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“Nice atmosphere, nice people, simple food, simple prices” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Balthazar's Keuken

Balthazar's Keuken
Elandsgracht 108, 1016 VA Amsterdam, The Netherlands
+31 20 420 2114
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Ranked #645 of 2,627 Restaurants in Amsterdam
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $36 - $36
Cuisines: French, International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Description: Balthazars Keuken restaurant in the heart of the Jordaan district is one of Amsterdam's most special restaurants. It is a long, narrow space set in a former smithy, with scrubbed wooden floors, an open kitchen with pans and utensils hanging in plain view. The moss-coloured banquettes, unadorned wooden seating, and plain white table linens add to the ambience of simplicity and relaxation. And it's tiny, seating just about 30 inside and a few more on the bijou terrace in fine weather. 'Romantic' must be Balthazar's middle name, in spite of the plain surroundings. Owners Karen Gaasterland and Alain Parry create internationally-inflected three-course fixed-price dinners, with a menu that changes every week. They create. You enjoy. No choice about the dishes, though. The starters are tidbits meant to appeal to all. The mains are perfectly-sourced fish or meat with sides. House wine is from the Languedoc, chosen to complement the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Dinner and lunch from Wednesday through Saturday. Groups up to ten can dine in the restaurant then, or hire the entire venue for private events during the rest of the week. Very popular, very packed.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Nice atmosphere, nice people, simple food, simple prices”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2013

I'am not a neutral or objective writer in this specific case, because I know the two owners. But I like the atmosphere, altough the tables are really very close together. Food is fresh and very nice in taste, but on the presentation there is work to do! But then again it is oké!
Service has always a nice word for you and the know their work. Sometimes you have a student who is serving you, and they also have to know the menu, and not asking three times at the collegue.
Over-all a nice and straight forward good food place and very relaxed and lay back.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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146 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    77
    38
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Terrific food at a great price.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2013

Came in with out a reservation and a little underdressed. Staff could not have been nicer. It's one of those restaurants where they only serve one or two things a night but they make sure it's the best. I had a delicious trout served over ravioli. Great. The appetizers were five different items. If you don't care for one there are four more. I ate them all. Not much of a wine list but I liked how they served several in one liter size so if a glass is not enough, but a bottle is too much, there you have it. While the restaurant is small and 'cozy', it didn't feel loud or claustrophobic. Best of all, is the price. So very reasonable. Highly recommend it, but don't count on luck getting a table, like I did, make a reservation.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Cardiff, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
196 reviews 196 reviews
114 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 79 cities Reviews in 79 cities
97 helpful votes 97 helpful votes
“Nice atmosphere - but let down by the food...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

We read a lot about this quirky restaurant which happened to be round the corner from where we were staying... and I liked what I read so we booked ahead. But in the event although we had a fun evening, the food was really not good enough. We were greeted in a charming way and shown to our table. Basically the whole restaurant eats more or less together round the food preparation area... and there are two sittings: early and late. A short menu - which changes weekly - offered a starter combination which everyone has - a main course of either fish or meat and a dessert which everyone has. Our medley of middle eastern influenced starters was good and nicely fresh: a really hopeful sign.
But the maincourse, in our case ribeye barely cooked (very blue) in a very, very peppery sauce was clumsy and crude. Plenty of meat but if you are going to serve it almost raw (with no warning!) it needs to be REALLY good quality beef. Not stringy and rather average. And certainly not in a sauce that was so strong it masked any flavour of the meat. They really should have asked us how we liked our beef - because there was no indication that it would be so blue and my wife only ate half of hers...
At the neighbouring table the verdict on the Zander (pike-perch) was that it was lacking in flavour...
Dessert was a delicious chocolate "case" served with tiny steamed plum tomatoes! An experiment too far in my book. Chocolate with raspberries - yes; with tomatoes - no!
We enjoyed a nice bottle of white wine with the meal and it WAS a fun night out but at €100 for the two of us the food had to be worth more than 4/10. It could have been a memorable evening to be repeated... Instead I would not recommend it to friends I'm afraid.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Just not good enough”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

I was in Amsterdam for work and was recommended this place by so many websites And foody blogs .I really wanted to like it but was totally underwhelmed and disappointed. First the positives. It's a cool space, well done out and has a nice vibe. The staff were friendly enough . Our waiter had to read the menu from his iPhone which was odd as seeing as they have one menu for the week I would have thought by Friday he would have been able to remember what was on it. The menu is a series of tapas style dishes to share as starters, meat or fish as main and one desert. The starters were all cold and were all tasty but there was very little skill on show here by the kitchen, two cheese dishes, hummus, sausage and mussels with an over reduced, bitter sauce. As a main I had the chop and it was a nice cut, well cooked and seasoned but came with two cannaloni filled with ricotta and spinach that had been sort of re fried so they were hard on the outside......an italian would have fainted to see such a classic dish ruined and also served with meat. The wild mushrooms that came with it had grit in them . I had asked if they could cater for my vegetarian wife when I booked and they said yes. When I asked if they had a vegetarian option for her the waiter shrugged, asked another waiter who shrugged and ended up serving her the cannaloni with some fried broccoli . Really very poor. Desert was even worse. What looked like chocolate mousse was in fact melted dark chocolate in a glass with cream on top with a bit of poached pear. It was rock hard and a bit of a disaster. That was the desert. most dishes were prepared in advance so to be so poor was quite an achievement. Did no one in the kitchen taste the chocolate and realise it was wrong as a dessert? Wine was fine. Now if this food had been €20 each I would have not felt the need to write this review but the bill was €94. If I had been served this standard of food by a friend at a dinner party then I would have thought it was fine with a few typical on the night disasters but to pay these kind of prices for this standard of cooking is just not good enough. I really think the owners need to get out more and travel to other cities ( london , New York, Melbourne etc ) and realise that this level of cooking and service just Doesn't do it in 2013. The concept is fine , its very simple but it requires much better ambition and execution . The place is seemingly packed and people rave about it online and so I don't think it will change but really it was just one massive let down. It is definitely a 'style over substance 'type of place. It could be great and that is the real shame.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
56 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Clean kitchen-tasty food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

You can watch everything being made. Fresh ingredients, prepared with care. The tower of appetizers was excellent (I particularly enjoyed the sardines with apricots). The entrees were duck and fish-both quite nice. Wines were very good and inexpensive. Service was good.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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