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.

Oh, and you can also eat at tap&dine upstairs

Memories of India

After spending an afternoon exploring Amsterdam we decided to find someplace nice to eat. Something different.

Strolling down the Reguliersdwaarstraat from the Rembrandplein, we came across the stylishly modern Memories of India, which I gather is a chain from Great Britain. The menu outside offered a tempting array of traditional Indian specialties, and a few Balti curries. Deciding to eat here was definitely not a mistake, and everything from the appetizer to the main course was presented to us by our smilingly efficient Indian waiter.

Our appetizer of fried fish with a spicy dipping sauce was quite tasty. Despite the many tiny bones we enjoyed the crispiness. A small salad was also served along with the appetizer.

For entrees we chose Prawns Bhuna and Chicken Korma. The Korma was made with chunks of chicken in a sauce consisting of cream, ground nuts, butter, herbs and spices. It was so rich and thick that it was seductively addictive. Prawns Bhuna proved to be the perfect counterpoint, with large shrimps simmered in a hotly spiced stew of tomatoes, onions, herbs and spices. The garlic naan we ordered worked quite well at sopping up all the amazing sauces that came with our meal.

Lingering over dinner was really enjoyable, with a fresh breeze coming through the open front door to carry away cigarette smoke. The restaurant has a patio dining area in the back, and the whole place is decorated in a very modern style, (hardly discernable as Indian) with large modern art canvases, and Roman-style columns topped with metal-work palm trees scattered about. There are a few stone carvings of elephants and other Indian motifs on the walls to help remind you that yes, indeed, you are in an Indian restaurant. As if you will need a reminder after eating the food!

Memories of India is a nice place, with great food at a reasonable price – our entire meal with drinks was under 100 guilders. Most enjoyable indeed!

The Blue Teahouse

‘t Blauwe Theehuis, an attractive, round blue pavillion in the Vondelpark, looks like a spaceship that landed among the trees. In the summer it can be crowded with alien lifeforms (some on rollerblades!). It seems to be a popular rendezvous point for intergalactic travelers passing through. It is a ring-shaped concrete & steel cafe with vast terrace for drinks, light bites & summer BBQs.

Although the barman isn’t versed in how to mix a pan-galactic gargle-blaster, they do serve up a good variety of earth beverages, including beer and wine, tea, coffee, sodas and some snacks to stave off hunger until you get to the next way station.

On a warm summer day, this is a popular place to beat the heat with a cold beer, sitting on the big downstairs patio or upstairs, around the saucer. If your solar cells need recharging, there are many seats in direct sunshine, or if you can’t handle any more radiation, a shady spot can be found. It can get a bit crowded and noisy on such days as my last visit. And when the breeze dies, the smoke can get thick (and it’s not just tobacco).

The place grooves on weekends with DJs upstairs, and what better venue to recharge depeleted cannabinoid levels, than the middle of the Vondelpark, among the tall trees with other interesting life forms around for entertainment. Any similarity to The Restaurant at The End of the Universe is purely coincindental…or is it?

Websurfers Beware! Their website seems to be stuck in a sort of time warp, since the most recent event shown is from April, 2000!

China Sichuan Restaurant / Warmoesstraat

Also known as “Chinese Kitchen,” this little place in the Red Light District is an interesting spot for a spicy meal.

The decor is that of a converted Italian restaurant, with a shrine by the front window including a picture of the Dalai Lama, and statues of Ho-Tei and Buddha for that authentic Asian feel. The insence wafting from the altar went quite well with the aromas of sizzling spices and food while we settled ourselves at the table inside the front window.

Take some time and look over the menu carefully, there’s a lot to choose from. The menu will seem familiar to American tastes, with Kung-Pao and other Sichuan specialties to choose from. However, the flavors are anything but American, this is true Sichuan cooking in Amsterdam.

The waitress took our order, helping with suggestions and answering our questions clearly. I ordered the Sichuan soup, Sesame Prawns as an appetizer and Kung Pao Prawns for my main dish. My friend ordered the same soup, shared the Sesame prawns with me, and for a main plate choose a Sichuan chicken dish, which the waitress promised would be very spicy. I also ordered a large pot of hot tea to wash everything down.

The jasmine tea and soup arrived quickly, and my taste buds were soon reeling from the intensely flavoured and delightful Sichuan soup, which featured mushrooms, chili peppers, herbs and tofu in a great broth. The sesame prawns arrived soon thereafter, along with a spicy dipping sauce made with a base of soy, salty and wonderful. The main dishes arrived on platters as large portions, with a huge bowl of steaming jasmine rice and individual plates. My Kung Pao Prawns were fabulous, clean-tasting and fresh, cooked perfectly and the rest of the dish was classic kung-pao, with the peanuts and vegetables in a light brown sauce spiced with bits of red pepper. The sichuan chicken dish wasn’t quite as good, but it was uniquely flavored and delicious in its own way. The pieces of chicken were cooked with the shreds of skin still attached, adding a certain greasiness to the dish, but the addition of allspice to the seasoning almost fooled me into thinking this was a dish made from duck…

Our meal was good, with efficient service in nice surroundings. The table we had in the front window proved to be a great place to watch the never-ending parade of humanity passing through the Red Light District. Our table was also cigarette-smoke free being by the open door, an added benefit indeed.

The bill for our great Sichuan Chinese meal was f72. I will visit again and have more soup, their menu has an extensive selection of hot pot meals as well.

Since ourt original review this restaurant has moved from the Zeedijk to the Warmoestraat, see the map below.