Considering how much time we’d spent on our feet today, walking one more time to the nearest restaurant cluster seemed a bridge too far. Like Milan, and unlike Madrid, Amsterdam doesn’t have a lot of spots where there are ample restaurants to offer some good choices. But like other European cities, frequently these clusters of restaurants are dominated by what the local restaurant owners think tourists might want. Burgers/Pizza/Ribs/Steaks/Italian/Fish, all under one roof guaranteeing that none of them will be done particularly well, even if they’re always full. We always look for gems that specialize in what we’re thinking about, and usually, we can find one.

While we were resting, I spent some time on Google Maps looking from the sky view of restaurants across the city. In particular, those that wouldn’t require a long haul. I was focusing on two key parameters in addition to distance – available online booking and a menu. A few made the cut based on distance, and a few less on the booking. Most had a menu I could read, but none of those looked interesting. Finally, I found one very close by (across the street and down half a block,) and a table available at 8 PM. The menu though was a problem, it was only in Dutch and while I’ve picked up some, I haven’t yet completed the “menu nuances” unit. But it described itself as “Mediterranean Food” so what could possibly go wrong. At 7:45 I used “The Fork” app to book at 8 and out the door we went.

The walk was easy, and we found it right away. Nice looking from the outside, with black paint, dark windows, and a neat presentation. Entering though, the first thing we noticed was the noise – to say it was a “din” was an understatement. It was busy, with 3 long tables in the middle with parties of 8 or more, along with various 2-tops lining the wall. The owner looked at me like I was nuts when I said I’d used the app to make a reservation (and this is not the first time I’ve had that experience with The Fork) but grabbed two menus and showed us to a table at the back of the room. Unfortunately, it was next to a table full of Americans, one of which was clearly in love with the sound of his own voice. So much though that he was literally yelling. MLW and I sat there looking at each other before leaning in and discussing leaving due to the noise, because who wants to go out to dinner and sit silently because there is no way to communicate. Not like the Americans on the other side of us who were literally doing that. But once we had a look at the menu, we decided that having “an experience” with a good meal was worth the inconvenience. We caught a waiter, ordered our meals and a couple of glasses of wine, and sat back to wait it out.

The noisy party left, and their departure made an instant improvement in our situation; we could actually talk. One of the big parties also cleared out along with the silent couple next to us and just like that it was bearable. MLW had Salmon with Tagliatelle which we’d envisioned being a pasta bowl but instead turned out to be an exquisitely prepared Salmon filet with a little bowl of pasta on the side and a nicely prepared mélange of braised vegetables and potatoes. I’d ordered Duck breast, and it was served with those same veggies and a nice little pile of Saffron Rice. Not to overstate the situation, but both meals were among the best we’d ever had. And, in perhaps the ultimate compliment, MLW’s salmon was every bit as good as how I prepare it.

I had a nice chat with the waiter when I asked for the bill in Dutch, he asked why I was learning it, I explained my cramming process prior to this trip. We paid our compliments to the chef and left, only to find ourselves confronted by a backyard Corrales quality sunset, the golden clouds nicely framing the Zuiderkerk a mile or so away in the old town. Perfect end, perfect day.

We took a lot of photos today, on the streets and in the museum many of which didn’t make the earlier cut. He’s a gallery of the worthy outtakes.