Indonesian Restaurants in Amsterdam
Indonesian food in Amsterdam
My aim with this post is not to try and cover all Indonesian restaurants in all areas but to give a cross section from fancy dining to take away that I have tried a few times and think are great. With the restaurants I always try the ‘rice table’. This is a tasting menu, with, typically 12 small courses which include things like spicy beef, coconut beef, spicy chicken, coconut chicken, lamb with soy / tamarind, lamb and/or chicken satay, prawn or fish, steamed veg with peanut sauce, spicy bean salad, sour cucumber salad, white rice.
What follows are five restarurants and one take away. The food was super at all of them but here is a summary of what makes them stand out, besides the food:
Rons Gastrobar Downtown Indonesian – spectacular venue
Jun – where locals go for a good meal
Blue Pepper – fine dining either in the restaurant or on board their boat
Max – mixed menu so also international options
Cafe Kadijk – A one plate ricetable, so no need to all order the same.
Terang Boelan – excellent take away in the Jordaan
If you join one of my tours you will get a printed map with my top recommendations on it and I will also mark new finds and current favourites on the map. Joining the small group Amsterdam Walking Tour or booking one of my private tours is a great way to not only find your way in the city and get a bit of history and insight but also get up to date info about where to eat and drink in Amsterdam.
Rons Gastrobar Indonesia Downtown
Ron’s Gastrobar Indonesia Downtown, (what a mouthful) is my current (December 2019) favourite Indonesian place to eat in the city, the featured photo on this blog post shows their rice table for 2 people. The setting is spectacular. It’s the top floor of a modern building with a vaulted roof, great open space, palm trees and a sumptuous modern feel to it. The rice table was excellent and came fast, there was a good range of spiciness and options to spice the dishes up further with a range of sambals. This was done in a really fun way with a guy walking around called Mr Pepper whose job it is to entertain and also offer various levels of spicy sauces.
The service was quick and the cost was €40 per person for the rice table and €28 for a bottle of white wine. They gave tap water when I requested it.
This place is just off Dam Square on a straat called Rokin, so impoossible to be more central which makes it convenient for just about everyone. You enter a door on a side alley and gett the elevator to the 5th foor.
I’ve been trying out Indonesian restaurants all over town, and this one is a firm favourite. It was suggested to me by Patricia Jacobs, who gives so many good tips in her blog Amsterdam Bites to Die For and it really hit the spot. The flavors were superb and varied, subtle, spicy, rich, fresh, they spice their food to ‘medium’ level and you can ramp that up by adding more yourself. The ‘Pudding nanas’ was sublime, a fresh light pudding of pineapple, cream and orange juice, the perfect ending to a lovely meal.
The rice tables range from 27 to 37 per person, they have a vegetarian one too. Like most places you need 2 people to order a rice table menu. I managed to get a table the day I phoned but do book as far ahead as possible, the place filled up with locals very quickly.
You can see their menu on their website
The location is in Amsterdam west, so not central and probably easist to cab or uber there.
You can e-mail them for reservations or call them on +31 20 785 9185
Blue Pepper is a fine dining restaurant and, oh my, the quality of the food is superb. Their dishes are unapplogetically complicated and based on what you would expect at a royal Indonesian feast. They have three tasting menus and an a la carte option. Here is a shrotcut to their amazing menu.
Their ‘The Sultan and I’ tasting menu comes in at 56 euros and is made up of four courses: seafood / poultry & game / fish & meat / desserts. There are a number of small dishes per course which have unusual ingredients for an Amsterdam Indonesian restaurant: scallops, soft-shall crab, guinnea fowl, goose, fish, rack of lamb, jackfruit, orange blossom. They have a signature sorbet with coulis and one electrifying Szechuan peppercorn which creates a memorable and fun zing of flavour.
I’ve not tried the other two ricetable options but one is vegan, how cool is that! That rolls in at 42 euros.
I also see that they have added a more traditional Amsterdam ricetable at 37 per person which is what you would expect to pay anywhere. I expect the quality of that to be excellent and will try it soon!
There is an options to add suggested champagne and wine pairings to the different courses.
With the first two tasing menus, one person can order as it is served in 4 courses on a plate, per person. With the Amsterdam Ricetable, everyone at the table has to order it and it costs 37 per person. The reason is that they fill the table with all the dishes at the same time and the dishes are all shared.
Blue Pepper also offer a diner cruise, with the food cooked onboard a stylish boat. I’ve not tried, this, it is expensive but if you want to splash out or money is no object, I am quite certain that this will be a wonderful experience.
I had seen pics of the rice table at Max online and thought that the portions looked a little small but actually, the amount of food was just right – and I have an appetite. I have also learned that if you want some more, just ask and they are happy to oblige. The spiciness was mild which made it possible to taste all the other flavors which were lovely!
After having read some of the owner’s amusing responses to a couple of bad Tripadvisor reviews I was hoping to see him in action, he sounds like a great character but, alas, all I found were polite and helpful waitresses!
The table was small, the chairs uncomfortable and the place crowded but it was fine as a place to spend an hour or so and try excellent tasting Indonesian food. The rice table costs 39 per person or you can go large with the 53 per person option.
There are also international dishes on the menu so if one of you loves Indonesian and the other not, there are options for both of you.
Max is in the canal belt west at Herenstraat 14
For reservations email via their website or call +3120 4200 222
I tried the mini-rice table here was very pleased with it. 20€ gets you a plate with 2 types of beef, chicken, salads, and rice. It was all fresh, tasty, tender and filling and the chicken was slightly spicy.
I also got a separate starter of eggs and prawns in a spicy sauce which was great but I could have done without as I was overfull by the time I finished the rice table.
Cafe Kadijk is in a quaint little square just outside the city center to the east, long a favorite spot of mine for a quiet drink and chat with friends.
Open for dinner only from 17h00 to 22h00. Tel – 0617 744 411
Terang Boelan – Indonesian Take Away
Oh wow. Amazing flavors. I was literally whimpering with pleasure when I was eating and wish I didn’t live on completely the other side of Amsterdam to Terang Boelan. I’ve wanted to try this place for years but tend only to be in the area on Saturdays and it’s closed then. Patricia Jacobs raved about it in her blog Amsterdam Bites to Die For so I eventually got around to going and the food is excellent and authentic. This is a small family business and the owner and chief cook, Mr. Taufik Rachman, has been keeping his loyal, local customers happy since 1994.
I chose 2 types of chicken, and 2 types of beef, in both cases, one spicy and one more coconut based, but, still spicy with a spicy bean salad and rice. That turned into 2 very generous plates of food for 21 euros in total, what a bargain, you can see one of those plates in the photo above. If you are self-catering in the Jordaan try this early in your stay so you can go again. Alternatively get them to warm up your food and have a picnic on the side of a nearby canal. They also have 1 table and it is possible for them to serve you a plate of food on the premises but this is primarily a take away.
I really really look forward to trying everything on the menu! Speaking of which, here is a link to the menu.
Mondat to Friday: 3pm to 9pm,
Sunday: 3:30pm to 9pm
Kantijl to Go
You can also get a quick cheap experience of Indonesian food at Kantijl to Go. This is in the centre near Spui and I’ve written about it on another blog post. Click here to jump to my review of that.