I always thought the Dutch liked to have dinner early; that eating at 10 or 11pm like the Spanish was just not a done thing. Until we arrived at – heaving – Cafe Panache, the new restaurant & bar in Amsterdam West that everyone seems to be talking about and loving. We were late, having just been to the fantastic UNSEEN Photography Fair, but I thought that at 10pm we wouldn’t have a problem getting a table. Wrong. We were told to wait at the bar while we waited for a table to clear. I was astounded.
Cafe Panache has the feel of a buzzing warehouse restaurant in New York’s Meatpacking district. The energy of the place, which was still in full flow when we left past midnight, is unlike any restaurant I’ve been to in Amsterdam. This is where all the locals hang out – as the Dutch would say, it’s the new ‘hotspot’ in town. And it’s a complete mix of people; hipster/posh/grungy/yummy mummy/student. I loved it.
Their menu tends to seem quite fish-heavy, but what I really recommend if you’re looking for value for money is their three course set menu. For 30 Euros you get a starter (we had the gravlax), a main course (we had beef) and pudding (baked cheese cake). The main course was the best of the lot, the beef cooked perfectly, with celeriac mash and chicory. The gravlax was slightly on the dry side, and while the girls weren’t a massive fan of the cheesecake, I loved it. We also ordered oysters on the side (3 euros a pop), as it seemed a shame not to try more of their seafood selection.
If you don’t want a full on meal, then you can just enjoy the large bar area and order bar snacks (we saw some phenomenal sharing platters come by). It seems a bit more casual there, and open until 1am. While the location is a bit out of the way (in the less familiar part of the Ten Kate markt), you’re in the centre in less than 10 minutes (by bike) and there are a number of other pubs and bars you can head to in West if you prefer.
Really recommend it.
Ten Katestraat 117,
1053 CC Amsterdam