We had heard that Amsterdam wasn’t really known for good food (sadly), so when our friend Aimal sent us a restaurant recommendation insisting that it would immediately become our favorite place, we had to add it to our itinerary. The place is called Gartine, and Aimal described it as a small restaurant owned by a cute couple that serves delicious and affordable farm fresh cuisine. He had us at delicious and affordable.
So on our first Saturday here, we decided to head to Gartine for lunch. We walked 2 miles in the rain before arriving at the adorable tiny restaurant tucked away in an alley near city center. We walked in and asked the man (who we later found out is the owner) if there was a table for two for lunch. He replied, “Yes there is. You are VERY lucky.” We had no idea at the time exactly HOW lucky we were. Apparently, most people make reservations days or weeks in advance, especially to get a table on the weekend. While we were dining, we saw him turn away at least 10 people who came in off the street looking for a table.
Our waiter/the owner was an adorable man with great energy. He popped over to our table and said “Hallo! Have you decided yet?” When we said we were ready he cocked his head to the side, folded his hands prayer-style in front of his chest and said with big eyes and a smirk, “Tell me.” We might make this a regular spot just so we can be his friend.
We started with the celery soup and a couple of cappuccinos (that’s right, Conor drinks coffee now). The soup was absolutely amazing. I think it was my favorite part of the meal. Unfortunately, I choked on a piece of dill and couldn’t stop coughing. All I had to drink was my piping hot cappuccino which was no help (see previous post about Europeans not drinking water at restaurants). Even with my obnoxious coughing, it took a good 5 minutes to get anyone’s attention to bring me water. Note to self – always carry a water bottle!
For the main course, Conor and I ordered two things to split. The first was cream of goat cheese with bacon and plums with delicious fresh bread to spread it on. The second dish was lamb meatballs with rosemary aioli. Both were fantastic – Conor’s favorite was the goat cheese (so proud…we’ve trained him well Katie Savitz!).
Of course we had to order dessert, because Conor has a sweet tooth and even I was craving something sweet after staring at the dessert refrigerator the entire meal. We chose the coconut lime yogurt pie with an oatmeal crust based on the owner’s recommendation. It was very tasty, or “lekker” as they say here.
Our entire meal at Gartine (2 cappuccinos, soup, 2 entrees, and dessert) was only 30 Euros (roughly $33). What a steal! We will definitely be back.