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Tons of atmosphere: restaurant In de Waag at the Nieuwmarkt

Restaurant In de Waag is smack-dab in the centre of Amsterdam, a few minutes' walk from the Central Station, on the Nieuwmarkt at the end of the famous Zeedijk. Last weekend I made my boyfriend Levi take me there.

I'm not spoiled. I can cook. Actually, I can cook up a storm and all the world can go quiet around me (or is it just in my head where it finally goes quiet?). But there's nothing like going out to eat. Tasting the atmosphere of a place and enjoying well-prepared food and not having to lift a finger, except in the end, to pay the bill.

The thing is, I do this often with friends. But for some reason, I rarely go out to dinner with Levi. We do go out, we like to have lunch in the weekends and discover nice new places that serve good coffee and great pie. We go to festivals and go shopping and do so many more things... Just nearly never have dinner at a proper restaurant. So on Sunday we dressed up and went to In de Waag.

A restaurant lit by only candles
This monumental structure has seen many uses and many occupants over the centuries. Now, among other things, it houses an excellent restaurant. The interior is large, but has a very inviting and intimate atmosphere. Part of the reason why is the fact that the entire restaurant is lit almost solely by candles. Hundreds of them.

The menu includes starters like a tarte tatin of red onion and a pasta dish with horse mushrooms prepared in vieux. Mains include dishes like an entrecôte for two, or baked gravad lachs. Prices vary from E7-E12 for the starters to E19-E25 for the mains. The daily menu is a good deal at E34.

I chose the salad with homemade smoked salmon and the tenderloin beef for a main. Leev opted for the daily menu which consisted of a salad with smoked turkeyfilet, followed by beef with mushrooms and a coffee parfait for desert.

Attentive staff
The waiter was funny, a little flirty even, and attentive. It's funny how good staff can make or break your evening. At least as much as the quality of the food can. My starter was excellent. The homesmoked salmon was mild and silty, not salty. And everything on my plate went together beautifully, from the avocadomousse to the cherry tomatoes, to the green asparagus and even the big, fleshy, green olives. Leev was equally impressed with his smoked turkey salad.

Levi's main dish was huge. His plate seemed heaped to the point of nearly spilling. Oddly though, his steak was red (whereas he'd ordered it medium) and my tenderloin was medium (which I had requested rare). We had a bite of our own, then of eachother's and decided to swap. This is one of the reasons why I love this man.

My veggies had been in the oven too long and were overly salty and dry. Levi had enough for two, so he donated some of his. What was to die for though, was not the big chunk of meat, not the dry, salty veggies, but the mayonaise that accompanied my six Belgian-style fries (yes, only six, but because of the size of them, that was truly enough). Truffle mayonaise. Fingerlicking good. I want to kidnap the souschef who made that and make him make that for me ever single day.

We shared Levi's desert (our waiter brought us two sets of desert forks and spoons, a sweet touch), and eventhough Leev doesn't like icecream very much and I'm generally no fan of coffee-flavoured things, we finished the whole thing. Enough said.

Good for a revisit
So the food was excellent (starter), ok (main) and excellent (desert), but the gorgeous candlelit atmosphere, the great waiting staff and the good location make In de Waag one of those places I'd like to revisit.

The pricerange is well over the budget of most tourists (the bill came to E75,75, which includes two drinks and a pitcher of water). Most of the clientele is over 40.

Restaurant In de Waag
Nieuwmarkt 4
1012CR Amsterdam

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