Amsterdam City Blog restaurants, shops, people and life in Amsterdam

28Oct/101

Chinese chicken and squid at Nam Kee

Chinese restaurant Nam Kee on the Zeedijk in AmsterdamI probably have already told you that New King is my favourite Chinese restaurant in Amsterdam. It seems I am not the only person who thinks their food is good, as on a Wednesday evening me and my girlfriend Nina could not get a table on any of the three floors! We were told we would have to wait for about half an hour. We were quite hungry. Waiting that long was not an option, so we went to Nam Kee down the street.

We were in luck, a couple of people were just leaving and we were able to get a table at this newly refurbished (ugly grey faux-bricks on the walls) Chinese classic. There's a Dutch movie (after the novel by Kees van Beijnum) with national celebrity Katja Schuurman and the then not so famous Egbert Jan Weber (whose star is on the rise as we speak), named after an oyster dish from this restaurant (Oesters van Nam Kee, which translates to: Oysters at Nam Kee's).

Nina ordered the ti pan chicken dish with seasonal greens. Ti pan means the food is prepared in a cast iron dish, and is served, sizzling hot, on that same dish, placed on a wooden coaster. I selected the dry fried squid (without the chili peppers) from the extensive menu. We got some white rice and shrimp crackers (kroepoek) to go with that. Nina had a beer and I had Chinese tea.

Generous portions, great food
The food was great. The squid was fresh, not too chewy, and very tasty. The chicken was soft, the greens (Chinese broccoli and baby Pak soi) were fresh and crunchy, and complemented the chicken very well. The plate with shrimp crackers was heaped high. That's the way we like it!

hologram stickers in a raindeer. Très chi-chiWe were so hungry that by the time I thought of taking a picture of our food, we had already devoured most of it. I do however have this amusing little tidbit of interior decoration for you. Traditionally, cherrywood tables, inlaid with intricate patterns in mother of pearl are the epitomy of chic. But this is not mother of pearl. It seems to be... a hologram sticker? And if you notice the motif, it isn't very chic either! It looks like it's Christmas every day at Nam Kee.

Worth repeating
All in all, dinner at Nam Kee was a very good experience. Affordable too, between the two of us the bill came to 30 euro. I think I may be convinced to come here more often, and New King doesn't even have to be full for me to consider it!

Nam Kee currently has two locations in Amsterdam. Another location is to open soon on the Marie Heinekenplein. We went to the one on the Zeedijk (address below), which is open every day from noon until 11pm. See the website for the other locations and opening hours.

Nam Kee
Zeedijk 111-113
1012 AV Amsterdam

www.namkee.net

18Oct/101

Latei on the Zeedijk

Latei on the Zeedijk, signThis place near the Nieuwmarkt with oodles of charm used to be a favourite, back in the day when the coffee was still cheap, the pies always available and they didn't forget we were there. Lately though, the service at Latei has gone way down and every tourist knows where to find it. The shine seems to have worn off a little.

If you are patient, Latei on the Zeedijk can still have its moments. On a busy day like last Sunday though, patience was the key word. Sadly, not even patience could save Latei then. We went there with a friend, I was looking forward to the fantastic lemon cheesecake, Levi was looking forward to the apple pie.

uptairs interior at Latei on the Zeedijk in Amsterdam centreThe place was packed, but we found a table upstairs. We decided what we wanted (two carrot/beet juices, one coffee. One lemon cheesecake, one chocolate brownie and one of the huge apple pie pieces) and Levi went downstairs to order, knowing from experience that it's faster and easier that way.

brownie at Latei on the Zeedijk in AmsterdamOut of nearly everything
The staff is friendly and quirky, but not always fast. Sunday's waitress kept bringing things to our table that we hadn't ordered (a sandwich with cheese, orange juice...). After some time Levi returned with one chocolate brownie and informed us that this was all there was. They were out of cheesecake and apple pie and this was the last brownie to boot. There was an apple pie in the oven, but it was going to take some time.

Half an hour later we'd long since finished the one brownie between the three of us and got tired of waiting for our juice. The waitress who had previously wanted to bring us stuff we hadn't ordered did not show up with what we had ordered and so we decided to call it a day. We went downstairs and paid for the one brownie.

I said to the girl at the register "Since the juices we had ordered never arrived, I'd just like to pay for the brownie please." And all she said was "Oh. That will be 2,25." Not even an "I'm sorry, we must have forgot." Nothing. She didn't even ask her colleague about it, she just rang up the brownie and that was it.

Nothing to write home about
Needless to say I am disappointed in Latei. I've been there with Levi countless times before and I was expecting to be able to tell you guys about the great cheesecake and other scrumptious goodies (the menu is modest, but most of it is very good), but they never delivered.

window front at Latei in AmsterdamThe interior decoration is ecclectic, and everything's for sale! From the retro chairs you sit on and the tables you eat off of, to the fabulously ugly lamps hanging from the ceiling and the tacky embroidered art on the wall. There's also a selection of vintage wallpaper.

Latei is open:
Monday through Wednesday 8am - 6pm
Thursday and Friday 8am - 10pm (after 6 they serve Indian food)
Saturday 9am - 11pm (Indian food after 6)
Sunday 11am - 6pm

Latei
Zeedijk 143
1012AW Amsterdam

http://www.latei.net