah, the world abounds in metaphor.)

After consuming our sandwiches, and drinking several glasses of wine, we were happily content, and most definitely entertained by one another. Our wise writing mentor boldly assented to our waiters suggestion: a plate with a combination of all of the desserts in the restaurant menu. This fabulous decadence is not normally on offer in this restaurant. (Maybe our strange conversation made him feel that we needed some dessert comfort... or maybe we managed to entertain him too...)

He brought two large plates to our table with the following:
  • Raspberry semifreddo: creamy, cold, and lovely
  • Lemon meringue pie: lovely, lemony and wonderful
  • Tiramisu: decadent layers of custard and coffee and lusciousness
  • Raspberry tart: sweet berry delight
  • Panna cotta: erm. I don't really like panna cotta. So I can't comment.
  • Fresh fruit: the plate was adorned with beautiful strawberries, raspberries and currants
We nibbled on this incredible display of glorious dessert artistry for about another hour.

What was best? As always, the company, but I have to say that everything was great. The restaurant gave us a wonderful cozy homey feeling with a comfortable table in a sunny corner, a warm (not freddo ... ha ha) waiter who was attentive and very kind, and of course, our foray into a jungle of perfect, simple desserts.

I love going out for lunch.
iens review
panini defined


prego (mmmm+) not italian but fabulous

herenstraat 25
jordaan, amsterdam
(020) 638 01 48

food: 8 (Delicious and simple. I am always cautious to give food too high praise, because while it was very very good, it was not yet divine.)
service: 8 (Wonderful. Warm, attentive, and friendly.)
decor: 8 (This restaurant has everything I love. Nice lighting, cozy, and comfortable. Clean without being uptight.)
mmm rating:
We went to this restaurant with another couple and had fabulous evening. We were able to get reservations for a Saturday night, by fluke, on the same day. Usually this is not possible.

The owner greeted us at the door warmly, and brought us to a very nice table at the back of the restaurant by the garden. The evening was full of excellent conversation (thanks to good company) which was just enhanced by the service that accompanied our evening there. Our waitress was very sweet and while she was not, strictly speaking, filled with efficiency this was for me nicer. I would much rather have a slightly awkward, gentle and efficient server than an extremely proper and perfect one. It makes the experience more real.

The food. Oh the food. Yum! I had the chef's menu:
  • Amuse Gueule: A very nice little tea cup of shrimp bisque. Exactly what an amuse gueule should be, it whetted my appetite for more.
  • Antipasti: Smoked salmon, celeriac, and cray fish salad. This was really lovely, fresh and light. Very very nice.
  • Primo: A small plate of risotto with mussels. This was very nice. A small portion which was perfect in size. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I learned to make risotto myself, and like my own the best. (How vain!) So while this was very good, it was a bit too starchy and thick. But the mussels were perfect and it was, overall, very nice.
  • Secondo: Comfort food course consisting of roast duck, mashed potato and spinach. While this does not sound amazing, it was lovely, warm and homey. The duck was perfect and tender, the potatoes creamy garlicky, and the spinach perfect and light with all of the other rich things. I'm not sure how Italian this is, but it was lovely nevertheless.
  • Tutto: Fresh berries and something like creme fraiche. Lovely and light. A perfect ending.
What made the evening great? As always, the company of people you really really like and the conversation that goes with that. Really genuine service where the server is warm and hospitable, and makes you feel at home. Comfortable surroundings that are simple but elegant. And finally, food that is not eclectic or "haute cuisine" but that fills you with comfort and joy. Multiple mmms.
Special bite
More about Italian food, history, and culture


puccini (mmm+)

staalstraat 21,
nieuwmarkt, amsterdam
020) 620 84 58

food: 7.5 (fabulously fresh sandwiches and salads)
service: 7.5 (very friendly but just a tad slow)
decor: 7.5 (plain but who needs complicated for lunch)
Unless food is horrible, it is hard to go wrong when you are going out for a lunch with good friends. This time was no exception. ("What do you mean?" you gasp! "Was the food awful?") No not at all! The food was great. All I meant to say, was that I would have had a wonderful afternoon even if it had been awful, since I got to hang out with girl friends chatting about girly things and generally being girly.

Puccini is a tiny little restaurant in a very pretty area of Amsterdam. Canals all around, beautiful houses canal side, bikes, and that summer feeling in the air, this is a great spot for a fabulous sandwich or salad.

Puccini has a great list of delectable, complicated sandwiches and salads, fresh juices, and other yummies. I highly recommend this little spot if you want to take a break in a little restaurant with a very nice atmosphere. The girls and I had much to discuss and we found this little haven perfect for our chatter.

Just in case you are interested in what I ate: I had a fresh OJ (mmmmmm), a roastbeef sandwich (with delicately thin slices of roast beef on a very nice lettucey mix), and then a Calvados truffle with a ristretto. Yummy. We were happy girls with that chocolate gleam in our eyes. One of my friends had an enormous salad with large pieces of salmon, and truly heavenly sun blushed tomatoes (tomatoes that haven't indulged in fully fledged sun bathing but are a little dried and all the more sweet and tender).

The service was a tiny bit slow, but very friendly, with waitresses who smiled with our girly banter. All in all, a great place for a leisurely Saturday lunch.
More about ristretto
What iens said about puccini
What special bite said about puccini

takara (mmm++) on the way to a lebanese restaurant...

europaplein 11
1078 gs amsterdam
tel 020- 675 0016

food: 8/10 (Fresh and delicious)
service: 7.5/10 (Very courteous and friendly)
decor: 7/10 (Plain, clean and comfortable.)
We arrived early one evening, anticipating a meal at a nearby Lebanese restaurant that serves excellent meze, but were drawn to the fresh look of this new addition to Europaplein. After glancing at the menu outside of the door we entered and were very graciously ushered to some seats by a friendly waitress.

Takara is a fairly new Japanese restaurant in Rivierenburt, and is located across from the RAI. Still pristine, the interior is uncluttered, clean, and new. There are also a few outside tables just in front of the restaurant.

The menu features both a long a la carte list as well as some very nice set menus. We went for "menu number 16":
  • Salad with seaweed and sesame dressing: Very nice. The dressing was savory and subtle, and the seaweed didn't squeak between my teeth. Always a good sign. Nothing amazing but refreshing and a nice beginning to the delicacies that followed.
  • Sashimi and norimaki: The tuna, salmon and shrimp were really wonderful and tender. Very very yummy. This is the type of fresh fish that convinces you that raw is not a bad thing.
  • Miso soup: If you like miso soup, great. If not, like my boyfriend, poor you.
  • Yakitori: Very very nice. Wonderful grilled salmon, tuna, and scallops. Very tender and delicious.
  • Tempura: Again, really wonderful and crispy. The shrimp tempura was extremely fresh and good. I love all things tempura... The sweet potato was particularly nice.
Yay! I think that this is a new favorite. We had a really lovely meal, with the exception of the noisy toddler at the next table who was hell-bent on throwing plates.

While biting into a wasabi laden piece of norimaki (I love the wasabi rush), I contemplated various means of keeping small children at bay while in a restaurant. I actually invented a new device. It would consist of a pair of headphones and and something stick like thing made of foam with a motion detector. The kid could thump the hell out of the table, and something in the stick thing would make loud thumping noises but only in the headphones. That way, the kid would get the satisfaction of smacking something around, but no one else would have to hear it. You could even do something electrical in the handle that would give the kid a little jolt. I mentioned this idea to my boyfriend who looked over at me and said, "No, I have a better idea. Babysitter."

Can you tell that we are childless? A good thing, I think.

All of this to say, great little restaurant. Wonderful food and very good service.