Bachzaal

The Bachzaal is a medium-sized concert hall in Amsterdam-Zuid.
When I used to live on Beethovenstraat, I loved to pop down to the Bachzaal, a few blocks away, to get my fill of classical music. I’ll never forget one striking performance by a music professor playing Scriabin so intensely, I developed a great fondness for the composer.
The Bachzaal is a venue where music students hold recitals and occassionally professional musicians come to play. Most events are free, and it’s unlikely the place will be crowded, so you can enjoy fine classical music without all the commercialism.
The hall gets its name from the Bachstraat, where the room is located. Architect Piet Vorkink (1878-1960) designed the ingenious complex in 1930, of which the Bachzaal is part. The building, where musicians for the Concertgebouw Orchestra were initially trained, is an important semi-public building, of which only a few have been built in the Netherlands.

Sukasari

If you’re looking for a nice, quiet place to hangout for a while right off the Dam Square that won’t set you back a lot of guilders, visit Sukasari.

Located in the very first block heading east from the Dam Monument, Sukasari is on the right side of the street just past the Old Man Headshop. The place is nicely decorated, Indonesian style, and was an oasis for lunch on one of Amsterdam’s hottest summer days. The spinning ceiling fans kept us quite cool as we relaxed over a lengthy business lunch. A steady supply of kleine biertjes chilled us even further.

The food is traditional Indonesian, not hot and spicy like Thai food. The menu is extensive, and they offer daily lunch specials if you don’t have a clue as to what to order…

The appetizers range from the standard shrimp-flavored kropek crispies to soups (meatball, chicken, chicken-corn or vegetable) and loempias. They offer a variety of sate’s (chicken on skewers) with the usual peanut sauces, and traditional bami (noodle) and nasi (rice) dishes. (Prices range from f5.25 for an appetizer to f22.50 for the most expensive item on the menu.)

Sukasari will also make up a Rijstafel with a variety of eleven Indonesian dishes for you to sample. (Priced at f45 per person.)

Being reasonably priced is the main attraction here, with a lunch special geared to the wallets of travelers who want a quiet oasis near the Dam Square. Be sure to ask for some hot chili sauce for your dishes to spice things up!

Sukasari is open from noon until 11:30 in the evenings Tuesdays thru Saturdays. On Mondays they are open from 4:30 pm until 11:30 pm. Closed Sundays.

Tibet Restaurant

We discovered this relaxing refuge from the hectic pace of the Red Light District, after showing a friend around the area. We were pretty burned out as we’d been walking all over town for many hours, and our last hour in the Red Light Light district was spent dodging tourists and listening to pounding house music in coffeeshops.

The Tibet restaurant welcomed us and restored us with it’s wonderfully exotic ambiance while the soothing Tibetan music put us in the proper calm mood to enjoy the tasty delights of this popular dining spot. The Tibetan artworks on the walls including eyecatching tankas and colorful woven tapestries that transported our city-tortured souls to distant Himalayan villages were the inward journey is as awe-inspiring as the lofty peaks.

We ordered from a menu filled with Chinese delights, including the spicy flavors of Shechuan. I ordered a delicious Kung Pao Chicken, and my friend had a delightful shrimp and fried noodle dish (bird’s nest style, photo above). The food was perfect, the service good, and we left feeling refreshed and centered. So if you’re in the mood for a transcendental treat, the Tibet Restaurant is just the ticket.

Puccini

I already knew that Belgian chocolates, as fine as they are, are equalled if not surpassed by Dutch chocolate. I first became addicted to Dutch chocolate when some friends from Breda took us to their favorite chocolatier which happens to be around the corner from them. Another friend told us about Puccini, right here in Amsterdam, so I finally went by to see what all the fuss was.

I was glad I did! I’ve never tasted such fine chocolate in my life! All the bonbons were fresh, creamy smooth, and so flavorful. While their selection isn’t huge, each choice is meticulously made with the finest natural ingredients and a 70% cacao content. Many of their bonbons contain fine liquors like cognac, grand marnier or amaretto.

Discover this well-kept local secret for yourself! Puccini has two locations, and at the Staalstraat shop, you can see them make the bonbons through a window. On the Staalstraat you can also enjoy a coffee and some fabulous chocolate desserts at their cafe…

The other location is at Singel 184
Phone: 020 427 8341