Kalinka

Unfortunately it appears this restaurant is no longer in business…. 🙁

As we wandered around the Leidseplein, my friends from Spain were looking for something different to eat. So when they suggested we look into this Russian restaurant, I was psyched to try anything. And given the new American/Russian amity as evidenced by the Bush/Putin lovefest, it seemed like it was time to see what the Russians have to offer on the culinary scene these days. The menu looked way more inviting than a Texas barbecue, that’s for sure!

The once decadent, and now charming Czarist decor is inviting, with attractive pinstripe wallpaper and turn of the century lamps. It’s the kind of place, a few years ago, where you’d expect the Russian couple at the next table to be KGB agents discussing spy secrets. Of course today it would be the same couple, now with the Russian Mafia, talking about business secrets.

We started off with some Russian beers in half liter bottles, that were very hearty and full of flavor. Some of our appetizers were superb. The chicken soup in a creamy saffron base was outstanding! I ordered the fried potato shoes stuffed with mushrooms and cheese, served with a wonderfully rich cream sauce. Those two appetizers along with the constantly refilling bread basket could make a meal right there. But the fish soup didn’t measure up.

Lamb Tiblisi

After our second round of beers, the main course arrived. My friends had the Lamb Tiblisi and said it was excellent. I ordered the Chicken Kiev, which I figured would be a safe bet, but unfortunately it was the loser of the evening as it was dry and tough. It certainly didn’t have the freshness of the other dishes.

By the time we were on our third round of beers, the musical portion of the evening’s entertainment had arrived. A Russian duo consisting of male keyboardist and a very sexy platinum blond diva serenaded us with tunes like Besame (which of course my Spanish friends loved!), and other 80s hits. They were actually pretty good!

The bill came to 300 guilders for four, (no dessert) and considering that we each had appetizers and over a liter of beer, I’d say the prices were quite reasonable.

Korte Leidsedwarstraat 49a
Amsterdam 1017
Phone: 020

The Waterhole

The Waterhole, a rebel themed hangout down in the Red Light District, is a good venue to hear music close up and personal and dance if the spirit moves you. We got to check this place out when Cosmic Charlie, a Grateful Dead cover band played, and there was enough gray haired tie-dyed ol’ hippies there to start a retirement commune. The band gave me some serious but extremely enjoyable flashbacks to the 60s with tunes like Uncle John’s Band. Everyone seemed to dig both the band and the somewhat funky but smokey atmosphere of the place.

There was no admission that evening, so for the price of a few beers I got to relive some golden moments. And it was a special pleasure to be able to smoke da kine in this venue. The stage is downstairs from a youth hostel, so they try to keep the music hip and the vibes easy going. The sound in the relatively small venue was excellent.

THE WATERHOLE IS A LIVE MUSIC BAR IN THE CENTRE OF AMSTERDAM WITH A VARYING LINE-UP OF ALL POPULAR MUSIC GENRES
Oh, and you can also eat at tap&dine upstairs

Pathe Theaters – Arena

I recently visited the Pathe Arena theaters to see a new movie (Goldmember) on the day of its release in the Netherlands. As usual, I went during a weekday afternoon. Why? Because not only did I get a nice discount, but the theater was almost empty (like about 8 people in the biggest theater!). I like that!

The seats are ever so comfy here. The red ones in the largest theater are well-padded and wide, with wide arm rests and lots of legroom. No more cramming your legs against the seat in front!

The sound system was awesome, but didn’t seem to work 100% with the movie I came to see, perhaps because it wasn’t filmed in a compatible mode. I counted at least 30 speakers that I could see.

I really like coming here for the reasons I’ve mentioned, and I would come here more often, if they didn’t only show the latest Hollywood-hyped, factory-made movies. What’s wrong with screening something alternative once in awhile? Well there’s certainly no shortage of theaters in Amsterdam showing non-mainstream films. See our article on Amsterdam Movie Theaters for more tips on movie venues.

The only other gripe I have is that the popcorn we got in the afternoon was stale (and encrusted with salt) from the night before. Someone should be shot for doing this. Stale, overly salty popcorn is inexcusable. Let your employees take it home at the end of the night instead, please!

I’ve seen movies in the smaller theaters at the Arena, and they’re all top quality, and airconditioned. Plus there’s no smoking, and usually no pause in the middle of the feature.

Amsterdam Arena Shopping Mall
Amsterdam
Phone: