Bimhuis

No longer in the traditional Dutch Canal House it began in, this landmark in Dutch Jazz music began in 1974, organized by the Dutch Jazz Foundation and the union of improvising musicians, BIM. They convinced the Dutch government to provide grants for improvised music which led to the establishment of the Bimhuis. Such jazz legends as Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Dexter Gordon, Sun Ra, Art Blakey all played here. More than a hundred LP’s and CD’s have come out of sessions at the Bimhuis.

Moved to a new place recently, now a striking black box, part of the Muziekgebouw complex, a great new home to this veteran venue for jazz concerts.

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.

Renee’s Croissants

Renee’s impressed me in the past because they WERE so amazingly consistent, but since the euro change they have become frighteningly expensive.

Recently we have had numerous complaints from readers about the rudeness of the staff, and the ever-increasing prices. Also we have been short-changed by their staff on several occassions. It seems they have new people working there almost daily. This is why their rating has dropped from 5 stars.

Unless the management of Renee’s starts to change things soon, WE RECOMMEND YOU AVOID THIS PLACE!

The following comments are from our original review written over a year ago.

Renee’s Croissants is delightfully “lekker,” with an assortment of pastries, bonbons, soft ice, sandwiches, donuts, pies and more.

No trip down the Damstraat is complete without a visit to Renee’s. They offer a delightful assortment of goodies. Who can resist such offerings as hearty bran muffins with raisins and nuts, their fabulously crusty baguettes, and of course, chocolate muffins.

Renee’s has seasonal offerings, some typically Dutch, that are best sampled from here. Appleflaps, in season, are a great example. I’ve never had a bad one yet from Renee’s – with just the right amount of filling so that it doesn’t gush out at first bite, and a smattering of sugar crystals on the flakiest pastry crust you’ll ever enjoy.

I could go on for hours describing every pastry they make, but I also want to mention their sandwiches. Their “belegede broodjes” are made with the usual ingredients, all freshly laid out for you to choose from, and with great breads or bagels to enclose the fillings. If they aren’t too busy (an unusual occurrence at times) they will make you a sandwich on the spot with fresh bread and whatever you want in it.

I’ve enjoyed many a great sandwich from Renee’s, while exploring Amsterdam.

I’ve also delighted lots of friends with a gift of pastries or bonbons from Renee’s.

Open seven days a week, and late at night; it’s a great place to stop after touring the town on the way home for a late-night snack.

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