Tucked away near De Pijp, just past the Rijksmuseum is De 3 Vrienden. Originally founded by three business partners, and part of a chain, the Amsterdam location is now free of the franchise and owned by 2 friends! The ambience is lovely: candlelit tables are all different and rustic. The interior is dimly lit, warm and old - adding a real sense of intimacy. The dishes are small, but you can ask for the larger option. The wine list is small, but has some excellent wines on it. We plumped for the sampler menu, which is 6 courses. Goat's cheese with grilled pepper and almonds; chopped snails with courgette, thyme and cream; clear chicken broth with sherry and pheasant; salmon with lemon leaves, soy and a seaweed pickle; slow-cooked veal with beans and a mustard mash; three chocolate ice creams with a thin cookie and salt.
This came to 32.50 each, but my partner couldn't manage it all, so didn't touch the veal and didn't want dessert. They reduced the bill considerably! With a good wine, armagnac and coffee, the bill was 79 Euros.
The staff were friendly and obviously proud of their food. They upped the prices since starting to source high quality produce.
I seldom see such a distinctive menu, and rarely is such a menu served without pretensions, let alone with the highly friendly ambience provided by De 3 Vrienden. I've read a review criticising the food and the portions - while I can only say that the day we were there the food was exquisite (really) - I can see where people might be thrown by the portions. However it's not the place to go if you're used to giant, American-style portions (sadly in the UK too now). Go there for a taste experience, eat slowly and you will fill up! For a pig-out, there is the Hard Rock Cafe across the canal.
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